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Thread: When People Are Shown Scientific Evidence or News Stories on Climate Change That Emphasize the Most Negative Aspects of Warming, They Are Actually Mor

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    When People Are Shown Scientific Evidence or News Stories on Climate Change That Emphasize the Most Negative Aspects of Warming, They Are Actually Mor

    When people are shown scientific evidence or news stories on climate change that emphasize the most negative aspects of warming, they are actually more likely to dismiss or deny what they're seeing.

    While researching a feature for TIME.com recently, I had the chance to sift through TIME's decades of environment coverage. I came to two conclusions: First, we were writing stories about virtually the same subjects 40 years ago as we do now. (Air pollution, endangered species, the polluted oceans, dwindling natural resources.) Second, our coverage of climate change has been really scary — by which I mean, we've emphasized the catastrophic threats of global warming in dire language. That reached a height in 2006, when we titled our cover story on climate change, crowned with a photo of a lonely polar bear on an ice floe, "Be Worried. Be Very Worried." And since it was published, I've seen that cover image pop up in countless PowerPoint presentations on climate change, always used to underscore just how catastrophic warming would be.

    I was part of the team that put that issue together, and I know why we used the language we did. Scientists were telling us that global warming really had the potential to wreck the future of the planet, and we wanted to get that message across to readers — even if it meant scaring the hell out of them.
    (See TIME's photo essay "Fragile Planet.")

    But if a new study is to be believed, we might have been making the situation worse, not better. According to forthcoming research by the Berkeley psychologists Robb Willer and Matthew Feinberg, when people are shown scientific evidence or news stories on climate change that emphasize the most negative aspects of warming — extinguished species, melting ice caps, serial natural disasters — they are actually more likely to dismiss or deny what they're seeing. Far from scaring people into taking action on climate change, such messages seem to scare them straight into denial.

    Here's how the study worked. Willer and Feinberg tested participants' belief in global warming, and then their belief in what's called the just-world theory, which holds that life is generally fair and predictable. The subjects were then randomly assigned to read one of two newspaper-style articles. Both pieces were identical through the first four paragraphs, providing basic scientific information about climate change, but they differed in their conclusions, with one article detailing the possibly apocalyptic consequences of climate change, and the other ending with a more upbeat message about potential solutions to global warming.
    (Read about how climate change is becoming cool in the classroom.)

    Willer and Feinberg found that participants given the doomsday articles came out more skeptical of climate change, while those who read the bright-side pieces came out less skeptical. The increase in skepticism was especially acute among subjects who'd scored high on the just-world scale, perhaps because the worst victims of global warming — the poor of the developing world, future generations, blameless polar bears — are the ones least responsible for it. Such unjust things couldn't possibly occur, and so the predictions can't be true. The results, Willer and Feinberg wrote, "demonstrate how dire messages warning of the severity of global warming and its presumed dangers can backfire ... by contradicting individuals' deeply held beliefs that the world is fundamentally just."
    (Comment on this story.)

    Now a climate scientist armed with data might argue that worldviews should be trumped by facts. But there's no denying that climate skepticism is on the rise: a new report from the Pew Research Center found that the percentage of Americans who believe there is solid evidence that the earth is warming because of human activity has fallen from 50% in 2006 to 34%. The numbers are even lower for conservatives — just 16% of Republicans surveyed believe in manmade global warming, compared with 53% of Democrats.
    (See how environmentalists got green during the California elections.)

    Poor messaging isn't the only possible cause for the increase in denial: politicians — mostly on the right — have aggressively pushed the climate-change-is-a-hoax trope. The Climategate controversy of a year ago certainly might have played a role, too, though the steady decline in belief began well before those hacked e-mails were published. Still, the fact remains that if the point of the frightening images in global-warming documentaries like An Inconvenient Truth was to push audiences to act on climate change, they've been a failure theoretically and practically.

    Some environmental advocates want to double down on the current communication strategy. A group of prominent climate scientists published a letter in Science this week arguing for an initiative that will "actively and effectively share information about climate-change risk and potential solutions with the public." It's good to have scientists out and engaged with the public; but if the messaging doesn't change, neither will the results. What may be needed instead is what the science-media expert Matthew Nisbet calls a "postpartisan plan" for climate-change communication, one that ratchets down the catastrophe and focuses on the immediate benefits that energy action can have for Americans.

