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Monday, March 10, 2008
Why Bringing Sanity Back on Climate Change Won’t Be Easy

By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM

We are seeing increasing stories the last year in the news about cold and snow and global data bases based on satellite and station and ocean data suggest temperatures have leveled off over the last decade. These facts even have the IPCC head Dr. Rajendra Pachauri questioning whether natural forces are at least temporarily offsetting greenhouse forcing. The media and most alarmists have largely ignored these facts or attributed them to a temporary decrease in sunspot numbers or La Ninas, factors they scoffed at before or in the case of La Nina would admit only to regional importance.

This conflicting data is bringing an uncomfortable feeling among many believers, what is called a cognitive dissonance, but most all are able to shake it off. Some work over five decades ago by Leon Festinger, a social psychologist helps explain how they can do that and why we may not see a widespread rapid return to sanity on global climate change even as evidence mounts the prevailing greenhouse theories are flawed, global warming has ceased and climate change may be largely due to natural variability.

When discomfirmatory (contrary) evidence is presented, Festinger found one condition that often determined whether the belief is discarded or maintained with new fervor by belief with a strongly held belief.  That was whether or not the individual believer has social support. It is unlikely that one isolated believer could withstand strong discomfirming evidence. If, however, the believer is a member of a group of convinced persons who can support one another, you might expect the belief to be maintained and the believers to attempt to proselytice or persuade non-members that the belief is correct even in the face of data suggesting otherwise.

Today there is a huge ‘social support’ group of grant toting modelers and researchers, agenda driven or ratings driven journalists, environmentalists and corporations that have realized green is their favorite color and see this as a way to keep green paper flowing into their coffers and pockets, farmers who are benefiting from the misplaced focus on alternative fuel from crops which has sent the cost for their crops to record levels, traders and major market firms licking their chops at the prospects of big time money from carbon trading, big oil and alternative energy companies that have realized this is the vector to bigger profits and the politicians and political activists who see it as a way to accomplish ulterior goals about changing society and increasing their powerbase.

It will only be after the public realizes they have been snookered that the situation may turn on them. We can only hope damage done is not great or irreparable when that day finally comes. Read more on ‘cognitive dissonance and Festinger’s work “When Prophecies Fail” here.

This morning’s Washingtom Post article shows how even as temperatures level off, the claims and cries grow stronger and more absurd calling for a complete carbon elimination or else a rise of 15F by 2300.  As a fellow scientist buried in record snow in Ohio reminded us this morning the words of George Orwell “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

See this video by CEI on carbon dioxide and its’ importance to life as we know it. 

Posted on 03/10 at 02:35 PM
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