Overfitting/overtraining in supervised learning (e.g., neural network). Training error is shown in blue, validation error in red, both as a function of the number of training cycles. If the validation error increases (positive slope) while the training error steadily decreases (negative slope) then a situation of overfitting may have occurred. The best predictive and fitted model would be where the validation error has its global minimum. By Gringer - Own work, CC BY 3.0, link

The Conversation: Why are People so Climate Nonchalant?

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The Conversation asks why ordinary people are so hostile towards Extinction Rebellion, when the world is on the brink of a sixth major extinction?

In the face of chaos, why are we so nonchalant about climate change?

October 19, 2021 9.37pm AEDT
Tom Pettinger
Research Fellow in Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick

The dire state of the planet’s health was unambiguously demonstrated by the UN’s climate body, the IPCC, when it sounded a “code red” for humanity in its latest report. 

Yet public involvement in environmental activism has consistently remained muted, particularly in the wealthier nations most responsible for the destruction of the environment. 

In the UK, for example, peaceful protest by environmentalist groups like Extinction Rebellion tends to be opposed more than it’s supported. This is despite the limited disruption these groups cause in comparison to the extreme disruption already produced and threatened by climate breakdown, such as extreme droughts, wildfires and tropical storms.

Recent protests blocking British motorways to call for the government to insulate homes have been met not with policy reform but with outrage and proposals to increase police power to arrest protesters.

So why do so many people oppose the call for change in the face of a sixth mass extinction? Why is there resignation, rather than resistance?

And I think that the lack of widespread mobilisation is borne, not from outright climate denial, but rather from a more insidious climate apathy: what might be called “climate nonchalance”. 

This nonchalance – recognising the impending collapse of our world and shrugging our shoulders – is made possible only by a profound separation between the comfortable lifestyles of the privileged and the consequences of those lifestyles elsewhere: including increased death rates, frequent exploitation and environmental displacement for the less privileged.

Read more: https://theconversation.com/in-the-face-of-chaos-why-are-we-so-nonchalant-about-climate-change-166040

The author appears to suggest people are too comfortable to embrace change. We do not support Extinction Rebellion because we are selfish and lazy.

But I think the answer is far simpler – human belief is a continuum.

How can the answer to a true or false question, like “is climate change a problem”, be a continuum?

As a software developer, I see this odd continuum behaviour manifest all the time, when working with artificial neural networks.

Neural networks, attempts to create an artificial intelligence which mimics the architecture of the human brain, are not places where the absolute rules. If you say attempt to train a neural network to add two numbers, it is very difficult to get an exact result. Ask a trained neural net the answer to 2 + 2, and you will receive an answer like 4.1, or 3.9, or 3.5 – anything but 4, most of the time, unless the neural net is very rigorously trained.

Similarly if you ask a trained neural network if something is true or false, you are more likely get an answer like 70% true, or 48% true. An answer of 100% or 99% true is very unusual.

Computer scientists usually deal with this kind of ambiguity from artificial neural networks by interpreting the answer. So for example, they might apply a rule that if the answer is 70% or more true, report the answer as completely true.

Obviously humans are capable of concise mathematics, so our brains are not exactly the same as artificial neural networks, but in my opinion this neural net continuum of belief manifests throughout human behaviour when you look for it.

For example, many people when asked agree that climate change is a problem. But if you ask them if they are wiling to spend even one dollar more to fix climate change, agreement plummets.

Based on what I have personally experienced when working with artificial intelligence, I believe this strange belief yet not belief is a manifestation of the human brain’s neural net continuum of belief. People might answer they believe in climate change, they believe enough to say yes, but deep down they do not believe enough to commit actual effort to solving the issue they verbally agree is a problem.

Society’s current level of almost belief is precarious – a neural net which returns an answer of 70% true can easily be trained to raise that result to 98% or whatever. Getting to 70% is far more difficult than raising 70% to 98%. In my opinion there is a real ongoing risk that people who are mildly concerned about climate change could be rapidly tipped over into fanaticism.

But training an artificial neural network to such a fever pitch of compliance requires utter silencing of all discord in the training data. Even a few discordant training samples, a handful of voices raised in disagreement, is enough to introduce doubt, to nudge the neural network away from perfect compliance.

If you achieve perfect compliance, the end result of such rigorous training is surprisingly dysfunctional. Overtraining or overfitting as AI scientists describe it, creates an artificial neural network which is far less able to cope with ambiguity or new data, than a neural network which was less rigorously trained, or was trained using noisier, more discordant data. An overtrained neural network responds perfectly to its training stimuli, but does not respond well when presented with new data (see the diagram at the top of the page).

The parallel with the human condition seems obvious.

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October 19, 2021 6:05 pm

They’re right. Stand up to extinction, dysfunction, and wicked solutions. #HateLovesAbortion

Bryan A
Reply to  n.n
October 19, 2021 9:51 pm

Ask that same Neural Net if it is likely that the Moon Landing was a hoax and it is likely to return a 70% yes as well. It s far easier and less dangerous to build a soundstage in a vacuum chamber painted Musou Black to eliminate reflectance and air resistance than it is to send 3 people 236,000 miles to a sphere with no atmosphere.
But man always does things the hard way

The Saint
Reply to  Bryan A
October 20, 2021 6:04 pm

This is all poppycock. And the GW Alarmists don’t have a clue about the destruction they are creating. Everyone should watch Michael Moore’s documentary “Planet of the Humans” available on YouTube. Green energy, electric cars, etc. are NOT the solution even if you are a GW nut.

