Firefox users will know that when you open a new tab – I think I have about thirty open at the moment – as well as icons for your favourite sites, there are some offerings from what Firefox calls the Pocket. I never click on them. Ever. But today I did. Because I just knew I was gonna have some fun.

What follows will be written without any input from higher-functioning bits of my brain, if I have any. I’ll just put down the first thing that occurs to me.

What was this piece of clickbait? Anything to do with tractors?

That’s the link as I clicked it – you can see it in the URL. (Yes, even the subhead is nonsense, then again, the term “climate denial” doesn’t mean what they think it does.)

Let’s enjoy being taught a lesson together. I’m sure after this we’ll mend our ways. From the intro:

Not much more than 10 years ago, it may have seemed like climate change denial was an ordinary, if not misinformed, opinion shared among loads of people. Nowadays, with climate disasters plaguing most everywhere in the world, it’s not so practical to live in denial. As of September 2021, only one in every 10 Americans thinks climate change isn’t happening, but around three out of every four believes it is.

I’m gonna have to stop you there – who is the author of this screed? Aha, Sara Kiley Watson. Sara, I gotta pull you up. I don’t think an opinion can be shared among loads of people. Cake can. Am I wrong? I dunno. If only I could reach a dictionary from here. Also, you shouldn’t base your argument on how many people believe something. It’s a logical fallacy. Third – I’m doing this in the wrong order ‘cos I just spotted something else – it is eminently practical to live in denial. To claim otherwise is absurd. People believe all sorts of wrong things and it doesn’t harm them at all. That’s because life in 2022 is so easy. I actually see no reason that living in denial should be a problem at all, unless macabre and unfair punishments are introduced by our lords and masters for such beliefs. Oh yeh. I think you meant “if misinformed” rather than “if not misinformed”. Unless you wanted to agree with us. (I can’t even muster the enthusiasm to answer “climate disasters plaguing most everywhere in the world”.)

And I must tell you that you’ve fallen a long way down and found yourself in the oldest crevice in the catacombs called Rhetoric. It’s easier to defeat the argument that you wished your opponent was making, rather than the one they actually are. It’s a logical fallacy that has something to do with scarecrows. Look it up. I don’t deny climate change, but I do deny catastrophic climate change.

That my ranting about your paragraph is longer than the paragraph itself either indicates a marked intolerance on my part or a laziness on yours. Either way, the critique should not be longer than the article it is critiquing, so we must move along.

Next up we have a mistaken opinion from Edward Maibach – a name that rings a bell in climateland, but I’m not looking him up now. He thinks that companies have to declare a climate emergency or something because their customers will leave otherwise. Sure, whatever dude. Just give me the cheap one. Yeah, that one, the one marked “Made in China.”

Now – finally – we get to the first of the four myths. What is it? I can’t wait to find out.

Myth no. 1: Clean energy will hurt working-class people

Wait, this is supposed to be a myth, not a fact! What gives? Some mistake, surely?

Solar and wind were the cheapest sources of energy in the world in 2020, and prices continue to drop.

That is untrue. Wronger than wrong, out the other side of wrong and into the land the wizards call Unicornia. The link Watson provides as evidence takes you to the WEF, where this is said:

“Today, renewables are the cheapest source of power,” said IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera.

What’s IRENA? That’ll be the International Renewable Energy Agency, who have no axe to grind whatsoever re: pretending renewables are cheaper than coal. So we go from the ever-reliable WEF to some gang of cowboys who are trying to flog something. Yee-har. Yes, the link takes you there. And at IRENA, La Camera continues to impress with his understanding of power generation.

“We are far beyond the tipping point of coal,” La Camera continued.

Note to the D-G: saying something does not, in fact, make it true. If it did, human civilisation would come to an end in 7.2 seconds. An obvious counter to La Camera’s claim would be to point out the vasty increases in China and India’s coal use. He could perhaps say, “Yeh, it’s tipping down where people are getting incrementally poorer, & it’s tipping up where they’re getting richer, innit?”

