[ExI] why anger?

Christopher Luebcke cluebcke at yahoo.com
Fri Feb 26 01:43:12 UTC 2010

Again, the anger that's troubling is not the anger due to the IPCC published a very large report that is marred in certain areas by bias.

The anger that's troubling is due to a large number of voices stridently attempting to convince a large number of people, with a great deal of apparent success, that the scientists who believe in AGW are part of a conspiracy to deprive them of their rights, devastate the economy and destroy much that is good about the world.

That's when people start making death threats. That's what's going to get somebody killed.

From: Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com>
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Sent: Thu, February 25, 2010 4:46:42 PM
Subject: [ExI] why anger?

On 2/25/2010 5:42 PM, BillK wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 10:49 PM, spike wrote:
>>> ...On Behalf Of Keith Henson
>>> I don't have any good ideas about why people get so angry
>>> over global warming arguments... Keith

    a clue:

    * NEW SCIENTIST issue 2749.
    * 24 February 2010

Honesty is the best policy for climate scientists

FOR many environmentalists, all human influence on the planet is bad. Many natural scientists implicitly share this outlook. This is not unscientific, but it can create the impression that greens and environmental scientists are authoritarian tree-huggers who value nature above people. That doesn't play well with mainstream society, as the apparent backlash against climate science reveals.

Environmentalists need to find a new story to tell. Like it or not, we now live in the anthropocene - an age in which humans are perturbing many of the planet's natural systems, from the water cycle to the acidity of the oceans. We cannot wish that away; we must recognise it and manage our impacts.

That is central to our cover story. Johan Rockström, head of the Stockholm Environment Institute in Sweden, and colleagues have distilled recent research on how Earth systems work into a list of nine "planetary boundaries" that we must stay within to live sustainably (see "From ocean to ozone: Earth's nine life-support systems"). It is preliminary work, and many will disagree with where the boundaries are set. But the point is to offer a new way of thinking about our relationship with the environment - a science-based picture that accepts a certain level of human impact and even allows us some room to expand. The result is a breath of fresh air: though we are already well past three of the boundaries, we haven't trashed the place yet.

It is in the same spirit that we also probe the basis for key claims in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 report on climate impacts (see "Can we trust the IPCC on the big stuff?"). This report has been much discussed since our revelations about its unsubstantiated statement on melting Himalayan glaciers. Why return to the topic? Because there is a sense that the IPCC shares the same anti-human agenda and, as a result, is too credulous of unverified numbers. While the majority of the report is assuredly rigorous, there is no escaping the fact that parts of it make claims that go beyond the science.

For example, the chapter on Africa exaggerates a claim about crashes in farm yields, and also highlights projections of increased water stress in some regions while ignoring projections in the same study that point to reduced water stress in other regions. These errors are not trifling. They are among the report's headline conclusions.

Some will see our investigation as an unwelcome distraction in a propaganda battle to get action on climate change. But if we are to manage the anthropocene successfully, we need cooler heads and clearer statistics.

Above all, we need a dispassionate view of the state of the planet and our likely future impact on it. There's no room for complacency: Rockström's analysis shows us that we face real dangers, but exaggerating our problems is not the way to solve them.
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