Thursday, August 12, 2010

Signs of hope on the AGW front

A few of us were going back and forth over in the forums about the fatigue and frustration provoked by having to rebut, over and over, the nonsense we hear from global warming denialists. I did end up one subthread by saying this:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords
I have no idea how you maintain your optimism.

By looking at where we were a decade, and two decades, ago. Sure, it could be a lot better, but it could also be a lot worse. I also take comfort in the positive trends I see in much of the rest of the world. We're not yet at the point where a majority is ready for the action we should take, in this country or worldwide, but we're getting there. Many, probably most, people are at least open to some first steps. And meanwhile, the out-and-out denialists have largely been pushed out of the Overton Window -- they are seen by everyone except wingnuts as the cranks that they are. The responsible denialist position, if that's not too much of an oxymoron, is now basically at "we can't afford to implement these mitigating efforts." But at least they are admitting, yes, there probably is a problem, and yes, humans probably have something to do with it.

And then a few hours later while browsing the Twitter, I came across something that reminded me of that thread. What follows is another re-post.

Here's a good illustration of why I'm hopeful about the long run. You would not have seen an article in the Daily Mail saying this, just a few years ago:

I have long been something of a climate-change sceptic, but my views in recent years have shifted. For me, the most convincing evidence that something worrying is going on lies right here in the Arctic.

It's worth having a look even if you're tired of reading about this issue -- gorgeous prose and pictures.

For the more hard-core, a related blog post on Climate Progress, commenting on the article, and talking about the author -- Michael Hanlon -- and his evolving views. Also, more signs of hope, in a more general sense, in the last paragraph of that post:

The Mail’s shift in editorial line today follows similar moves by the Washington Post last week and the Canadian conservative National Post newspaper. In turn these followed a series of independent reports exonerating the scientists at the centre of manufactured controversy over so-called ‘climategate,’ and a series of retractions of the articles that formed the basis of that media controversy.

That "National Post" link is a must.

(h/ts: @climatesafety and @skepticscience, both RTed by @ClimateDebate)

P.S. Great background image at that middle tweet-link.

[Added] Response in the forum from Starwatcher162536, FTW:

I'm sure in twenty years conservatives will be clamoring that it has always been the conservative position to advocate for vigorous environmental protections, and unlike those pesky liberals, they are the true environmentalists. History repeats itself.

[Added2] Another sign of hope (although I think John Cole would offer a finger-wag of caution: "Peak readership for anti-science blogs?"

[Added3] Follow-up post.

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