Climate alarmism: The mother of all availability cascades

Guest essay by Iain Aitken

An availability cascade is a self-reinforcing process of collective belief formation by which an expressed perception triggers a chain reaction that gives the perception of increasing plausibility through its rising availability in public discourse.

Perhaps the most extraordinary aspect of the whole ‘climate change debate’ is the way that the (non-sceptical) public consciousness has been captured by two very simple, easy-to-understand and certain ‘scientific facts’:

  1. Climate change has (with absolute certainty, because the science is settled) occurred because of man-made carbon dioxide emissions (and it has occurred only because of man-made carbon dioxide emissions – nature had nothing to do with it)
  2. Climate change catastrophe will (with absolute certainty, because the science is settled) result if we do not drastically reduce our carbon dioxide emissions.

In Tweets/soundbites, we often see:

‘There is a man-made climate change crisis’ or ‘Climate change is real, man-made and dangerous’.

To question these ‘scientific facts’ is to be a ‘climate science denier’.

Despite the fact that both these ‘scientific facts’, as stated, are (with absolute certainty) scientific hogwash and despite the fact that I doubt it would be possible to find a single climate scientist in the world who would endorse either ‘scientific fact’ (even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the ‘world authority on climate change’, and most alarmist of scientific bodies, would certainly not endorse either statement) these two beliefs (because that is all they are) seem to have become memes (beliefs that spread by cultural acquisition, e.g. peers, media). It is what the (non-sceptical) public think the scientific authorities are saying.

These beliefs have become memes in that, when questioned, members of the general public who claim to hold these beliefs may say they do so because ‘their Facebook friends say they are true’, or ‘newspapers say they are true’, or ‘politicians say they are true’, or ‘scientists say they are true’, i.e. it is ‘received opinion’. In this case they have not arrived at these beliefs through their own reasoning or even been argued into them by the reasoning of others; instead they ‘just know’ they must be true because ‘everyone else’ ‘just knows’ they must be true. After all, it is what all intelligent, responsible, rational and reasonable people believe. Isn’t it? Only the stupid, irresponsible, irrational and unreasonable climate science deniers question it.

This process has been characterised by psychologists as an ‘availability cascade’. Paraphrasing Wikipedia, this is a self-reinforcing cycle that explains the development of a collective belief (or meme) in a man-made climate change crisis. The idea that a great many phenomena (whether they be melting icecaps, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, floods, droughts, hurricanes, snowstorms, heatwaves, shark attacks or the rise of Islamic State) that actually have unrelated and complex causes can be explained by one, simple, easily understood cause, gains rapid currency in the popular discourse by its very simplicity and by its apparent insightfulness. Its rising popularity triggers a chain reaction within the social network: individuals adopt the new insight that we are experiencing a man-made climate change crisis because other people within their social network have adopted it, and on face value it sounds plausible (after all, we have been adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and it is a greenhouse gas and so it must cause global warming). The reason for this increased use and popularity of the ‘man-made climate change crisis’ idea involves both the ‘availability’ of this idea in the media (it’s hard to go through a day without someone on the radio, on TV or in a newspaper mentioning it as though it is simply a ‘fact’ in one form or another), and the need of individuals to conform with this idea, regardless of whether they in fact fully believe it.

Their need for social acceptance and political correctness, coupled with the apparent sophistication of the new insight, overwhelm their critical thinking. Imitation and conformity, rather than critical analysis and independent thinking, are at the heart of a meme. The public concern then puts pressure on political policymakers to make policies to address the public concern. The public then see confirmation that their concern over the man-made climate change crisis must be valid – after all, the politicians are enacting policies to address it. It is a self-reinforcing loop of irrationality based on a very poor understanding of what the science actually says – in fact even a very poor understanding of what the scientific authorities actually say.

The availability cascade around the ‘man-made climate change crisis’ idea has been so extreme that, despite the fact that common sense alone should tell us that the idea is fantastical (that after 4.5 billion years of having no material effect on the Earth’s climate at all we humans have, in the last few decades, taken control of it) it nevertheless is regarded as a fact by many. It’s very easy to ‘just believe’ in the man-made climate change crisis whilst independent critical analysis of the subject requires a great deal of time and effort to understand the science and arguments (not to mention a requirement to care not a whit what people think of you for your unorthodox and politically incorrect views or that your views are apparently totally add odds with all of the ‘authorities’). For many members of the public (and, probably, the vast majority of politicians and journalists), especially those who struggle to remember even the basics of school science, the science and arguments can appear overwhelmingly complex and difficult and so there is a huge temptation to simply ‘trust the authorities’. Which of course plays directly into the hands of the authorities. Yet whilst the scientific authorities are doubtless delighted that the public and politicians hold these beliefs not even they would publically endorse them – all they need do is stay prudently silent and let the deluded availability cascade continue.

It is tempting for sceptics to call these two beliefs ‘myths’ rather than ‘memes’; however that would imply that they are entirely made-up and without any truth. But let us say that the hypothesis that climate change is caused by man-made carbon dioxide emissions is in the dock on a charge of perjury and I am the lawyer for the defence. I would simply explain to the jury that even the most sceptical of scientists would accept that man-made carbon dioxide emissions contribute to some extent to global warming and hence climate change. Therefore it is literally true that ‘man-made carbon dioxide emissions cause climate change’. Even if they contributed just a thousandth of one percent to global warming they would still ‘cause climate change’. Even if the burning of fossil fuels created global cooling (through the additions of aerosols and soot to the atmosphere) that far outweighed the global warming effect of the burning of those fossil fuels, nevertheless man-made carbon dioxide emissions still ‘cause climate change’ (albeit the net effect of creating those carbon dioxide emissions would actually be global cooling). Perhaps foolish members of the public misinterpret what the word ‘cause’ means, assuming it means ‘is entirely responsible for’. But my client can hardly be held responsible for that.

