Guest essay by Eric Worrall
It must be Christmas; the climate grinches are trying to convince everyone to ditch the Christmas lights, and green intellectuals like Peter Ellerton of the University of Queensland are providing helpful hints on how to win the climate battle of the Christmas dinner table.
I’m a critical thinking expert. This is how you win any climate change debate like Greta Thunberg
The Conversation By Peter Ellerton
Posted Wed at 2:59pm
Back to the dinner table
We may not have Thunberg’s natural aptitude for staying on topic. But we can apply the lessons to our own conversations with friends and family.
Let’s say I’m having an argument with a cranky uncle about renewable electricity. I might argue that we should transition to wind and solar energy because it generates less carbon dioxide than burning fossil fuels.
My uncle might respond by saying I shouldn’t use any energy at all. Maybe he’ll say “then stop driving cars” or “don’t turn on your TV”.
But this response is not addressing the point at issue – that renewable energy generates less carbon than fossil fuels. It is talking about something else: that any use of power is bad. Really, it’s not so much about using power as how that power is generated.
Moving off the point at issue is a classic “strawman” attack, when the argument is misrepresented and argued from that point.
If you need extra help, my colleagues and I have produced a paper to help analyse the rationality of climate denial claims. It also helps you find the point at issue, and stay on it.
Back in 2014, Google engineers discovered to their horror that there is currently no viable path for replacing fossil fuel with renewable energy.
Other serious climate action advocates have made the same discovery, ranging from David Attenborough, who quietly advocates for a renewable Apollo project to solve currently insurmountable problems, to Bill Gates, who in 2015 set up a green tech fund to try to find a way to make renewables viable (though by 2019, Bill Gates had given up).
When Trump hating film maker Michael Moore decided to investigate why there was so little progress retiring fossil fuel, he thought he would find a big oil conspiracy, a network of corrupt oil executives blocking the rise of a new industry. Michael Moore did discover a dark swamp of lies and corporate greed, but not where he expected.
Former NASA GISS Chairman James Hansen’s renewable energy skepticism upset Naomi Oreskes so much Oreskes called James Hansen a “denier”. Hansen is no climate skeptic, he believes if we don’t stop global warming, the oceans will boil and render the Earth uninhabitable. Hansen is a hero and progenitor of the modern climate movement – his senate testimony in 1988 was a pivotal moment in the raising of public awareness of climate issues.
But even James Hansen believes renewable energy is not a viable solution to the rapid reduction in anthropogenic CO2 emissions he believes is needed to save the world from global warming.
Peter Ellerton, what do you call an expert on critical thinking who encourages readers to parrot green talking points on renewable energy, without addressing the substantial evidence that renewable energy is a false hope?