When it comes to the climate crisis, what nobody wants to talk about is precisely what everybody needs to be talking about. Up until now, the climate debate has been premised on a false dichotomy between climate science deniers and everyone else. What the Paris accords have revealed is that this overweening emphasis on the science of anthropogenic climate change fails to answer the real question: Why the disconnect between what we know to be the threat and how we are choosing to respond to it?
Let’s face it. When it comes to climate change, we are all in denial.
If it were simply a matter of recognizing the scientific consensus, as the signatories to the climate accords clearly did, then we would not have been put in a position of celebrating an accord that puts us on the path to a 3-6 degree Celsius average temperature increase — a virtual death sentence for tens of thousands of species and billions of humans.
As Bill McKibben points out, we are leaving an uninhabitable planet to our progeny.
Let’s face it. When it comes to climate change, we are all in denial. The very term codifies denial. CHANGE? Really? Weather changes. In fact, everything changes. Change is good! Our climate is not simply changing; it’s in turmoil. The scientific term is “climate disruption,” not climate change. To characterize the climate crisis as mere change is like calling a Bengal tiger a “kitty cat” as it is leaping through the air toward your throat.
The science is settled. The issue is not denying science. The issue is ignoring the scientific imperative — our collective dissociative behavior.
“Dissociation” refers to a psychological defense that reflexively occurs when we’re confronted with an overwhelming threat — we dissociate ourselves from the experience of the situation as much as possible. Witness the disconnect between the stated goal of the Paris climate accords — limiting the increase in average global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius — and…