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2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #27

Posted on 4 July 2020 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, June 28 through Sat, July 4, 2020

Editor's Choice

'2040': A funny, entertaining, upbeat climate documentary

A timely Australian documentary takes a 'solutions' approach, with the filmmaker inspired by visions of his young daughter as an adult.

Australian filmmaker Damon Gameau did not create “2040” for viewing during the coronavirus pandemic. Although only now being released, online, in the U.S., the documentary premiered in Australia in the spring of 2019.

Nevertheless, the film fits well with this summer 2020 moment. For a nation wondering what post-pandemic life will look like, “2040” provides an optimistic vision of a new normal, one that addresses issues of social justice while meeting challenges posed by climate change.

As such, “2040” is the most upbeat documentary about climate change since climatologist Richard Alley’s PBS series “Earth: An Operator’s Manual.” And it’s often funny, entertaining, and, in a family sitcom sort-of-way, touching.

“2040” begins with the movie-poster scene of Gameau planting a tree with his 4-year-old daughter, Velvet. In a voiceover, Gameau explains that he worries about how climate change will affect his daughter’s future. He knows the science; he briefly explains it using the heating, plumbing, and refrigeration systems of his house as analogies for different parts of the carbon cycles. And he says he often has felt overwhelmed by the doom-and-gloom depictions of climate change in popular media.

He wants to change this: “As a father, I think there’s room for a different story, a story that focuses on solutions.”

To write this new story, Gameau poses a question: “What [would] the world look like in 2040, if we just embraced the best that already exists?” And for “already exists” Gameau adopts a cardinal rule: “Everything I show in this 2040 has to exist today in some form. I can’t make it up.” Having laid down these ground rules, Gameau begins the work of assembling “the best that already exists” into a plausible depiction of his daughter’s life as an adult in 2040.

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the Yale Climate Connections website.

2040': A funny, entertaining, upbeat climate documentary by Michael Svoboda, Article, Yale Climate Connections, June 29, 2020

Articles Linked to on Facebook

Sun, June 28, 2020

Mon, June 29, 2020

Tue, June 30, 2020

Wed, July 1, 2020

Thu, July 2, 2020

Fri, July 3, 2020

Sat, July 4, 2020

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Comments 1 to 3:

  1. Must check the movie out.

    There has been this seemingly never ending debate about the best way to motivate climate action, 1) fear and scare stories, or 2) positive stories and solutions and their wider benefits, and hope.

    Traditionally problems facing society seem to combine both approaches, so Im inclined to think that is what should be done with climate change. Haven't seen compelling evidence to do differently but stand to be corrected.

    Consider that climate change is clearly inherently scary to some people at least. It's when we are scared that we take action because fear is clearly a good motivator. It is therefore hard to see why anyone should play down the climate threat. And if the sum of the parts is catastrophic then that is what should be said. Fear is paralysing and painful, motivating us to find solutions.

    So why has climate mitigation been weak despite media scare stories? Possibly because of:

    1) Lack of trust of the general media and journalists and articles interpreting the climate issue.

    2) Exaggerations and wild claims from the fringe element in the scientific and environmental community, that reduce trust.

    3) Humans are hard wired to respond most strongly to very present threats (like covid 19) rather than long term and future orientated threats like climate change as below.

    This doesn't  mean fear is not a motivator for climate action, but it clearly signals it may not be sufficient, so we need a focus on the benefits of solutions as well, suggesting the movie is on the right track and long as it doesnt gloss over the problem too much .

    4) The IPCC, the one body politicians listen to seems overly cautious and non scary in its style and information. There is little discussion in the summary for policy makers of the very worst case scenarios, like multi metre sea level rise.

    5) The denialist campaign and the power of fossil fuel lobby groups over politicians

    6) Political tribalism

    7) Complacency, vested interests, and (misguided) fear about costs of mitigation.

    So there are many reasons for weak climate mitigation. It suggests we are wrong to blame the use of fear as a motivator, but that the scary messaging must be credible and accurate, and come from trusted sources directly like scientists rather than journalists interpreting things, and that we definitely need to empahises solutions and their wider benefits.

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  2. Addendum. And 8) the things OPOF talks about where leaders in society do the wrong thing etc.

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  3. The Guardian article says "I’m not saying facts don’t matter or the scientific method should be watered down or we should communicate without facts. What I am saying is that now the climate science has been proven to be true to the highest degree possible, we have to stop being reasonable and start being emotional."

    Yes, but it may depend on the emotions. I get angry with lack of mitigation and denialist rhetoric, but getting angry with denialists and shouting at them or becoming personal  can lead to them getting more entrenched in their views. Its a fine balance where the anger needs expression but needs control.

    Crying tears about the end of the world gets a predictably negative reaction from the political right. Getting really angry with our leaders is sometimes very justified, but it can quickly escalate out of control to shouting matches and their views becoming more entrenched. Put it this may the anger needs to be very facts based and focused.

    Climate scientists could write more accounts including their more personal fears. I think everyone would connect with that.

    Yes world views are important. Much of the denialism comes from the political right and its driven by ideological fear of things like taxes etc. You can try to empathise with the political right, and find solutions that minimise the perceived problems of "big government" and couch the problem in terms the political right understand, such of concern for other people as our neighbours rather than using the word inequality. But attempts to do this have not yeilded great results.

    Yes its clear climate denialism and weak climate mitigation policies are driven by political tribalism but mitigation is weak even in countries without much political tribalism. Even one party states like China are still building a lot of coal fired power. So other things are at work. Perhaps everyone is complacent and wants to preserve the status quo, especially the leaders in society. But I think much of it comes back to my previous comment:

    Humans are hard wired to respond most strongly to very present threats (like covid 19) rather than long term and future orientated threats like climate change.This doesn't mean fear is not a motivator for climate action, but it clearly signals it may not be sufficient, so we need a focus on the benefits of solutions as well. (this creates positive emotions)

    And yes I can see facts are not enough to convince people. But facts are part of it. More needs to be made of the devastatingly high risk lower probability events like hothouse earth and multi metre sea level rise. This is lacking in the IPCC reports and its this politicians look at.


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