Eucalyptus trees depend on fire to release their seeds. Plants need CO2 for their survival. The ignorant, as well as the evil, can point at facts like these to undergird their complacency and inaction in the face of climate change. The ease with which they appear to convince themselves that any worldview matching their lifestyle and habits is the correct one, is chilling.
And if they, the ignorant and the evil, are confronted with scientific evidence, there is always the narrative of Fake News. They can always contrive a story that explains the facts and adheres to their own very low standards.
What happens if you push them further? Do they admit they were wrong? No. Sadly, only very few have that greatness of spirit.
As the fires rage in Australia, climate change deniers are seeking refuge in ever murkier conspiracy theories and pseudoscience. The stories that they are telling themselves, and are spreading on the Internet, become so complex and unverifiable that they will essentially become articles of faith. And we don’t have a cure for faith.
This is what worries me. To ‘save their face’, continuate their lifestyle, remain accepted by their peers, their minds are compelled to believe a concoction of ad hoc observations, fossil-fuel propaganda, and cherry-picked best seller authors that is very hard to disprove – because it is not a verifiable theory.
Climate change-related disasters pushes the ignorant and evil to the construction of a narrative that is intractible and immune to scientific evidence to the contrary. The best example we have of such idiocy is the Flat Earth Theory. I am afraid we will see theories of a similar level of narrative sophistication in the conversation on climate change. With the powerful vested interests and their ability to manipulate elections in mind, I am also afraid this will be the dominant narrative anywhere outside of disaster zones.
This new narrative could be religious (“God is testing us; this is the punishment for nonbelievers”) or conspiratory (“The elite wants us to pay more taxes”). It will be entirely delusional and proof of the absolute lack of greatness of the ignorant and evil.