FUD me baby!

I came across two articles recently that discussed some issues surrounding climate change. They are interesting articles in their own right–perhaps for different reasons–but what really interested me were the comments posted about the articles.

The first is in the Daily Freeman, out of the US – Cost of climate change not just environmental, Bard expert says The article is based on a report from Center for Environmental Policy at Bard, in Annandale-on-Hudson, and discusses the economic impacts of climate change on agriculture. I want to add here that Wiki tells me that the Bard Center is one of the most left leaning institutes in the US, and I am not sure I would support the tone of the article 100%, however, check out some of the comments posted at the end:

This is nonsense, and the only purpose is to give centralized government more control over our lives and to reduce our liberties and freedoms. A reason for elitists to tell us how to live our lives. A reason for angry and unhappy people to pass that misery onto the rest of us. Or to line their pockets with our tax dollars.

One can be fairly certain that liberal atheists are controlling science. As if godless evolution were not enough of a fraud, a socialist president that wasn’t even born here, we have to suffer though the cries of global warming. . . . The rest of the world will probably just expect the US to save them all again. But of course they also want us to give up our nukes and probably totally disarm.

This is really frightening stuff!! I really wish this was all sarcasm, but I think the reality is that there are people out there that really think this way.

The Economist magazine, which possibly attracts people with a more moderate view, ran a number of articles on climate change in March. One of which was – Spin, Science, and Climate Change.  The purpose of the article is to discuss some of the skepticism around climate change and criticism of the associated science. Again, what I would like to discuss here are the comments that came in response to the article–372 comments in 15 days. People do feel strongly about this stuff, but what was the general tone of things? Here is a random smattering of comments:

I am deeply opposed to a more powerful central government, as the 20th century repeatedly showed us how that leads to loss of freedom, poor governance, and eventually disaster.

Time for the Economist to inform itself, water vapour is a major influence on climate change, carbon but a small one and the man made portion of that a marginal influence on climate change.

After years of batting the issue of climate change back and forth like a toy, journalists finally batted it too hard and broke it with coverage of “Climategate.” Thanks largely, and ironically, to journalism’s refusal to ever acknowledge the climate change “debate” as settled, it HAS been settled. Journalists’ inexcusable eagerness to swallow the manufactured scandal, served to them by the denial lobby, has firmly convinced too many people that climate change is a hoax.

It would be more interesting if the Economist pointed out what is known for certain. We know for certain that:

    -The climate change panel has willfully kept wrong information in its report.
    -That scientists have tried to manipulate the public
    -That scientists have tried to bar other scientist from accessing important data about global warming
    -That most (or all) of those responsible for wrongdoing are still active and have not been removed from their positions and have not been punished
    -That most of these facts have not been discovered by the media or by the Economist. That there is a lack of serious investigation into the matters.

Vikings grew grapes in Greenland — then called Vineland — a thousand years ago. Then something happened. It might have been the dust raised by horse-drawn wagons or perhaps the smoke from burning witches. Anyhow, it brought on an ice age and grapes don’t grow there anymore. Forgive me for thinking that, like the poor, climate change has always been with us.

What we see are: people who believe they hold the key fact to disproving climate change that all other scientists have missed, people who believe it is just a ploy to create larger government and tax us more, people who think there is a conspiracy to either deny climate change or to manufacture its existence.  Yep, it is all over the place.

I think there are a couple of points that need to be kept in mind.  Many people are opportunists–if there is an opportunity to exploit an event to their benefit, many will take it. So, if that exploitation is immoral–in the eyes of some–does that mean the event never happened? I think that is the position many people are taking. Its just a scam to create big government, its just a scam to sell green power, its just a scam to give more power to the greenie lefty commie bastards–and therefore climate change does not exist. It may be totally possible that some of those groups, being the opportunists that they are, are exploiting climate change to their own advantage, but does that mean it does not exist?

What was the point of all this? Well, just to illustrate some of the crazy ideas out there, and that a lot of this noise is what keeps people sitting on the fence. In my view it is a classic FUD tactic. FUD being Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. As defined by Wiki “FUD is a tactic of rhetoric and fallacy used in sales, marketing, public relations, politics and propaganda. FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence public perception by disseminating negative and dubious/false information designed to undermine the credibility of their beliefs.”

I’d say it is working pretty well.