‘The climate is always changing’: true, but not helpful

“When we already believe the world to be a certain way, then we interpret new experiences to fit with those beliefs, whether they actually do or not.”

Thus spake Veritasium

I had another post scheduled for today, but this one is far more timely.

My post last week highlighted an example of a meme (‘learning styles’) that’s been around since the 1970s. Despite it being strongly contested and having little evidence to back it up, it clearly strikes a chord that many find hard to resist.

The UK Met Office's 'warning impact matrix', showing 'amber' ticked

Yesterday, the UK Met Office issued its first ever ‘amber extreme heat warning‘ for the UK. I’ve not been able to determine when they began issuing these warnings, but even so, this should suffice to underscore the reality of climate change.

However, one clear effect this alert has had is to bring out the climate science deniers, spouting their dismissive and misleading memes such as, “I remember the UK heatwave in 1976”. (I saw a half dozen of those in just one comment thread I read this morning.)

That was then, this is now (take 1)

Yes, I remember the UK heatwave of 1976, too. It was exceptional, it’s true. But it’s not at all relevant, and the very fact that it’s raised in knee-jerk response to (yet another) heatwave warning says to me that those bringing it up believe that it’s somehow evidence that human-caused climate change isn’t happening, which is utter nonsense, as demonstrated by the following thirty second video clip:

Watching the Land Temperature Bell Curve Heat Up (1950-2020) (NASA)
(Hat tip to Peter Sinclair for finding this!)

Just in case you don’t have time to watch that right now, I’ve grabbed two screenshots from it: one from 1976, and the other from 2020.

That was then, this is now (take 2)

“Ah,” says the typical climate science denier, “but, the climate is always changing”. This is true. But it’s also a truism — and extremely misleading; it’s about as relevant as stating that the Sun will rise tomorrow. The point that it misses is that at no time in the geological record have global temperatures risen as fast as they are doing right now.

Here’s another short clip. This one’s just under three minutes long, and I urge you to watch it to the end — when it takes us back, through several ice ages, to the time when our species first appeared on Earth.

History of atmospheric CO2, from 800,000 years ago until January 2019 (CarbonTracker)

That was then, this is now (take 3)

“But carbon dioxide is just a trace gas!” splurts the average clueless denier, seemingly oblivious of the reality that even a ‘trace’ amount of any one of several poisons in their body would render them stone dead. Just as dead, in fact, as if there were no carbon dioxide at all in our atmosphere (because Earth would be a snowball planet).

Svante Arrhenius, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1903, was the first to use basic principles of physical chemistry to estimate the extent to which increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) increase Earth’s surface temperature through the greenhouse effect. He did this in 1896. We’ve been twiddling our thumbs, and ‘debating’ the idea (even those who aren’t chemists, physicists, or climate scientists), for one and a quarter centuries. If we’ve learned one thing in all that time, it’s that you can lead someone to knowledge, but you can’t help them think.

About peNdantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
This entry was posted in ... wait, what?, balance, Climate, Communication, Core thought, Education, Environment, GCD: Global climate disruption, Health, perception, Phlyarology, Strategy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to ‘The climate is always changing’: true, but not helpful

  1. Yes. The climate is always changing but it happens this fast so it is called ‘climate change’.

    Liked by 2 people

    • pendantry says:

      I actually prefer the term ‘global climate disruption’ to describe the current situation, myself, but the deniers have already successfully spread the meme that “they can’t make up their minds whether to call it ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change'”, so attempting to change it again would just cause further mayhem.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for this! I’ve been wanting to write about climate change on my site but am too afraid that I don’t know enough about it to talk about its dangers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry says:

      It’s an extensive topic — and it’s a minefield; there’s a lot of misinformation, disinformation and outright lies about it out there. You have to be on your guard at all times not to fall into rabbit holes!

      I would suggest that a good place to start would be skepticalscience.com. If you’re a book reader, I can thoroughly recommend ‘The Merchants of Doubt‘ by Oreskes & Conway (helps you recognise the bad players) and ‘What’s the Worst That Could Happen?‘ by Greg Craven, the man responsible for the viral video ‘The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See’:

      Welcome to Wibble, Quentin!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you for these sources! I’m following your blog and will use you and your sources whenever major stories about climate change come around. After all, learning is one of the best parts of blogging. If you would ever like, I’ll gladly post a few of your future posts on my blog as well! Thanks. Quentin

        Liked by 1 person

        • pendantry says:

          ‘Major stories about climate change’ are on the rise, I fear. By all means, feel free to hit the ‘reblog’ button anytime you like :) Reblogging was behaving a bit oddly a short while ago, but I think WordPress may have fixed the bugs. Well, some of them, anyway.

          Like

  3. dolphinwrite says:

    We sought out scientists (i.e. astrologists, geologists, biologists, and so forth), reading some of their documents and watching some of their speeches, who did not believe in man-made global anything, demonstrating that such things are not possible and certainly haven’t happened, that the sun and other natural factors have much more to do with our climate, we being like ants on the back of a California sized elephant. What I wondered is why the progressive/marxist media won’t give them air time, and why politicians taking our rights away are encouraging us to believe what has yet to be fully understood. **I asked readers once, for their own understanding: Look up all the factors (Under the Earth, on the Earth, and in above the Earth, including outer space, that affects our planet, then calculate the effects of all that. Then, come back with the findings. We’d be interested to hear/read.

