Changing Climate, Changing Minds

By David Siegel – Re-Blogged From WUWT

How do we measure success in helping people understand the climate issue? I don’t think we can measure it by unique visits to WUWT or various videos that many of us know well. But they simply attract the same audience over and over. I think the only way to measure success is by somehow measuring minds changed. This is a quick announcement of a new video I recently released, my philosophy on how to change minds, and a request from the community to help me with some data science.

My name is David Siegel. In 1991, I wrote a book explaining how the greenhouse effect worked and how we have to cut back on CO2 emissions or suffer dire consequences. Then, in about 2014, a partner at a green fund told me “the science is settled.” That prompted me to revisit the subject, and I was surprised to find that the data didn’t support the “common wisdom” that I had believed for so long. So I started reading papers, blogs, and web sites like WUWT.

In 2016, I published an essay called Climate Curious, which, thanks to WUWT readers, has now had about 300,000 views. Last year, I published Global Warming for Dummies.

My goal is to change minds. I don’t think preaching to the choir is useful. I don’t think being smug and using sarcasm helps anyone. In my Open letter to the Heartland Institute, I said they are probably causing liberals to raise even more money, because they look down on “liberals” and make fun of “alarmists.” They keep declaring victory, only to see another billionaire double-down on his commitment to reducing CO2 emissions.

How old are you? Very few young people discuss or debate about climate change. They simply believe what they are told. They don’t want to learn anything from 60-year-olds. When presented with the facts, their reply is “Okay Boomer.” Investors are now looking at “sustainability scorecards” that force CEOs to publish their carbon-neutral plans for the future. I’ve been speaking with people in the oil and airline industries, and they actually believe that they have to put themselves out of business for the sake of the planet.

I don’t think Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Mike Bloomberg, Hans Rosling, Steven Pinker, Tyler Cowen, Richard Branson, Jeff Skoll, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and other prominent thinkers are idiots. I respect these people. I don’t think we should make fun of them. That just causes them to dig in deeper and raise more money. How can we have a reasonable conversation with people who believe what we don’t?

I want to see a world where the scientific method comes first. I don’t think our science should change when a new president is elected. I don’t support liberals, conservatives, libertarians, or religious groups, because I think their platform comes first, before science. Can there not be any liberals who are skeptical of climate alarmist claims? Should we take religious skeptics seriously? I would like to see a world where people consider each subject simply on the merits of the available evidence, not on what everyone else believes.

I recently released a video showing just the data on climate claims. I tried to put it into a format digestible for young people, and I’ve heard from a few young people that it opened their minds. I hope you’ll watch and share it:

I have a request. In my video, I say it would be great if we had a graph of average US historical temperature using only the uncontaminated level 1 and 2 stations from Anthony Watts’ project going back to 1900. Does anyone know if that graph exists? I can’t find it. If not, does anyone want to work on creating it with me?

If I could reach one person, it would be Bill Gates, who is writing a book on climate right now. I would ask him to support a public effort of adversarial collaboration to bring alarmists and skeptics together to debate and find solutions together, and to hold journalists accountable for reporting the results accurately.

We convert skeptics one at a time, usually after they turn 60, while alarmists enroll millions each year through text books, television, scary images, scientific journals, and massive public-relations campaigns.

I think the only way for us to measure success is how many minds we change. We can’t do it forcefully or by calling names. If we truly want to change minds, we should be willing to start with our own.


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