• 3 minutes e-car sales collapse
  • 6 minutes America Is Exceptional in Its Political Divide
  • 11 minutes Perovskites, a ‘dirt cheap’ alternative to silicon, just got a lot more efficient
  • 11 mins How Far Have We Really Gotten With Alternative Energy
  • 2 hours Bad news for e-cars keeps coming
  • 12 days What fool thought this was a good idea...
  • 10 days A question...
  • 3 hours The U.S. Is Determined to Revolutionize Its Microchip Industry
  • 14 days Why does this keep coming up? (The Renewable Energy Land Rush Could Threaten Food Security)
  • 15 days They pay YOU to TAKE Natural Gas

Why Climate Change is Such a Tough Sell

Climate change has been a debate that has polarised the world for a few years. The majority now believe, but not sufficiently to create the support needed to turn the belief into tangible climate change policies at a national level.

NASA scientist James Hansen, one of the first to recognise and announce the dangers of climate change, has just recently released a paper again supporting the theory that the irregular weather patterns experienced around the world over the last couple of years are linked to global warming.
His paper offers more evidence that global temperatures have clearly risen over the past 30 years, and that human actions have an impact on the trend.

The wealth of scientific evidence building up to support climate change is strong, but it is not translating into effective climate change policy, and this is because the conservatives have been very effective in belittling the evidence and pushing the debate into a matter of differences in culture or social beliefs.

Trying to communicate the climate change message is difficult. Focussing on scientific issues brings rational evidence to the argument, but it doesn’t excite public interest, it lacks the call to arms that is needed to generate substantial public support. So we could focus more on the moral issues, and the direct ways in which it can personally affect us, but this splits public opinion due to political parties and personal beliefs.

In order to battle climate change, advocates need public support, without broad public support the politicians have no incentive to do anything, and something must be done.

For more information on climate change read our interview with Judith Curry

One answer could be to push the emphasis onto the economics of climate change. Make sure that the public believe that investing in clean energy will create jobs and support energy independence. Changing lifestyle to reduce the amount of energy used will also work to bring energy independence closer. Using public transport will reduce congestion, reduce commuting times, and improve local economies. People are more likely to relate to these economic benefits and support climate change.

Climate change would be much more popular if the deniers were restricted more effectively. According to CNN Money, “The right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is pushing legislation at the state level that would force schools to teach climate change denial in science classes. The bill recently passed the Tennessee legislature and has also passed in Louisiana, Texas, and South Dakota. Ironically, these states will suffer greatly from climate change.”


Climate change has been around for a few years now, but advocates still haven’t sorted the best way of encouraging wide scale public support. They had better find out how soon, because time is running out.

By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com

Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • klem on April 13 2012 said:
    It’s the same old trick from the weak willed greenies, they always call it climate change when they mean to use the term anthropogenic climate change. They can easily prove the climate changes because the evidence is everywhere, but the proof is much more tricky when trying to pin the responsibility on human activity. They can’t show that CO2 is responsible for ancient changes in climate let alone recent changes. So they conflate the terms and say things like ‘there is no scientific debate about climate change’. Lol!

    Then they show pictures of polar bears and glaciers and claim oceans are rising, ooohh so scary. But they know full well these are merely evidence of climate change only, they are not evidence that CO2 is the cause. They make me laugh they really do.
  • Leslie Graham on April 10 2012 said:
    "...Climate change has been around as long as climate has, and that is a great deal longer than humans for example...."

    Ah the standard "The climate's changed before" meme.
    What a surprise.
    Yes - it just shows you how sensitive the climate is to forcings doesn't it. The climate has always changed. It has always changed for a reason. This reason includes increases in CO2 in the atmosphere.
    The climate doesn't care where this CO2 comes from - whether it is from naturaly occoring melting brought on by Milankovitch Cycles or whether it comes from humans burning 29 billion tons of fossil fuels per year.
    It just warms up anyway.
    But thanks for helping to prove the point.
  • Leslie Graham on April 10 2012 said:
    "...With people like Mann and Hansen being caught suppressing countervailing opinions and fudging the evidence..."

    With people like you endlessly parroting totaly unfounded and - frankly - libelous smears against climate scientists it's no wonder some of the public remain confused.
    Despite what you might read in the comments sections of denier-blogs and the right-wing gutter-press, Mann and Hansen did NOT 'fudge the evidence' as has been shown by NINE separate and independant inquiries in both the US and Europe which ALL completely vindicated the scientists of any wrongdoing whatsoever.
    Stop lying.

    "...Liars dont have credibility once they have been caught...."

  • Andrew Kerber on April 10 2012 said:
    You nailed the cause, albeit unknowingly. The advocates are the problem. With people like Mann and Hansen being caught suppressing countervailing opinions and fudging the evidence, the claims of the advocates have lost credibility. Most recently, Hansen has been caught adjusting historical records to make the current temperatures appear more extreme. Liars dont have credibility once they have been caught.
  • John Shade on April 10 2012 said:
    Quote: 'Climate change has been around for a few years now, but advocates still haven’t sorted the best way of encouraging wide scale public support. They had better find out how soon, because time is running out.'

    My immediate reactions to this:
    (1)Climate change has been around as long as climate has, and that is a great deal longer than humans for example.
    (2)Or did you mean 'climate change' as a political construct, one preferred to 'global warming' in many quarters, not least because there has been no global warming for about 15 years?
    (3) Changing the name of the problem has been one tactic of the 'advocates'. Outright deception (see An Inconvenient Truth, for example, or that report about disappearing Himalayan glaciers) has been tried, science journals have even been tried but the reaction to junk science and overblown claims is getting too fast and furious for comfort these days (see WUWT and Climate Audit sites for examples). They have also tried astro-turfing with huge success in terms of enriching NGOs and forming no end of new associations and initiatives for schools etc, but still not setting the heather ablaze.
    (4)Maybe some truthfulness and humility would be worth a shot? It means dropping all the crisis and catastrophe talk, but then so much political ground has been won by that already, and over-doing it might threaten that.
    (5) Time of course is not running out. It is plodding along as usual. Just as the climate system is doing.
  • Robert G on April 10 2012 said:
    I guess you haven't noticed that the wealth of scientific evidence supporting AGW keeps getting debunked by reality.
    "GW is killing off the polar bears" but no body told the bears that
    The global temperatures have not risen as predicted. In fact they are even lower than the computer models for no increase in CO2.

    You can only lie to people for so long before they start to catch on.
  • Ohio Engineer on April 10 2012 said:
    I have been following climate change news for the last several years. Dr. James E. Hansen, author of "Storms of My Grandchildren", is the best source I have found for both defining and proposing solutions to man-made global climate change.

    This article makes many good points. However, it failed to mention the vast and escalating sums of money that fossil fuel interests are now spending to advertise and lobby for their products and production strategies -- biasing news reporting, public opinion and legislation.

    As recommended by Dr. Hansen, a world-wide carbon tax with 100% rebates and more emphasis on next-generation nuclear energy would be very helpful!
  • Tom Malaby on April 10 2012 said:
    "Climate change has been around for a few years now..." How about a few billion years?

Leave a comment

EXXON Mobil -0.35
Open57.81 Trading Vol.6.96M Previous Vol.241.7B
BUY 57.15
Sell 57.00
Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News