Now the legendary JC comes in – no, not that one:

But these arguments [that renewables cost more and hurt the poor] are simplistic and overlook the bigger, more important picture, says John Cook, a research fellow at the Climate Change Communication Research Hub at Monash University in Australia.

“More broadly, these types of arguments ignore the harmful impacts of climate change that damage society and the economy—the costs of climate inaction will be far greater than the costs of climate action,” Cook says.

Errrr no. So far the cost of climate inaction is zero – there has been no damage to society or the economy, nor will there be, but the cost of climate action is into the trillions. And Cook has never heard of something called a freeloader. Ya know, like China increasing its coal use while UK residents can’t afford to boil a kettle. Stuff like that. The folks doing the least are so far doing the best.

Are we onto 2 yet? Please say we are.

Myth no. 2: Scientists and activists are overreacting; opponents are being realistic

Ha, I’ve a feeling I’m going to like this one.

Once again Cook is the go-to guy:

Another way that climate denial views are being recast is in “culture war terms,” says Cook, by painting proponents of climate action as “extremist and pushing political agendas.”

Well there is no evidence of any of that. Whatsoever. I could trip over it if I wasn’t looking, but it doesn’t exist. Pah.

According to Watson,

In reality, we’ve been in the loop on climate change for at least 62 years—and that we’re down to the wire to to keep the worst impacts from happening. Making climate change political and dragging out decision making is in some ways, a new excuse to do nothing at all.

Right, so hold on – lemme just rephrase that – people have been warning us that we’re doomed since, er, 1960 – anyone know what happened then, can’t be bothered to hover over the link – and right now, just at this very moment that just happens to be so very important because it is NOW, we’re “down to the wire.” Stupidity on toast. The previous failures do not make the next prediction more likely to be true. Also I’m not liking your comma usage. Oh, and you didn’t need “that” back there.

Another reason politics and social identity have been injected into climate conspiracies is through a fringe movement that correlates immigration with environmental catastrophe. This has also been named “eco-bordering” by British political scientists Joe Turner and Dan Bailey. “This discourse seeks to blame immigration for national environmental degradation, which draws on colonial and racialized imaginaries of nature in order to rationalize further border restrictions and ‘protect’ the ‘nativist stewardship’ of national nature,” they wrote in a recent paper.

I have no idea what any of that means, but if they are calling me a racist someone’s gonna have to hold my beer. What is a racialized imaginary of nature anyway?

Please tell me we’re onto #3.

Myth no. 3: Corporations are already doing the necessary work

Well, the existence of this myth is itself a myth, in that I’ve never heard anyone say it. Perhaps I’m living in a denialist silo, but if so, my receiving apparatus should be picking up all relevant denialist myths, including Myth #3.

It’s something to with greenwashing. Well, greenwashing works. Every action to “fight” climate change, from (i) electric cars to (ii) wind turbines to all those lovely council committees is greenwashing. It won’t actually benefit anyone, save for those with a financial interest in flogging (i) and getting paid for owning (ii). Moving rapidly on to……….

Myth no. 4: We’re doomed

Nope. No, we’re not. Now if I was a scatterbrained tyro journalist trying to write something semi-literate about climate denial, this is the point at which I would call in the supersub, Michael the Great. Does Watson?

The final kind of new climate change denial is the belief that the apocalypse is inevitable, and there’s nothing we can do about the climate crisis. And while global warming is certainly an ever-looming and scary issue, it doesn’t have to signal the end of the world.

I think you meant “but” rather than “and”. But hey! Where’s Michael the Great…?

He’s not there. 😦 Instead, Katherine Heyhoe provides the quote.

The kind of hope we need—rational, stubborn hope—isn’t about positive thinking, but it doesn’t begin with imitating an ostrich, either,” Katharine Hayhoe, chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy, wrote in New Scientist. “It starts by acknowledging just how serious climate change is and what is at risk: the future of civilization as we know it.

