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Hayhoe, Who Cares?

In a comment to Tom Fuller’s excellent article Paul Matthews (14 Jan 19 at 9.47am) mentions an article in Psychology Today which, as Paul says, is full of falsehoods and inventions, illustrating Tom’s point about the denial of mainstream science by those who claim to defend “the science” against “the deniers.” Psychology Todayis a popular magazine, so not held to the same standards as a “proper” science journal, but the authors are serious people – a “public health specialist” and a psychiatrist. And they’ve even written a book called “Denying to the Grave” to illustrate their point that it’s a life or death issue.

[Has anyone ever pointed out that “life or death” is not a true antinomy? You can’t have one without the other. I googled to check, and among the “life or death issues” that came up first were sociology, bioethics, and insurance. Important, yes. But mankind survived for much of its history without them.]

The authors say:

What the climate scientists are telling us is that if we don’t stop burning fossil fuels the human race faces extinction. The fact is that many people born this year will not survive global warming if it continues at the current pace and exceeds 3.50°C by 2050.

This is false of course, but interestingly so. I’m no expert on Goebbels, but I suspect the authors (Sara and Jack Gorman) have beaten the Nazi propagandist by a mile in sheer lying power here. The most evil, the most lunatic theories ever devised have threatened the human race with all sorts of things, like degeneration, or civilisational collapse, and purveyors of these false and evil theories have been rewarded with Nobel prizes and membership of the Royal Society. But neither H.G. Wells nor Paul Ehrlich nor Joseph Goebbels have threatened us with extinction in pursuit of their various aims, as far as I know. At least not by 2050.

The article quotes two environmental scientists: Alison Spodek Keimowitz

I Felt Despair About Climate Change—Until a Brush With Death Changed My Mind

 Leukemia and climate change have more in common than you might think.

(I’ll be coming back to Ms Spodek Keimotitz in another article, just as soon as I’ve resolved my problem with Wordpress’s eccentric ways with my text ) and our old friend Katherine Hayhoe.

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What should happen now is that Dr Hayhoe writes to Psychology Today to point out that she does not in any way wish to lend credence to the statements in the article which deny the science. But will she?

Dr Hayhoe is quoted, not for her expertise in climate science, but for her endorsement of the views of the authors that:

..denial is a response to something we fear, and we know from animal and human studies that fear induces freezing and passivity. But studies also demonstrate that giving a fearful animal or human a task that even symbolically addresses what is feared can minimize freezing and promote action. Thus, recommending tasks that we can perform in our daily lives may help us overcome our feeling that mitigating climate change is a hopeless enterprise and motivate us join the voices insisting on ending burning fossil fuels… Being part of a group with a common goal may help people overcome denial and have the courage to face the realities of climate change, however grim they may be.

The article links to an article of Katherine’s in Science entitled  “When facts are not enough” in which she tells us:

I am a climate scientist who has spent a lot of time trying to make climate science more accessible. I’ve authored National Climate Assessments and numerous outreach reports; I host a YouTube show called Global Weirding; I tweet; I’ve even promoted knitting patterns that display rising temperatures. Yet the most important step I’ve taken to make my science communication more effective has nothing to do with the science. As uncomfortable as this is for a scientist in today’s world, the most effective thing I’ve done is to let people know that I am a Christian. Why? Because it’s essential to connect the impacts of a changing climate directly to what’s already meaningful in one’s life, and for many people, faith is central to who they are.

Now knitting and religion are two activities in which I’ve never indulged but for which I have the utmost respect. But let’s skip one, purl one, and go straight to her YouTube videos.

Views of her fortnightly Global Weirding videos started of well with 23,390 views for the introductory one on Sep 28 2016.

Views for 2017 varied from 28,782 on Jan 18 to 7,209 on Oct 25, and for 2018 from 11,659 on Feb 28 to 1,808 on Nov 29. The Jan 2 2019 video has received 1,174 views. Hayhoe seems to have lost 96% of her followers en route.

The video for Sep 13 2017 is called “This is all just part of a natural cycle, right?” Well, perhaps. May the sinusoidal force be with you Kate, because, barring corrections to historical data, at current trends, your viewership will be in negative territory sometime round about March 2019. Meanwhile, readership of Cliscep is progressing nicely, than you. By leaps and bounds, even. Which means sometimes up, sometimes down, but mostly up, like global mean temperature anomalies.

[The quotation in the title is from the Lorenz Hart song, which continues:

I may be sad at times / And disinclined to play / But it’s not bad at times / To go your own sweet way

(contrarian, or what?) and then:

I admire the moon / as a moon / just a moon

(..and an empiricist to boot. Astrophysicists please note)

Lorenz Hart’s contributions to Climate Science, besides his acclaimed “Blue Moon” include “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” and “Where or When.”]

16 thoughts on “Hayhoe, Who Cares?