These beliefs are ludicrously simplistic and, in fact, scientific nonsense. The ‘educated guess’ of the IPCC (well, a few dozen alarmist scientists and computer modellers at the IPCC) is that probably more than a half of recent global warming is man-made, which is a far cry from the first belief. And note that ‘probably more than half’ is a highly subjective opinion – it’s not, for example, 73% (±3%). And this highly contentious opinion is predominantly based, not on empirical scientific evidence, but on virtual world evidence from dubious climate change computer models. The rest of the warming must be natural – unless, of course, you believe that climate change is actually caused by aliens (as presciently explained by John Wyndham in his 1953 classic SF novel, The Kraken Wakes). Furthermore, given the huge scientific uncertainty over the ‘correct’ value for ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’ (a key indicator of how much warming is associated with a given level of carbon dioxide emissions) a huge cloud of uncertainty hangs over the second belief – if climate sensitivity is low enough then even ‘worst case’ future carbon dioxide emissions would be unlikely to cause ‘dangerous’ (let alone ‘catastrophic’) climate change. However, so long as politicians and the media continue to endorse these beliefs (if only tacitly), the public will continue to believe them. The politicians endorse them by using the oldest political trick in the book: come up with a short, simplistic slogan (e.g. ‘Crooked Hillary’) – and then repeat it over and over and over again. In climate change the slogan is ‘climate change is real, man-made and dangerous’ – and this is repeated over and over and over again. Is it actually true?

Well, say the politicians, 97% of scientists agree with it (nonsense as that claim is) so it must be true, mustn’t it? These politicians may be largely scientifically illiterate and know next to nothing about climate science (other than the little they have been told by their scientific advisers) but when the ‘world authority on climate change’, the IPCC, apparently says something is so and almost every scientist on the planet apparently agrees with them then it must be true, mustn’t it?

This is an ‘appeal to authority’; but as Leonardo da Vinci said, ‘Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence’.

Nevertheless it is an understandable position for them to take (provided they blindly trust authority more than reason and scientific evidence). Ending this mother of all availability cascades would (minimally) require the politicians and journalists and public to understand that their beliefs are rather more based on faith and emotion than science and reason and to take the considerable time and trouble to actually critically investigate and understand the science. It would require them to lay aside their simple, easy-to-understand certainties for complex, hard-to-understand uncertainties. Don’t hold your breath.

Advertisements

102 thoughts on “Climate alarmism: The mother of all availability cascades

  1. An interesting phenomenon.
    It may – unusually, perhaps, for the social sciences – have some basis in observation.

    Auto

    • The quote at the top is from Cass Sunstein, O’bama’s house socialist, if that helps explains anything.

      • Mike McMillan:

        In his above essay Iain Aitken wrote

        The idea that a great many phenomena (whether they be melting icecaps, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, floods, droughts, hurricanes, snowstorms, heatwaves, shark attacks or the rise of Islamic State) that actually have unrelated and complex causes can be explained by one, simple, easily understood cause, gains rapid currency in the popular discourse by its very simplicity and by its apparent insightfulness.

        and you have responded

        The quote at the top is from Cass Sunstein, O’bama’s house socialist, if that helps explains anything.

        Hmmm. It seems you didn’t read the above essay or if you did then you failed to understand it.

        Richard

    • I do not care what size the mouse is in a room, it’s still a mouse and mouse-sized and does NOT have a measurable effect on the concentration of oxygen in the room. The claims that there is a small kernel of truth to the warmists claims are pretty weak as we sit here in mid-May with temperatures way below normal over much of the US. The public is not that stupid. But, these guys hope to say that non-skeptics need permission to believe this junk science rather than the fact that skeptics have all the evidence on their side, particularly as the warmist side has no tangible “evidence” other than the weak argument that the” science is settled” claim by the IPCC.

      CO2 is a trace gas (and an important, critical plant nutrient) and no trace gas in any concentration can detectably warm the climate. It’s a non-starter. Sure, one might show CO2 in a bottle has some effect on the temperature in the bottle but it is a trapped gas prevented from convecting.

      Water vapor and CO2 are actually called “radiative gases”, rather than the made up “greenhouse gases.” They serve in several ways to cool the climate. Two main ways are the fact that during the night they unilaterally convert atmospheric heat to IR which is lost to space and the fact that water vapor is part of the water cycle, a huge global heat engine that ramps up every day as the sun adds energy to Earth’s surface, evaporating water, and then the warm moist air rises to altitude by convection, where after condensation the energy is lot to space. During the day, conversion of IR to atmospheric heat and back again is effectively a wash as these gases are saturated in sunlight—no measurable heating by this activity—a wash.

      The water cycle moves about 85% of the energy budget and is completely ignored by the computer global climate models; this is the energy Trenberth keeps claiming he cannot find and claims is lurking in the ocean depths waiting to jump out at us later on; classic boogeyman in the closet scaremongering.

      • “and no trace gas in any concentration can detectably warm the climate”

        Complete and utter BS.

      • Weather is like your mood. Climate is like your personality.

        Pakistan just experienced it’s warmest day on record (53.5’C).

        Hundreds died in Inda a few weeks back due to heat prostration.

        As May’s go, this month’s sea ice extent in the Arctic is the lowest since we started taking measurements (the 1970s).

        In 2009 we hit CO2 levels that the Earth had not experienced in 15 million years. 13 million years before hominids (us) appeared.

        CO2 traps heat. We proved this in the 19th century.

        The Earth’s carbon cycle has evolved to manage a carbon variability of 10 gigatons. Last year, by burning fossil fuels, we released 35 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere.

        Basic math. Basic science.

        This is our Darwin moment.

      • VancouverDoug

        This is our Darwin moment.

        True, true. The globalists CAGW movement demands the death of some 5 billion innocents. Not themselves and their lifestyle of course, but – to that movement, there are too many people alive right now.

      • VancouverDoug May 29, 2017 at 5:25 pm

        So much so horribly wrong. So little time. You are a deep mine of misinformation.

        Pakistan didn’t “just” experience its warmest day on record. That was a freak WX event, having nothing whatsoever to do with “climate change”. And it was in a city. Perhaps you’re unaware that Pakistan has been urbanizing.

        The Indian heat wave in June 2015 also had nothing to do with “climate change”. Just hot WX. People have been dying in Indian heat waves all during the Holocene, which has usually been hotter than now.

        This May has seen far from the lowest Arctic sea ice since satellite observations began in 1979, which is to what I assume you refer. I checked just for this century, but not only 2016 and 2015 were lower in May than 2017 so far, but also 2006 and 2004. I might have missed some years.

        http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/charctic-interactive-sea-ice-graph/

        CO2 levels higher than today’s existed in the Pliocene, ie 3-5 million years ago, not during the Miocene, ie 5-24 Ma. Hominids evolved before seven million years ago. You have hominids confused with our genus Homo, which evolved some 2.5 Ma.

