If people aren’t listening about Climate Change, it’s our fault, not theirs
A number of right-leaning commentators have poked fun at the IPCC’s recent assessment that we have 12 years “to save the planet” (as it has been reported and much shared by green activists), by comparing it with other assessments of doom.
Of course what the IPCC actually meant was we have a window of 12 years to get a grip on carbon emissions before the momentum of carbon emissions, economic trends and geophysical tipping points conspire to make dangerous climate change extremely difficult to stop. But it is very easy for the layman to read the headlines as the world will ‘end’ in 12 years. And what happens when 12 years come and the Earth hasn’t exploded like Alderaan in the original Star Wars movie? No matter how many natural disasters we point at, the claim will be portrayed as scaremongering.
Green activists and Sustainability Professionals may feel that they are injecting urgency into the climate debate, but we’ve been crying ‘doom’ for over 50 years and the success of the strategy has been fitful at best. Of course it doesn’t help when sceptics deliberately misunderstand the claim to sow confusion. I once attended a presentation by Matt Ridley where he claimed that the hole in the ozone layer and deforestation through acid rain were scare stories that never came to pass, conveniently ignoring the massive international efforts to address these issues, reasonably effectively.
We mustn’t let our sense of being on a righteous mission blind us to reality. If a communication tactic doesn’t work, it’s not the audience’s fault, nor the sceptic’s, nor the ‘MSM’s’, it’s OUR problem. People hear us already, the question is, are they listening to what we have to say? Hint: shouting louder won’t help.