October 19, 2021 6:11 pm

The 6th extinction would surely occur if CO2 was heading downwards by 100 ppm per century. We were at 280 and 150 would be curtains…..Fortunately it is going the other way, giving us time to determine if we are developing an excess CO2 problem or not.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
October 19, 2021 10:34 pm

If only there was 1,000 ppm to 1,500 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere, crop food supplies would well exceed demand world wide.

As the Delegation from China reported at the IPCC Copenhagen Conference, during 3,600 years of their civilisation records there were three warmer periods than present day and each warmer period brought greater prosperity as crop yields increased.

No wonder China is reluctant to cooperate with the climate hoaxers.

Reply to  Dennis
October 20, 2021 3:25 am

But they may be funding them 😉

Matthew Bergin
Reply to  Dennis
October 20, 2021 4:48 am

I would like the food but all that extra growth will increase the oxygen levels and that could mean giant insects. I don’t like the thought of giant insects very much. 😱

very old white guy
Reply to  DMacKenzie
October 20, 2021 6:35 am

Well, CO2 at over 5,000 ppm wasn’t killing anything so we have a long way to go.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
October 20, 2021 8:52 am

Why should anyone believe we are headed for a massive extinction event at the same time the world population is higher than it’s ever been; people lead massively safer and more comfortable lives than ever before in human history; food production is the highest its ever been; and the most that the environmentalists can come up with is less than two dozen extinctions over the last 100 years out a total number of species on earth of greater than one million.

That last one is something only the scientifically literate would understand, but pretty much everyone personally understands and can attest to the former observations.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Duane
October 20, 2021 4:28 pm

You kind of pose the real problem and that is more and more humans taking up more and more space. I am sure there are places where habitat has declined and certainly stressed the flora and fauna. Add to that the introduction of non-native species and we, as humans, certainly stress the earth.

Do I think “climate change” is doing any of this, a resounding no! I have not seen enough change in my location to adversely affect any but maybe the most delicate flora and fauna. This is the problem with the attention given to tenths or hundredths of a degree. It is meaningless to the things that dwell on this earth. Not only that, but one can not decipher what a specific region is supposed to experience. Scientists just can’t keep saying the Global Average Temperature applies to everything and everywhere. Talk about non-scientific.

Reply to  Jim Gorman
October 21, 2021 9:39 am

I don’t think we bother the earth at all. Never heard it say a word. 7 billion of us. What are there, 300 trillion ants? 60 trillion trees? 500 Gorillion grass plants? We are a boil on the earth’s butt. If we blew every nuke on the planet at once, the earth would sneeze, say ‘oh crap was that another pesky rock from space like that one a little while (65 mya) back?’ Geologically we are spit.

Ed Hanley
October 19, 2021 6:12 pm

An interesting exercise in overthinking a non-existent problem. Let’s re-examine the presupposition of the article: we’re all doomed <== The Big Lie.

Maybe, just maybe, no one is being fooled.

Extinction rebellion. Pffffttt! Everyone living on the planet knows they will personally go extinct long, long, long, long before any significant species do.

Reply to  Ed Hanley
October 19, 2021 8:02 pm

I reckon we’re all over-thinking this –

When we used to see those weirdos shuffling along the sidewalk wearing a sandwich board declaring “The World Will End Next Tuesday”, we moved aside, trying to not make eye contact as we went about our normal business.

These days, we tend to take the same approach to climate doomsters.

Just human nature, and why that UN survey of millions of people rated concern about climate change last of all the things we need to worry about in life.

Reply to  Ed Hanley
October 19, 2021 9:42 pm

An interesting exercise in overthinking a non-existent problem.

I agree entirely. The reason most people don’t care is that the weather they remember when they were young kids was the same as it is today.

Reply to  Mike
October 19, 2021 11:18 pm

There is another reason. People are mostly non-argumentative. They can see that Mr Pettinger is a true believer, & don’t want to up set him. However when he suggests they should spend their money on the scam they then wonder if he is a full ratbag, or a conman after their money. They are right of course.

Reply to  Hasbeen
October 20, 2021 12:37 am

I remember seeing films of the rainmaker telling people pay your money and I will make it rain – but if there is one non believer I will fail

always guaranteed success as always one non believer

Reply to  Mike
October 20, 2021 12:29 am

Actually, not true. It was certainly colder in the 60s and 70s. My greatest fear is that we are headed back there.

Reply to  Davidf
October 20, 2021 3:41 am

Not my experience. Winter of 62/63 was bad, ditto 81/82, 97 (I think), and again 09/10. Both summers of ‘75 and ‘76 stand out. Not much else apart from ‘03.
Take a look at some long-term graphs (as opposed to computer-generated guesswork!). Weather is doing nothing that it hasn’t done time and again over centuries. Where there aren’t reliable temperatures there is reliable historical or biological evidence.
And my fear, a bit like yours, is that we are in grave danger of being caught “looking the wrong way” when the next downturn does come. My only “consolation” is that I probably won’t be here when it happens!

Reply to  Newminster
October 20, 2021 5:32 am
Reply to  Newminster
October 21, 2021 9:43 am

My experience matches David’s, but it seems we are at the end of a multi decadal cycle. Gotta buy some hockey skates! And split more firewood.

Robert Hanson
Reply to  Newminster
October 21, 2021 12:12 pm

You are here, and it’s already happening. Ran the heater again this morning, 4th day in a row. Usually didn’t need to do that before Halloween. This is only the beginning of the coldening. Might be time to buy some new long johns. 🙂

Rick W Kargaard
Reply to  Davidf
October 20, 2021 6:38 am

I have a longer memory and I remember warmer summers and colder winters. During the same years. I believe the weather has only moderated, probably due to local human influence.
Of course memory can be faulty and I only remember specific instances of summer highs exceeding 100 F and winter lows under -45 F in central Alberta.
Canada still used Imperial at the time. that indicates how long ago this was.

