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Well, that was an experience

(April 11, 2016)

After a talk at the Blackheath Philosophy Forum I was having what seemed to be a rational discussion about climate change with someone who had brought it up. I mentioned the systematic changes in plant flowering and animal reproduction that had been occurring as rainfall and temperature patterns had changed over the last few decades. He said "Weather", which should have been a red flag. I mentioned that fifty years after the Snowy Mountains Scheme had been built one of the major power stations has been mothballed because the change in snow distribution has meant that there isn't enough water to keep it running. He said "Weather" even louder.

He then went full denier.

Within minutes I was surrounded by four deniers who were talking over each other as they spouted the standard denial clichés, each repeating what the others had said in case I hadn't heard it the first time. Here are some of the things said to me, claims which are sadly very familiar to anyone who believes in the value of science and has followed this non-debate for any length of time

  • The IPCC has stated that there has been no warming of the planet for the last 17 years.
  • Atmospheric scientists at places like the CSIRO were told that if they spoke the truth about the hoax they would lose funding.
  • If a volcano went off it wouldn't matter what we did.
  • Weather!!!
  • It is not possible for humans to affect weather or climate.
  • Reports of global warming are based on faulty measurements.
  • The majority of scientists agree that climate change is not happening. (!)
  • 30,000 scientists signed a petition.
  • The climate has always changed and that is what is happening now.
  • Maverick scientists are persecuted and their freedom of speech has been compromised.
  • It's based on modelling, and the models aren't 100% accurate.

Rinse. Repeat. To quote Yul Brynner in "The King And I" – et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!

It's all there – the cherry picking of data, the paranoia about suppression, the inconsistencies (climate has always changed like it's doing now but it's not changing now), even if it's true there is nothing we can do because nothing we do can affect climate, IPCC research shows ... (the IPCC doesn't do research, it collates the research of others), it's all political (true, but not what the speaker meant), ...

At least they didn't call themselves "skeptics", although I wouldn't be surprised if they reached a consensus that they had had victory over this "warmist" when I finally gave up and walked away.

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