It’s difficult, but not impossible, to pick out the grifters from the true believers in the Lancet’s “Countdown on health and climate change.”
But noticing the entire thing is scientific malfeasance is easy. That can be told right from the full title: “The 2019 report of The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: ensuring that the health of a child born today is not defined by a changing climate” (pdf).
It is scientifically impossible (I leave open the option of miraculous intervention) to stop the earth’s climate from changing. It has always changed. It always will change. Every child born anywhere and anywhen must suffer the slings and arrows of a changing climate.
This will always be so. To suggest it can be otherwise is to lie (the grifters) or to wish (the true believers). It always makes you wonder if scientists have read any history with its innumerable, endless stories of people affected by the weather. How these ill-read people got the idea “climate change” was only something that started fifty years ago, and that somehow it can be stopped, can only be the result of willful ignorance.
Grifters don’t care what the actual climate does. They will say it is bad even when it is good. True believers, excitable creatures that they are, will often regurgitate the lies told by the grifters, such as “Major hurricanes are increasing!”
You can show a grifter a chart proving his lie. What will he do? Smile. Then say “Major hurricanes are increasing!”
Show the chart to the true believer and he’ll believe it, just as the grifter did. But what will his response be? “Major hurricanes are increasing!” He’ll say this not because it’s now true—true believers aren’t liars—but because it will be true. It must be true. His true belief guarantees that.
Which is why arguing facts and “evidence” and all that does so little good. You think showing that snotnosed how-dare-you Swedish brat data proving her fantastical assertions are wrong is going to change her mind?
What’s the best strategy, or strategies, then?
Call out the grifters. And speak to the emotion of the true believers.
A true believer does not mind if you call him ignorant. He has no need of book smarts and fancy degrees, even if in some cases he has these. He knows what is true. Call him whatever name you like. It only encourages his belief. You wouldn’t “hate” him so much if his “truth” wasn’t so true!
Grifters loathe being shown wrong, being proved ignorant, being called liars, but only when these plaints come from competent authority. You and I calling out, say, Tom Steyer for his money grubbing climate BS is not going to shake the man. Have, say, Trump push his buttons, and there might be some movement. But not much.
Problem is, grifters aren’t playing for the straights. They’re aiming for the true believers, an enormous group. Any grifter called out by a politician can claim it was a “partisan” attack, which every true believer buys. Have a respected scientist do the calling out, and the sting is bigger.
In the case of an honest scientist, the grifters, aided by the indefatigable army of true believers, will find some way to soil the scientist. Such as accusing him of taking money, an accusation which you’d think would make any grifter blush till his veins popped.
You can see the problem is hard. Grifters are still flooding in in direct proportion to the evidence showing us the weather is not that bad. This is because they see the rich pickings and the increasing possibilities for lucre. True believers are in turn born listening to the speeches of the grifters. There is also wavering overlap between the groups.
Anyway, what about the report itself? Can we identify which parts are grifter-written and which true believer-written?
Just listen to this shameless pandering which opens the Lancet’s report:
A child born today will experience a world that is more than four degrees warmer than the pre-industrial average, with climate change impacting human health from infancy and adolescence to adulthood and old age. Across the world, children are among the worst affected by climate change.
Who wrote “from infancy and adolescence to adulthood and old age”, a grifter or true believer? There’s an attempt at literary merit, which leans true believer, but that it’s such a laughable preposterousity (you heard me: preposterousity) cinches it. True believer all the way.
That what-about-the-children ploy in the last sentence is diagnostic. It’s still taught first day in grifter school.
Now try this, the very next sentences:
Downward trends in global yield potential for all major crops tracked since 1960 threaten food production and food security, with infants often the worst affected by the potentially permanent effects of undernutrition…
I call this mixed: grifter before the comma, true believer after. This example is a much better attempt at the con. Crops yields are everywhere up, but this seems to say the opposite! That’s because the sentence is mute on actual crop yields, and instead speaks of crop yield “potential”. Pure grift. True believers rarely talk in so tangled a way.
The report goes on that like for so many pages it’s likely no one person read it all.
I think it would be fun for you, dear readers, to tackle the report yourself. Go through and find examples where you’re at least reasonably sure it’s gritter-written, and where you have the same confidence a passage was true believer-written.
That the entire thing is a con is proved by more than just the title. I’ll let you figure how we know this, with only one hint: engagement
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