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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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What's Earth's ideal temperature?

Posted on 2 May 2019 by Guest Author

We say global warming is a bad thing, but is it possible the world would be better off a little hotter? ClimateAdam breaks down why such rapid climate change is inevitably a bad thing. He also just breaks down.

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  1. Well said. Something related: It's often been said that facts don't convince doubters , (like pointing out the ideal temperature is what we have right now and relatively rapid change is what causes problems).

    According to my paper copy of Scientific American dated march 2019, in an article called "why we believe in conspiracy theories" (paraphrasing) research has traditionally suggested facts, logic and evidence don't convince doubters, and just causes doubters to "dig their heels in deeper", the so called "backfire effect", but more recent research suggests this effect is rare.

    New research finds pointing out logical inconsistencies in conspiracy theories, and facts about political issues does have persuasive effects on people. The research concludes backfire effect is more tenuous than previously thought. The backfire effect seems to happen mostly when people are challenged over ideas that define their their worldview and sense of self, so this is something to avoid doing.

    The article also showed how encouraging analytical thinking helps.

    So perhaps countering climate denialists with facts is not such a waste of time afterall. I have always had a strong instinct this is the case. Imho there will of course be a few people that will never change their minds on climate change (there is an actual flat earth society, and these guys are serious) but I would suggest this is a pretty small minority of people.

    And personally I think pointing out logical falacies is important as well, and sadly something that was not well executed by media in general and the science community in the earlier days of the debate, but is better now thank's to things like John Cooks work.

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  2. And of course I recognise that vested interests and political ideology lead to denial of science, but the research seems to suggest convincing at least some of these people to reconsider may not be impossible.

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  3. nigelj,

    "The backfire effect seems to happen mostly when people are challenged over ideas that define their worldview and sense of self..."

    Improved awareness and understanding of climate science leads to awareness and understanding of the required corrections of developed human activity, which cannot be isolated from the realization of the related corrections of perceptions of status that are required.

    Trying to improve understanding of climate science can directly challenge people's ideas that define their worldview and sense of self. People willing to improve/expand their worldview and correct their sense of selfworth are not the problem. The socioeconomic-political systems encouraging people to be more Egoist are undeniably developing people who want to be as big a part of the problem (benefiting as much as possible from harmful unsustainable actions) as they can get away with.

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  4. The ideal temperature is the one in which we have built our cities, to a large extent where the sea meets the ocean, the temperature in which we have developed our crops and the infrastructure to grow them.  If the world had been three degrees warmer as we developed into a modern society, that would be the ideal temperature.  Our cities would now be further upsteam from where they are today (on the higher sea shore) and our agriculture would have been developed over the years to fit this higher temperature and different climate zones.  Read Plows Plagues and Petroleum by Ruddiman for a pretty convincing argument why this present interglacial period has been so much more stable than past ones. 

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