what changes minds about climate change?
(too old to reply)
2017-08-11 13:59:02 UTC
Raw Message

What Changes Minds About Climate Change?

Renee Cho
August 9, 2017
Earth Institute, Columbia

Seventy% of Americans now believe global warming is occurring,
and more than half understand that it is mainly caused by human
activity, a new report reveals. This is an improvement over 2013, said
Edward Maibach, a principal investigator on the report, which came out
of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George
Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.

Four years ago, 23% of Americans did not believe global warming
was happening and 33% believed that if it was happening, it was
mostly caused by natural changes in the environment. The 2017 survey
reveals that 13% of Americans still do not believe global
warming is happening, and 30% believe that any warming of the
planet is due to natural causes. More Americans are coming to agree
with the vast majority of climate scientists who say human-induced
climate change is occurring, but what about the rest? What does it
take to change someone's mind about climate?

This spring, Reddit, the social news and media aggregation site, posed
a question to its users, "Former climate change deniers, what changed
your mind?" The question elicited 645 comments.

Many of the respondents said they were originally influenced by the
skeptical beliefs of their families, communities and religion, but
studying environmental science in high school or college was pivotal
in changing their attitudes. One person said of his college geography
class, "It was my first non-`5000 year old earth/creationism' science
class. The amount of measurable, observable proof was just too much to

[Image] Glacial melt in the Himalayas

Another, whose parents didn't believe in climate change, took a marine
life science class in high school and wrote that "The terms like
`melting ice caps' and `rising sea level' went over my head until that
class showed me the drastic change of glaciers in just half a century,
and we watched a couple of clips of gigantic glaciers in the North
Pole collapsing and disappearing in just 30 minutes."

A number of people were troubled by the changing climate and weather,
including a former skeptic who'd been persuaded by "Heat waves, fires,
torrential rain, and the Great Barrier Reef dying." Several realized
that those pushing climate denial were politically motivated. One
person recounted, "I realized that many of the other people denying
anthropogenic climate change were being funded by the fossil fuel
industry and that almost everyone else-most importantly, the vast
majority of climate scientists-agreed on the human cause." Some were
swayed by the strong desire, whether stemming from their religion or
love of nature, to care for the planet regardless of whether or not
climate change is occurring.

[Image] Coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef

Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, the Youtube videos of potholer54 on
the science of global warming, the Planet Earth series, the
documentaries Chasing Ice and Before the Flood, and xkcd's comic Earth
temperature timeline were cited as pivotal in changing a few minds.

Although it was not a scientific study, the Reddit survey shows that,
for some, scientific facts matter and are persuasive.

According to a George Mason 2016 National Survey of Broadcast
Meteorologists, 21% of weathercasters have changed their
opinions about climate change since 2011. Most say this was a result
of new peer-reviewed climate science, the increasing certainty of the
scientific community, and climate scientists and meteorologists who
influenced them. North Carolina meteorologist Greg Fishel was once
skeptical of human-induced climate change, but changed his opinion
after reading scientific papers and talking to climate scientists.

Jerry Taylor, former staff director for the energy and environment
task force at the American Legislative Exchange Council and vice
president of the Cato Institute, was a professional and vocal climate
skeptic who rejected renowned climate scientist James Hansen's
predictions about climate change back in the1980s. He was challenged
to double-check Hansen's predictions and realized they were
accurate. After that, when confronting climate skepticism, Taylor
found that "Either the explanations for findings were dodgy, sketchy
or misleading or the underlying science didn't hold up." Today he is
president of the Niskanen Center, a think tank that advocates for a
global carbon tax to combat global warming

In these cases, "People decided to look into the data themselves,
rather than continue to listen to what other people were telling
them," George Mason University's Maibach wrote in an email. "Few
people are that motivated or that able to look at data, however, so I
don't expect lots of people's minds will be changed by encouraging
them to dig into the data."


Indeed, for many who are dismissive of climate change, facts and data
have little or no effect because people tend to seek out and assess
information that reinforces what they want to believe. The Cultural
Cognition Project at Yale Law School found that individuals process
factual information about risk in a way that jibes with their existing
worldview, core identity, and that of the group with which they
identify (since people do not want to be kicked out of their
tribe). Moreover, their reluctance to adopt the policies necessary to
lessen the risks of climate change influences their willingness to
believe the information in the first place. This is why, very often,
facts are not persuasive. Indeed, sometimes an argument about the
science can make things worse and harden attitudes if it is taken as
criticism or a personal attack.

Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, a professor in the department of
political science and director of the Climate Science Center at TX
Tech University, and an evangelical Christian, is considered one of
the most effective advocates for climate change action today. She
believes science and faith are entirely compatible, and she's well
known for being able to effectively communicate with conservative

Hayhoe does not like to use the term "climate denier" because she
thinks it makes the issue too black or white when, in fact, the
Yale/George Mason 2009 Global Warming Six Americas report showed that
there is a spectrum of responses to global warming, from alarmed to
concerned, cautious, disengaged, doubtful, or dismissive.

