#15 – Why I’m lukewarm to climate change …

Reason #15: Did Paris just pull out of the “Paris Accords”?
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For the record: I’m neither a denier nor a zealot …  so, according to British writer (& phrase-coiner) Matt Ridley, I’m a “lukewarmer”.
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In car-speak,  the rubber seems to be hitting the road in Paris.

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In case you missed it, French President Macron tried to slap-on a gas tax to save the planet by discouraging petrol consumption, (i.e. driving).

The result: a political crisis for Macron … more than a million protesters … some rioting in the streets … approval ratings in the 20s.

Apparently, French citizens who don’t travel by Metro, Uber or private jets took the gas-tax personally since it impacts their get-to-work costs and, thus, flattens their wallets in a statistically significant way.

As Gomer Pyle would say: “Surprise, surprise, surprise”

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It seems that working folks haven’t yet bought in to the idea that the science is settled on this one … and even if it is, making ends meet today is more compelling than a disputable degree change a generation (or two) from now.

Awhile ago I posted 13 Reasons why I’m lukewarm on climate change …  Now might be a good time to review them.

Then, I added a 14th reason that has direct applicability to Macron’s predicament … so, let’s flashback:

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Reason #14 – Climate change zealots are piss-poor marketers

Politicians, bureaucrats, activists, scientists and the media have warned Americans for decades that the Earth is headed toward climate catastrophe.

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But, as a  WSJ opinion piece observed:

But, surveys consistently show that less than half of U.S. adults are “deeply concerned” or “very worried” about climate issues.

If, as zealots insist, climate change is the “most urgent threat facing our entire species,” why do a large percentage of Americans not share his fear?

Climate crusaders tend to lay fault with nonbelievers’ intransigence.

But this is its own form of denial and masks the real reason: poor salesmanship.

I agree.

In fact, as early as June 2017 we were dishing advice to climate change advocates.

Our advice back in 2017:

(1) “Re-brand” the cause to “fighting pollution” — people can relate to that and it gets to the same end-point

(2)  Stop the incredible (i.e. not credible) scare tactics

(3)  Walk-the-talk … dampen the hypocrisy

(4)  Keep an open mind … sorry guys, the science isn’t really settled yet

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Comparably, the WSJ opinionator builds upon these themes.

His central premise: “The promotional efforts of the climate catastrophists have lacked the cornerstones of effective persuasion: clarity, credibility, and empathy.”

More specifically, here are a few snippets;

On branding:

Successful advocacy campaigns use lucid names to frame and sell their issues—“living wage,” “welfare queen” or “death tax.”

Climate can be confounding;

And, swapping between “climate change” and “global warming” confuses the public.

They’re both a far cry from “Remember the Alamo!”

On credible spokespeople:

Bold statements about complex systems are always more plausible when they are made by people with impeccable credentials.

According to Pew, only 39% of Americans believe climate scientists can be trusted a lot to give full and accurate information on causes of climate change.

As a Harvard sophomore, Al Gore received a D in a natural-sciences course.

Leonardo DiCaprio dropped out of high school in 11th grade.

Tom Steyer’s  hedge fund invested hundreds of millions of dollars in coal mining.

More generally, “climategate” and questions about the integrity of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate data have all fueled public suspicion.

According to Pew, only 39% of Americans believe climate scientists can be trusted a lot to give full and accurate information on causes of climate change.

On dissenters:

While the prosecution may feel it has a winning case, the jury’s verdict is what counts.

Labeling dissenting jurors “deniers”— an insidious association with Holocaust denial — is a losing courtroom strategy.

Most people are naturally disinclined to obsess daily about a phenomenon that started long before they were born and won’t reach fruition until long after they die.

Calling skeptics “anti-science” is counterproductive, especially since skepticism is the essence of the scientific method.

The WSJ author advises climate activists that they will attract more supporters to their cause if  they …

  1. Pick a name (that resonates) and stick with it
  2. Create a clear call to action
  3. Enlist a convincing spokesman with a small carbon footprint
  4. Tone down the alarmism
  5. Fix your computer models
  6. Listen to the doubters, don’t lambaste them.

Hmmm ….

The advice sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

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See Recap: 13 Reasons why I’m lukewarm on climate change …
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