        CO2 slows down the release of heat to space, but above 100 or 200 ppm, its effect is trivial, especially compared to H2O, the far and away most important “greenhouse gas”. In the real climate system rather than the lab, there is no evidence that a fourth molecule of CO2 per 10,000 dry air molecules makes any difference at all.

        Earth’s carbon cycle is not well understood. We don’t know either all the sources or all the sinks. But we do know that we live on a largely homeostatic planet, so that balance is restored from minor perturbations, such as going from 290 to 400 ppm of an essential trace gas. So far, more vital plant food in the air has been a good thing. More would be better.

      • Sorry. Left out the time frame. We went from an alleged 290 ppm in AD 1850 to a supposed 400 ppm in 2017.

        Since CO2 took off after WWII, the planet’s response has been to cool dramatically, warm slightly and stay about the same. Hence, the null hypothesis that nothing out of the ordinary is happening in the climate system can’t be rejected.

        The late 20th century warming cycle was indistinguishable from the natural early 20th century cycle.

      • Oops again!

        Also failed to point out that the heat record in Pakistan was set in 2010, ie seven years ago. Hardly “just”.

      • Thanks for the detailed response Chimp. I make it a point to get out of my climate alarmism echo chamber weekly and post in blogs or sites like this devoted to the alternate view in the hopes of getting a few of my entrenched biases shaken. You certainly delivered and have given me some food for thought, in particular, your view that CO2 tails off in its effectiveness above 200 PPM. I’ve had similar responses about CO2’s GHG effectiveness (linear vs. logarithmic), and it deserves more of my time.

        And yes, good point about the carbon cycle. It’s such a cornerstone of the climate change/global warming debate yet finding decent university level information on its inputs, outputs, variablity, tolerances, forcings, etc. is an exercise in frustration.

        My long-term hope is that we have a green energy grid and a mostly green transportation infrastructure in 20 to 30 years and reserve fossil fuels for boutique energy sources (aviation fuel), durable goods (plastics), pharmaceuticals, etc. We as a species found a get-out-of-the-middle-ages-for-free card with the discovery of fossil fuels as an energy source, but all good things come to an end. We need to transition to cleaner renewable sources while we have a functioning global economy. Waiting to get motivated to do so by an Arctic blue-ocean event is, in my opinion, pretty irresponsible.

        Thanks!

    • The “availability cascades” had been known as positive feedbacks for decades before Harvard law professors “discovered” them. The systems with positive feedbacks are unstable. Richard Lindzen pointed to dangers of the positive feedbacks in the society long ago, using climate alarmism as an example.

    • The author is correct when he writes that co2 emitted into the atmosphere stops heat getting out of the atmosphere. The more cò2, caused by burning fossil fuels, in our atmosphere the warming will continue. The scientific experiment proving this has been performed countless times for more than 100 years with the same result. Disprove that with science and you will win a nobel prize and 1 million dollars.

      • Steve, it is not that simple, and I think you know that, and are feigning ignorance. Sure, CO2 is a GHG, but the effect is on a curve. The exact shape of the curve is debatable, and exaggerated by the Global Warming advocates. Water vapor is also a GHG, and much more abundant, and with phase changes that act as a feedback, again with the amount of the feedback being debatable.
        You are making the jump in illogic that the IPCC models are perfect, and beyond any debate.

  2. After care–ful — ly reading about 2 sentences, then skimming the rest, I realized that THIS video is proof of the availability cascade whatever whatever! :)

    A chain reaction….

    (youtube — South Park — Global Warming Guy LOOP :) )

    lololol

      • The entertainment is mostly knowing they will equally offend everyone, therefore can never be accused of taking sides.
        And if someone does, SP will mercilessly make fun o them :D

        This may explain it better.

      • ICISIL: I hadn’t heard that expression so, I found it! LOL.

        Wayne’s World — “Exsqueeze me? A baking powder?”

        (youtube)

        In case your WAT (I don’t know what that means, either!) was meant to be “WHAT?”

        Here is …. “I’m cereal.”

        (youtube — South Park — Al Gore)

        btw: I have never watched an entire episode of South Park and while MUCH of their material is great, there is highly objectionable content (to me), too.

      • “Janice Moore May 23, 2017 at 6:54 am

        ICISIL: I hadn’t heard that expression so, I found it! LOL.

        Wayne’s World — “Exsqueeze me? A baking powder?”

        btw: I have never watched an entire episode of South Park and while MUCH of their material is great, there is highly objectionable content (to me), too.”

        I haven’t lasted for a substantial portion of a single section of southpark between commercials.

        Wayne’s world was never funny to me either. Yes, Wayne’s world reminds me of college dorm snot drunk braindead college party dopers. They were never there long.
        And that is their good side. It also explains why I don’t watch SNL anymore either. Go from John Belushi to Wayne’s world sad debris?

        south park on? SNL Wayne’s world skit is on?

        Must be nothing to watch on TV and there are huge amounts of things far more fun to do:
        “Change kitty litter?” Not a problem.
        “Clean up after sick kid?” Not a problem.
        “Three days of nonstop taxes?” Thankyou!
        Blizzard conditions with 2 feet of snow to shovel? Hooray!

        Not even when you post “sp” cuts, Janice; life is far too precious to waste any more picoseconds on sp or wayney world.

  3. ‘availability cascade’. …over time
    …it’s been 100 years they’ve been saying this….so it must be true

    Just goes to show…no one understands the weather

  4. these two beliefs (because that is all they are) seem to have become memes (beliefs that spread by cultural acquisition, e.g. peers, media). It is what the (non-sceptical) public think the scientific authorities are saying.

    I don’t believe that. These two climate beliefs were spread by political campaigning from the left. In particular, the US Democratic Party seem to have pushed it a lot. One needs to have experienced left wing politics to understand how that might works. It’s a process of moral bullying much like PC works. I think the main problem they have in pushing this idea is : climate is obviously not simple. But they have to simplify and dumb it down into a set of simple memes. This is why, no doubt, the Climate Priesthood never debate, discuss it nor ever explain the actual science. It’s such a complex, and multi-faceted topic they are certain to lose control of any debate.

