climate change

We’d better use it wisely:

Yeah, that’s me.

Here’s a straightforward approach to dealing with denial. Most of these points make sense to me:

Tips for dealing with denial

  • Communicate a consistent message. Do not attempt to “soften the blow” too much, by making the issue seem less than it is.
  • Try not to provide too much information at one time. This sometimes can overwhelm [deniers]. Keep the first meeting as brief and succinct as possible, and end with the scheduling of a follow-up meeting.
  • Ask open-ended questions, and allow [deniers] plenty of time to talk. Undoubtedly, they are fearful of losing something very important—health, independence, or optimism/faith about the future.
  • Explain to [deniers] that information is something that you can provide, but that it is their choice what, if anything, they want to do with the information provided. Ask them what they want to know about, and let them guide the conversation.
  • Provide reading materials, which [deniers] can peruse at their own discretion.
  • End your meetings with [deniers] positively, and try to instill in them a sense of self-confidence in their abilities to [deal with the problem].
  • Recommend support groups, whenever possible.
  • Make it clear that the [problem] will never “go away,” .. but emphatically explain that [solutions] can lessen the severity of the [problem].
  • Explain to [deniers] that even if they do not believe that [the problem exists], the recommendations that you are making certainly will not harm them in any way. Ask them to humor you by making an attempt to follow your advice for a little while.
  • Know that [people] in denial often will refuse to admit that they are upset. They claim they are not upset—after all, nothing is wrong. Ask them how they would feel if they really did have the [problem] that they are denying that they have.
  • Remember that tough love often does not work with [people] in denial. Many [authorities] have said, “There is not much use talking to you right now. Just call me when you accept that  __________.”  They never hear from the [denier] again. Do not expect that [denier] will independently have a sudden insight. However, you can say, “I feel like you have other things on your mind today. We can talk more about this tomorrow at noon. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions before then.”
  • Expect [deniers] to direct their anger at you. Many times when you try to deconstruct their carefully built wall of denial, [deniers] will become angry. Do not react to this anger.

Some pretty sound advice there, I reckon. Some of it I’ve already seen in action in climate circles, some not.

The source? Medical clinical denial advice.

I wonder why more climate advocates haven’t looked at this kind of thing? Seems like a fairly obvious starting point, even if it can’t be linearly extrapolated to large groups…

The IPCC is being reviewed by the Interacademy Council (which represents dozens of national science academies). And they’re taking public comment. This might be a good chance to get some improvements. The comments form is at:

If you can’t think of anything, here’s what I wrote:

  • The IPCC needs to report more frequently. Interim reports, or even annual updates would be very useful.
  • More focus on possible tipping points. Especially estimates of sea-level rise from glacial melt, and estimates of non-linear responses to warming.
  • More transparency with the process – especially which representatives are making which changes to the finial release.
  • Stop being so conservative. Offer an your analysis, and be prepared to defend it when it gets attacked by the fossil fuel lobby and governments.
  • Work with science communicators. Create a lay-person’s version of the report.

Of the three announced national carbon targets I’ve heard of lately, two are arithmetically worse than Kyoto targets, and one is technically worse. The latter is Australia’s target, already discussed here.

The others are the recent US announcement, and the recent China announcement.

The US announcement was for a 17% cut, which sounds a bit better than the Kyoto US commitment (or non-commitment, as it turned out) of 7%. But it’s not really better, because it’s on 2005 levels, where as Kyoto was based on 1990. As it turns out, the US target, compared to 1990 levels is only about 5.5%, so it’s worse than the Kyoto target, and it’s 8 years later.

China’s announcement was for 40%, which sounds pretty good (and ok, since they didn’t have a target for Kyoto, it’s not really technically logical to call it worse), BUT. China’s target is relative to GDP. And China has a phenomenally high GDP growth rate, that 40% grows less meaningful every year. Even if China’s growth rate was close to average, like 3%, that 40 percent would be more or less nothing by 2020. China’s growth rate isn’t average though, it’s massive – 9% in 2008.

