Further to yesterday’s post, an article came to my attention over the weekend that reinforced a suspicion that I have had for years; I live in a bubble. Actually I live in a bubble inside of a bigger bubble. The article, written by former federal Labor leader Mark Latham, discusses the shift in public opinion and disturbing rise of climate denialism. He speaks of a his own south-west Sydney community where very few ‘believe’ in climate change, let alone believe in the legitimacy of collective action on climate change. Five years ago the public shook their collective fist at the big polluters, I believe it often coincided with watching Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. The same public congratulated themselves for considering a hybrid vehicle, they recycled, and they offset their air miles with a few dollars and a click of the mouse. However, the really inconvenient truth was yet to come; that these paltry actions were not enough to reign in soaring CO2 emissions. More drastic measures had to be taken, and any economist will tell you, the best way to do that is to send a price signal. Now that climate change has gone from fashionable to fiscally inconvenient, there is a pronounced shift toward denying its existence.
Living in Canberra is like living in a bubble. And it would seem that studying at a Research School for Earth Sciences is to be sheltered even further. As climate scientists we work every day with the insurmountable evidence that our climate is changing and that this change is human induced. There is no more debate as to whether climate change is happening, more how, and where, and what can be done? However outside of the bubble there is growing sentiment that ignores rigorous scientific evidence in favour of the consumer-driven lifestyle which we are so accustomed. How can we be going backward in our thinking? But more importantly, how do we educate and inform the public more effectively? Perhaps it’s time to burst the bubble.
View the full version of this compelling article here.