    The moon landings were faked“, “vaccines cause autism“, … : are examples of “memes spread by cultural acquisition“. Catastrophic anthropic global warming is not such a meme. Only a stack of quantitative research could persuade me otherwise. Q: Why do I think this? A: Because the people who hold CAGW so close to their hearts are nearly all hard-core Dems. They are the people who believe it most firmly but know least about the science.

    • Polls show CAGW is way down the list of concerns for the American people. Those who *are* concerned about it, such as the elites in most Western nations’ political parties, are those who stand to benefit from it politically, financially, or as a self-esteem enhancement.

  5. The other cascade is a Niagara Falls of declining education with substitution of lefty knowledge bytes for critical thinking and logic. This extends to graduate school science which thinks observations have to be manipulated to fit theory.

  6. Nice guest post. I must admit, meme was a totally foreign new concept for me just 5 years ago. Have learned much hanging out and occasionally even contributing here and at Judiths. Especially about how to phrase ‘bullet proof’ arguments–even if those still get shot at. This post is a master class in same. Regards.

  7. Quote: Despite the fact that both these ‘scientific facts’, as stated, are (with absolute certainty) scientific hogwash and despite the fact that I doubt it would be possible to find a single climate scientist in the world …

    There are certainly very few climate scientists worthy of the name scientist. Your doubt is reasonable.

    More seriously, there are in fact alarmists who claim that mankind is responsible not only for more than 50% of CAGW but more than 100%. The premise is that other factors should have made the planet cool over the last few decades. Following on from that premise the difference between the hypothetical cooling and the hypothetical warming is all down to mankind.

    Who knows what the “correct” figure is according to the above line of “reasoning”. For example if the cooling should have been 1* and the “actual” warming has been 1* then mankind is 200% responsible for CAGW.

    Now there’s a thought which will make rational people go hmmmm.

  8. Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) has an interesting blog post on how to tell if people are deluded about climate science. He starts with the premise that both sides of the argument are convincing.

    Delusional people leave tells.

    One of the tells in this case is an ad hominem attack on whoever disagrees with you on climate science. …

    Another tell involves sending me links to one side of the argument to debate my point that both sides are good. That makes no sense at all.

    Another tell is an emotional argument against some related point I did not make and would not make.

    Another tell involves claiming non-scientists can dig into the science and figure out how credible it is on their own. …

    And I would also be under the illusion that my non-scientist brain can use its “common sense” to evaluate the credibility of experts in the field. Your brain doesn’t have that feature. What you do have is an illusion that makes you think your brain has that feature. link

    He doesn’t go far enough. Scientists suffer from the same delusions. Watching the recent house climate hearings, I think it’s obvious which scientist is delusional and which ones aren’t. link

    I would counter Scott Adams on one thing. I do think it’s possible to apply common sense to the climate debate. I became a skeptic when Dr. Mann tried the erase the MWP and LIA with his hockey stick. I trust the historical records (both European and Asian) over some scientist’s theory every day of the week.

    • The problem with the Dilbert argument is that in the 1800’s, the data, the instrumentation, and the knowledge of natural systems of all kinds was held by gatekeepers. That is no longer true. The entire intellectual argument possible has changed and upgraded. We can see the ice data at the poles for ourselves. We don’t need others to tell us that a flatline trend for 8 years in the Arctic is a downward trend, because we won’t believe it. The second Dilbert error is that experts can understand each other and assess the credibility of the arguments of others. This is increasingly not the case. The third Dilbert error is that there is a trend for shorter publication cycles in science that leads to overgeneralization from undersampling. So the papers themselves promote generalizations and repeat things that are just cliches.
      Lastly, amateurs can have knowledgeable opinions by using specialization. They don’t have to study an entire field, they can study a topic. You cannot probably get a job on one topic, but you can have an opinion studying just one and a job doing something else.

      • Of course computers and sophisticated software can make things look slick and polished and precise when in fact they may be inaccurate and only for show and visual impact.

      • PiperPaul May 22, 2017 at 6:22 pm

        … computers and sophisticated software … only for show and visual impact.

        They are more pernicious than that. Matlab is a mathematical tool kit. If a mad scientist has a data set, she can apply many tools to it, no matter how inappropriate they are. If one of the tools looks like it produced an interesting result, she can pretend that she understood what happened and publish a paper. It’s something like the Texas sharpshooter fallacy. She can probably get away with it because none of the possible peer reviewers understand statistics or signal analysis better than she does.

        Matt Briggs (statistician to the start) has a lot to say about the absurdities of statistics as applied in the social sciences and climatology. link

    • Scott is a smart guy but he doesn’t appear to understand there really is no such thing as climate “science”. A better name would be climate librarians. Climate is an amalgamation of many other fields of science. The real experts in those fields are in a far better position to assess their specialties than are climate librarians. However, when they disagree with the librarians they get called names. Very telling.

      So the fact is there are many people that can and do understand many aspects of climate. Not only that, but almost any intelligent person can see the problems with alarmist climate claims.

      • Science isn’t all that precise. It is possible to make an error in one thing and still be substantially correct.

        That’s what used to be called Jesuitical reasoning. George Tyrrell (1861-1909), once famous as a Catholic modernist and no admirer of the Jesuits, wrote that if you accused them of killing three men and a dog, they would invariably produce the dog alive and prove you wrong. link

        We use Newtonian mechanics and it doesn’t matter that Newton was wrong in many things.

        ‘Wrong about one thing, wrong about everything’ is a doctrine that talks about witness credibility. If a witness lied about this, we don’t have to believe him about that. It doesn’t have to apply to people who make an honest mistake with no intent to deceive.

        Having said the above, I still apply the principle. Michael Mann’s original hockey stick seemed to me to be such a piece of crap that I don’t have to believe anything further he has said.

    • Those historical records were put together by scientists. See the problem you have. No i doubt you do.

  9. Science in all disciplines can run in fads. It takes some time to disprove them. I disagree that peer review and scientific methods puts a halt to cliche thinking. It stops on the backs of a few stubborn people.

  10. “Leonardo da Vinci said, ‘Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence’ …”.
    ===========================
    Leonardo Who? Don’t you mean:

  11. This essay has hit so many nails on the head.

    In my experience; you only have to fire a few basic questions at the protagonists, and you will soon expose their lack of knowledge about climate-it is less than Spartan. This lack of knowledge makes it so easy to debunk their claims: They then resort to re-parrotting the mantras of the global warming movement, with renewed vehemence.

    It is no wonder that they steadfastly refuse to enter into serious debate, with we “sceptics”.