As of 2016, only 9% of Americans were dismissive of global warming.

"For dismissive people, it would take a miracle from God to change
their mind," said Hayhoe. "There is nothing I could ever do or say
that would ever change their minds because their identity, who they
are, is predicated on this very rigid political ideology that includes
denying the science of climate change." She no longer wastes her time
trying to persuade them unless it is in a public audience setting. Her
goal is to move the larger percentage of people who are doubtful,
disengaged and cautious into the "concerned" category. And because
people who are alarmed can't maintain that level of alarm for long and
may become disengaged, Hayhoe tries to "talk them off the cliff" by
showing them that there are solutions.

In her Global Weirding Youtube series, Hayhoe discusses a broad range
of climate change issues, explains the science, dispels myths and
offers suggestions on effective communication. What is most
persuasive, she says, is information about how climate change affects
us, especially when it's tied to something we care about.


Hayhoe recommends bonding with people by "identifying what you have in
common, then connecting the dots between what both of you already care
about and the issue of climate change." Only offer explanations to
answer questions they actually ask.

And it's important to conclude with solutions. If we present people
with challenges or problems without providing solutions they can
engage with, they feel powerless, Hayhoe explains. Their only defense
mechanism then is to deny the problem or ignore it. That's why it's
crucial to offer viable, attractive and practical solutions to the
problem, such as discussing the benefits of energy conservation, ways
to make playgrounds safer as the weather warms, the advantages of
national energy independence, or the economic benefits of renewable energy.

In fact, taking action with concrete solutions can actually help
change minds. "Belief and action are connected," said anthropologist
Ben Orlove, co-director of the Earth Institute's Center for Research
on Environmental Decisions. "Belief is often a basis for action. But
once you're committed to a course of action, you tend to find lots of
reasons for why you did it."

Hayhoe told a story that illustrates just this point. For years, her
colleague argued the science of climate change with his father who was
a long-time doubter, but he was never able to change his father's
mind. Finally the local community offered a big rebate to get solar
panels, so the father installed them on his house. One year later,
after telling everyone what a good deal it was and how much money he
had saved, the father came to Hayhoe's colleague and said, "You know,
that climate thing might be real after all."

Peter de Menocal, founding director of Columbia University's Center
for Climate and Life, is working to change minds on a bigger and more
influential scale-those of people who manage bns of dollars in
big industry, big commerce, and big finance. "There's a much larger
and more important group of people who are on the fence, who are
running businesses and leading large investment decisions, who have
never heard a rational argument for why climate change matters to
them," de Menocal said. "These are people making decisions that affect
the value of our 401Ks. They want to know whether the decisions they
are making have excess risk attached to them or whether they're
missing specific opportunities."

A recent conference hosted by the multinational private equity firm
KKR, the Columbia Business School, and the Center for Climate and Life
paired leading climate scientists with business and investment
leaders. The scientists discussed climate change's place- and
time-specific risks and how that profile is shifting, but stopped
short of talking about the business implications; the investment
specialists then explained how that knowledge is being turned into
action in the marketplace. They did this for sea level rise, extreme
weather events, and drought.

[Image] Flooding in Miami.

The idea behind that strategy is this: If scientists can predict more
accurately how and when sea level rise will likely affect a particular
zip code, and if someone in the financial sector acts on that
knowledge by pulling investments out of real estate in that area, it
sets in motion a cascade of effects as others wonder why the company
is moving its money. "This sidesteps policy, since in the current
administration, we're not going to make any progress on policy in my
opinion," said de Menocal. "But if you just make it plain that there
is a social cost of carbon and it is going to impact your investments
and your retirement account or the value of your home, it gets
people's attention." The recognition that policies to deal with
climate change are needed will naturally follow.

"I think this is going to be the revolution because I really don't
think it's effective for climate scientists to have a finger wagging
approach about what society should and shouldn't do," said de
Menocal. "Our role is to quantify risk and to define the timing of
that risk, and what we need to do better is to communicate that to the

In the end, perhaps trying to change people's minds is not the
smartest approach, said Maibach. "Rather, if the goal is to build
public support for policies that will limit climate change, it may be
more effective to simply give a range of reasons why the policy makes
sense, including but not limited to-and not leading with-climate
changes." Construction of the new Fort Irwin Weed Army Community
Hospital at Fort Irwin, California. The solar array will provide power
and hot water.

Construction of the new Fort Irwin Weed Army Community Hospital at
Fort Irwin, California. The solar array will provide power and hot water.

The Climate Solutions Caucus in Congress, which includes 25 Democrats
and 25 Republicans who are concerned about climate change, is trying
to do just that. Its mission is to "educate members on economically
viable options to reduce climate risk and to explore bipartisan policy
options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our
changing climate."

