Monday, February 5, 2018

What if we could REALLY convince the public that climate change is a threat?


Maybe one day some really gigantic-awful-horrible-monstrous-humungous climate related disaster will hit us. And that, at that moment, people will stop playing the boiling frog and will be forced to admit that climate change is real and we have to do something about that. 

Unfortunately, plenty of gigantic-horrible-etc. disasters have already hit us, but the public doesn't seem to have taken notice. But never mind, we might be hit by the really big one. And, if it happens, do you think people will come to the scientists and tell them "we are so sorry, now we understand you were right all along"?

I have the impression that it will be rather something like what you see in the clip, below. It will be something like what the woman says, "God is going to destroy this Earth and there is nothing you silly scientists can do about that with all your scientific blah-blah."

And I have this terrible feeling that she may be right.

Video from "Ars Technica")


  1. indeed, can anyone really believe that the public would accept the kinds of disruptions to the economy/daily-life that would come with bringing the machine to a halt? How could anyone get elected to office or to run a company with such a platform?

  2. If, as she says there is nothing they can do to stop it, then what's the point in warning them?

  3. Of course she is right. If god wanted the earth not to be destroyed, god would not have put all that oil in the ground.

  4. I have had a theory for some time now that that is indeed the crux of the converging catastrophic constraints conundrum issue. As soon as the required % of the population, 10%, 20%, more, understand that the jig is well and truly up for their bright future as well off consumers all hell breaks lose and nothing anyone says will stop it.

    No politician, no tech guru/god, no religious figure will be able to put that genie back in the bottle as they say. This is why the lies have only gotten bigger and thicker. This explains all of the distractions thrown up by our leaders and the complicit media.

    GW Shrub represented an easily manipulated/compliant puppet to prop-up in front of the screen while TPTB/deep state gets on with phase 1 of the shift. Obamanation was tossed up there to appease the Muzzlems and people of color (even though everything got worse for them) so that phase 2 could kick in. Trumpiter represents both an appeaser and a major distraction from reality.

    Point is that the only thing keeping it all together is the general publics continued belief that if they just focus and work hard the World is their oyster, or at least they can have a decent life and their children can have an even better one. When that goes it all goes all the way down.

    TPTB knows that no matter how hard it is to keep the secret hidden, no matter what kind of dirty deeds they need to do to keep it in the can, it is all a million times better than telling the truth.

  5. Sorry, I meant Muslims. Very sloppy of me.

  6. What matters is not what people believe, but what they do. And have all scientists who know about climate change stopped flying everywhere, driving cars, wearing synthetics and availing themselves generally of the blessings of industrial civilisation? No!

    So why should the great unwashed take any notice of them?

    A few quivering souls, amongst them friends I've known over the last forty-five years or so, swore never to have children so as not to expose them to the horrors to come. They have thus efficiently removed themselves from the gene pool.

    The answer? There is no answer. We were born into this Universe and must play by its rules. Smell the flowers, kiss the babies, flirt with the pretty girls and stop thinking you can control everything.

  7. I recall reading that the boiling frog story is not true (“fake news”). If a frog is in a pan of water that is gradually warming it will jump out when it gets too hot. Does anyone know?

    For many people the global warming story does not pass the red face test and/or it is no big deal in their personal lives. For example, we have friends who own a beach home in North Carolina. Every year the sea seems to be in pretty much the same place that it has always been. And, since the home is on stilts, who cares if the sea rises a few inches?

    Similarly for oil supplies. Five years ago there was all that fuss about running out of oil. And then the price dropped from about $110 to $50. Since then the price of gas at the pump has been pretty steady — and that’s really the only “energy story” that people care about.

    Even the big events are taken in stride. I lived in Houston, Texas for 20 years and endured many storms and hurricanes; Harvey really was “different this time”. Still, people adjust and get on with their lives.

    To respond to these attitudes with charts and gloomy predictions will only cause people to stop listening.

    You talk about the credibility of scientists. The problem that they face is that they can come over as being superior “know it alls”. And the fact that they themselves do not always agree as to what is happening does not help. Almost by the very nature of their work scientists have trouble being “just like folks”.

    Regarding political leadership, any politician who promises a future of austerity and a declining standard of living will soon be an ex-politician. Leadership of that type only works in a time of war — for which you need a clear and present enemy.