  12. Sure. The “availability cascade” apparently refers to the long-known, well-known fact that if a short, catchy statement is made often enough, more and more people will repeat it, so more and more people will hear it, and therefore (human nature being what it is) more and more people will believe it.

    Sunstein needs to work more on his ethical problem rather than putting his time into inventing snow-job “academic” gibberish.

    One very well-known example is that of the Big Lie.

    For some reason it seems to work better if the statement is a lie rather than a truth. Or am I unduly cynical?

    • “Never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it”

    • Non-controversial (i.e.: not an obvious lie) “availability cascades” probably happen all the time, but don’t get much notice or set people’s political antennae on edge. Things like the following probably represent this class of “availability cascade” (you might somewhat disagree, but it’s not worth going to war…):

      o McDonald’s does, in fact, make a decent hamburger
      o Amazon generally has good prices
      o At least the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers will not play good football this next season
      o Bill Cosby is probably guilty of something
      o Maria Carey isn’t as good as she used to be (neither is Tiger Woods)
      o King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword really was a crummy movie
      o The Olympics…(yawn!)…but no way do I want my city to pay to host them
      o My 72″ big-screen TV is less fun to watch than my 6″ iPhone

  13. I think the old phrase would be mass hysteria?
    Or the wisdom of fools as detailed by Hans Christian Anderson.
    Those are fabulous garments the Emperor of Catastrophic Climate is wearing, with a full court of self important fools and bandits all denying the same Emperor is Ugly and Naked.

    • Hysteria does have much to do with it. Aitken overlooks the part that adrenaline addiction plays in this entire scenario. People get all excited at the thought that the entire planet is going to get overheated. They get filled with hate when they hear that people deny that catastrophic global warming is real. They are filled with smug self-righteousness at the notion that they are, themselves, CAGWSJW’s. Mere argument or facts can’t penetrate this panoply of self-delusional body chemistry.

  14. “Climate change has (with absolute certainty, because the science is settled) occurred because of man-made carbon dioxide emissions (and it has occurred only because of man-made carbon dioxide emissions – nature had nothing to do with it)”

    Except that is not what the science says.

    C02 is number 1
    CH4 is number 2
    Halocarbons
    Co
    NMVOC
    Aerosols
    black carbon
    mineral dust
    Land use
    Solar

      • The list is focused on RF due to exogenous emissions. Water vapor is accounted for, dont worry you missed this chance at a Nobel.

    • Lying by omission.
      Everything on that chart is probably true. However it’s what the chart leaves out that matters the most.
      First as edcaryl points out, H2O is missing.
      Second, the chart only measures what current forcings are, it says nothing about how those forcings change as CO2 increases.
      Third, the confidence levels aren’t justified. (Or even justifiable)
      Fourth, it leaves out the many feedbacks that dominate any changes in individual forcings.

      • Not missing at all.

        The list Shows you those INPUT VARIABLES ( mostly exogenous emissions) that you have to estimate to run a Simulation.

        dunce

      • Solar indirect are included.
        Long term ocean cycles are an EMERGENT Property ( an effect). IF they exist at all.
        No model includes un known un knowns…. The residual tells you how inportant that is
        Volcanos? There are in there dunce

        Solar magnetic and Underwater volcanoes?
        How about UNICORNS???

        Bottom line. Given the inputs and physics we have all climate models give you answers on absolute temperature that are with 15% or so of the truth.

        Want to close that residual?

        Write some code about unicorns and volcanoes

      • “Given the inputs and physics we have all climate models give you answers on absolute temperature that are with 15% or so of the truth.”

        Ah, absolute temperatures hence starting from absolute zero, I see…

        Let’s assume for easy arithmetic we’re looking at around 12.5°C ie ~290°Absolute

        So around ±43.5°C then.

      • “Given the inputs and physics we have all climate models give you answers on absolute temperature that are with 15% or so of the truth.”

        Ah, absolute temperatures hence starting from absolute zero, I see…

        Let’s assume for easy arithmetic we’re looking at around 12.5°C ie ~290°Absolute

        So around ±43.5°C then.

    • That is exactly the point:

      “Despite the fact that both these ‘scientific facts’, as stated, are (with absolute certainty) scientific hogwash and despite the fact that I doubt it would be possible to find a single climate scientist in the world who would endorse either ‘scientific fact’ (even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the ‘world authority on climate change’, and most alarmist of scientific bodies, would certainly not endorse either statement) these two beliefs (because that is all they are) seem to have become memes (beliefs that spread by cultural acquisition, e.g. peers, media). It is what the (non-sceptical) public think the scientific authorities are saying.”

      He’s not saying that any scientists says it’s true, he is saying that is what much of the public believes to be true.

  15. In nature, there are many similar effects. For example, you may have a mighty stream moving through a flat expanse of countryside. It would take only a small streak – or even a hose – coming in directly towards the main channel to divert it. It acts in a similar way to a diode or transistor

  16. I agree with alfredmelbourne, but would suggest as an analogy the Coanda effect: a fluid jet leaving a nozzle tends to stick to a wall, but may rapidly be detached by a small control jet hitting it at a right angle. This effect is (was) used in fluidic elements and you may find it working in your pulsating shower head (which contains a fluidic oscillator). So what we might need is one good (convincing) control jet to switch the state of belief from its actual position to an opposite one…

    • “So what we might need is one good (convincing) control jet to switch the state of belief”

      But the most likely switch, if the temperature falls, isn’t to an “opposite position” but to a belief in oceanic acidification.

      • Roger, given the strength of the meme, the most likely outcome is not defiance of it, but gradual weakening, such as what has happened to the “low fat healthy eating” advice. Given the evidence was never that strong to begin with (with the prime studies being not consistently reproduceable and not significantly reducing overall death rate), it had the same phenominal success in science and the media. Over time, people have begun to see more and more and believe it less and less. Even for the majority of people who say they still believe that low fat is healthy, it’s no longer an overwhelming mandate as the ONLY way to eat healthily, and deep seated cynicism has crept into the reception of all health food research pronouncements (see the “Magic Food” hashtag that gets floated around). People have just gotten numb to it. I think that’s what’s going to happen here.

