August 9, 2010 § Leave a comment
Physicist John Cook has done us a great service by posting good one-line responses, which I repost with links below. For instance, if somebody raises the standard talking point that the climate has changed before, you can say, “Climate reacts to whatever forces it to change at the time, which now is dominated by humans.” That it is actually quite similar to my standard response, “The climate changes when it is forced to change, and now humans are forcing it to change far more rapidly than in the past” (see “Humans boosting CO2 14,000 times faster than nature, overwhelming slow negative feedbacks” and “Yes, the atmospheric CO2 fraction has risen at a dangerously fast rate in the past 160 years, reaching levels not seen in millions of years“). Working in the “now is dominated by humans” part is a good idea
A helpful reminder. Most people assumed climate was unchanging, except in where we were taught about the deep past of ice ages. It looked like the present was stable. This was a failure of education. As schools and universities focused on technology and corporate output for consumers we failed to pay attention to the nature place we live. So when the human effects on climate started getting some grip on the public mind, the background idea that nature is always changing, not having been taught, competed with the images of human forced changes. If we had absorbed the images of a constantly changing nature, we could then see the new facts in that context rather that the two sets of facts competing with each other as both being new ideas.