    People may not place much trust in politicians, blog writers or scientists. But in the United States at least, there is one group that does have credibility and that can also exert leadership — and that is the military. For example, the Navy base in Norfolk VA is one of the largest in the world. Navy officers have expressed serious concern about rising seal levels (they are already being affected). When they speak people listen.

  8. Come on Ugo, Wesboro Baptist Church, the most despicably indoctrinated specimens one could find ...
    The reason for the failure is because of the refusal to acknowledge their own (scientists & militants) past and current mistaken path.

    Scientists as a group have like everyone else, been bought off by the comfort of materialism, lulled into complacency and utter dependence on fossil fuels. Ignoring the systems implications and economics of conversion when depletion would hit.
    It was absolutely foreseeable. Some did.
    Not enough apparently, and now they try to make up for lost time.
    They don't go much past their comfort zone I can tell you that.
    They don't unite and use their political pressure by blackmailing the 'Machine'.
    It is possible to school a population if you seize the media for a certain amount of time.
    Look at the exceptional measure that were taken for WW2, and the "efforts" being deployed now.

    Anyhow, I still WOULDN'T bother starting this epic task before educating the public on the physics of the energy situation and its incidences on economics.

    Start where it hits home, ...or a nerve.

    *Climate change is boring as hell as a subject matter to the non-initiated.
    BORING AS HELL. The problem is that because it is not an exact science, and the nominal percentage of variation figures do seem marginal to the layman, and because of the complexity of the issue, ramifications such as ocean acidification get overlooked.
    (Now if its impact on planetary oxygen production was brought up every time, it might help provide a little more traction...but I digress)

  9. I think Ugo is optimistic. The woman was a very peceful gal, se thinks NASA has all wrong, but is not CAUSING global warming, same sex marriages, and the like, are. She wields signs, not pitchforks and torches. I doubt that, if something really awful happens, people will be so accomodating towards those evil scientists.

  10. Anyone of you ever seen the Bart's comet episode of the simpsons?

  11. We'll never accept it. I think Ajit Varkai does a good job of explaining why

    And article

  12. "...not what people believe, but what they do"
    Correct and what they do is go to work in the morning. Why? because if they don't they and their loved ones start to suffer and even die in terrible, unnatural ways. It is only when a persons ability to go to work and make money is negatively effected that the get interested in doing something and then there is nothing more important IN THE WORLD than opportunities to earn money.

    And no it doesn't just have to be that way by law or by nature. We could treat humanity better.

  13. With luck the oil supply/ financial system/ abitrage arrangements will collapse before CO2 gets too much worse assuming that is the cause of so called 'climate change'

  14. the jesusfreak on the link below is on El trumpos evangelical advisory panel.

    And you thought the Westboro lot were wackos

  15. Ugo, one day a " really gigantic-awful-horrible-monstrous-humungous climate related disaster will hit us", it already has and incrementally gets worse and worse as swathes of the countries and regions on the planet become unviable due to lack of water, heat or rising seas. People have been on the move for over a decade now as local economy's crash, world wide. Weather patterns are changing and the reasonably predictable pattern of temperatures and precipitation has and continues to change. So with modern life so ubiquitous in our day to day existence, think, plastics, petroleum, transport, electricity and miraculous metallurgy, we are unable to grasp that the outcome is a polluted globe that we will change as a result of this pollution from a stable and ecologically sustainable world to one of competing scarcity but most importantly the lack of resources to support mitigation and adaptation. That is the road we are on and nobody can bring themselves to hit the stop button. People understand climate change allright but nobody is willing to go and go first and do something about it. First, stop having sex and making so many new humans and then work out can we ration what is left or will merely fight it out to grab what we want - methinks the selfish gene will win and the genepool will ultimately vanish, painfully in despair and misery of the uncomfortable new world we have to somehow live in and sustain ourselves.

  16. I have begun reading Jeremy Lent’s book The Patterning Instinct. I haven’t finished it, but the early pages suggest that much scientific communication is ineffective. For example, on page 49 the author reviews the specific skills that humans evolved with the emergence of the pre-frontal cortex, but then observes:

    ‘Imagine these domain-specific intelligences like the blades and tools of a Swiss Army knife. You can use each of them, but you’d be hard-pressed to use them all together at the same time’

    The solution, explained in the following paragraphs, is working memory. We can keep about 7 items in mind in working memory. ‘It’s sometimes referred to as a global work-space or the blackboard of the mind’.

