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Building Anxiety

By:
Edward A. Reid Jr.
Posted On:
Jul 23, 2019  at  at 6:00 AM
Category
Climate Change

The consensed climate science community, the media and progressive politicians are experiencing high anxiety regarding climate change. However, they have been relatively unsuccessful in building similar high anxiety among voters in the US, though certainly not for lack of trying. They have used progressively more strident rhetoric and produced more scary scenarios to little effect.

The progression of the language used when referring to the issue, to its projected consequences and to those who do not accept the consensus view of the issue is interesting and somewhat amusing.

ISSUE:

  • global warming
  • global weirding
  • global heating
  • climate change
  • carbon pollution
  • climate crisis
  • climate emergency
  • climate chaos
  • existential threat
  • climategeddon
  • climate apocalypse
  • our World War II

CONSEQUENCES:

  • more, longer heat waves
  • more, longer droughts
  • more floods
  • more, stronger tornadoes
  • more, stronger tropical cyclones
  • greater storm surge
  • extreme weather
  • rising sea levels
  • island submergence
  • more coastal flooding
  • mass migration
  • massive crop failures
  • mass starvation
  • 150 million deaths
  • fireball Earth

SKEPTICS:

  • climate deniers
  • climate change deniers
  • anti-science
  • climate zombies
  • climate misinformers
  • oil industry shills
  • deranged
  • criminal
  • crime against humanity
  • treasonous
  • throw in gulags
  • should be euthanized
  • should commit suicide

However, against this progressively more extreme rhetorical flourish, there is no apparent crisis. The predictions of events which have not occurred, such as the ice-free Arctic, disappearance of glaciers, the end of snow, perpetual drought in California and Texas, more frequent and stronger tropical cyclones and tornadoes, etc. remind people of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and “Chicken Little”.

Attempts to distract from failed predictions, such as assertions that climate change can mean both warmer and colder, both more and less snow, both more and less rain, etc. have also been unsuccessful because they are fundamentally counterintuitive. People tend to trust their personal experience, which tells them that weather and seasons change, warmer and cooler, wetter and drier.

The media are quick to highlight stories about shortened ski seasons but have little to say about ski resorts open for skiing in early June. They were quick to point out lower water levels in the Great Lakes several years ago, but far less anxious to discuss record high water levels currently. They are quick to report on flood damage, but more reluctant to report on historical environmentalist resistance to the construction of flood control dams and levees. They were quick to report on the recent major hurricanes, but slow to report on the previous 12-year period with no major hurricanes. They cling to the old adage: “If it bleeds, it leads.”

Dr. David Wojik recently pointed out a common characteristic of the Pentagon climate change security studies and the National Climate Assessment. In each case: “The authors were specifically instructed to look at worst case scenarios, which are not a basis for action. Unfortunately these hypothetical scenarios were reported as real predictions, in part because some people actually believe them.” It is very likely that the authors of many of the federally funded “scary scenario” studies were given the same specific instructions.