Saturday, January 18, 2020

Don't Use Logic to Persuade Climate Change Deniers

The author of the book "Global Warming Primer,” Jeffrey Bennett, breaks the climate change discussion down to logic, using two facts and a conclusion:

1.       Fact: Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, by which we mean a gas that traps heat and makes a planet (like Earth or Venus) warmer than it would be otherwise.
2.      Fact: Human activity, especially the use of fossil fuels — by which we mean coal, oil, and gas, all of which release carbon dioxide when burned — is adding significantly more of this heat-trapping gas to Earth’s atmosphere.
3.       Inevitable Conclusion: We should expect the rising carbon dioxide concentration to warm our planet, with the warming becoming more severe as we add more carbon dioxide.

I buy that. Seems simple enough to follow, so why doesn’t everybody else buy that?  Logic was my favorite class in college, and the logic here summarizes the science I was learning.  But in his Fast Company article, Per Epsen Stoknes suggests that when the rational argument doesn’t work, we should embrace the irrational mind.[1]

He suggests that people respond better when the message is localized. Charts showing global numbers and facts don’t persuade people as much as relating the problem to local situations. In Maryland’s anti-fracking campaign, I think it was successful partially because people could visualize some of the local problems that would have occurred in the western counties targeted for fracking.

His other suggestions such as keeping the message positive and not making people feel guilty make a lot of sense. He suggests that people respond to peer pressure and react positively when they see and hear about what others are already doing. That leads to government leaders responding accordingly and stopping from obstructing efforts to stop climate change.  

I need to change my 3-minute elevator speech. I thought I could persuade people about the perils of relying on non-sustainable energy sources with a couple of simple facts about carbon dioxide. I won’t stop using logic, but I will try to be more cognizant of the psychological reasons why many people resist accepting the reality of climate change.     

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Facts? - Then Obfuscate

Trump's administration are masters at obfuscation.  I think they should get recognized for being good at something.

So rather than deal with the facts of climate change, they will continue to argue that the science is unproven, is based on some extreme models, or is up for debate - that every scientist is not in agreement. 

Today's Washington Post's PowerPost article, reported that the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, said ""Going forward, I think we need to take a look at the modeling that's used for the next assessment" referring to the climate report released last Friday, November 23.   BBC News reported "Trump on climate change report: 'I don't believe it.'" Sara Hucklebee Sanders said the The Fourth National Climate Assessment was “not based on facts” and arguing that modeling the climate “is never exact.” 

For anyone that gets sucked into a debate on whether climate change is real or based on man's impact, I recommend the book "A Global Warming Primer" by Jeffrey Bennett. I just started reading it, but already plan on buying two copies. One for my reference shelf, and one to lend out to anyone who has doubts that climate change has been impacted by burning fossil fuels.

Why do I like this book? Because Mr. Bennett keeps his explanations based on simple facts and laws of physics. He also does a good job with illustrations and making analogies to explain his points and does not "dumb down" the points. The entire book is laid out in a question & answer format. 

If you have ever been frustrated when discussing climate change to nonbelievers, this book will help you organize your thoughts and explanations. 

I won't lend my copy of the book to someone who insists that climate change is natural or cyclical.  I'm afraid that nothing will persuade them. But if I ever have the opportunity to speak to the president, or his administration, I will send them to  - the entire book is online - maybe they will read it.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

There is Hope

This Year, Earth Day Is On Nov. 6
"If we choose to, environmentalists could overwhelm the electorate. And, ... nothing motivates a politician more than the prospect of winning ― or losing ― an election."

Support clean energy candidates. "Like" the CCAN Action Fund Facebook page to see which candidates are standing up for clean energy.

Just days after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a terrifying report confirming we must act immediately to avoid catastrophic climate change, Hurricane Michael has slammed into the Florida panhandle and shown us the devastation climate disasters can cause, especially to vulnerable communities.   

This storm is a terrible and urgent reminder that our leaders need to take decisive climate action right now to protect our future. We know that hurricanes are exacerbated by climate change, and we need to take action now.

If you are concerned about the immediate dangers our neighbors are facing in Florida and want to protect them from the long-term impact of climate change -- here are two things you can do right now:

  1. Make an emergency relief gift to Make The Homeless Smile. Our partners in Florida know that Make The Homeless Smile can make a vital difference for those facing immediate danger and displacement in the coming days. Your gift will help make sure they transport volunteers, supplies, generators, resources and create safe spaces in this moment of crisis. Last year after hurricane Irma, Make the Homeless Smile established a Community Emergency Operation Center to respond to disasters that are exacerbated by climate change. This is your opportunity to support people-to-people solidarity.
  2. Watch and share this video about the IPCC Report to help us organize and stop more climate disasters like these from happening. We’re seeing the damage that one degree of warming can do. The science is clear: any hope of a safe climate hinges on stopping fossil fuel expansion immediately.
Our hearts are with those feeling the impacts of Hurricane Michael in Florida and with everyone living on the front lines of climate change. We’re more determined than ever to demand our leaders justly transition to 100% renewable energy for all to protect our future.
Watch and share this brief video about the IPCC Report. We’re seeing the damage that one degree of warming can do. The science is clear: any hope of a safe climate hinges on stopping fossil fuel expansion immediately.
Harvey Didn’t Come Out of the Blue. Now Is The Time to Talk About Climate Change (By Naomi Klein) Naomi Klein explains why we can't ignore what is behind the recent weather catastrophes.

U.N. Report Says We Have About A Decade To Turn Around Climate Change Effects
NPR's 1A hosts a panel discussing the recent UN Report on Climate Change. 

How a Combination of Renewables Can Reduce a Town's Dependency on Fossil Fuels
 This short video (15 minutes) by the Economist shows how one small German village is successfully using alternative energy sources.

California passes bill to phase out fossil fuels by 2045
72 percent of residents support the state's switch to fully green energy

Will Maryland get moving with offhsore wind power?
Block Island did, and is reping the benefits