While agreeing on solutions may be challenging, there are goals that
members of both political parties should be able to support, such as
the need for clean air and water, reduced pollution, innovative energy
solutions, enhanced public health and sufficient food, water, shelter,
and energy for all. And regardless of political persuasion, every
American would benefit if we were able to achieve these goals.

[You'll nebba replace da horse!]
Green tide is turning against oil giants
In a column about "peak oil demand", Samuel says: "Just like record
companies and retailers, oil and gas firms are scrambling to get their
heads around the coming disruption. Mainstream investors, even those
holding companies like ExxonMobil, are pushing them to publish
analysis of how decarbonisation will affect their assets and what they
plan to do. These investors know that the fossil fuel industry is
about to be caught by a gathering storm of electric vehicles,
increasing energy efficiency and the plummeting costs of production
for renewables#The decarbonisation of energy is coming. It's time for
govts, investors and the industry to plan for it, rather than
sticking their heads in the sand." -- Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph

Global patterns of drought recovery
How long it takes plants and trees to recover after a drought is a
critical metric of drought impact. A new paper analyses 3 datasets
of gross primary productivity and shows that recovery times - i.e. how
long ecosystems take to bounce back to pre-drought growth rates - are
strongly associated with climate and carbon cycle dynamics. They find
that recovery is longest in the tropics and high northern latitudes
and that drought impacts have increased over the twentieth century. If
droughts become more frequent, the time between droughts may become
shorter than drought recovery time, the paper says, leading to
permanently damaged ecosystems and widespread degradation of the land
carbon sink. -- Nature

Parked Electric Cars Earn $1,530 Feeding Power Grids in Europe
-- Jess Shankleman, Bloomberg

Assaad Razzouk @AssaadRazzouk 11 Aug 2017 00:55Z
Sea Levels Are Up Between 7-8 inches (12-21cm) since 1900. 3 of those Inches
(7cm) Are from 1993 to the Present https://buff.ly/2vjkfiY
<Loading Image...>

Weather Improves - Wettest 12 Months on Record at MSP - 30/30 Rule
Minneapolis Star Tribune, 11 Aug 2017 04:33Z

Energy in 2050: Clean, free, and for all
eco-business.com, 11 Aug 2017 06:34Z

North Korea: Beijing locals weigh in as China warns Donald Trump not
to 'play with fire'
ABC News, 11 Aug 2017 09:21Z
China has consistently called for careful dialogue and negotiation to defuse
the nuclear standoff between North Korea and the United States.
In an editorial published by the Communist Party-run Global Times, the
Communist Party said it will oppose any attempt at regime change in North
Korea but will remain neutral if North Korea strikes America first.

Climate Feedback @ClimateFdbk 10 Aug 2017 23:30Z
***@BBCr4today airs false statements on climate by Lord Lawson in the name of
balance. Scientists fact-check
["Lord Lawson says the climate has cooled over past 10 years.
The opposite is true -- temps have increased faster than the long-term trend".]
<Loading Image...>

Franklin's Ghost Likely to Spawn Eastern Pacific Tropical Depression or Storm,
and That's Not as Weird as It Sounds
The Weather Channel, 11 Aug 2017 10:37Z

Tensions Between US and North Korea Spur Global Stock Sell-Off
New York Times, 11 Aug 2017 10:46Z

Hurricane Franklin hits eastern Mexico
Aljazeera.com, 11 Aug 2017 11:00Z

[World Elephant Day on Sat:]
Assaad Razzouk @AssaadRazzouk 11 Aug 2017 11:07Z
Poachers Slaughtered 30% of East Africa's Savanna Elephants From 2007 to
2014 and 2/3 of Central Africa's Forest Elephants #conservation
<Loading Image...>
Bret Cahill
2017-08-11 16:27:27 UTC
Raw Message
Post by M***@kymhorsell.com
What Changes Minds About Climate Change?
Renee Cho
August 9, 2017
Earth Institute, Columbia
Seventy% of Americans now believe global warming is occurring,
and more than half understand that it is mainly caused by human
activity, a new report reveals. This is an improvement over 2013
This is only partly due to the most praiseworthy enlightenment effort since the Enlightenment (which hopefully can be spread to politics generally).

A lot of it is that instrumentation and formal statistical work have become less and less necessary to notice climate change. The fires, storms, floods and droughts are simply obvious now to the casual lay person. The fellow in Missouri can convince himself.

This explains why the group who believe the climate is changing but still don't think it's CO2 is so large. They aren't basing either their [correct] decision on climate change _or_ their [incorrect] judgment on CO2 on science.

This 20% group is all that is necessary to get a super majority and no one has studied this group better than pro carbon PR who have moved away from denying CC. Instead the focus now is on denying it's CO2 and/or denying climate change is a problem. "Mass extinctions happen all the time. It's natcheral." They know the 30% who deny CC altogether are in the bag.

Bret Cahill