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The Counterproductive Nature of Climate Alarmism

Hanna Ritchie, head of research for Our World in Data, penned an important piece for Wired where she warns about the unintended consequences of climate catastrophism. She cautions that we need to stop telling our children they will die from climate change because it creates a sense of hopelessness, empowers denialism and is bad for mental health. She writes:

“Climate change is one of the biggest problems we face. It comes with many risks—some certain, some uncertain—and we’re not moving anywhere near fast enough to reduce emissions. But there seems to have been a breakdown in communication of what our future entails. None of the climate scientists I know and trust—who surely know the risks better than almost anyone—are resigned to a future of oblivion. Most of them have children. In fact, they often have several. Young ones, too. Now, having kids is no automatic qualification for rational decision-making. But it signals that those who spend day after day studying climate change are optimistic that their children will have a life worth living.”

Later in the piece, she argues:

“We need a new message for climate change. One that drives action through optimism that things can be better. Or, based on the signs that things are getting better, we might rebrand this optimism as realism. This would be much more effective at driving real change, and would save a lot of mental strife in the process.”

The entire piece is worth a read. Several other pieces, including our own, have similarly argued that doomist attitudes not only fail to follow the science but can often be very counterproductive. 

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

Copyright © 2020 Conservative Coalition for Climate Solutions

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