This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comment

← Will your kid be taught that climate change is a hoax?

Nunbeliever's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by Nunbeliever

There's a big difference between the debate about evolution and the debate about climate change. Evolution has more to do with the view of ourselves and our place in the universe. It's of course highly troubleing that so many Americans don't believe in evolution, but I have not yet seen any evidence that this denialism has really affected scientific progress in the short term per se. Perhaps I am wrong, and I would be glad to know if someone can show me any such evidence.

Climate change denialism on the other hand is a huge problem right here and right now. Although most of us might not yet suffer the consequences of global warming, we have to act now in order to prevent a potential disaster in the future. We need much more research and much more resources. But, most of all we need to convince politicians that this is a real problem. Unfortunately our politicians won't do a thing if they don't see promoting action as a way of getting reelected.

Yes, I have many times expressed my deep frustration with the fact that many people I know and meet deny global warming. I deeply despise the whole AGW denialism movement. It is a very destructive movement and we need to fight it by any means possible. Still, I think the really big problem is that global warming is hardly ever discussed in the public sphere. When I discuss global warming with my friends most just seem quite uninterested. They have a vague idea of what it's all about, but they don't really seem to care all that much. Sometimes you see some article about global warming but at least in Europe my experience is that this is a topic that people seem to be quite fed up with. Much like the discussion about famine in Africa in the 80s. When people see these poor kids with flies in their eyes enough times we don't care anymore. We've heard about climate change so many times in the past that most people lose interest. They forget about it. They don't really care.

This is the large challenge we are facing. How to keep the public (which is a prerequisite for attracting the attention of our politicians) interested in global warming and the huge efforts we need to make in order to prevent global warming. When the great Haiti disaster happened people lost interest in a few weeks. How on earth are we going to keep the public interested in global warming the next decade or more? Especially since we have to make large sacrifices in the short term. It' not surprising that most politicians don't want to deal with global warming in these economically tough times. People are desperate. People want to hear good news. People vote for politicians who promises new jobs and opportunities right now. Talk about some potential disaster in the future seems irrelevant to people who are struggeling every day to make ends meet. This is the big challenge! And this is why the global warming deniers are so successful even though they hardly have any credible scientists left on their side. Politicians don't want to hear about climate change. People don't want to hear about climate change. It's much to vague and abstract. You can't see it when you look out your window. The consequences will happen slowly over several decades. On top of that we are still witnessing the consequences of the last economical crisis. Many experts predicts a new economical collapse is in the making. With all this in mind, tell me. If you can't keep people interested in a large disaster like the Haiti disaster for more than a few weeks (at most). Then how on earth are we going to keep people interested in something as abstract and vague as global warming???

That's the big challenge, and the future is not looking bright I am sorry to say!

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 21:02:38 UTC | #921245