There’s no talking to some people (about the environment)
First, Prof Brian Cox’s face as he realised what level of idiocy he was up against when debating with an Australian climate sceptic. The debate can be summarised as:
ACS: There is no proof.
PBC: Here’s the evidence (holds up graph demolishing ACS’s arguments).
ACS: That data’s been manipulated.
PBC: By who?
ACS: Nasa.[Audience bursts out laughing, PBC doesn’t know where to look]
Secondly, I’ve seen a number of letters in newspapers and comments on blogs where the author clearly believes the UK is lagging the world, if not moving backwards, on renewable energy. The reality is, as the FT points out, the UK is ranked No 2 for renewable energy amongst G20 nations having gone from 6% of electrical power from renewables to 24% in the last five years.
It is simply impossible to argue that this surge is not impressive without contorting reality beyond breaking point. But these guys manage it with remarkable ease.
Both ACS and the green doomsters are suffering from extreme cases of confirmation bias – our tendency to grasp any tiny sliver of evidence to back up our gut instincts, while ignoring everything which contradicts that feeling, no matter how strong that counter-argument is. We all do it, shouty people just do it much more than the rest of us.
The moral of the story? Evidence is not enough. We need to engage with people’s gut instinct as that’s where change happens or doesn’t.