How I changed my mind… about global warming, Byron Sharp, Oct 7
- Oct 15, 2019 9:17 pm GMT
- 1213 views
Most, if not all, people would consider themselves to be open-minded. Yet, if you ask someone to name an important belief that they have changed their mind about, in response to evidence and/or logic, most struggle to give even one example.
This is the first in a series of blogs where I describe how and why I changed my mind about something. I hope to encourage myself to change my mind more often. And to encourage others.
Short summary: I now worry less about global warming than I did, the scientific evidence is that it’s not going to be catastrophic. PS Our best course of action is to adapt to the effects and to invest in R&D to develop new low carbon energy.
I’ve been a “greenie” since I was a child. I raised money and marched to save the whales. I searched out all the pockets of native bush on our New Zealand farm. I became a vegetarian (although the original motivation was nutritional, not for the environment). As an adult I bought hundreds of acres of Australian bush (mallee) land and have set it aside to regenerate. When I learnt that greenhouse gas emissions were causing the climate to warm I put solar panels on the roof of my house, I sold my car and lived without one for years (until having a new baby made that impractical so I bought a small car and ran it on bio-diesel (I couldn’t afford a Prius)).
When Al Gore’s 2006 movie came out about global warming I used it to to rally my colleagues in the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute — “how could we contribute to the solution?” I asked. Being a complex problem I didn’t think it was likely it would be solved simply by legislation or technology, and I thought that we might contribute insights into consumer behaviour as well as mass communication effectiveness. Some of my colleagues pushed back (we have a culture of questioning, and not just accepting things that the director says). They said that Al Gore was exaggerating, that he sounded more like a religious zealot than a scientist, and pointed out the numerous errors he presented. I agreed, but I said he is a (religious) politician with good intentions, he’s inflating things to get attention. I quoted them more technical accounts of global warming from people like Tim Flannery (a mammalogist, author of The Weather Makers (2005)).