Monday, July 10, 2017

The culture war means never having to say you were wrong

Tim Blair mocks the recent Lateline episode in which various young scientist types spoke about their fears for the future, including whether they should have children, and where they think they may need to retire to as temperatures rise.  (Tasmania is popular, but the degree to which rainfall pattern changes may affect it seems rather uncertain - which isn't great for a place so reliant on hydro-electric.)

I saw this on Lateline and knew it would get mocking from Right wing culture warriors who have dumbed themselves down sufficiently such that they have not a clue who to listen to on climate change.  Delingpole, with his arts degree, or whatever he has, is apparently a more reliable guide than thousands of scientists who have contributed to climate change research.

That said, I don't think it's a wise thing to talk about not having children for the sake of climate change.  Let's face it, the kids of scientists are quite likely to be smart and rich enough to arrange things for themselves (such as moving to a more temperate climate) so as not to be a direct victim of climate change, much more so than a kid from some poor country in Africa or the Indian subcontinent.   And really, we want smart people to have kids and (hopefully) bring them up to be able to contribute to solutions to the problems climate change may bring.

But as with all culture warriors, Blair's attack (which is all about how Islamic terrorism is a direct and immediate threat and why are stoopid scientists not panicking about that instead of climate change) makes two fundamental mistakes:

a.  it is possible to walk and chew gum at the same time - yes, I know, a hard concept for any culture warrior obsessed with the Islamic and migrant threat to get a grasp on.  (Am I being unfair to Blair here?  I'm not sure he carries on about African immigration or even Islamic immigration as much as Bolt does - they seem to have divided things between them so that Blair will deal with cranky feminism, Waleed Aly and Jonathan Green - man, does he obsess about Jonathan;  Bolt deals with immigration and aborigines; and they both obsess about the ABC generally.)

b.  he lives in a fantasy world where heat seems to never matter.  Take this:
Very well, then. If we’re calculating risk based on the number of dead bodies, let’s consider the toll so far due to climate change.
It’s literally zero.
A big call, given that heatwaves kill off quite a few Indians each year, not to mention floods.   A milder climate in a cool to cold country may well be better for the population's health, but in a country that's already warm to hot for most of the year? 

Of course, what he's relying on is an inability to precisely say which extreme weather event can be ascribed to climate change, given that some extreme weather events would happen even without it.

But that is such a shallow way of considering it, unless you're a culture warrior, which essentially means never having to make yourself better informed on a topic you just know is wrong.

1 comment:

not trampis said...

Being a culture warrior means being unable to count!

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