        In fact, just observing people, it already has happened. Given the sheer amount of cost and suffering meaningfully cutting CO2 will cause, people just won’t do it. When it comes to personal action, it is just not justifiable except on laughably meaningless reductions. In fact, even actions that are large and expensive, such as purchasing a high efficiency car, tend to result in reductions that are a small fraction of your own personal emissions. 25%-90% reduction? Next to no one will do it because it will mean sacrificing your entire lifestyle. We effectively have agreement that it’s not worth it despite the headlines to the contrary. Sooner or later, the words will match the feet.

  17. Human behaviour is understood much better if humans are considered “religious beasts” .
    Traditionally, religion answers questions about the unknown for the purpose of reassurance and mental comfort. God is another word for what we do not understand. Religious theses become true by consensus which explains why heretics have to be silenced. The ill understood climate still may serve as a divine speaking tube. Science is a diversion from religion : scientific truth is obtained by demonstration and is disconnected from consensus and authority. This requires logic reasoning and numerical skills.
    So, climate alarmism may very well be the result of secularization. In fact, it is the new state religion. Religious statements need no proof. So we proceed building solar panels , installing windmills, burning our forests, wasting arable land and nobody cares if this system will ever work.

    • Traditionally, religion answers questions about the unknown…

      I believe you are correct in all those statements. Very insightful.

  18. This is barely important, on it’s own. Governments will always waste money on silly things, it’s what they’re for.

    The worrying thing is the way that established science has hardly bucked against this meme at all – even to the extent of protesting that it *may* be true in a hand-waving sort of way, but it isn’t science.

    Instead, they have acted exactly like scientists in a 1960s Godzilla movie; as if their remit was to say erudite-sounding things while endorsing the general panic. They have even allowed “scepticism” – their entire reason for existing in the first place – to be made into a dirty word…

    • Could it be that real and actual professional scientists have better — and more productive — things to do with their time and their knowledge and skills rather than to get themselves caught up in this largely brain-free flappadoodle?

  19. Sorry about the formatting! Hopefully this will be more clear:

    1. Climate change has (with absolute certainty, because the science is settled) occurred because of man-made carbon dioxide emissions (and it has occurred only because of man-made carbon dioxide emissions – nature had nothing to do with it)

    This is a straw man argument because it’s not what the scientific consensus says. The conclusion of the 2013 IPCC AR5 report was:

    It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together. [IPCC, 2013: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis]

    “Extremely likely” is defined in the report as something having a probability of >95%.

    So the scientists are not calling “absolute certainty”; they’re calling ‘very high probability’. And they are not claiming with “absolute certainty” that man created all the observed climate change since 1951; just “more than half” of it. And they’re not claiming that CO2 was the only driver of this; other well-mixed greenhouse gases such as methane, halo-carbons and N2O also played a significant role. Human aerosol emissions also played a role, but in a cooling direction.

    To question these ‘scientific facts’ is to be a ‘climate science denier’.

    Working Group I of the IPCC AR5 report might be surprised to hear themselves described as ‘climate science deniers’.

  20. The herd instinct is a powerful motivator in Climate Belief. Breaking from the herd is dangerous. It can be damaging to one’s career, and to all aspects of one’s social life. We become outcasts, the “crazy uncle” meme. The question of why then, a stubborn, and stalwart band (and a growing one) of people chose to go that route is an interesting one. Perhaps some just value the truth more. The polarization between Believers and Skeptics/Climate Realists is so stark that there can be no civilized discussion. There is no starting point. At social gatherings of any sort, including family ones, the subject is taboo.

  21. I would say you can equally apply this to climate skepticism, or acceptance of continental drift.

    • “Griff May 23, 2017 at 4:42 am

      I would say you can equally apply this to climate skepticism, or acceptance of continental drift.”

      Most are not “skeptical” of climate (Your words). Climate, as per the IPCC, is the “average” (Made up) of 30 years of weather. AGW is *NOT* proven. Continental drift *IS* proven.

  22. Another term for the cascade is “social proof”:

    The groundbreaking work of Cialdini (2007) demonstrated that humans are significantly motivated to comply according to ‘social proof’ – in other words, “if everyone agrees, that is proof enough so get on the bandwagon.” Just as social media ‘trending’ leads to more people following the story, social proofs work on the inherently gregarious nature of humans and our herd mentality. The 97% figure delivers two powerful psychological messages in one – i) ‘everyone’ agrees, and ii) you will be left out.

    As for the science, it has to be grossly simplified in order to be adopted widely: The 3 legged stool of suppositions was on display in the marches for “science”:
    Humans are causing the climate to warm.
    The warming is dangerous.
    Government can stop it.

    The systematic reduction of climate complexities is deconstructed here:
    https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/climate-reductionism/

    • The “there’s safety in crowds” theory. So if you can convince the masses via persuasion techniques that “everyone knows…” then you can in fact manifest the reality of “everyone knows”. And even if you cannot create the reality of everyone “actually knowing”, you can always present it as reality via careful, persistent mass communications.

      Then it becomes a matter of describing objective reality (which has been subjugated to a degree via postmodernism) and this usually degenerates quickly into politics and shouting.

      I always found intriguing the familial connection between Bernays and Freud.

      • Yes, and all this is amplified in the age of social media. As a social phenomenon, “climate change” is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whatever Nature does will be reinterpreted to fit the theory. Come to bed, Procrustes!

  23. Whenever I run into someone who believes this meme, I ask, “What scientists are saying this?” They just say “Climate scientists.” Then I ask if then can name one. Just one. Usually that can’t. Sometimes they offer up Bill Nye, but then I point out that not only is he NOT a climate scientist, he’s not any kind of scientist. He’s just a TV personality with an engineering background. Then I point out that the IPCC and their consensus is politics, not science. Usually I get an angry response at this point, and that is the end of the conversation since this is the sign of dogmatic belief on their part. No further rational discourse is possible. Even so, this can sometimes plant a seed in their mind which will germinate over time. So I persist. Resistance is NOT futile; sometimes it is all we have.

  24. An availability cascade is a self-reinforcing process of collective belief formation by which an expressed perception triggers a chain reaction that gives the perception of increasing plausibility through its rising availability in public discourse.

    … needless verbosity to describe a given.

    For example: A goal visualization cascade is a self-reinforcing process of belief formation by which an idea establishes itself as a focal point that serves to provide continual feedback boosting the perception of accomplishment. In other words, “hope”.

    I could not read much farther than the opening definition.

    A stimulation cascade effecting visual responses in the wavelength range of 450–495 nm and frequency range of 606–668 THz is the color BLUE.

