Cass Sunstein Wonders Why People Don’t Fear “Climate Change” Enough


I’d hazard a guess that it’s because people, like Sunstein’s former boss, The Man With The Largest Carbon Footprint In The World (41,000 metric tons), refuse to practice what they preach.

(Bloomberg) With respect to the science of climate change, many experts regard the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as the world’s authoritative institution. A draft summary of its forthcoming report was leaked last week. It describes the panel’s growing confidence that climate change is real, that it is a result of human action, and that if the world continues on its current course, it will face exceedingly serious losses and threats (including a significant rise in sea levels by century’s end).

While the draft report states these conclusions with unprecedented conviction, they are broadly consistent with the panel’s judgments from the past two decades, which raises an obvious question: Why have so many nations (including China and the U.S., the world’s leading greenhouse-gas emitters) not done more in response?

Perhaps it’s because this authoritarian, er, authoritative body, composed of hysterics, lies, exaggerations, false science, and un-scientific data…oh, and lots and lots of people pushing for more governmental control over people and economies….are also hypocrites. Every year we see thousands descend on some lovely vacation spot in fossil fueled vehicles to tell us that fossil fuels are bad. Remember COP13 in the exotic vacation spot of Bali, where so many private jets were used that they had to dead head (fly without passengers) them to other islands to park them? How about the one in Durban, South Africa, where they held a contest to fly the winner all the way from the west coast of the US to give a 10 minute speech on the evils of fossil fuels?

There are many answers. Skeptics say that the IPCC is biased and wrong. Companies whose economic interests are at stake continue to fight against regulatory controls. The leaders of some nations think that if they acted unilaterally to reduce their emissions, they would impose significant costs on their citizens without doing much to reduce climate change. Especially in a difficult economic period, they don’t think it makes sense to act on their own.

To this extent, the real challenge lies in producing an international agreement. It isn’t easy to obtain a consensus on the timing and expense of reductions, especially because developing nations (including China) insist that developed nations (including the U.S.) are obliged to take the most costly steps toward reducing emissions.

Perhaps it’s that they had an international agree, the Kyoto Protocol, of which most signatory nations failed to fulfill their obligations. The US was not a signatory, as the Democrat led Senate voted unanimously against joining, as it would ruin our economy. President Clinton agreed. Perhaps it’s because every recommended solution leads to more authoritarian government.

All of these positions play a major role. But we should not disregard purely psychological factors. An understanding of what human beings fear — and what they do not — helps to explain why nations haven’t insisted on more significant emissions reductions. (snip)

In a political context, citizens might demand protection against a risk that threatens them today, tomorrow or next month. But if they perceive climate change as mostly a threat to future generations — if significant sea-level rises seem to be decades away — they are unlikely to have a sense of urgency.

Perhaps it’s because the majority of prognostications from Warmists have failed. Perhaps it’s because their computer models cannot predict what happened in the past. Perhaps it’s that they keep making dire predictions of doom and gloom 50-100 years out, more akin to the crazy people who stand on sidewalks yammering about Armageddon and repent now.

In this light, it should not be surprising if people don’t get much exercised by the IPCC’s forthcoming report. All the obstacles are daunting — skepticism about the science, economic self-interest, and the difficulties of designing cost-effective approaches and obtaining an international agreement. But the world is unlikely to make much progress on climate change until the barrier of human psychology is squarely addressed.

Perhaps it’s about all the issues with the previous IPCC reports (way more than what is listed at that Wiki page). Perhaps it’s all the scientists who call the IPCC reports junk science. Perhaps it’s that the AR5 report cites the WWF and Greenpeace, which previously provided more junk science the AR4. Perhaps it’s that since they can’t scientifically account for why there’s been a 17+ year warming pause, they find handy dandy excuses, such as the heat pulling a Where’s Waldo? in the deep oceans. Perhaps it’s that they discount the effects of nature, such as water vapor and the big nuclear furnace in the sky. Perhaps it’s that 4 of the past 5 winters have been brutal around much of the Earth, and many finally experienced spring when summer rolled around. Perhaps it’s that Warmists now blame cold and snow on greenhouse gases. Perhaps it’s that they discount the Urban Heat Island Effect.

Perhaps it’s that people understand a warmer atmosphere is better than a cold one. And perhaps it’s that people see that the prescriptions all seem to be extensions of far left Progressive doctrine, based on un-scientific principles which call for Other People to be forced to change their lives, yet Warmists rarely do anything within their own lives. Warmists apparently don’t fear hotcoldwetdry enough to markedly Do Something themselves, like give up their own fossil fueled travel.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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