Sunday, 6 December 2009

Climate Change: A Question of Trust

I've been thinking about the question of Gordon Brown describing people who are sceptical about climate change as "flat earthers" and a little lightbulb went off about the questions about climate change and trust.

Since Climategate kicked off, I've noticed something quite disturbing about the attitude of the scientists, their fans and the bodies that support them: none of them have tried to come up with a convincing argument to support the case of the scientists. They have attempted to reassure the population "there's nothing in these emails to disprove it" or to make accusations about the people who did it, or to call sceptics by names like "flat earthers".

What they don't seem to realise is that climate change has been, for most of the population, a matter of trust. It isn't like "flat earth". I, despite few scientific qualifications can prove the earth is round in about 4 different ways. I don't have to say "trust me, it is round".

Millions have been spent by the UK Government on climate change, and nothing in there has covered how the climate models worked, or why it is warming up, feedback and so forth. Go to a site like Act On CO2. The statement on there about climate change says "The scientific community agrees – climate change is happening and human activity is almost certainly the cause.". The current ad on TV talks about "scientists found that the warming was faster than they thought it was". There is nothing to try and educate people. It just tells them to trust the men in white coats because they know best.

The reason why suddenly Gordon Brown finds himself calling 48% of the population "flat earthers" is because having based the whole thing on trust in scientists, when some emails come out which might set a tone which is that they aren't trustworthy, then you're going to find the argument falling apart for many people.

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