Balderdash. And several less polite words. Civilisation is not at risk from climate change. Poor people are at risk from Weather, but that’s different. Civilisation will laugh at whatever climate change has to offer. But by trying to save the climate we might unintentionally make ourselves vulnerable to nice, pleasant weather, as noted by the Met Office’s Mark Butcher last September:

…the decarbonisation of the energy system is one of the most important climate challenges that we face at the moment, but what happens is as you increase the amount of renewables that you have in your energy system, erm, you’re also increasing the vulnerability of that system to adverse weather conditions.

And what’s interesting about this is that these weren’t adverse weather conditions ten years ago, this was just nice, pleasant weather. It’s because we’ve got more and more wind power in the system that what we need to do now is think about ways in which we can strengthen that system and make it more resilient.

Conclusion

Well, of the four, one is an alarmist myth and one is a myth I’ve never heard of and is in any case not a denialist myth. The other two are true, I think.

One day, a bit of lint in the Pocket will belong to Cliscep. I just know it will.

SFX: THE SOUND OF A BAKELITE TELEPHONE BEING SLAMMED DOWN. THE LINE IS CUT.

19 Comments

  1. The training involved in making people stupid enough to believe the cli.ate crisis myth has led directly to covid tyranny and the gender anti-science movement. And to Trudeau, Biden and the slow start of ww3.

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  2. Branding opponents as “deniers” is pure Ad Hominem. That happen when the debate is lost or just being proactive, when they know that they lack arguments and can’t win. This relates to their refusal to debate opponents, as they know they will be publically ashamed/embarrest … It’s a religious and political term and has nothing to do with science (just like ‘concensus’).

    In reality, we’ve been in the loop on climate change for at least 62 years …

    That’s a scientifically insignificant part of the context. Climate has existed for billions of years, almost the whole existence of the Earth and has always changed. From a human perspective sometime dramatically but in general, the human perspective has always been small. Pseudo scientists and politicians avoid most of the time contexts, as it would disturbe their ambitions …

    … and that we’re down to the wire to to keep the worst impacts from happening. …

    Yet, no climate actions, what so ever, has been proven to actually work. (Only a huge waste of money ending up in wrong pockets …)

    Also I’m not liking your comma usage.

    Ouch! There is only one Western language allowing the use of a comma followed by a conjunction – American English. Why not more languages? One [simple] explaination is when reading text out load, all commas and conjunctions works as breathing pauses. A comma followed by a conjunction makes a double breathing pause. Doesn’t make sense (or does it? An audience will most probably pay attention but not as expected …) By coincidence and different occations, I have been in contact with several English teachers and lectors in both UK and Australia. They all described it as an increasing issue affecting the students, only to be caused by the influence of the Am. En. grammer. Most due to movies/tv. Have seen this negative trend in other languages too, inclusing my native. (Swedish) Being a dyslectic, it might be an issue too. Proper grammar always makes it easier to read. A number of dyslectics works as proofreaders, as dyslexia is a benefit in that case. I usually temporarily get stuck on this type of error, regardless of language. Sometimes, it becomes irritating …

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  3. I recently caved in and joined Facebook, for the sole reason that it enables me to access Facebook pages that are of interest to me. I find that it pushes this sort of thing at me on a regular basis.

    It’s a good job I’m not a conspiracy theorist.

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  4. Jit, what have I just told you about reading anything with ‘myth’ in the title? Now go and sit down and think about what you have just done.

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  5. John, anything dealing with big fluttery and hairy myths belongs in the discussion upon another recent topic.

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  6. Climate speculations become transformed into certainties, shedding falsehoods as they mutate. Those shredded shards of reason become trampled underfoot, changing into climate myths that prey upon the unwary. Only the latest IPCC document is said to contain unvarnished truths. It is that which becomes a bible or Koran. Older versions should be pulped, being havens for outdated myths. Only the light footed can make their way with certainty through the intricacies of ever changing climate dogma.