Robert MacLellan
Reply to  Rick W Kargaard
October 20, 2021 4:03 pm

Yes! And the same on the east coast. The sixties,seventies and into the eighties were often just that, though I would prefer more temperate than more moderate…potato..pahtato.

Frank Hansen
Reply to  Mike
October 20, 2021 2:29 am

There is a difference however. When I was a boy the winter snow reached up to my stomach. Now it is below the knees.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Frank Hansen
October 20, 2021 10:59 am

I used to tell my children about walking to school though snow that deep.

Robert Hanson
Reply to  Frank Hansen
October 21, 2021 12:15 pm


Dan DeLong
Reply to  Mike
October 20, 2021 9:23 am

And when I go to the beach, I see it is still where it was 40 years ago.

Reply to  Ed Hanley
October 20, 2021 8:12 am

Pretty sure everyone realizes they are going to die. So it becomes a question of do you want to die eating vegan food and doing all that net zero junk or live it up and die happy. We are just all selfish by nature.

Now there is a small self guilt minority like Galfrut, Loydo etc who can’t understand how we can be so selfish and they struggle to understand why we don’t care.

Alas Babylon
Reply to  LdB
October 20, 2021 6:58 pm

Also, so many of the Elites who are preaching the extinction due to fossil fuels are not giving up on any of their jet-setting, conspicuously extravagent lifestyle. The common person notices that–they’re not as stupid as the Elites think. I’d say more people would worry if Algore, De Caprio or Greta moved into a tiny shed and walked/biked everywhere they went.

Robert Hanson
Reply to  Alas Babylon
October 21, 2021 12:26 pm

As Instapundit has said for years: ‘I’ll believe in Global Warming when the people who are telling me about it act like they really believe in it’…

Obama believes in it so much that he bought a multi-million $ estate on Marth’s Vineyard just a few feet above high tide. The UN believes in it so much they spent over a Billion $ rehabing their headquarters in NYC, just a few feet above high tide. And no, the price of Malibu beachfront property is NOT dropping like a rock.

Joseph Zarebski
Reply to  Ed Hanley
October 20, 2021 11:03 am

If we keep building Wind Power we could start pushing important small birds to endangerment, allowing insects to become a problem, spreading disease, killing humans.

Reply to  Ed Hanley
October 20, 2021 12:17 pm

Extinction rebellion has a persuasion problem and don’t see the disconnect. I don’t see how it follows that; gee I block this highway and everyone will believe like I do. Most affected people are going to get angry and not appreciate the movement that much, if not actively hostile.

Edward Katz
October 19, 2021 6:15 pm

As soon as people hear apocalyptic phrases like “6th mass extinction”, “code red for humanity”,”‘last chance to save the planet”, etc., they get their guards up because they suspect these are just gimmicks so beloved by governments that want to impose new restrictions and higher taxes and private corporations trying to peddle Green products and lifestyles.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Edward Katz
October 19, 2021 8:48 pm

I invoke ‘social distancing’ out of concern that whatever they have just might be contagious.

Old Goat
Reply to  Edward Katz
October 20, 2021 1:52 am

Unfortunately, what “the people” think is of little or no consequence. It’s the lengths to which the government will go to ruin our lifestyle, culture and well-being on a pretext such as this, which is the worry.

Reply to  Edward Katz
October 20, 2021 8:11 am

Yes, there might be something to that. I have always thought (since my conversion) that they were trying to “engineer” an artificial case of “mass hysteria”, and that appears very difficult to do:

What Is Mass Hysteria?


And if you read that article carefully, there are certain characteristics of mass hysterias that need to be emulated, for example: population isolation, initiated by older adults, the correct gender ratio, etc.

Given that, I think many WUWT readers can see for themselves what the inconsistencies are between a real mass hysteria and how the alarmist community is trying to engineer one. The youth approach is wrong, and the open internet is a hindrance, etc.

If you are inclined to assign things to conspiracies (no put down intended, sometimes we need to) I think the COVID19 outbreak would be a far better vehicle for re-engineering society than CAGW, if that were your goal. IMHO

PS: I would be interested to know what the AI folks can teach us about mass hysterias.

October 19, 2021 6:17 pm

My neural network, based on an excellent grounding in historical geology tells me that our current climate change is due to the planet still emerging from the Little Ice Age and that human emissions of carbon dioxide are having zilch effects outside of urban areas. On this basis I feel entitled to don some outlandish outfit and then go and crap on the roofs of members of Extinction Rebellion.

Shoki Kaneda
Reply to  John Karajas
October 19, 2021 7:06 pm

Film at 11!

Reply to  John Karajas
October 19, 2021 10:47 pm

Hit the nail on the head.
I’d like to crap on their shoes

Reply to  John Karajas
October 20, 2021 12:26 am

Let me fix that for you …
I feel entitled to don some outlandish outfit and then go and crap on the roofs of members of Extinction Rebellion.

Reply to  John Karajas
October 20, 2021 12:43 am

Urban areas are heat islands created by bitumen and concrete

yes humans definitely created these

as far as away from these concentrated areas I remember reading that the pacific highway in south america created a fantastic heat curtain causing desertification on the inland side and increased rain on the seaside

again a human artefact

as for natural cycles of the sun moon etc

we give ourselves way to much credit – these happened before homosapien’s arrived and will still occur long after we are extinct – maybe in our own extinction by running out of resources with over 8B of us

Reply to  John
October 20, 2021 5:30 am

A single road is not going to have enough of an impact to measurably change rainfall patterns near it.

