The tilted scales of reality, Own Work, Public Domain
Some of the complaints and opposition to the science of climate change aren’t due to the science, but to the folks who want to dictate solutions to it. Some people will point to the hypocrisy of Al Gore (who has a massive carbon footprint), or to the virtue signaling of banning plastic straws, with large fines and jail times, and a random legislator mentioning the regulation of every aspect of people’s lives. When things like this get mentioned, the baby gets thrown out with the proverbial bathwater, and for some, this is the last straw (no pun intended!).
This is where good science and climate change reality can be doomed. A look at the data (not modeling predictions) of sea ice coverage, sea level rise, Greenland ice mass loss, and CO2 levels show that the climate is changing, and we are the cause. Alas, some in society see this as an opportunity to force change with a heavy hand, legislating jail time for plastic straws. Having real, and perhaps even market driven solutions to pollution and climate change, or asking where most ocean pollution or greenhouse gas emissions comes from might be a better choice. When people who are right of center see this, they may shake their heads, and wonder if this this is all just a ploy for control.
This isn’t a trait unique to the left, or to the reality of climate change. Terrorist attacks are horrific, and there might be more in the wings, but does it justify going to war on questionable state-sponsored terrorism accusations, shaky weapons of mass destruction pretenses, and clamping down on civil liberties? When “non-state actors” do really horrendous things, a strong, all-out, internationally coordinated police effort could be the wiser choice. Likewise, people left of center see this, shake their heads, and wonder if this is all a ploy for control.
How do we separate the wheat from the chaff, reality from hype, concern from hysteria? There are real problems and predicaments in society – take your pick of any one of them. There will be data to support your argument. But as soon as you ‘jump the shark’, and propose outlandish responses, or worse yet, fake the data, people will question your motives, and all that wonderful good data you have at your side can become useless. There may be reasons to ban straws, or go to war with particular countries, but getting the data right without bias is critical.
When a crisis is happening, it is easy to get caught up in handling it immediately (let’s have action!). When dealing with something horrific, it might even be tempting to be heavy handed in all the wrong ways. When you are hypocritical, it is even worse. It is at this point that reasonable people will begin to wonder – is this all a ploy, and using the crisis of the moment for something else?
As someone on the left on some issues, and on the right on others, it is frustrating. A good many solutions to problems (or best practices in dealing with predicaments) can be thrown away because someone either deliberately (or through bad science) tries to tilt the scales in their favor. In the end, left, right, and center – we all lose.
- What are other times where the data was great, but someone mucked it up because they overplayed the data, or flat out lied?
- How can you separate reality from ‘reality plus hysteria’? How do you prevent it? Is this even possible?