    Like

    • pendantry says:

      I’m in favour of allowing people to speak their minds — well, with the exception of the obvious spammers, naturally — even when I believe they’re wrong (I always try to acknowledge the possibility that it could be my own beliefs that are flawed). I’m sorry to have taken so long to respond to your comment; but I needed time to compose a reasonable rejoinder.

      I’m intrigued by your very first word. Who, exactly, are ‘we’? If it’s the majestic plural you’re employing here, I’d love to know where your kingdom is. Your fifth word (‘astrologists’) caused me to double-take: there’s no such word. Do you mean ‘astrologers’? Surely not, as astrology is pseudoscientific claptrap. I have to admit that I struggled to make sense out of the meandering remainder of your comment. My understanding is that your main thrust is an attempt to dispute (without offering any evidence whatsoever) the validity of decades of scientific research (in a great many fields) that prove beyond doubt that not only is homo fatuus brutus thoroughly capable of polluting its home, it is doing so at an accelerating rate.

      Giving ‘air time’ to nutcases is done all the time, in the name of ‘balance’ — in fact I’m kind of doing that right now. You claim to be ‘interested to hear/read’ evidence, but, to me at least, your comment demonstrates that you’re utterly incapable of accepting any that might disabuse you of your bizarre reality and/or realities. I regret to advise that, to protect the sanity of both myself and other visitors, I have no option but to leave you firmly in moderation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dolphinwrite says:

        Did you know there are people who seem to be complementing while at the same time dissing. Then, we know, no real communication was ever intended, and we allow others to “appear” intelligent with grammar. We really do know what we’re talking about, and we really do know many have been propagandized, and we leave all this to readers, and in the past, have written extensively, but that is only for real conversations. Okay. I won’t know, for I’m done here, but I’m sure the insults and barbs are coming. Adios.

        Like

        • pendantry says:

          ‘Real communication’ and ‘real conversations’ entail an exchange of information. All you’ve done so far is make assertions relating to how you believe the world works. If you have specific objections about the points I raised in my post above, let’s have them. If this is goodbye, then go in peace, and I wish you well.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m almost 67 and have lived 40 years in California. Now I’m back in Denmark where I grew up and where I have my roots. I left the HEAT and the WILDFIRES and the FLOODING that are now threatening the people and animals alike. The traffic has grown out of proportion during those years, both on the ground and in the sky. Of course we are disrupting our environment! It’s right there, in front of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry says:

      Absolutely. What I find scary is the number of people who seem thoroughly incapable of seeing beyond their noses.

      Thanks for the comment, Elizabeth, and welcome to Wibble! :)

      Like

  5. Pingback: ‘The climate is always changing’: true, but not helpful — Wibble – Hints of life

  6. hintsoflife says:

    Reblogged! You address the most scary but important aspect of climate change. The Non Believers, the pseudoscientists. It’s time to have a ‘Real conversation.’ If not now then when?!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Catxman says:

    Climate change agreement or disagreement seems to depend on which side of the political spectrum you reside in.

    If you’re in the far left, anti-Capitalistic wing, you’re all heartily for climate change predictions, and predictably want to shut down capitalism to get rid of it.

    If you’re in America and are a Republican rightist, you doubt that the Bible would allow such an abomination on the earth and act and think accordingly.

    And if you’re a centrist … wait, are there still centrists around?

    — Catxman

    http://www.catxman.wordpress.com

    Like

    • pendantry says:

      The world is not America (even though Americans tend to refer to America as ‘the world’). ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ are, mostly, American constructs (though I don’t deny they exist elsewhere). A lot of people on our planet are, already, suffering from the effects of climate change. Far too many of them don’t have an equitable voice at the table. Perhaps these are the ‘centrists’ you seek?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. dolphinwrite says:

    There’s an old saying. If you repeat a lie enough times, people start to believe. So, I’ll state the truth here, and perhaps, more will realize, and more will understand. There is no man-made climate change.

    Like

    • pendantry says:

      I find it really sad that you are clearly incapable of recognising the irony in your statements here.

      Like

      • dolphinwrite says:

        Quips and darts aren’t truths. Good try, though.

        Like

        • pendantry says:

          You’ve sent a lot of comments over the last few days, dolphinwrite. Most of those won’t see the light of day here, I’m afraid, as they are bereft of any actual content. You continue to make vague assertions about ‘the truth being available to those who seek it,’ but most of your comments, I’m sorry to say, lack any actual substance. My advice to you is twofold: 1) read this, and, assuming that doesn’t cause you to stop and think (sadly, I believe that it won’t); 2) give up and return to your normal echo-chamber haunts, where, I’ve no doubt, you’ll find folks that actually listen to your clueless babbling.

          Like

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