Rick W Kargaard
Reply to  MarkW
October 20, 2021 6:49 am

I think it could given the possibility of trees being cut back and a strip of asphalt in the middle. Less transpiration and less night time cooling would be my guess as a cause.
In northern climates a road dramatically affects snow melt nearby.

Richard Page
October 19, 2021 6:18 pm

Maybe because these groups are only paying lip service to the idea of a ‘climate emergency’ themselves? These minority groups are more about changing the whole of society to suit their minority view than anything else. They’re using climate change as a convenient excuse to force the majority to knuckle under to what they want, not what the rest of us want. Maybe, just maybe, some people have seen through their deceit.

Robert Hanson
Reply to  Richard Page
October 21, 2021 12:35 pm

Have to laugh when these Eco-nuts park their own ICE vehicles blocking the freeway, because they are opposed to ICE vehicles.

Dave Yaussy
October 19, 2021 6:21 pm

What an interesting analysis. It answers, as well as anything can, my puzzlement at the widespread acceptance (among even my conservative friends) that global warming is causing bad things to happen, but at the same time there’s a lack of interest in doing anything in particular about it.

It makes me think that most people intuitively understand that global warming really isn’t a big issue, although they couldn’t tell you why they think that. And it gives me hope that when they get some real information they’ll start questioning the basic premise of CAGW.

Robert Hanson
Reply to  Dave Yaussy
October 21, 2021 12:39 pm

Because no one wants to be called a “denier”, which can have real life negative consequences. Everyone knows they have to pretend to believe. Once you start asking them to spend their own hard earned money, it’s “wait a minute, I said I believe, isn’t that enough”?

Michael in Dublin
October 19, 2021 6:24 pm

Why are climate alarmists so naïve and gullible?
That will give you the answer.

Reply to  Michael in Dublin
October 19, 2021 9:30 pm

They have blind spots like all of us.

Reply to  Michael in Dublin
October 19, 2021 10:47 pm

They are all pessimists.

Richard Page
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
October 20, 2021 12:51 am

Everything that is being said has confirmed that their lifestyle (and diet) is the only way to survive and their deeply held fears were correct all along – it’s total, extensive confirmation bias. Having said that, it’s a hard core minority – for the rest of us, who don’t have that lifestyle, it doesn’t resonate well or mean anything. That’s why a lot of the hard core minority are surprised that everyone else isn’t getting it – are we blind? Why can’t we see what is glaringly obvious to them? If it wasn’t so painfully serious, it would be hilarious.

Reply to  Michael in Dublin
October 20, 2021 3:53 pm

They’ve been told for years to do good for the world, and that liberals have good intentions. People that oppose that must just be evil capitalists, and there’s no reason to listen to evil.

October 19, 2021 6:33 pm

I am surprised you did not have to take some recuperation time after reading all that Climate PORN in the conversation!

And I think that is more to the point, the average Joe Blow has a memory and if you tell him Climate PORN all the time and the disasters never happen, he eventually knows it is BS and he tunes out! A simpler summary of overtraining?

Matthew Bergin
Reply to  Eric Worrall
October 20, 2021 4:57 am

That is very true Eric. Particularly for those of us that were climate warriors in 1970 reading Ehrlich and fighting global cooling. 😒

Reply to  Matthew Bergin
October 20, 2021 6:17 am

But clearly you valiant warriors against global cooling succeeded in your efforts, just appears that you overshot the mark a bit. So now we need to carry the battle in the other direction until we can reach equilibrium…then perhaps everyone can STFU about climate and concentrate on the more important things like why is Kanye West so insane?

Tom Halla
October 19, 2021 6:37 pm

The other reason or doubting groups like Extinction Rebellion is that they very obviously have other goals, like a more socialist economic system.
Their Ecofascism is enough to ensure a negative reaction.

Pat from kerbob
October 19, 2021 6:40 pm

Most people see the BS and react accordingly, but they want to appear concerned

October 19, 2021 6:43 pm

Perhaps people have learned to discriminate and reject dishonest narratives. This proves that people do learn.

October 19, 2021 6:44 pm

If you see an article comes from The Conversation you can skip it and you won’t be missing anything. It’s full of unsupported assertions.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Meab
October 19, 2021 8:52 pm

Yes, and it is only accepted for publication if it is supportive of the liberal agenda of the editors. Any comments that point out inaccuracies can and will be deleted, assuring that the entire article promotes the agenda.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
October 19, 2021 10:40 pm

People actually get paid a buck a word for that CC sh1t…

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  DMacKenzie
October 20, 2021 6:51 pm

That is better than I ever got paid for solicited Op-Ed pieces for my local newspaper, the San Jose Mercury News.

October 19, 2021 6:53 pm

I guess no one on this site grew up in a dictatorship or religious theocracy. Once Putin, Shi, Mullah Mohammed, or Chairman Kim decrees something to be the truth, you don’t question unless you have a death wish.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Mohatdebos
October 20, 2021 9:22 am

Wrong-O, Mohatdebos! Ideology can suppress open dialogue, but people continue to think. It requires absolute control to kill everyone that openly disagree. But absolute control is local and relatively fleeting. Repressive social or economic ideologies eventually fail because their repression of evolving human progress results in economic failure and societal collapse.

Since I can read, reason and understand, over a relatively long lifespan I’ve come to the above conclusions. With short socialist ideology-inspired deviations, humankind continues to progresses with the imperative of individual freedoms to experiment. Authoritarians of any stripe try to suppress that. They just come up with new memes and slogans to advance their manipulations.