  25. Excellent post. The reply to simple statements should be equally simple. Refraining from scientific and logical arguments, which are absent in politics. Some proposals:

    If science was about consensus, Vatican would be a university.

    Exhale CO2 at plants and they’ll love you in return.

    The birds of concern fly over everyone, but alarmists let them nest in their hair.

    Parents love their children, but fool them with Santa Claus. Why?

  26. I would add that most political arguments in this nation rely on the availability cascade rather than reliable information. This is true for most Democratic as well as Republican arguments.

    Despite objective evidence that the political arguments are wrong, the vast majority of people agree with one or the other are correct.

  27. On Mon, May 22, 2017 at 2:59 PM Watts Up With That? wrote:

    > Anthony Watts posted: “Guest essay by Iain Aitken An availability cascade > is a self-reinforcing process of collective belief formation by which an > expressed perception triggers a chain reaction that gives the perception of > increasing plausibility through its rising availabilit” >

  28. Of course the alarmists do not think that climate change will effect them personally so they choose not to do anything about it, except pay it lip service, and thus expect the little people to give up luxuries.

  29. “Even so, this can sometimes plant a seed in their mind which will germinate over time. “
    This goes along with my (initial) interpretation of Herbert Simon’s theory of ‘bounded rationality’. That is, you can never win a bar argument, all you can do is provide someone with a reasonable example that contradicts their position. When enough of these outliers have accumulated they will eventually have to change/modify their theory to encompass them, or slowly drift toward some level of insanity.

  30. The good news:
    The logic in this article is very good, and adds to our understanding of left-wing “brainwashing”.

    The bad news:
    The “readability” of this article is a disgrace.

    And that’s a shame, because I believe a lot more people would read it, if it was easy to read.

    It’s hard to read even without including numbers, or complicated math, which is hard to do.

    The article starts out okay, but after the good cartoon it degenerates into long-winded, multiple comma, sentences that contain so much information, halfway through reading a sentence, you have to stop to rest your eyes, or you fall asleep, as I did a few times, and then after you continue reading the last half of the “sentence” (perhaps I should say “paragraph pretending to be a sentence”), you have long forgotten what was said in the first half of the sentence, and you have to start reading the sentence again … and then its deja vu’ all over again.

    I read YOUR following sentence out loud to my wife, but ran out of breath somewhere in the middle, and passed out. I found myself in the emergency room, and you will be hearing from my lawyer soon !

    — Author tries to get into Guinness Book of World Records with longest sentence ever written:
    “Despite the fact that both these ‘scientific facts’, as stated, are (with absolute certainty) scientific hogwash and despite the fact that I doubt it would be possible to find a single climate scientist in the world who would endorse either ‘scientific fact’ (even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the ‘world authority on climate change’, and most alarmist of scientific bodies, would certainly not endorse either statement) these two beliefs (because that is all they are) seem to have become memes (beliefs that spread by cultural acquisition, e.g. peers, media).”

    Any true expert in a subject should be able to explain it with short, simple sentences.

    This article is a “poster child” for how NOT to write.

    I’d like you to convert your article to a list of talking points, that could be understood by people with little or no climate change knowledge. Publish that, and then delete the article!

    I give the author two writing hints:
    — Write as you speak.

    — Read what you have written out loud,
    and ask someone if it sounds like natural speaking.

    I “may” try to summarize your article and post the summary on my climate blog for non-scientists:
    http://www.elOnionBloggle.Blogspot.com

    I say “may” because very long sentences are hard to summarize accurately, without asking the author if you’ve changed the intended meaning.

    The leftists keep their propaganda simple — we skeptics should keep our responses simple and easy to understand too.

    • I rewrote the article and placed it on my free climate blog as

      “Why are there so many climate change “believers”?”, at:
      http://www.elOnionBloggle.Blogspot.com

      My post is based on “Climate alarmism: The mother of all availability cascades”,
      A May 22, 2017 WUWT guest essay by Iain Aitken

      Original essay:
      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/05/22/climate-alarmism-the-mother-of-all-availability-cascades/

      wattsupwiththat.com
      is the best climate science website in the world

      The original WUWT essay was very hard to read, so my summary follows rather than a link.
      A lot of editing/rewriting may have inadvertently changed what the author was trying to say:

      The public has been seduced by five simple claims presented as ‘scientific facts’:

      (1) Climate change has occurred only because of man-made carbon dioxide emissions – nature had nothing to do with it.

      (2) Climate change catastrophe will result if we do not drastically reduce our carbon dioxide emissions.

      (3) Climate science is “settled”.

      (4) 97% of scientists agree.

      (5) Anyone questioning ‘facts’ (1) through (4)

      is a ‘science denier’.

      These claims seem to have become memes (beliefs spread by cultural acquisition, e.g. peers, media).

      They are what the non-skeptical public thinks scientific authorities are saying.

      Members of the general public who hold these beliefs may say they do so because ‘their Facebook friends say they are true’, or ‘newspapers say they are true’, or ‘politicians say they are true’, or ‘scientists say they are true’.

      This process has been characterized by psychologists as an ‘availability cascade’.

      This is a self-reinforcing cycle that explains the development of a collective belief (or meme).

      Many climate phenomena that are unrelated, with complex causes, are ‘explained’ with one simple cause: Climate Change.

      Man-made climate change sounds plausible — we have been adding carbon dioxide to the air, and it is a greenhouse gas, so it must cause some global warming.

      It’s hard to go through a day without the radio, TV, or newspaper mentioning future catastrophic man made global warming (now called “climate change), as though the future climate is a fact.

      The need for social acceptance, and political correctness, overwhelm critical thinking.

      Conformity, rather than critical analysis and independent thinking, are at the heart of a meme.

      The public sees confirmation of their concern because politicians are enacting policies to address it.

      This is a self-reinforcing loop of irrationality.

      And it’s based on a poor understanding of what some scientists are actually claiming, with no proof:

      After 4.5 billion years of having no effect on the Earth’s ever changing climate, in the past few decades we humans have taken control of it … with no explanation of how, or why, that allegedly happened.

      It’s very easy to ‘just believe’ in the man-made climate change crisis.

      Independent critical analysis of the subject requires time and effort to understand the science.

      There is a huge temptation to simply ‘trust the authorities’.

