AP Reporter: Global Warming Skepticism Explained by Psychology

Global warming? Case closed. Consensus achieved. There can be no debate about it.

ClimateGate? Never happened. I refuse to even acknowledge its existence.

Must hang on to the global warming belief at all costs even against evidence to to the contrary.

That dogmatic stance pretty much sums up the attitude of Associated Press writer Malcolm Ritter in his story about how global warming skepticism can be ascribed to psychological faults:

The Copenhagen talks on climate change were convened with a sense of urgency that many ordinary folks don't share. Why is that? One big reason: It's hard for people to get excited about a threat that seems far away in space and time, psychologists say.

"It's not in people's faces," said psychologist Robert Gifford of the University of Victoria in British Columbia. "It is in the media, but not in their everyday experience. That's quite a different thing."

Oh, I see. Global warming skepticism has nothing to do with the observable evidence or with the recently discovered falsified data revealed in the ClimateGate emails and East Anglia University CRU computer source code. No. It can all be ascribed to psychology as presented by global warming dogmatist Ritter:

Gifford said people tend to attach less importance to future problems than more immediate concerns. That may be a holdover from early days of human evolution, when "things far away didn't matter, things in the future didn't matter. It was whether the tiger or the enemy was just around the corner," he said.

In fact, scientists say global warming's influence is already visible and it could get worse within decades if no action is taken. The average number of heat-wave deaths in Chicago could more than double by 2050, and killer heat waves in Europe could also increase by that time, experts say. Arctic summers may be almost free of sea ice by 2030 or sooner, they say.

Could..could...may. This is called reality? It sounds more like speculation. And Ritter picked a really poor example when he stated that heat-wave deaths in Chicago could more than double in 2050. In the actual, not could, world Chicago has just experienced an unusually cold summer. However, this won't stop Gifford in his junior league psychological analysis starting with the "13 dragons."

Even among people who accept global warming as a serious issue, there are additional psychological barriers to getting them to take significant action against it. Gifford, who studies pro-environmental behavior, calls them the 13 dragons.

Among them:

_ Environmental numbness: "OK, climate change. I've heard that one before. Been there, done that."

_ A feeling of powerlessness: "Anything I do is just a drop in the bucket."

_ Conflicting goals: "Yes, I should be changing my behavior, but I've got to look for a job, I've got to go to the gym, I have to take my kids to soccer practice, so I'll do it tomorrow."

_ A sense of inequality: "Why should I take the bus when my boss is driving a Cadillac?"

_ Loss of freedom: `It's a free country. I can drive a Hummer if I want to."

_ Tokenism: "I recycle, so thank you very much, I'm finished."

_ Excessive optimism: "It will work out in the end. The scientists will figure it out, so I don't have to do anything."

And then there's just plain habit. It's "a huge but boring force," Gifford said. "We just tend to do today what we did yesterday."

How about a 14th dragon?

Dogmatically clinging to a "scientific" belief without considering any evidence to the contrary by writing off dissenting views as merely due to psychology.

Perhaps Malcolm Ritter should look to himself in the global warming psychological problem department. 

P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick is a freelance writer and creator of the DUmmie FUnnies blog.