    I recall, as if it were yesterday, being told by Phil Jones, that I was reading the wrong stuff. Today you are surrounded by changing dogma and it’s difficult to trip over other voices.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Alan, great description. Cultures constantly evolve, and are adept at reinterpreting their own history, indeed rewriting it wherever adherents hold the pens and the archives. (They aren’t sentient or agential, of course, this all occurs via emotive selection of narratives, plus the biases and behaviours that cultural narratives trigger in us).

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  8. Of course, one of the biggest myths of all is that there is a climate crisis.

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  9. JIT,

    In context, this myth-busting screed makes sense. Such screeds may have deeper purpose than arming the faithful to bust ‘denier’ myths, though; I think this one certainly does. It is better seen as a warning to the faithful themselves, the purpose being to stop internal heresies arising.

    There is most certainly a ‘doomster only’ wing of the faithful (Rupert Read springs to mind), and this is a big problem for the culture. Belief has to be *simultaneously* and equally in both doom and salvation (this is not a rational belief, the part of our brains that subconsciously processes cultural narratives, is fine with such contradictions). So, too much ‘doom only’ cannot be tolerated; if the ‘hope’ (and indeed many other positive emotions) part of the emotive equation, falls by the wayside, the culture will be finished, surviving only at best as an almost forgotten minor cult. This is why Myth 4 is raised. Oppositely, the culture cannot tolerate too much ‘salvation only’ either. This would result in the loss of anxiety and fear and other emotive elements that are essential fuel for the culture; while as you note some of this ‘salvation only’ wing of the culture is based on greenwash, without the fear this would eventually lead to rationality and real solutions (e.g. nuclear), or perhaps eventually a realisation that there isn’t a global ‘crisis’ anyhow. Hence the raising of Myth 3.

    The culture must also and constantly resist the press of reality. Given most adherents are honest, many are bound to notice that so-called ‘solutions’ are harming people. We must bear in mind that the via emotive selection processes, the culture is doing everything possible *not* to have a real solution to the problem, which is why we get the emergence of ‘solutions’ that cannot possibly fix the touted problem anyhow, such as renewables, but which power immense effort and money and mind-share into the culture. These ‘solutions’ must be protected, hence the raising of myth 1, as in the face of reality some of the faithful are indeed wavering on this issue, and some even leaning to nuclear, which per above the culture also opposes for the same reason.

    Cook’s observation about culture war is correct and this can be seen on Twitter and elsewhere (albeit it’s still minor at the moment). It’s absolutely essential that the culture maintains its image of representing hard science and flat physical reality (of catastrophe), which underpins all the emotive pitches in its arsenal; hence no slippage into viewing the issue or the proposed ‘solutions’ as a culture war (which is what it has been all along, in fact), can be allowed. This is why Myth 3 is raised.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Richard, my climatic reading is an already told tale embedded in my Climategate trilogy. Gratuitously I was informed by the great leader of CRU that I shouldn’t waste my time reading Sceptical Climate blogs but concentrate upon laudable screeds such as RealClimate and its ilk (to which I responded that I read across the entire spectrum of climate science (and wondered if he did). When this exchange was revealed in Climategate 2, this reading of both sides gained me many kudos. But I’ll not milk it yet again.

    Discovered that we have 150+ followers at Cliscep and are ranked no. 21 in one listing of climate blogs. Wonder how they know that?

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  11. The key meme in the clickbait is the linking up of delay with denial. Some may have missed out on the latest step in the climate campaign: The February 24, 2022 White House Climate Science Roundtable on Countering “Delayism” and Communicating the Urgency of Climate Action. The slogan: Delay is the new denial – “climate delayism” is a systematic and coordinated strategy to bring about unwarranted concern regarding a wide range of climate actions for the purpose of slowing down or indefinitely suspending those actions.