      It is tempting for skeptics to call these beliefs ‘myths’ rather than ‘memes’; however that would imply that they are entirely made-up and without any truth.

      Even the most skeptical of scientists would accept that man-made carbon dioxide emissions contribute to some extent to global warming.

      Therefore it is literally true that ‘man-made carbon dioxide emissions cause climate change’.

      Even if they contributed just one hundredth of one percent to global warming, they would still ‘cause climate change’.

      Even if the burning of fossil fuels created global cooling through the additions of soot to the atmosphere, then man-made carbon dioxide emissions would still ‘cause climate change’.

      Perhaps foolish members of the public misinterpret what the word ‘cause’ means, assuming it means ‘is entirely responsible for’.

      The ‘educated guess’ of the UN’s IPCC (well, a few dozen alarmist scientists and computer modelers) is that probably more than a half of recent global warming is man-made, which is a far cry from ‘all’.

      And note that ‘probably more than half’ is a subjective opinion.

      There is huge scientific uncertainty over the ‘correct’ value for climate sensitivity to CO2, so a huge cloud of uncertainty hangs over the IPCC’s guess.

      Politicians and the media continue to endorse these beliefs, so the public will continue to believe them.

      The politicians endorse them with the oldest political trick in the book: come up with a short, simplistic slogan (e.g.: ‘Crooked Hillary’) – and then repeat it over and over again.

      In climate change the slogan is ‘climate change is real, man-made, and dangerous’ – and this is repeated over and over again.

      This is an ‘appeal to authority’.

      As Leonardo da Vinci said, ‘Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence’.

      Politicians, journalists and the public need to understand their climate beliefs are mainly based on faith and emotion, rather than science and reason.

      It would take considerable time and trouble to critically investigate and understand the science.

      It would require people to lay aside simple, easy-to-understand “certainties” … for complex, hard-to-understand uncertainties.

      Don’t hold your breath.

      My Two Cents

      By Richard Greene:

      Claims of a coming global warming catastrophe from manmade CO2 have been made almost every day for the past 30 years.

      Yet the climate today in 2017 is wonderful – the best in our lifetime.

      Nights are slightly warmer than 100 years ago, and more CO2 in the air is greening our planet.

      How many more decades of a pleasant climate will be needed before most people realize that correctly predicting the future climate has always been impossible?

      The average temperature of our planet barely changed from 2003 to 2015 – a nearly flat trend — did your favorite media even mention that?

      Claims of a coming climate catastrophe have been wrong for 30 years … and will always be wrong, because the true causes of climate change are still unknown – and that means predictions are just wild guesses!

      Climate change has become a secular religion for people who reject conventional religions and make fun of their beliefs.

  31. The problem in converting the believers in dangerous global warming to skeptics is in part due to the equivalence of my own experience. When I view articles that espouse alarmist theories I can only read a paragraph before turning off in disgust. My unswerving non belief in the theory makes it difficult for me to read thoroughly anything that doesn’t reinforce my non belief. By the same logic warmists will only listen to media outlets such as the government broadcaster the ABC and refuse to listen to or read any discussion that is critical of their belief.

    Also the comment that ” even if it man caused one thousandth of a degree of warming the statement would be true ” is a nonsense. If it is more than 99% untrue then I think we can say it is untrue. I think it is tactical error that most skeptics in particular our most vocal supporters including Anthony Watts concede that man has some influence over climate. It is this concession by non believers that has allowed warmists to claim 97% support. I believe that if the theory had never been thought of and the climate had behaved in exactly the same way it has over the last 100 years no-one would’ve given a moment’s thought that there was in fact something dangerously evolving on our planet. I think that the correlation between CO 2 and global temperatures is so low that it is a true statement that there is in fact no correlation , and any perceived correlation is by random chance no matter what scientific theory suggests.

    The other aspect of alarmism that frustrates me is the assumption that even if it was true which it isn’t that man could actually do something about it. The global efforts in futility undertaken by delusional governments to prevent the world from warming are farcical and reinforce the conspiracy theories that suggest that the global warming movement is really a devious plot by socialists to redistribute wealth from rich countries to poor countries by implementing anti capitalistic policies.

    • I think you are on the right lines. If the correlation between CO2 and global temperature is so low it may as well be zero then is that not the same as stating that CO2 is NOT a GHG? Simply calling CO2 a “Greenhouse Gas” implies that it MUST HAVE a measurable effect on temperature. As far as I can ascertain (corrections/links welcome) the claim (theory) that CO2 is a GHG comes from the selective frequency response of it (due to molecules shape) and hence the assumption (as per the theory) that it can reradiate actual warming heat. However I have been unable to find ANY experimental evidence of this effect, only experiments which measure the IR selective response, none which show that in a bulk gas there is any measurable heating effect. I have my suspicions that the absence of experiments to show a warming effect are not due to the difficulty in doing the experiment but due to the knowledge that they will fail to show the “desired” result!

  32. A little more complicated than an old trick. Start a rumour at two ends of a party. The people in the middle will believe it because they heard it to. Then it becomes so common that the majority believe without thinking.

  33. The really interesting thing about climate alarmism, and the way in which it most resembles conventional Western religions of the past, is its focus on belief and not action. If you read the Guardian comments for instance on a typical story, the thing that most pre-ocuppies the commenters is the state of belief of the others. Are they the dreaded deniers?

    Its not what has to be done. You can ask till you are blue in the face for suggestions about policy, and you will get none, but you will be denounced for engaging in denialist behaviour.

    The situation is the same on all the alarmist forums in which climate is debated. Ars Technica, Real Climate, SkepticalScience. There is always some vague thing that ‘we’ have to do, which usually seems to mean us as a global species, not any particular jurisdiction. And when you do occasionally come to specific things that are to be done, they are mostly totally ineffective in terms of the theory, and anyway, things no-one has any intention of doing or enforcing.

    Turn off standby, for instance. Or buy from green electricity suppliers. Or drive a bit less. Or increase mandatory MPG….

    Never something that would actually reduce emissions, like, de-industrialise China! But endless denunciations of Trump and Republicans and Fundamentalist Christians….not for what they do. But for being denialists. For their beliefs, not their actions.

  34. “An availability cascade is a self-reinforcing process of collective belief formation by which an expressed perception triggers a chain reaction that gives the perception of increasing plausibility through its rising availability in public discourse.”
    Otherwise known as a lie.

Comments are closed.