Why aren’t we convinced?

While the science of climate change is undeniable it does not mean everyone is convinced. I recently presented at an event with Ian Plimer, a leading climate sceptic, followed this week by lunch with Senator Nick Minchin. Senator Minchin led the opposition to Australia’s emissions trading legislation.

So the question is why? Messrs Plimer and Minchin passionately argue against the evidence.* They equally passionately argue we shouldn’t take action on climate change, even just to insure ourselves against risk.

The insurance argument is compelling. You and I insure our homes against less than a 1% chance of fire destroying the house. So why wouldn’t we take out climate insurance, lower our emissions, generate profits from efficiency and be part of the next green industrial revolution? Ultimately, the direct cost of climate change action is probably 1 to 2 percent of global GDP. For Australians that’s an average of $8 to $16 a week.

This makes logical sense. But as Hunter Lovins, co-author of Natural Capitalism, puts it in an interview with philosopher Ken Wilber, ‘when something is not working we tend to argue harder on the logic’. You’ll hear stories listening to a Plimer presentation. Emotive pleas to prioritise far more important issues from Minchin. And it feels so reassuring not to have to act, not to do things differently.

So what’s the story of climate change action? It’s partly the reason for this blog (and GreenMode). Stories of success, innovation and adaptation – the visionaries and people that are defining the future. It grows from the way it makes us feel and those around us, as much if not more as from the logic of climate science.

* Senator Minchin and Prof Plimer background includes: Four Corners and Minchin; Questions to Minchin at lunch; and, George Monbiot and Ian Plimer.

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