October 19, 2021 7:01 pm

Since you brought up Extinction Rebellion I will highlight one Billionaire (Oligarch) Sir Chris Hohn who helps fund the rebellion while making immense profits in coal related industries. You can bet there are many billionaires lining up at the climate change trough.

Reply to  John
October 20, 2021 4:37 am

Yes, it’s like short selling stocks.
Get the price of fossil fuel companies down and then clean up.

Jeff Alberts
October 19, 2021 7:05 pm

The dire state of the planet’s health was unambiguously demonstrated by the UN’s climate body, the IPCC, when it sounded a “code red” for humanity in its latest report. “

They made no such demonstration. They simply made gratuitous assertions, which can be just as gratuitously ignored.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
October 19, 2021 9:34 pm

The political “Summary for Policy Makers” certainly sounded the code red.

From my partial reading of some of the technical reports, the code red is pretty much all yellow and shrouded with significant uncertainty.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Dean
October 20, 2021 12:21 am

If they included any uncertainty, you can bet it’s ten times more than that.

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  Dean
October 20, 2021 12:31 pm

…”the code red is pretty much all yellow ”

Nope . Brown .

Alan Chew
October 19, 2021 7:55 pm

it is much simpler than that)neural analysis).
Most people are endowed with common sense. To test the hypothesis is actually quite simple in layman’s terms and if the boffins can’t pass the pub test they haven’t any hope of convincing the broad population. This applies to older wiser people and not to indoctrinated school kids. I believe the pub test is very useful… you only need look at the scores of failed predictions with not a single truthful outcome since the 1970’s….that’s fifty continuous years of total failed predictions to realise surely that something is wrong.
Then move onto every claim which they make is also wrong.,,,. There is no mass extinction looming, floods,droughts,cyclone, rainfall earthquakes are not being made worse by climate change..,,, sea level rise has been constant for thousands of years, we have had higher co2 and temperatures in the recent past,,,, the only support for co2 warming comes from computer models which are so far proving to be useless)even the IPCC admits this).
i don’t think you need to over think this question.

Julian Flood
Reply to  Alan Chew
October 20, 2021 5:05 am

We met a couple of Californians on holiday in Spain. They had a complete set of beliefs which were opposite to mine. So who is right?

Well, obviously me, I’ve read and listened to the end of the world scare and it’s nonsense as are the proposed solutions, but if you just get information from the MSM then it’s reasonable to get stuck in the other side.

Iit will take a major failure to shake people back to reality. Me or them? If the UK Grid hits the wall this winter then they are in for a shock.


October 19, 2021 7:57 pm

“”Why are People so Climate Nonchalant?””
Pretty simple. Ask anyone to show you exactly how “the effects climate change” has actually impacted their life for the worse (or even catastrophically) and you will either get crickets or some vague unsubstantiated BS how it is affecting “others”.

No actual impact >> no need to be concerned

October 19, 2021 8:09 pm

In my opinion there is a real ongoing risk that people who are mildly concerned about climate change could be rapidly tipped over into fanaticism.

Isn’t that the purpose of Al Gore’s “Climate Reality” training?
He wants to ‘radicalize‘ people to the cause.


Clyde Spencer
October 19, 2021 8:46 pm

… the extreme disruption already produced and threatened by climate breakdown, such as extreme droughts, wildfires and tropical storms.

This opinion, offered by someone who has a nebulous expertise in “Politics and International Studies,” and has managed to convince himself that he is also an expert in climatology, physical geography, history, and psychology, explains a lot about why the public isn’t getting as excited about the climate as he is.

October 19, 2021 9:29 pm

I found this sentence to be pretty revealing, “How can the answer to a true or false question, like “is climate change a problem”, be a continuum?”

Its way too broad a question. Of course the answer is true. Climate change (be it positive, negative, a lot or a little) requires change and that is easily defined as a problem. Especially when the “problem’ is not defined.

Better questions are a lot more specific.

Is climate change a problem where the costs of “fixing it” outweigh the benefits?

Is climate change a problem caused mostly by man?

You see it in the “surveys” when people respond to airy fairy questions like “Do you support action to stop climate change” in the inevitable high positive responses. Then as soon as the questions start being more specific the “Yes” answers evaporate. Witness the tiny amount of money most Americans are willing to spend to combat climate change.

Craig from Oz
October 19, 2021 9:36 pm

I find the lack of self awareness with these sorts of writers very amusing.

The go to great lengths to describe how the majority of people seem to be rejecting the consensus and they can’t work out why these fringe minority denier types who are rejecting their completely rational calls to action to save the planet seem to exist in such large numbers.

Almost as if they were actually the majority or something…

Chris Hanley
October 19, 2021 10:23 pm

Why is there resignation, rather than resistance?

Maybe it’s because mentally balanced people don’t believe that ‘the planet’s health is dire’, and that ‘a “code red” for humanity’ is nonsense, that ‘extreme disruption already produced’ ‘ecological and societal breakdown’ and ‘collapsing world’ are ridiculous hyperbole and typically the products of a fevered doomsday-cult mindset.

October 19, 2021 10:25 pm

Thanks Eric … you made me realize climate is not a binary problem. The problem lies in that some people are stuck in inflexible binary thinking.

Such as consider careers. If you ask yourself: “is software development with a focus on artificial intelligence the only career choice available?” This is a binary question, such is climate change bad. These subjects are not conducive to binary thinking … at least they are not conducive to binary thinking for mature people. The options for career choice are linear fields. maybe you’re a 90% fit for software development in artificial intelligence, but 80% good fit to volleyball coach. 70% fit to veterinarian.

Back to climate change, I live in California. Is fire a bad thing … again this is not a binary question, forest fires are a weighted thing. A moist season low cool fire which consumes tree litter, damaged or dead trees, stays out of the crown, and refreshes the land; this is a good fire. A hot summer season crown fire—not so much. But for people with little exposure to the natural world, stuck in binary thinking—all fire bad.

