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Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change’

Does this face look bovvered?

BPSDB Sometimes it takes a cartoon character to help understand a cartoon.

Recently I was introduced to the comic character Lauren Cooper,  a fictitious character created and performed by British comedic actress Catherine Tate.

While I enjoyed the comedy I was also struck by how much Lauren’s conflict dynamic mimicked that of many climate change Deniers.

Divorced of its’ normal context I found I was able to get much more analytical about what might actually be going on psychologically for the individual Denier. Possibly much more interesting, I was led to ask myself  “Why do I like Lauren even though she is a caricature of annoying people who make my life difficult?” and of course, what clues are there for how to deal effectively with Deniers?

Lauren Cooper, climate change Denier?

Lauren is an aggressive, obnoxious, poorly educated, self-absorbed, lower class 15 year old. Naturally her success as a comic character is because she parodies behaviour that we recognize; good comedians have to be keen observers of human behaviour.

No, Lauren is not a climate change Denier (I doubt she would even know what that meant), but she is interesting in that her argumentative dynamic uses the same basic pattern as the Deniers. Relative to everyday life Lauren is an outrageous, over the top caricature. Compared to some of the more familiar Deniers she is pretty average.

A Lauren Cooper sketch follows the same basic formula. First Lauren is caught out having done something “well bad” (ie stupid) and her mates remark on it. Often she will baldly deny it even happened at all despite the obvious fact that it did.

At some point she will attack the questioner with a Gish Gallop of shifting goal posts and red herrings that completely ignore the original issue “Are you disrespecting me? are you saying my mother is a prostitute? are you saying I’m stupid? are you saying my father is a wino? are you saying I’m a pikie?

Always she will express her total indifference to what others think or have to say by repeatedly asking “Am I bovvered?”

At no time will she ever admit to any error, acknowledge the validity any criticism, nor will she respond to what the other person is actually saying (on the rare occasions that she even detects that they are saying anything).

Sound familiar?

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BPSDB

Knowledge is a deadly friend
When no one sets the rules.

The fate of all mankind I see
Is in the hands of fools.

Let me begin by saying I have enormous respect for William M. Connolley (aka Stoat) and generally do not significantly disagree with him.

However, in his Apr 5th piece “Muller is rubbish” Stoat said “But he [Muller] isn’t a tosser.

Stoat, you’re just plain wrong, Muller most definitely is a well bad tosser, a “denialist chumming complete bollocks.”

Short Prologue

(more documentation at bottom)

Richard Muller is a Berkeley physicist of some minor notoriety in climate change circles for being critical of “the Hockey Stick” (ie historical temperature reconstructions). By “critical” I mean calling it “phoney.”

Earlier this year the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature group began a project to re-examine the existing temperature data. The project drew criticism for, among other things:

  • consisting exclusively of people with a poor track record for:
  • discussing the science honestly.
  • actually understanding the science.
  • being funded in part by Koch Industries.
  • On March 31 Muller testified before Congress and affirmed the high quality of the existing climate science which sent the climate change Deniers into a frenzy.

    The Muller sideshow has been one I have been largely ignoring, but then a repeat commenter brought this video clip to my attention:

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    BPSDB

    (hat tip to Quark Soup and Climate Progress)

    Maybe you celebrated Earth Day, maybe you ignored it. Maybe you share the cynicism that has been becoming overt on more than a few environmental sites, or at least noticed it.

    For the international celebration of a cause that we are working for, articles like (just a sampling):

    don’t exactly seem to be caught up in the spirit of it.

    Or how about this group email?:

    “It’s that time of year again: Earth Day, a singular day when the faithless are moved to buy reusable grocery bags.

    At #######, we get pretty rankled at all the Earthapalooza shenanigans. What’s next, Ye Olde Mattress Sale? Honestly.

    Let’s face it, we’re all just doing the best we can. And we do the best we can every stinking day. Not just on some tarted-up, feel-good, strum-your-guitar day of glowing holiness …

    I want to talk about something far more important than Earth Day, more important than saving endangered species,  or “the planet”, or humanity.

    First a little context.

    Continue reading at News Junkie Post:

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    BPSDB Judith Curry’s latest post Polyclimate is actually about an interesting and important topic that deserves real discussion, but that is apparently not the real purpose of her post, and as a consequence not of this one either.

    The topic in question is the clear, effective communication of climate change science, and I just want to draw to your attention Dr Curry’s attempt to further undermine it.