    This is about how to start a stampede. Stopping to talk, think or wonder about facts is just delaying what has to be done. Myths are fair game, because they are stories that sanction waiting. They need to be replaced with stories of leaping into the unknown.

    I posted once on why Al Gore keeps yelling fire, even claiming that his fears declared in Inconvenient Truth have all come to pass. This all reminded me some years ago I attended seminars regarding efforts to achieve operational changes in organizations. The notion was presented that people only change their habits, ie. leave their comfort zone, when they fear something else more than changing their behavior. The analogy was drawn comparing to workers leaping from a burning oil platform, or tenants from a burning building.

    Al Gore and his ilk are fronting an agenda to unplug modern societies, and thereby the end of life as we know it. Thus they claim the world is on fire, and only if we abandon our ways of living can we be saved.

    The big lie is saying that the world is burning up when in fact nothing out of the ordinary is happening. The scare is produced by extrapolating dangerous, fearful outcomes from events that come and go in the normal flow of natural and seasonal climate change. They can not admit that the things they fear have not yet occurred. We will jump only if we believe our platform, our way of life, is already crumbling.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Jit – notice these are another 4 new Myths to add to the long list.

    “Myth no. 4: We’re doomed
    The final kind of new climate change denial is the belief that “the apocalypse is inevitable”, and there’s nothing we can do about the climate crisis”

    hit the link above & it takes me to NASA https://climate.nasa.gov/faq/16/is-it-too-late-to-prevent-climate-change/

    no mention of “apocalypse is inevitable” in it I can see, but it does state –

    “While the effects of human activities on Earth’s climate to date are irreversible on the timescale of humans alive today, every little bit of avoided future temperature increases results in less warming that would otherwise persist for essentially forever. The benefits of reduced greenhouse gas emissions occur on the same timescale as the political decisions that lead to those reductions.”

    Wonder where the idea “new climate change denial is the belief that “the apocalypse is inevitable” came from?

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  13. Dougie, Michael the Great had a part to play – he has begun to serve doomers in the same sauce as deniers. That’s because both types of folk are opposing climate action.

    This from a couple of days ago at Yale Climate Connections:

    As Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann points out, to give up is to join the opposition: the big carbon polluters want us to think they’ve already won.

    And this:

    Well, there are reasons you might feel we’re doomed, at least at times. For instance, bad news outplays good news, and we remember bad stuff more readily and longer: Psychologists call this our “negativity bias.”

    https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2022/05/on-climate-doomism-heart-mind-reasons-to-resist-it/

    The author almost seems to fire that final synapse that makes the link that maybe, just maybe, the threat has been exaggerated a tad. But no. Nonsense prevails in the end.

    (Mann’s new book, with the risible subtitle “The fight to take back our planet” has 4.5 stars at Amazon. The cover shows the entire surface of the planet, except the wetter bits, turning a dead brown colour. So we go from Climate Wars I – I mean The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars – “Dispatches from the front line” to The New Climate War – “The fight to take back our planet.” Lots of militaristic language there which to my mind has no place. The front line is where people are getting shot, not shouted at.)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sasja, I hold native speakers to a higher comma standard than those for whom English is language #2. But I should not have criticised the author for that misdemeanour – I was feeling rather cross because of the casual libelling of “our” side.

    Native speakers obviously have a huge advantage in writing. For myself, I try to follow no rules. Heck, I hardly know what the rules are – the one I do try to stick to is “If it feels right, it is right.” Which is often wrong.

    I am very impressed by foreigners like you with good English. My foreign language skills condense downt to about 6 words in about 3 languages.

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  15. John, I’m sorry. It was a moment of madness. I was about to type something about agricultural machinery into the search box when I saw it there and couldn’t resist.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Andy, I’m liking the idea that the Popsci article is an unconscious catechism, with questions followed by orthodox answers. I think someone could have fun with an ironic version, e.g.:

    Why is electricity so expensive?

    Because we are too reliant on fossil fuels.

    Etc.

    Liked by 1 person

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