Sea level rise, 130m of sea level rise in a person’s lifetime, yes this is a bad thing—but not real. What about at the current rate of 2mm/year, its 200mm across the life of a very long lived human … about 8 inches—is this bad? … not so much.

The problem lies in binary thinking. Small scale change is not a binary question for well adjusted people. For someone such as “The Rainman” on the other hand …

Reply to  Lil-Mike
October 20, 2021 12:35 am

“about 8 inches—is this bad?”

I’ll ask the wife !!

Alexy Scherbakoff
October 19, 2021 10:27 pm

The majority of people live ‘in the now’. Pay packet to pay packet. Their idea of the future is several months. Why would any of them care about the climate 50 or 100 years out? That’s right. They don’t care. Most surveys show that.

Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
October 19, 2021 10:39 pm

I gave no thought to mortality until as I was growing older people around me died, and by the time I reached retirement I was well aware of my limited future.

The best fighter pilots are late teens to mid twenties, and by thirty most have changed.

October 19, 2021 10:30 pm

I am joking but maybe I am not?

The answer is explained by the children’s tale about the little boy who cried wolf too often, everybody stopped listening to him.

In marketing it is unwise to repeat the same advertisement for too long, same reason that people lose interest and ignore it.

Matthew Siekierski
Reply to  Dennis
October 20, 2021 4:09 am

Not a joke. We’ve been hearing the doomsday predictions of global warming, watched the shifting goalposts, and seen nothing much materialize for the past 40 years.

Have you noticed that the loudest activists are all young? That’s because they haven’t experienced the continuous pushing back of the doomsday deadline, they haven’t been deadened to the hysteria. So we get a 16-year old scolding the world. They hear the so-called consensus pushing fear for the future and are understandably swayed. In 20 years when they hear “we have to do something in the next 10 years or we’ll be past the tipping point” for the 40th time most of them will respond with “oh, that again?”

James Walter
October 19, 2021 10:31 pm

There are five stages in any social or political movement and climate change has run its course:

Five (5) Stages of Interest in Political Issues

Political scientist Anthony Downs described the downward trajectory of many political movements in an article for the Public Interest, “Up and Down With Ecology: The ‘Issue-Attention Cycle,’ ” published in 1972. Observing the movements that had arisen to address issues like crime, poverty and even the U.S.-Soviet space race, Mr. Downs discerned a five-stage cycle through which political issues pass regularly.
·       The first stage involves groups of experts and activists calling attention to a public problem, which leads quickly to
·       The second stage, wherein the alarmed media and political class discover the issue. The second stage typically includes a large amount of euphoric enthusiasm—you might call it the “dopamine” stage—as activists conceive the issue in terms of global peril and salvation.
·       The third stage: the hinge…there soon comes “a gradually spreading realization that the cost of ‘solving’ the problem is very high indeed.”
·       the fourth stage: a gradual decline in the intensity of public interest in the problem.”
·       The fifth stage – where an issue that has been replaced at the center of public concern moves into a prolonged limbo—a twilight realm of lesser attention or spasmodic recurrences of interest.”

Quilter 52
October 19, 2021 11:14 pm

I am strongly in favour of Extinction Rebellion becoming extinct! i would almost consider driving over the top of them if they glued themselves to a road near me. However, like most other middle class hypocrites, they dont intend the requirements of zero emissions to apply to them. The best laugh I had in a long time was watching the locals deal with the fools when they tried to stop the train in London. I note they have not been back there to Camden Town. Perhaps if our police did their jobs and stopped XR inconveniencing the majority of us, we would see less of these fools. And if it is too much for the coppers, just get out of the way and let the citizens deal with them.

Reply to  Quilter 52
October 20, 2021 5:39 am

The problem is that police departments world over, are run by the politicians.
For any police officer opposing the radicals could cost them their jobs.
If it was a matter of public safety, I’m sure most would do something.
As long as it remains a matter of public convenience, most will decide to preserve their jobs.

October 19, 2021 11:41 pm

Yet public involvement in environmental activism has consistently remained muted, particularly in the wealthier nations most responsible for the destruction of the environment. 

It’s pretty simple. Leftys taught everyone that anything goes bump in the night then Big Gummint takes care of it with Laws Regulations and Taxes. Ipso facto they now expect Big Gummint and Big Biz to take care of it and it will all be fine. Basically leftys are victims of their own success in that regard.

October 19, 2021 11:51 pm

XR just ooze middle class entitlement

They’re no friend of the working classes, they loathe them

Ian Coleman
October 20, 2021 12:01 am

The trouble with the climate catastrophe story is that the catastrophe is always in the future. I cannot imagine anyone really being concerned about the state of the world thirty years from now. Thirty years from now, everyone will be thirty years older and baby, thirty years of normal aging is going to hurt you a lot more than an immeasurably trivial rise in the mean global temperature.

In thirty years, Greta Thunberg is going to be 48. (I am going to be dead for about twenty years, which will probably be a dramatic change in my present state of wellbeing.) Greta is going to be a lot nore upset about middle age than she ever was about rising oceans.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Ian Coleman
October 20, 2021 6:59 pm

Like all mirages, they recede into the distance as they are approached.

Zig Zag Wanderer
October 20, 2021 12:03 am

The Conversation asks why ordinary people are so hostile towards Extinction Rebellion, when the world is on the brink of a sixth major extinction?

Ford Prefect had the answer down pat:

[because] You’re a load of useless, bloody loonies!!

There you have it, folks!

