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Monday, January 30, 2006
 

Prometheus notes that the IPCC has a fully functional cognitive kaleidoscope.

. . . the following passage from Dr. Pachauri’s chapter provides a telling indication of how a narrow focus on human-GHG-caused climate change tends to warp the thinking of otherwise smart people about issues that involve much more than just human caused climate change:
In Mauritius, a couple of weeks ago, there was the major UN conference involving the small island developing states. In discussions with several people there, I heard an expression of fear based on the question: suppose a tsunami such as that of December 26 were to take place in 2080 and suppose the sea level was a foot higher, can you estimate what the extent of damage would be under those circumstances? Hence, I think when we talk about dangerous it is not merely dangers that are posed by climate change per se, but the overlay of climate change impacts on the possibility of natural disasters that could take place in any event.
So by 2080 society is going to experience changes probably far greater than from 1930 to 2005 and he is talking about the difference in impacts between a 25 foot and 26 foot wall of water? In this case, he probably would have been on solid ground by saying that patterns of coastal development over the next 75 years are far, far more important than an extra 12 inches of sea level rise, rather than trying to link climate change to tsunami impacts. But as we've argued ad repeatium here, this is the kind of thinking that necessarily results from Article 2 of the FCCC.
"A narrow focus . . . tends to warp the thinking of otherwise smart people". Perhaps it isn't only a narrow focus, it is also ideological blindness and confirmation bias too. They twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until any bit of information can be made to fit into their preconception of how things are supposed to look.

This isn't just an intellectual or aesthetic failing, however human, it is also a character defect since the impulse is given free reign and exploited for political purposes, to the detriment of society.

posted by back40 | 1/30/2006 01:08:00 PM

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