The New Scientist has a special report on the roots and methods of denialism. Should be useful reading for anyone who ever finds themselves talking to creationists/climate change deniers/9/11 Truthers/anti vaccination types/that bloke in teh pub who knows what really happened to Elvis.
How to be a denialist
Martin McKee, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who also studies denial, has identified six tactics that all denialist movements use. “I’m not suggesting there is a manual somewhere, but one can see these elements, to varying degrees, in many settings,” he says (The European Journal of Public Health, vol 19, p 2).
1. Allege that there’s a conspiracy. Claim that scientific consensus has arisen through collusion rather than the accumulation of evidence.
2. Use fake experts to support your story. “Denial always starts with a cadre of pseudo-experts with some credentials that create a facade of credibility,” says Seth Kalichman of the University of Connecticut.
3. Cherry-pick the evidence: trumpet whatever appears to support your case and ignore or rubbish the rest. Carry on trotting out supportive evidence even after it has been discredited.
4. Create impossible standards for your opponents. Claim that the existing evidence is not good enough and demand more. If your opponent comes up with evidence you have demanded, move the goalposts.
5. Use logical fallacies. Hitler opposed smoking, so anti-smoking measures are Nazi. Deliberately misrepresent the scientific consensus and then knock down your straw man.
6. Manufacture doubt. Falsely portray scientists as so divided that basing policy on their advice would be premature. Insist “both sides” must be heard and cry censorship when “dissenting” arguments or experts are rejected.
Cheaper bulbs have some of the problems attributed in this article to all Compact Fluorescent Lights, but to pretend they all do is as lazy and shortsighted as they’re accusing the politicians of being. Better quality CFL bulbs (the ones from Philips are highly recommended) light up as fast as incandescents, have a pleasant colour and, even with normal switching on and off, last far longer then old style bulbs. And they pay for themselves within a year in normal useage.
Most of the people I know have houses lit with low energy bulbs and not a one of them has ever commented on problems fitting the lights. Now that everyone else is into CFLs I’m thinking of moving to LEDs, which are even more efficient.
As for China, so what if they’re not making changes right now? They will in the future. If your neighbour told you they hadn’t fitted smoke alarms, would you endanger your family by removing the ones in your house?
It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. And it’s got cross party support, so it should go through with the minimum of tinkering.
The Sun’s top Page Three model has been name checked by David Cameron as a Green icon and, the Independent finds, she has the credentials to back this up. Sex sells and if if it makes Sun readers invest in low energy bulbs that’s cool.
Keeley Hazell on Fleshbot (NSFW)
Keeley Hazell products at Amazon
The plans and problems of the European Union’s efforts to cut carbon dioxide production.
We Are What We Do and their campaign to change the world through lots of little actions.
Shell are investing in a technology to convert wood chips and straw to biodiesel, to take the strain off food crops.
I think the title says it all "All those Scientists". All those thousands of intelligent, highly educated people, experts in their fields, who have spent billions of hours examining the data, testing theories and extrapolating alternatives might, just possibly, not be absolutely 100% correct in their predictions. So we should do nothing and hope they’re not right.
The question should be, what’s so wrong with reducing carbon dioxide output? What’s being called for is an increase in efficiency and a reduction in reliance on limited resources. It’s a winning combination for everyone and a great way to alleviate poverty. Even without global warming this should be the aim of every person on the planet. Or do the deniers not want to see poorer people leapfrog ahead of them into the future?
Wood pellet stoves may not have the romance of a log fire or solid fuel stove (my parents just got a Rayburn, which I haven’t seen yet, but they’re surrounded by a near free supply of downed trees and off cuts), but they could be as near to carbon neutral as an energy solution gets.
A few thoughts-
How are the factories making these pellets powered? If they can close the circle and have a combined heat and power system on site powered by some of the pellets produced that will be brilliant.
The fuel will never be entirely carbon neutral until the chainsaws are powered by ethanol and every vehicle used runs on biodiesel. But that’s being picky, it’s still a hell of a lot closer than anything else, and they could always plant excess trees to offset production costs.
How clean do these stoves burn? A lot of Britain is now smoke-free zone, which has to hinder the uptake of solid fuel. I imagine as they become more efficient the stoves create less smoke.
Do Green campaigners have to be absolutely pure? The question arises from the fuss caused by snide naysayers who are attacking Al Gore’s lifestyle to turn attention away from his message.
By all accounts Gore and his family have gone beyond carbon neutral. No matter how much energy his mansions consume he’s planting the trees or making the investments to write that off and then spending a bit more. Of course, the antis know this but don’t bother to mention it because that would destroy their argument.
It’s time for Gore to slap solar panels and windmills on his properties and ask what the rumour mongers are doing to reduce their carbon footprints.
The capital will reduce its carbon emmissions by 60% within 20 years if Ken’s plans work out.
Leading property and construction firms have formed the UK Green Building Council and given themselves 10 years to transform their industry and make it sustainable. They also make the sensible observation that energy saving measures shouldn’t just be applied to new builds as houses that have already been built will still account for 75% of the housing stock in 2050.
MyHabs are cardboard tents, waterproofed and with built in security, that could be appearing at Glastonbury and other festivals from next year. They were dreamt up by a design student after he found that the big music events have to deal with up to 10,000 abandoned tents every year.
The Australian government will make the sale of incandescent bulbs illegal.