    Lent then claims that ‘the solution to this capacity constraint came in the form of a cognitive breakthrough that has allowed humans to think in a way that, most likely, no other creature on earth has ever achieved: symbolic thought’. and ‘Thinking in symbols allows humans to break through the capacity constraints of working memory and construct the elaborate patterns of meaning that shape our lives.’ But, ‘symbolic thought could only be communicated with others if each individual could agree on the code to be used in referencing what they meant. It had to be a code that everyone could learn and that could be communicated very easily, taking into account the vast array of different things that could carry symbolic meaning. In short, it needed language….’

    My conclusion is that scientific communication needs to be reduced to no more than 7 key symbols, which are understood by the target audience. Each of the 7 symbols can be further refined with 7 more symbols, and each of those sub-assemblies can be refined further, etc.

    As an example, I propose the following 7 Overarching Symbols:
    Carbon Cycle Balance
    Nitrogen Cycle Balance
    Energy Source and Sink
    Water Cycle
    Social Life

    The aggregate of the first 4 items in the list can be disaggregated into:
    Drinking Water
    Soil Fertility
    Pollution and Remediation

    Soil Fertility can be disaggregated into:

    Microbial and microscopic biodiversity
    Macroscopic biodiversity
    Liquid Carbon Pathway
    Soil Organic Carbon
    Water holding capacity
    Weed Suppression
    with a link to Drinking water

    Shifting gears to Social Life:
    Mimetic Society for the reduction of conflict (as explained in Lent’s book)
    Expand cooperation to achieve common goals
    Reduce discount factor for the future/ intergenerational justice (See Emotional Success by DeSteno)
    Meaningful livelihoods for all
    Information flow

    Health can be disaggregated into:
    Acute care
    Epigenetic (gene expression) flourishing

    Epigenetic flourishing can be disaggregated into:
    Food we are designed to eat
    Water pollution
    Physical Activity
    Stress reduction
    Restorative Sleep
    Detox of heavy metals and stress induced metabolites

    You get the idea?

    Now a crucial question is whether we have a common language which could communicate from the details to the big picture. I have attended more than my share of Swiss Army Knife meetings, where there was no big picture, just somebody pushing an agenda. Since humans MUST make decisions in terms of the big picture (no matter how ignorant they may be), we should perceive anything other than narrow professional conferences which do not link to a Big Picture as a waste of time.

    Unfortunately, it has taken me 77 years to come to see this Big Picture as a way to deal with my choices. But, optimistically, we can assume that I was the one who fell asleep in class, so the prospect for the general public is a lot more promising.

    Seriously, I simply don’t know if we have, or can develop, the requisite common language.

    Don Stewart

  17. Early humans (homo habilis) did not have such big brain as modern humans. Our brains got bigger later. The function of big brain, structured as it is in humans, have only one advantage and purpose - to be able to exploit almost every natural environmental niche. All other species are adapted to one environmental niche. It seems that exploitation of natural resources is raison d'etre of our existence. This ability than escalated to unbelievable proportions. But if exploitation of natural resources is raison d'etre of our species it is also, unfortunately, our curse.

    1. Ivan
      I believe it is now generally recognized that evolution works in two directions. In one direction, the environment influences the species. In the other direction, a species can create its own environment. Termites, for example, create an exquisitely controlled environment. When a species, such as current humans, gets to the point of influencing the environment to the extent that we do, the whole environment can go off the rails.

      Studies of primates shows that larger pre-frontal cortices is correlated with increased social behavior. Humans are the most social of all the primates. The divergence between humans and chimps and bonobos may have occurred when the Rift Valley and the Mountains came into being and humans were isolated from the chimps and bonobos in a savannah environment which was a lot more dangerous than the preceding forest. The danger selected for those humans with the best social skills, and eventually our species came to have much greater social skills (and PFCs) than our chimp and bonobo cousins.

      Don Stewart

  18. Another sheer lunacy and proof that human race can not get it right:



Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome and the author of "Extracted: how the quest for mineral resources is plundering the Planet" (Chelsea Green 2014). His most recent book is "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017)