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Resurging climate denialist lies

The denialists based in the right-wing think-tanks might get money from tobacco firms and oil companies but they do have one outstanding environmental credential. They recycle their garbage.  Their lies about no climate change since 1998, using satellites to gain a different picture of temperature change, ocean temperatures showing no change and sea levels not rising went through a booming period of interest 4-5 years ago, were thoroughly refuted, but have staged a garbage-based comeback in recent times.  It is important to understand that for the most part the people propounding these stories are telling untruths – they are not only just gullible and dimwitted.  The facts on these issues are nicely set out on this Department of Climate Change webpage. Worth reading and reflecting on.  What are the motives of those ignoring the refutations? What motivates those who persist in making claims that are known to be false?

3 comments to Resurging climate denialist lies

  • Uncle Milton

    Ideology and intellectual dishonesty.

  • NickR

    I think it is probably due to some sort of tribal identity issue. By disputing climate change, disenfranchised people can signal their hostility towards elitist university types.

    Although I mostly mix in well educated groups I have a few friends from blue collar backgrounds. Something that strikes me very strongly about these people is the hurt and resentment that they seem to feel about being on the disadvantaged side of the Australian culture war.

    A friend from high school makes a good example. Although he was quite bright, his family didn’t value academic performance highly and he didn’t know how to get good grades. We used to study together and I know he tried hard, but he couldn’t perform and ended up being regarded as a bit of a dunce.

    Out of school he confided that he felt he missed out on the shared experience that our mutual friends had of going to university. I think in his mind, university life was a fantastic cross between Good Will Hunting and Girls Gone Wild, and he was the only one not invited. These days he works really hard for a pretty ordinary salary and will never be financially comfortable.

    Finishing last in life to more academically orientated peers must be humiliating for him. Thus I suspect that every time somebody calls out denialists as idiots he digs his heels in a bit deeper. After all, denialsim is the only pseudo-intellectual group that won’t reject him.

  • Michael James

    Harry, as an economist you will be familiar with the phenomenon you describe. In the debate on ‘economic rationalism’ 20 years ago many commentators rejected the broad consensus among economists that free trade produces more welfare than protection. I dare say that those commentators include some who today urge the climate change denialists to defer to the expert consensus on the subject.