Wednesday, August 7, 2013

MOTH: "Climate discussions flat-line where they should be thriving "

In researching the darker side of the "climate change debate" it can get depressing considering the whole contorted three decade old dog-chasing-tail dialogue going on - where self-interests overrule objective awareness - resulting in that stupefying ability of Republicans to willfully ignore huge swaths of valid information.

For instance, we have this McIntyre character obsessing over paleo-temp reconstructions - baiting his audience of Republicans and folks of faith-based orientation - with crafty innuendo and implications of fraud - never accepting the evidence and judgement of one authoritative investigation after another.  

All the while ignoring that our arctic ice cap is melting and it's resulting in some very scary changes in weather circulation pattern.  This stuff is real and here...  But we have the Kochs and Wattsz and Inhofes and McIntyres {who's cheerleader Stephen has zero climatological training - but a background in selling mining interests and playing with statistics} continuing to do all he/they can to out-scream the important scientific facts and ignore the state of Earth observation - all the while eating up the clock.

That's why it was refreshing coming across this essay by Moth.  

In real life he is a research officer with the Monash University and he has been writing about climate issues for a few years - his website called "New Anthropocene" spells out where he's coming from: 

Over the previous two centuries, the human race has proven itself a force of nature. So radical are the impacts that it only remains logical to state that we have moved out of the Holocene and into a new geological era; the Anthropocene. 
We seem to relish in the notion that we are a force of nature, but deny the necessary responsibility that should go with it. We must face the fact that we are now the true custodians of the world around us and have great potential to both destroy and more interestingly produce. 
The sooner we acknowledge this, the greater the remaining gene pool and remnant biota and easy energy supply. 
In other words, the sooner we admit to our new role, the easier we can provide guidelines for something we can truly be proud to hand on to future generations. 
The limited conversations desperately required and flat out rejection of all things unpleasant will only make us look foolish in the history books and that’s something many of us simply cannot accept. 
Welcome to the New Anthropocene; the next step for the age of the human storm. Here is a collection of work, produced by people ready to face our responsibly and discuss the often uncomfortable topics.
He's in his early thirties and for me represents the generation my generation failed.  Besides, I'm impressed with his pragmatic realism and youthful can do spirit and I want to help circulate his message.  Here it is:

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Climate discussions flat-line where they should be thriving 

The climate science news, in reality, has waned in recent months, perhaps over the bulk of 2013. 
Sure, the science is still trickling in but within the general media it’s really pretty much flat lined. Monckton’s last Aussie tour was a flop; a hopeful sign that his crackpot star is burning out. The “final nails” are rusted and forgotten…
Climate change is more or less left to the enthusiasts.
The tone on the anti-science climate media is increasingly batty and fringe and arguably as drama soaked as any other conspiracy theory one may stumble upon for a chuckle. The lines in the sand have washed away and far fewer are selecting supposed “sides”. 
Most people admit that anthropogenic climate change is real, but for the most part, the threat is trivialized by how intangible and far off it seems to the individual right here and now in a given city. The only real fight that seems to persist within the public eye is the rather extraordinary lengths we are going to, to find fossil fuels, be it fracking, offshore drilling or tar pits. 
At the same time, the US president has finally joined the true dialogue of climate response policies, China is ever ramping up its activities in response to climate change and little Australia, with its massive per capita climate debt, seriously contemplates over two potential candidates for leadership; one of which goes from calling climate change “crap” to carbon trading “a so-called market, in the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no one”. 
As an observer, I can’t help but sit back perplexed. 
Does being the lucky country also mean the wilfully ignorant country as well? Are we so scared that changing our behaviour must mean degrading our quality of life? Of course, the longer we take to begin meaningful change the more dramatic and thus uncomfortable change will be. Being honest, this is what motivates me more than anything – I simply do not wish to impose avoidable hardship on those I care about. 
Small steps earlier rather than big steps later to catch up. 
Globally, financial concerns have only increased over the past five years, leaving many policy makers focused entirely on growth, with the long term impacts of climate change placed on the back-burner for future discussions. Hope and Hope (2013) have illustrated that this may be short sighted as this low growth is likely to lead to a poorer future population, thus less able to match the social costs due to additional CO2 emissions. Under the current global economic pressures, there is even more reason to attempt to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, not less, than if economies were healthier. 
There really is no justifiable reason for the lull. While anti-science groups may be giving communicators less material to respond to (I’ve argued before that this should be done sparingly in any case), 
we still need strong discussions on what we do now to curtail future emissions to ensure we provide our grandchildren and theirs a climate akin to that we have prospered within. There are many concerns that need to be addressed, to be sure, but climate change is still a high priority. 
Furthermore, it presents opportunity for new markets and community-based behaviours that in turn could lead to financial benefits. If we simply get on with the task and demonstrate positives in changing behaviour, we will also erode the platform on which many anti-science communicators stand upon; it will be increasingly untenable to insist anthropogenic climate change is not real, uncertain or exaggerated when communities are progressing and thriving in low-carbon economies.
We never needed the momentum we drew from rebuking anti-science propaganda, but we have been doing it for so long that we have convinced ourselves otherwise. The dialogue belongs to science communicators now and we are not doing our part to assist with the necessary behavioural changes.

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