How Global Warming Works
December 2, 2018 10:22 AM   Subscribe

For anyone not completely swamped by climate change news, Michael Ranney, professor of Education at the University of California, created this informative website with a series of short videos explaining the basic mechanisms of global warming. As explored by this article , misinformation, along with ulterior motives, selective evidence scanning, and an overly fatalistic mindset, is one of the biggest reasons some still deny climate change is happening.
posted by TruthfulCalling (11 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
I love this Polish video to promote Poland at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) conference (mentioned at the start of the second link). Poland tries to make itself out to be some sort of leader in environmentalism, but then, to reassure vested interests, they finish with growth, coal mining (and miners magically converting to other professions), and... golf.

Poland’s Just Transition declaration is a fata morgana
Katowice – At the UN climate summit (COP 24) it is hosting, Poland has invited heads of state to adopt a ministerial Solidarity and Just Transition Declaration, calling for a fair deal to coal workers and communities affected by the energy transition. But the Polish government has no plans for any such transition – instead it remains keen to keep the country’s reliance on coal for decades to come. The Declaration is therefore nothing more than a mirage. [snip]

In mid-November, days before the start of the COP24, the Polish government unveiled its new draft energy strategy to 2040 which provides that Poland will still produce 60% of its energy from coal in 2030 and plans for a phaseout of onshore wind power by 2035.
posted by pracowity at 10:54 AM on December 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I love things like this because I have a strange fear that somebody on the street with a microphone and camera crew is gonna ask me a question like “do you know how global warming works?” and I don’t want to be one of those people that completely bombs the question and ends up on some late night show.
posted by gucci mane at 12:55 PM on December 2, 2018 [5 favorites]

obligatory ContraPoints contribution, which gets at some of the science, social repercussions, and psychology of denial.
posted by entropone at 2:31 PM on December 2, 2018 [6 favorites]

The psychology of climate change: Why people deny the evidence

Deniers aren't the problem. The world doesn't need global consensus to move against climate change. We need a plan. And a plan without large and unequally distributed social costs is what we don't have. And so to preserve our amor propre we pretend that the problem is the cluelessness of the deniers, not the planlessness of the smart people.
posted by Modest House at 5:41 PM on December 2, 2018 [9 favorites]

That's completely counterfactual. A world without deniers, in which the supposedly-inadequate plans we've had going back a half-century were implemented and for example Ronald Reagan didn't rip the solar panels off the roof of the White House—and continue endless misanthropic colonialist intrigues in the Middle East to ensure an uninterrupted supply of oil—but instead earnestly pursued technological and geopolitical independence from fossil fuels, would be a world with substantially less severe climate change problems.

Deniers torpedoing the progress others have made while supported in that endeavor by hordes of other deniers may not be the only problem but it is an extremely material and substantial one.

I feel like I'm missing a macabre joke or something because it is obviously way past the point where we can wait for some perfect plan to come along. There is no way to avoid catastrophically socially unequal outcomes. Entire equatorial island countries that had little to do with causing climate change will be submerged and rich people will build mansions on Arctic coasts and flee the consequences and get off scot-free.

But the extremity of the situation makes every individual and communal action more significant, both in slamming the brakes on climate change itself and preparing for the consequences... you're much more likely to save lives because so many lives are being lost and are going to be lost in the future. People can amor propre all they want as long as they don't just find more excuses to do nothing.
posted by XMLicious at 5:33 AM on December 3, 2018 [5 favorites]

News articles still present polls and surveys about how many people "believe in climate change." @jenniferhollett: "It's almost 2019. Can we stop reporting on climate change like it's Santa?"
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:31 AM on December 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

Deniers aren't the problem

In what way was Scott Pruit "not a problem"?
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:11 AM on December 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Deniers aren't the only problem. I tuned in to some kind of report on the radio the other day, they were asking people on the street how a hypothetical carbon tax would affect their behavior. The first couple of people were like "No change necessary. I already use LED lights, reusable shopping bags, and a hybrid car, so I'm already doing my part." Disgusted by this, I quickly switched to some music instead, so I guess I'm part of the problem too.
posted by sfenders at 8:28 AM on December 5, 2018

The world doesn't need global consensus to move against climate change. We need a plan.

We do have plans though - many different ones, applicable to many different situations and countries. What we need is political will, which requires a somewhat unified goal, and a clear message from voters - and that does require a certain level of consensus that this is an issue that needs immediate prioritization.
posted by TruthfulCalling at 6:52 AM on December 13, 2018

Why people deny the evidence

Because the oil companies effectively deployed active disinformation campaigns starting in the early '80's when they clearly knew what was really going on. The link is to Bill McIbben's recent dour article in the New Yorker.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 7:39 AM on December 13, 2018

What do University of California students understand about climate change and effective climate action? Has anyone made an effort to survey them?
posted by ClimateCal at 1:27 PM on December 14, 2018

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