    For many environmentalists, convinced that we truly are facing an existential threat, that might seem like surrender. The writer and activist Bill McKibben has a saying: "You can't negotiate with the planet." That's true — but you have to negotiate with the public. Scaring them out of their wits will produce little beyond fear. Increasingly, the war over climate change won't just be fought in scientific journals and international summits, but also between our ears.

    Source http://www.time.com/time/health/arti...Top+Stories%29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hersir View Post
    When people are shown scientific evidence or news stories on climate change ...
    How ignorant. 99% of the news coverage doesn't even understand the scientific evidence to begin with, and thus make up idiotic claims.
    "Nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of a few powerful predecessors, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak who assimilate themselves, and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)

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    The media have been convincing people to ignore the science behind racial variation for years, the irony is delicious.
    Life is a well of delight; but where the rabble also drink, there all fountains are poisoned.

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    the truth about warming: it has happened before, and we are not currently causing it

    Our climate has always gone through warmer and cooler cycles (ice ages), it's normal. During the middle ages, from approx. 950 - 1250 AD, there was the medieval warm period, a time when it got so warm that palm trees grew in Great Britain! Were we the cause of that? Long before automobiles came into existence? The truth of the matter is that climate change is a political tool and nothing more. The simple fact is that ONLY something as substantial as the sun can cause climate change, it has in the past (during the medieval warm period), and is also responsible now. The sun is getting brighter, and so we have warmer temperatures here on earth, it's only natural.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest King View Post
    Our climate has always gone through warmer and cooler cycles (ice ages), it's normal.
    The case for anthropogenic, global warming is not that there is a warming to begin with, but because of the short time frame it is (supposedly) happening, which scientists claim is unrivaled in Earth history.

    Quote Originally Posted by Forest King View Post
    The simple fact is that ONLY something as substantial as the sun can cause climate change, it has in the past (during the medieval warm period), and is also responsible now. The sun is getting brighter, and so we have warmer temperatures here on earth, it's only natural.
    We are currently witnessing the non-appearance of a predicted increase in sun activity due to sun cycles, something which in the past produced what we call "the small ice age" (15th-19th century).
    This observation is rather new (it came with GOCE), and not yet well incorporated in "global warming skeptic's" publications (they still assume the increase of activity due to the predicted cycle).
    The fact that we actually don't have a (supposedly) measurable trend of drop of temperature actually speaks for anthropogenic global warming.

    That's of course only if the data itself (e.g. temperature measurement) is true.
    "Nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of a few powerful predecessors, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak who assimilate themselves, and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)

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    Initially the sides for and against climate change were providing evidence: however by now anthropogenic climate change has been demonstrated. Besides what else happens with all that accumulated carbon, from geological deposits accumulated over millions of years, when it goes up into the atmosphere. Where does it go and why would it not affect the climate? I have never seen climate skeptics express why it supposedly is climatically inert.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catterick View Post
    Initially the sides for and against climate change were providing evidence: however by now anthropogenic climate change has been demonstrated.
    Statistically speaking there is a chance, that the climate change is natural. Alpha error: 8%.
    Most scientific disciplines demand an alpha error of 5% to make their findings sound. It all depends though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Catterick View Post
    Besides what else happens with all that accumulated carbon, from geological deposits accumulated over millions of years, when it goes up into the atmosphere. Where does it go and why would it not affect the climate? I have never seen climate skeptics express why it supposedly is climatically inert.
    It goes into the atmosphere.
    CO2 absorbs infrared spectra of a certain wavelength (a tiny range). The sun does not emit infinite energy of this wave length, as such there is a point where all of this wave length is absorbed.
    Let's assume 400 ppm CO2 absorb all of this energy, then an increase to 600 ppm wouldn't make any difference for the temperature. It could bring us more migraines though

    And for the records, I wouldn't call myself a "climate skeptic".
    "Nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of a few powerful predecessors, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak who assimilate themselves, and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)

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