  1. I grunge-read the entire dog-eared article and skipped through the (mostly critical) comments. This is what losing looks like when the opponents are in denial about losing and about the reasons why they are losing. It’s ugly. It’s bitter. It’s unsavoury. It’s spectacularly, monumentally stupid. As Paul points out, not only do the authors know virtually nothing about climate science, their grasp of the essentials of their own profession – psychology – also seems to be very shaky. But they wrote a book. They got published in a popular journal. They’re making a decent living promoting lies and a political agenda. So they’re alright Jack.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jaime,

    “…their grasp of the essentials of their own profession – psychology – also seems to be very shaky…”

    It’s certainly forgivable not to know much about climate science, but not to grasp what their own discipline / tools should be telling them, is indeed much harder to take. Having said that, I do not think most psychologists putting this stuff out are actually lying / knowingly propagating lies (though for sure easy publication / popularity versus challenging most of their colleagues and probably most everyone they know, to say the least encourages their position, plus also we can’t speak to any individual motivation). They simply believe the emotive catastrophe narrative that is put out by so many authorities and indeed *some* scientists, and strong bias from such belief can be utterly blinding. I promote to here my relevant comment to Alex from the last thread…

    The bulk of psychologists seem to have been whipping up various extremely shallow recipes of this kind for many years. As cottage industries go, it’s a pretty big one. Yet due to bias these all gloss over fundamental problems (as you note). So under the covers, all is not well. See for instance the series at WUWT starting here:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/06/wrapped-in-lew-papers-the-psychology-of-climate-psychologization-part1/#

    As this series points out, none of the above recipes actually solve the great ‘riddle’ (as they see it) of bulk resistance to climate change policy, no matter how many behaviours they try to weld together in what combinations to try for an explanation (in some cases up to 30 or more). And many of them know this. Not surprising, because they are starting with what they think they ‘know’ to be true and then working backwards, which generally results in a serious clash with the existing social data. Fortunately, a few are in good faith collecting reasonable data (which due to proper procedure survives most bias), which therefore is extremely helpful in demonstrating a ‘climate culture’, i.e. an emotive belief with the catastrophe narrative as its focal point. While they cannot not yet see what this data is telling them (in general it is still ‘a puzzle’), at some point one would hope that realisation will begin to dawn. The problem is that the social sciences simply believe that the public climate change story (so in most cases including the catastrophe narrative output propagated by world leaders and many other authorities), must be a trusted output of hard science.

    …and add that if public and professionals alike, the latter in psychology or policy making or whatever, are *not* to believe the catastrophe narrative, surely the first step is for mainstream science to publicly push back far far more against that gross error. Otherwise, what is to prevent mass belief?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Geoff:

    “I’ll be coming back to Ms Spodek Keimotitz in another article…”

    A near brush with death or other damascene moments may create powerful and lasting convictions, but this is nothing to do with reason 0: Some of the the following emotive convictions may be useful for said article, of which a subset use terminal metaphors for the current state of the Earth, as does Keomotitz;
    https://www.isthishowyoufeel.com/this-is-how-scientists-feel.html

    Like

  4. Tickets are still available-

    “On 1/22, a conversation on communicating climate change in transparent, engaging, and accessible ways. Join us for a special evening honoring Katharine Hayhoe @KHayhoe with the Stephen Schneider Award. http://bit.ly/2RnLIwL

    Rumor has it that Dr. Hayhoe will be donating her $15k award to charity.

    Like

  5. The irony of naming an award for Schneider is only matched by awarding it to Hayhoe.
    It is hard to think of someone more deserving, only not for the reasons reported.

    Like

  6. Yesterday I had a rather frank exchange, in the two faces of denial comments, with ATTP about the use of what “we should do”. The Psychology today goes on in a similar vein. It then goes on about highlighting “denial” in a purely Western context. For instance there is mention of ExxonMobil, Shell, and British Petroleum, but not of Chinese coal companies, Gazprom, or the National Oil Corporations of Saudi Arabia, Iran or Kuwait. When I last looked, Russia was only slightly behind the US in fossil fuel production – oil, coal, and gas. But Russia’s nominal GDP is about 8% of the US total ($1.52trn v $19.39trn), so Russia is far more dependent on fossil fuel extraction for its prosperity. In turn, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait and other gulf states are more dependent on fossil fuel extraction than Russia.
    Let us not forget China. It produces almost half the world’s coal, but is a net importer of the stuff. Many developing countries want to replicate China’s rapid growth through the development of cheap fossil fuels. India is most noted, but other Asian countries and many African countries are try as well.
    That is, for most countries – whether dependent on the production of fossil fuels or poor countries desiring rapid economic growth – cutting GHG emissions consistent with the 2C or 1.5C objectives would be counter to their more important objectives. If the any Government of these countries tried to impose genuine rapid emissions cuts they would most likely be out of power pretty quickly, possibly de-stabilizing the country in the process.
    So all what we are left with is Western liberals promoting costly policies, that will not deliver the global emissions reductions. Hence, on this basis alone, it is quite false to promote climate mitigation in terms of avoiding catastrophic climate change.
    What we do have is psychologists claiming some people are in denial due to, in part, rejecting westernized environmentalist perspectives.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hayhoe and the Gormans are focused on feeling good about having the “right idea” about global warming, the so-called “existential threat of our time.” Don’t want miss being on that train. But as manic suggests, there is the matter of what to do about it. As it happens, some folks who fully buy into CO2 hysteria are still enough in touch with reality to grasp the futility of the world’s attempts to reduce emissions. For example, Jeffrey Ball:

