Showing posts with label denial. Show all posts
Showing posts with label denial. Show all posts

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bailing with a thimble

Who are these intrepid sailors in their home-made boat?

They certainly have good team spirit. You can hear snatches of their team song.
Our little boat is flimsy, the rush of waters strong,
The mighty River Science carries us along.
They like to think of themsevles as scientists, though they don't collect data. Instead, they spend their time picking over the details of other people's science. Without serious skills in maths or any of the science disciplines, at best they are "backyard tinkerers".

They tend to hang out together in online forums and blogs where they sing songs of mutual solidarity, bound together by opposition to mainstream science. 
But we’re not going lightly, we know that they are wrong.
Paddle harder boys and join me in our song.
They are the the oddball world of climate change denial, fighting a rearguard action against the massive flow of evidence for anthropogenic global warming (AGW). They put a brave face on their efforts to save the world from mainstream science.
Bailing with a thimble, 
Paddling with a toothpick 
Our minds and hearts are nimble 
Their Science makes us sick. 
Perhaps it was nausea that caused one of the sailors aboard the little boat Denial to fall overboard this week. After their own-goal with the Unabomber billboard, the Heartland Institute announced that they don't have the funding to continue running their deniala-palooza conferences.

We would laugh at the little boat Denial, paddling against the mighty flow of River Science, if they were harmless. The trouble is, there are a few of them bumping around in the river, spreading lies and confusion.  Some are paddling to the tune of "It's not happening" while others are paddling to various different beats like "It's happening but it won't affect us" or "Go slow, we just don't know".

They're going around in circles, but they've managed to create doubt and apprehension about the transition to a low carbon future.

It helps if we recognise that their 'toothpick and thimble' approach to science is fairly useless. This may discourage others from getting aboard the little boat Denial.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Addicted to oil

George W Bush famously declared in his 2006 State of the Union speech that "America is addicted to oil."

But either he didn't know much about addiction, or he didn't recognise his own addiction because he did nothing to help wean the U.S. off its oil addiction.  A few weeks after the speech, the budget he sent to Congress cut $100 million from federal energy conservation programs.

The addiction analogy is compelling and widely used. Andrew Sims uses it in this Guardian article that discusses our deep dependence on oil and our unpreparedness for necessary change. Carol Linnitt uses the addiction analogy in this Desmogblog article about the tactics used by Canadian governments to keep pumping oil regardless of the environmental damage.

In his article about Bikeshares, Adam Jones says says America is addicted to oil and that coming up with feasible alternatives to treat that addiction hasn’t been easy. Sticking to the analogy, Jones recommends Bikeshares as the "methadone of transportation".

Brigadier General Steve Anderson calls on Americans to wean themselves off their oil addiction. He says this should be a top priority for all politicians, regardless of party and says it starts with dealing in facts—not fiction—about the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and its nonexistent role in lowering gas prices.

Australian academic Samuel Alexander describes the Gulf of Mexico oil spill as testament to the world’s addiction to oil, because it suggests that the world would sooner go out on a limb and risk great injury,  rather than rethink consumption.

Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), lashes governments once more for their inaction.
Our addiction to fossil fuels grows stronger each year. Many clean energy technologies are available but they are not being deployed quickly enough to avert potentially disastrous consequences.

To meet the carbon cuts that scientists calculate are needed, the IEA says the world needs to generate 28% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and 47% by 2035. Yet renewables now make up just 16% of global electricity supply.

Van der Hoeven puts the blame squarely on policymakers, and she challenges ministers to step up to the task of weaning the world off its addiction to oil.