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
October 20, 2021 12:34 am


Apparently these morons are invading Australia now!

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
October 20, 2021 5:41 am

It’s like climate refugees and people who weren’t allowed to vote because of voter ID requirements.
I’m still waiting for them to find the first one.

Vincent Causey
October 20, 2021 12:25 am

Climate change fear could be ended very easily. It just takes the media to bring skeptical scientists onto their shows, giving scientific counter arguments using real data. Even disseminating a few facts about this “code red” – that it is based on an absurd RCP8.5 scenario, and that the computer model is actually an average of 100+ different models that vary from 1.5C to 10C – just giving these facts would damage the credibility of the alarmist position. Imagine if they broadcast interviews with Willy Soon, Patrick Moore and Richard Lindzen. Basically, game over.

Reply to  Vincent Causey
October 20, 2021 5:00 am

However, the media learned a long time ago that disaster sells newspapers, etc.

Reply to  Peter
October 21, 2021 7:08 am

They also learned that the politicians they favor won’t get elected with the truth.

October 20, 2021 12:34 am

the problem is XR have two distinct groups

Spoiled western school kids who have everthing and no reason but to protest that they are hard done buy buy living in a very comfortable place

And retired grey haired middle class nobodies who at best were public service bureaucrats or low level losers pushing paper – they are now trying to prove to themselves that their life had meaning so they are out protesting

Unfortunately both groups are uneducated and stupid and dont realise that without energy there is no society period – that is the basics of life (food water and shelter) will disappear

there wont be facebook iphones etc

whats worse is everybody believe the information and nobody even challenges it

pain is very near this winter with no energy

I hope the XR people are made to suffer for there stupidity

October 20, 2021 12:58 am

I prefer to judge people by their actions, not their words. Here’s an example of Extinction Rebellion in action https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-england-london-49923049

October 20, 2021 12:59 am

Why are People so Climate Nonchalant?

Easy. Because they don’t have your mental illness. Next question?

Jim Veenbaas
October 20, 2021 1:07 am

Yet public involvement in environmental activism has consistently remained muted, particularly in the wealthier nations most responsible for the destruction of the environment. 

The narcissistic delusion is strong in this one. Wealthy nations of the west are literally the only nations of the world where climate change has any traction. It’s the issue du jour for the privileged. Poor people, poor nations – not so much.

Reply to  Jim Veenbaas
October 20, 2021 2:42 am

People in Third World countries have real problems to worry about, like putting food on the table and keeping a roof over their heads. The entire Green movement is a luxury for wealthy, narcissistic Westerners.

Climate believer
October 20, 2021 1:53 am

“So why do so many people oppose the call for change in the face of a sixth mass extinction?.”

So we’ve gone from ‘nonchalent’ to ‘opposing’ in one easy step, they are not the same thing.

People who lie constantly about things they know nothing about are generally ignored by the majority, you can call it ‘nonchalence’ if you like.

People are ‘opposed’ to idiotic, dramatic change that resolves none of the ‘imaginary’ problems. People like reasoned argument, not fanatical scaremongery.

The public have long since lost their faith in polititians and activists, and now you can add scientists to the list.

Sixth mass extinction my arse.

Reply to  Climate believer
October 20, 2021 5:45 am

Conveniently, all of the species that are going extinct, are ones still unknown to science.
Of the species known to science, they are all doing well. (Except the ones being over hunted.)

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  MarkW
October 20, 2021 7:03 pm

Or over fished. Or logged faster than the tree can grow back. Or aquifers drawn down faster than they can recharge. Not unlike a personal bank account.

October 20, 2021 2:18 am

I have a feeling the general population doesn’t give a rat’s ass about so called climate change. This nonsense has been spewed for decades by a rich elite who travel first class, living in big houses – there is a clue there and most people see it.

October 20, 2021 2:29 am

“Insulate Britain trains ‘working class’ activists to give interviews on TV to try to shake off its ‘middle class crusties’ image and appeal to Red Wall voters”

Which went horribly wrong when their ‘common’ spokesman, Liam Norton, went off script in a radio interview:

“Asked why he hadn’t insulated his home by host Cristo Foufas, Norton replied, “Because I’m a hypocrite.”

“Do you understand why people will think, well, this guy doesn’t really care about insulation, he only cares about disruption and trying to make a name for himself?” Cristo asked.

“Yeah, they’re right. I don’t particularly care about insulation,” Norton replied.”


Behind the failed ‘levelling down’ was Dr Larch Maxey. Maxey is also a leading light in XR.

Here he is in action attempting to glue himself to an automatic door at Bristol Town Hall – try not to laugh

The idiocracy is here.

Reply to  fretslider
October 20, 2021 8:16 am

If you get enough of these idiots t superglue themselves to your house it would be really good insulation 🙂

October 20, 2021 2:56 am

As the economies of the west tank and blackouts become common climate change will be a distant memory in most peoples thinking.

Captain climate
October 20, 2021 3:00 am

It never occurs to the author that maybe people need to heat their homes and drive cars and getting people killed by gluing yourself to a highway is stupid.

Joseph Zorzin
October 20, 2021 3:35 am

“…. the impending collapse of our world….”
People with common sense will ignore people who talk that way.

Loren Wilson
October 20, 2021 4:26 am

Climate models have a significant training and validation set, and yet they overpredict the temperature (except for that pesky Russian model). Over-trained, over-fitted using multiple adjustable variables that we don’t know the correct values, and not very good. Clearly funded by taxpayer monet since companies that have to make a profit can’t afford to be wrong for very long.

October 20, 2021 5:06 am

Personally, having studied the climate since 2006, I am far more worried about global cooling than I am about global warming. Other than moving toward the equator and emitting more CO2 to encourage more plant growth, I doubt that we can do anything about it.

