Greens and a tin-opener
Feb 11, 2011
Bishop Hill in BBC, Climate: other, Greens

Brian Micklethwait writes about last night's BBC Radio 4 programme about the psychology of climate change. Having read the blurb for the show I had decided to give it a miss, and from what Brian has written I was probably right to have done so. Nevertheless, he makes some perceptive points about the problem facing our opponents given that many people have simply concluded that the world is not going to fry:

The elephant in their room is that they have lost this argument, in the sense that they need unanimity [on climate change], but are drifting further and further away from unanimity. They are ignoring this elephant. They are behaving like that economist, stuck on a desert island with various other sorts of experts, who is wondering how to contrive a tin-opener. "Let's assume we have a tin-opener." This won't work.

Update on Feb 11, 2011 by Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Also this from Brian M in the comments thread below the Samizdata piece:

They just flailed about for half an hour looking for the magic marketing pitch that would persuade everyone to act on their assumed unanimous belief, having said at the start that they would not be discussing any actual differing beliefs, by discussing that people might actually have good reasons for differing beliefs. There was no speculation about why people disagreed. Dissenters were not, as I say, medicalised. They were simply ignored.

It was funny, somewhat in a way that reminded me of that scene in one of the Douglas Adams yarns, where some cave man invents the wheel, and the marketers say has it been tested with focus groups. In that case, the marketers wanted to abort an actual miracle, ridiculously. Here, there were being expected to create a miracle, out of nothing. They tried, ridiculously, and of course failed. In both cases they were thrusting themselves to centre stage, where in each case they did not belong. The wheel just needed to start being used, as it actually was, of course. With CAGW, the argument has first to be won that it is actually happening. Unless and until that argument has been won, the marketers are helpless.

The marketers should have said that. Maybe some did. They didn't appear on the programme

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