I’ve started collating ruses like these on envirowiki. If you know of any others, please edit that page and add them

There’s a pigeon nesting in the apple tree in my yard. The pigeon has already laid its eggs – two creamy pink ones. The apple tree hasn’t dropped it’s leaves yet – some are yellow, some are still green. It’s the 7th of July – the middle of winter.

Granted, both species are introduced, and the apple is some bastardised cross-breed grafted Frankenstein, each graft of which seems to bud, fruit and drop leaves at different times (which makes it very difficult to know when to prune it). But the image is pretty bizarre. I reckon the pigeon isn’t going to be happy when the rest of its cover is blown. Not that there are many predators in the suburbs.

Weird world.

This is in response to a discussion about population control and climate change on an e-list I’m on. In particular, it’s in response to a line by a mate, Jono:

it’s not the number of people that is important, but rather the power of the argument. Population control arguments need to be challenged wherever they occur, because they turn the climate movement into a war against human rights rather than for human rights.

Population control doesn’t have to infringe human rights. Some of the best ways of reducing the rate of population change are PRO-human rights: accessible education, equality in power relations between men and women, access to contraceptives, the aged pension.

Population is inseperable from environmental impact – if the population is low, but consumption per capita is very high, then you have a problem. If you have a really high population with small per-capita footprint, you still have a problem. At the moment, it’s obvious that the current global average per capita footprint is too high for the current population. The UN predicts 9 billion people by 2050, (150% of current population), which means that for us to have the same over all impact by then, we will need to have reduced our average percapita footprint to 2/3 of what it is now. To put this in perspective, current Australian GDP per capita is US$40-50,000, globally it’s about $10,000, so we’d have to reduce our footprints to about 15% of what it is now. That sounds doable, but that doesn’t take into account that we have to REDUCE our over-all impact, not keep it steady. (I realise I’m only talking about averages, but I think median figures would likely show even greater disparity).

There’s no reason why population control has to happen in the third world. It doesn’t matter where it happens. In fact, it’s probably better that it happens in the rich minority world, ’cause one less person here is heaps more impact reduction than the same person in the minority world. And that could potentially mean we have more room for refugees (not that population is the barrier now).

Ultimately, it’s about how you do it. Of course there’s plenty of fucked up ways to control populations. But the same can be said for any problem (Green Dictatorship, anyone?). We definitely shouldn’t be supporting any kind of punishment/penalties for people who feel the need to have more kids, but we should definitely encourage any positive measures that would help to slow down population rates, and oppose those that do the opposite (like Costello’s ” one for Mum, one for Dad, and one for the Country” – ugh… how would you feel to find out you were the one for the country?)

Seems to me that reducing populations and rates of change should definitely be a part of any broad climate campaign. We just have to make it abundantly clear how we mean to go about it – ethically and compassionately.

CFMEU rejects carbon trading job claims – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Electrical Union (CFMEU) says the release of figures warning that emissions trading will cost thousands of jobs is part of a scare campaign.

The Minerals Council says emissions trading will cost 23,000 jobs in the next decade .

But the CFMEU’s Tony Maher says the Minerals Council is using the figures irresponsibly.

“Even on their own shonky report there’s a very significant growth in employment,” he said.

It’s nice, really nice, to see Tony Maher from the CFMEU being honest. The Minerals Council are spinning this for all it’s worth, even though they’re getting more than they asked for in the CPRS. The CFMEU has run spin campaigns with the Minerals Coucil before, but obviously they aren’t as conjoined as it previously seemed.

Also worth noting that on Stateline tonight (I’ll link to the transcript when it goes up), solar researchers are planning to start a PV cell manufacturing industry, which they estimate will provide 70 construction, and 120 jobs. They also estimated that such an industry could eventually end up providing 40,000 jobs (if I remember the figure correctly).

That’s what I call an offset.

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