Thursday, December 03, 2015

Climate Deniers Winning Battle?

A recent government funded study by Michigan State University of 1600 persons shown conflicting news articles about global warming reveal skeptics are swayed more by stories also skeptical of the existence of the man-made phenomenon. The study confirms anecdotal evidence. A Fox News poll only 3 percent of voters listed global warming as their top concern.  It is no surprise that terrorism tops the list. Conservatives have successfull framed the issue as a conspiracy of the left against business interests.  But there is no denying that 14 of the last 15 years have been the hottest in recorded history; nevertheless right wing politicians like Ted Cruz were able to cherry-pick available data in the 2013 IPCC assessment report to declare a warming hiatus after 1998. The discrepancy most climate scientist think  can be put down to an underestimate of the warming that has already occurred and gaps in data. In fact an updated analysis of global surface temperatures in Science shows actual warming trends are higher than estimated by the IPCC, possible double the previous assessment.  Since the late 19th century temperatures have risen about 1.6F and could rise another 10 degrees by the end of the century.  According to large multinational study,Explaining Extreme Events of 2014 from a Climate Perspective, of twenty-eight large climate events that occurred in 2014, fully half are attributable to man-made climate change.

For decades social psychologists have emphasized the effect of "motivated reasoning" If people are motivated--in this case profit--to not believe something, they will work hard to find a way not to believe it. Conservatives who consider the bottom line sacred, are doing just that and taking the rest of us lemmings with them over the climate cliff.