    Dr Curry is actually quite a clever misinformer, so a single blog post is not sufficient to document all of the errors, misrepresentations  and cheap shots in the entire piece. Indeed may not even be sufficient to cover the introduction which attempts to frame the issue as being about flawed science. While masquerading as a serious discussion piece the fact is that a great deal of it is actually just juvenile swiftboating.

    I suppose I should begin by thanking Dr Curry for the backhanded semi-compliment she gave in “it seems that few people read Greenfyre, but it is representative of the genre and more literate and entertaining than most“, but still note the typical gratuitous put down she felt obliged to insert. Moving right along:

    In short, the blame is being placed on “deniers,” the mainstream media, conservatives and libertarians, and tactics used by the environmental movement itself.  The science itself is a non-issue in this matter: the incontrovertability of the Tyndall gas effect has somehow been translated into high confidence knowledge of what is going on with the climate system and what should be done about it.”

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    BPSDB

    I admit it, I have underestimated the virulence of the climate change Deniers.

    I had thought that they were merely  politically motivated, close minded, frightened people egged on by a corporate driven profit agenda.

    Increasingly I am convinced (by them) that we are dealing with a hysteric, desperate, terrified mob driven by ideologues.

    My post Love, blood and rhetoric really got the Digg Patriots into a froth, so I used the opportunity to see if I could cajole/goad/bait anyone of them into making a single relevant, rational comment about the post. I wasn’t hoping for much, just about anything that referred to what was actually said and responded with something that made any sense would have done.

    No luck. Several of the commenters even took took pride in their certainty that what I had written was treasonous, dangerous propaganda despite their not having read a single line of it. Several threatened to (and supposedly did) report me to the FBI/Homeland Security even though they hadn’t actually read the piece. Wow!

    Which led me to rereading a Sun Magazine interview with Chip Berlett, and realizing that I had failed to appreciate the full significance of something he said.

    “Barsamian: The virulence of language on the Right is acute. Everything is Armageddon, apocalypse, or a “nuclear option.”

    Berlet: That’s because it’s portraying the political opposition not as people with whom you disagree but as a force of evil with whom there can be no compromise. How can you compromise with Satan? How can you compromise with the people who want to destroy America?

    Brewing Up Trouble: Chip Berlet On The Tea Party And The Rise Of Right-Wing Populism by David Barsamian

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    BPSDB  This trailer for a new documentary that is still in production popped up five days ago and it looks interesting. Clips from the interviews have been being posted every day since (selection below). See what you think.

    Oooh, they just added Elizabeth Kolbert and Barbara Bramble (The Birth of the Rainforest Action Network) (and look for Steve Schneider in the trailer).

    A Fierce Green Fire Official Trailer

    .

    Oh, a storm is threat’ning
    My very life today
    If I don’t get some shelter
    Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away

    Bill McKibben – Public Consciousness and Climate Change

    .

    War, children, it’s just a shot away
    It’s just a shot away
    War, children, it’s just a shot away
    It’s just a shot away

    Lois Gibbs – The Uniqueness of Love Canal

    .

    Ooh, see the fire is sweepin’
    Our very street today
    Burns like a red coal carpet
    Mad bull lost its way

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    SOA Quebec City 2001

    BPSDB In the dim mists of time hundreds of us were gathered by a foundation to discuss how we were going to move from our then state of impending environmental crisis to a sustainable society. Demographically we were a sampling of politicians, bureaucrats, scientists, business people, NGO staffers, and community organizers.

    We talked and worked over three days in ever changing combinations that always had representation from each sector. By the last evening we were a much smaller, exhausted group consisting almost exclusively of the NGO staffers, community organizers and scientists, with only a handful of the others still present.  The organizers then revealed our last task, which was to answer:

    1. What needs to happen?
    2. What will it take?
    3. Who will pay for it?

    There was a long silence, and then finally a voice (an environmental consultant) said in a calm, measured manner “Revolution … Blood in the streets … Eat the rich.”

    There was another long silence as we all looked around to see how the others were reacting to this.  What we saw was a room full of people calmly nodding. We then spent the last few hours translating that answer into language that the Foundation could actually publish in it’s report.

    Make no mistake, this was not a gathering of radical activists. The participants were drawn from quite mainstream, moderate organizations and institutions. Nor, I think, would that have been the answer given when we first gathered, even by the subset of us still there at the end.

    Although the group had an abundance of experience trying to make change, the day long sessions of quibbling over trivia and dross had brought into stark relief just how inert “the system” was. Apparently imminent catastrophe was simply not sufficient reason to fiddle with the price of gas, or anything else for that matter.

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