    This past June, in an essay in Foreign Affairs, “Why Carbon Pricing Isn’t Working,” I cataloged evidence that carbon pricing is failing to meaningfully reduce carbon emissions around the world—from Europe, where the policy took significant hold, to California, where leading policymakers have embraced it, to China, which is in the early stages of ramping up what will be by far the biggest carbon-pricing regime on the planet. I argued that, though in theory carbon pricing makes sense, in practice it is failing, for two reasons: structurally, carbon pricing tends to constrain emissions mostly in the electricity sector, leaving the transportation and building sectors largely unaffected; and politically, even those governments that have imposed carbon prices have lacked the fortitude to set them high enough to significantly curb even electricity emissions. As a result, I wrote, “a policy prescription widely billed as a panacea is acting as a narcotic. It’s giving politicians and the public the warm feeling that they’re fighting climate change even as the problem continues to grow.”

    I have posted on Ball’s concerns over the failure of carbon pricing to do anything, largely because it boils down to stopping modern societies in their tracks. (Maybe France is getting that done in a perverse way, similar to the way Trump is cutting into the US government deficit.)

    https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2019/01/15/climate-pricing-angst/

    Like

  8. On a separate point, the Gormans and other medical professionals would do better to emulate the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. Mindful of the need to focus on real rather than imaginary threats, they published a Climate Change IQ test for people to better process claims about global warming. The questions are apt, answers are on point, and references are provided. Link here: https://www.ddponline.org/category/cciq/
    I
    t’s like a Letterman top ten list from Q#10 down to #1

    Why can’t more non-climate professionals be like these first responders?

    Like

  9. “What the climate scientists are telling us is that if we don’t stop burning fossil fuels the human race faces extinction. The fact is that many people born this year will not survive global warming if it continues at the current pace and exceeds 3.50°C by 2050.”

    I would like to ask, what do they think it is it that will kill us all? A hand-wave “climate change” does not suffice. What precisely will be the cause of the end? Being 3.50°C warmer cannot accomplish that. Storms? Storms so insistent that there will be no survivors? What else, a pandemic that kills everyone? Doesn’t seem likely. Heatwaves? I can see heatwaves killing people under this scheme, but EVERYONE? Famine? EVERYONE? Answer this question, Drs Gorman. Pray enlighten. Without a definite cause, it sounds like divine punishment by Gaia for our Sins of Emission.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Views of her fortnightly Global Weirding [emphasis not mine] videos started of[sic] well with 23,390 views for the introductory one on Sep 28 2016.

    Views for 2017 varied from 28,782 on Jan 18 to 7,209 on Oct 25, and for 2018 from 11,659 on Feb 28 to 1,808 on Nov 29. The Jan 2 2019 video has received 1,174 views. Hayhoe seems to have lost 96% of her followers en route.

    The video for Sep 13 2017 is called “This is all just part of a natural cycle, right?” Well, perhaps. May the sinusoidal force be with you Kate, because, barring corrections to historical data, at current trends, your viewership will be in negative territory sometime round about March 2019. …[emphasis mine]

    Does negative viewership mean people are going to be forced to watch it?

    … Meanwhile, readership of Cliscep is progressing nicely, than you. By leaps and bounds, even. Which means sometimes up, sometimes down, but mostly up, like global mean temperature anomalies.

    I’m glad to hear it. There’s a lot of good writing here.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “But neither H.G. Wells nor Paul Ehrlich nor Joseph Goebbels have threatened us with extinction in pursuit of their various aims, as far as I know. At least not by 2050.”

    Ehrlich did predict the demise of the UK by 2000:

    “In a 1971 speech, he predicted that: “By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people.” “If I were a gambler,” Professor Ehrlich concluded before boarding an airplane, ” I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_R._Ehrlich

    I suppose he wasn’t a long way off with his 70 million and if the BBC succeeds in turning us all into Vegans, we may very well be hungry people…

    Like

  12. This psycho thing has been ongoing for many years, I wrote this in 2010:

    “We Are Thinking The Wrong Thoughts”
    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/science-papers/originals/wrong-thoughts

    “Those of who have long been in denial about the realities of global warming and the credibility of the IPCC, can now feel relieved, there may be hope for us yet. The diagnosis has been made; we have a psychological problem, which so far has failed to respond to the millions upon millions of dollars spent in “communicating” climate change to the masses.

    However, the process of our redemption is already underway: A new publication called “Communicating climate change to mass public audiences” has just been presented to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, by the “Climate Change Communication Advisory Group”.

    Like

  13. DENNIS AMBLER

    “Ehrlich did predict the demise of the UK by 2000”

    Maybe that’s why the Royal Society only made him a Fellow a couple of years ago. They were hoping we’d have forgotten that we no longer exist.

    Liked by 3 people

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