Cli­mate change zealotry wears thin

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - Rita Panahi Twit­ter: @ ri­ta­panahi rita. panahi@ news. com. au

FEAR of be­ing blown up, be­headed or shot by Is­lamic State sav­ages is a far greater con­cern for most Aus­tralians than the ef­fects of cli­mate change.

The sick­en­ing bar­bar­ity of IS and “lone wolf” at­tacks inspired by the terror group have had a pro­found im­pact on the psy­che of Aus­tralians.

The latest Pew Re­search Cen­tre sur­vey shows that in Aus­tralia, IS is seen as the big­gest global dan­ger, with 69 per cent of those sur­veyed “very con­cerned”. The next big­gest global threat was deemed to be Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram fol­lowed by cy­ber at­tacks, cli­mate change, global eco­nomic sta­bil­ity, ten­sions with Rus­sia and, lastly, ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes with China.

Most Aus­tralians are all too aware of the risks posed by rad­i­calised lo­cals and know it’s only luck and the work of coun­tert­er­ror­ism of­fi­cers that has pre­vented fur­ther at­tacks here. The rea­son cli­mate change rates so lowly may have some­thing to do with the pi­ous fer­vour of alarmists, whose dooms­day pre­dic­tions fiz­zle out into non- events.

Who could for­get Tim Flan­nery’s con­tri­bu­tion? The mam­mal ex­pert was not only named Aus­tralian of the Year but headed the Cli­mate Com­mis­sion and regularly scared the be­je­sus out of the public with talk of never- end­ing droughts and cities run­ning out of wa­ter. But Aus­tralians have wearied of the false cries of im­mi­nent doom.

Once we were all alarmed but those not in­doc­tri­nated in green ide­ol­ogy can recog­nise bull­dust when we see it. Warmies link­ing ev­ery fire and weather event to global warm­ing doesn’t smack of sci­en­tific in­tegrity. Nor does the claim that 97 per cent of cli­mate sci­en­tists are in agree­ment on an­thro­pogenic global warm­ing.

Richard Tol, an au­thor of the In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change, ex­plains: “The 97 per cent refers to the num­ber of pa­pers, rather than … sci­en­tists. The al­leged con­sen­sus is about any hu­man role in cli­mate change, rather than a dom­i­nant role, and it is about cli­mate change rather than the dan­gers it might pose”. Cli­mate change is real but the truth is most Aus­tralians are no longer alarmed by its ef­fects.

You can’t ex­pect peo­ple to ac­cept ev­ery­thing you tell them, nor can you treat cli­mate science with zealotry and ex­pect to be taken se­ri­ously.

Like­wise it’s sim­plis­tic and coun­ter­pro­duc­tive to pi­geon­hole those not fret­ting about cli­mate change into one large, ho­moge­nous cat­e­gory of “de­niers”. Cli­mate change has gone from be­ing a great chal­lenge of our time and gree­nies have only them­selves to blame.

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