“You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”–U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
When it comes to Climate Change discussions, things can get awfully….heated.
Global leaders met in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum last week to talk about, I would argue, how to share the world’s resources. Some of us are using more than our share, to the detriment of others. That’s a hard truth.
You know what’s even harder? Getting those of us with more to change how we live, consume, and drive.
It’s an aggravating truth that some people refuse to be swayed by reason to reconsider their positions, even when their current choice doesn’t serve their own best interests. Part of the problem is that people tend to shut down–and do nothing–when bombarded by too many choices. (See: Decision making theory)
I would also argue that a misapplied concept of Face –maintaining or losing social dignity–plays a powerful role as well. To admit we are wrong and take action to make things right, requires a significant cognitive shift.
A Davos participant wrote about this conundrum, and some paths forward, in this Harvard Business Review blog post yesterday.
To this point, a new Treehugger.com article reports on erroneous science reporting and what happens when climate change skeptics cover their eyes to the hard, scientific, facts that the globe is getting hotter. Why is this a problem? Because keeping a mental door shut to scientific facts allows people to perpetuate and protect their social, economic and political positions.
I believe we can all be in agreement about basic facts. We know the world is getting hotter, based on the replicated, peer-reviewed scientific findings by the overwhelming majority of the world’s experts.
For those who are having trouble getting there, let’s build bridges by teaching, learning and practicing analytical skills. At the end of the day, I believe that when we know better, we do better.
Then we can get down to the business of what we’re going to do about our hotter-than-ever world.
Every once in a while a spasm of easily debunked but headline grabbing climate change denial splashes across the mainstream media. The last couple of days was one of those times, with a simply factually incorrect piece in the Wall Street Journal and another one in the Daily Mail repeating the tired meme that there hasn’t actually been any recorded warming on the planet in over a decade. Never mind that NASA released data showing quite starkly the exact opposite earlier in the same week.