October 20, 2021 5:08 am

More people would agree to spending money on this supposed problem IF there were any evidence supporting the idea – and I do NOT include ridiculously incomplete and deliberately biased computer models!

October 20, 2021 5:31 am

Because despite Democrats, Liberals, Islamists, and assorted Leftists being in power around the world, most people have enough common sense to see that Greta and Kerry and the hype are simply hysterics and not based on facts.

M Courtney
October 20, 2021 5:36 am

Occam’s Razer: Why do people act like climate change is not a priority?
Because they think climate change is not a priority.

The Conversation ought to ask themselves, “Why do people think we are wrong?” Instead they ask themselves “How can we persuade others that we are right?”.

Science works through doubting what one knows. Religion works through understanding one’s doubt. Madness works through having no doubt.
The Conversation has gone off the deep end here.

October 20, 2021 5:37 am

Maybe even simpler than a continuum, i.e. the collective knowledge knows better than the intelligentsia. Happens all the time in free markets. All the analysts think a stock will do X and the stock does the opposite and the market, i.e. the collective knowledge, is usually more right than the experts. Predictit beats the experts all the time. Same with the Radon scare, it came and went. This is why socialism is designed to fail, in an uncertain world, sooner or later a bad decision is forced on the masses and disaster ensues.

October 20, 2021 5:45 am

Well here’s a ripping good idea from the climate changers for once. Grab the public sector pension fund money to change the climate and not leave anyone behind with their Green New Deal-
MPs urge pension schemes to cushion economic effects of UK’s net zero plan (msn.com)
How could they possibly object investing in net zero where all the juicy future returns are?

very old white guy
October 20, 2021 6:33 am

Right about now I think people are looking forward to a sixth extinction.

Andy Pattullo
October 20, 2021 7:53 am

My question is why are people so oblivious to the coming zombie apocalypse, and why aren’t they all wearing tinfoil hats and checking their horror-scopes daily for signs of Armageddon? Why are people collectively so damn sensible? Has this anything to do with having actual lives and caring about the truth and how it serves human progress? Or is it that the majority of people haven’t abandoned their principles and adopted a strategy of lying for their keep?

Reply to  Andy Pattullo
October 20, 2021 8:06 am

Hmmm… reading some alt-right sites sense seems to have left the building…

Richard Page
Reply to  griff
October 20, 2021 11:05 am

Well in your brief absence the average IQ does seem to have increased, now it’s down again. Correlation or causation?

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  griff
October 20, 2021 11:15 am

You need to hone your reading skills. Not even close. Seems wrong assumptions are your thing.

October 20, 2021 8:45 am

Climate change is a non issue. It does not affect anyone in any meaningful way and even the eco-nutters cannot point to a single thing that has changed in their own lives (unless they moved, which has far far far more effect than anything of the “emergency” they keep boring us about).

The real question, is how long can the delusional idiots keep believing something that they simply cannot validate using their own life experiences.

October 20, 2021 9:39 am

“Peaceful Protest” = “any sort of protest (or riot) in support of causes I agree with”

October 20, 2021 10:05 am

Lack of public interest and repeated failed predictions is what has led to the new strategy of the warmistas — claim that extreme weather is all due to climate change. They know that people can sense or understand weather, so they can use their bogus “attribution science” (cough) to scare the public. Almost all of the recent propaganda includes claims that the dire effects of climate change are here and we are already suffering. I have even noticed a remarkable change in Griff’s drive-by comments. Almost every post from him/her/it harps on floods, rains, droughts, etc.

October 20, 2021 3:42 pm

Or maybe it’s just that most people know that climate change is (male bovine excrement), but they don’t want to be screeched at by the fanatics, so they lie on polls?

John in Oz
October 20, 2021 3:44 pm

If this is supposed to be an article on the reasons people resist Extinction Rebellion (“why are we so nonchalant about climate change”), why are there so many definitive statements as to the state of the climate, these having nothing to do with the rationale people use towards a protest group.

In the face of chaos
The dire state of the planet’s health
wealthier nations most responsible for the destruction of the environment
extreme disruption already produced and threatened by climate breakdown
oppose the call for change in the face of a sixth mass extinction
increased death rates
environmental displacement for the less privileged

Boff Doff
October 20, 2021 10:25 pm

Isn’t it more to do with hoi polloi recognising special pleading from a mile away?

All of the alarmists would be campaigning as they go irrespective of the underlying cause. Scientists and bureaucrats for more funding. Big Gov pols for higher taxes and more power to control the population. Eco loons for the end of technology and anti-capitalists for the end of wealth.

It is now so obvious that AGW is a crock it’s embarrassing to watch the hypocrites tie themselves into ever tighter knots of dishonesty as they continue with their campaign of destructive deceit.

Nolan Parker
October 21, 2021 4:08 pm

If a religious zealot declared the end of the world and the day came and went and nothing happened, he would never be listened to again. We are on our Third Twelve Years to The End timetable.

Ohh, shut UP!

Reply to  Nolan Parker
October 21, 2021 4:29 pm

Unfortunately, Nolan, history proves you wrong. It’s happened several times.

October 22, 2021 10:58 am

Because everybody knows it’s another phony emergency, just like every single “crisis” the environmental movement has touted since its formation in 1950. And Covid, too.

Besides, governments’ reactions to these phony crises are creating real emergencies of tyranny. And we’re busy trying to hold back those.

James Schrumpf
October 22, 2021 12:50 pm

Asking someone if “climate change ” is a problem is the semantic equivalent of asking if they’ve heard someone say it is.

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