Living with climate change: Convincing the sceptics


Toshi Sasaki/Getty By Fred Pearce Some people reject the self-evident truths of climate change; others hold world views that don’t easily find common ground with science. So how can they best be persuaded of the need for action? Free market ideologues: “Saying climate change is the greatest threat to our world is a grab for global government by crazy catastrophists.” This group may not deny basic climate science, but they deny its importance. They see calls to clamp down on emissions as a threat to the free market that drives capitalism. Response: Ask why markets don’t reflect the costs associated with climate change. Free markets need social and political stability, and so climate stability too. Big banks, insurance firms and oil companies have called for action on climate change. Government dilly-dallying is anathema to their bottom lines. Christian ideologues: “The bible says humans have dominion over the Earth” and “it’s all part of God’s plan”. Many Christians, particularly US evangelicals, say nature is for us to use as we see fit. It ties in with a political agenda opposed to collectivism, so reticent on issues that need collective action. Response:
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