The five stages of climate change denial

Stage 1: “It doesn’t exist”

Stage 2: “Okay maybe it does exist, but it’s just part of the natural cycle of the earth.”

Stage 3: “Okay, humans may be causing climate change, but the impacts are too minor and distant to be concerned. It’ll just be a few dead frogs.”

Stage 4: “Ah – we’re all going to die and there is nothing we can do about it.”

Stage 5: “Ok so we have a problem, now maybe we can get on and make some money out of it.”

The cost of climate change impacts (e.g. extreme weather events) are significant and becoming more so. Maybe this is actually an opportunity to develop new industries around climate mitigation and adaptation. This was the topic of an interesting discussion following a presentation given by Chris Rapley[AL1] , Professor of Climate Science at University College London, and Barry Brook, Professor and Director of Climate Change Research University of Adelaide (check out his blog[AL2] ) during a public forum on ‘Beyond the Carbon Tax: Science, risk and Reality’ hosted by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia[AL3] , Adelaide, November 2012.

See another famous denial paradigm ‘Hy-Brazil isn’t sinking’ from Eric the Viking

* Copyright information on the image above can be found here.


About Prof Andy Lowe

Prof Andy Lowe is a British-Australian scientist and expert on plants and trees, particularly the monitoring, management and utilisation of genetic, biological and ecosystem resources. He has discovered new species, lost forests, championed to eliminate illegally logged timber in global supply chains, served the UN’s Office of Drugs and Crime and has been responsible for securing multi-million dollar research funding. He is an experienced and respected executive leader, as well as mid-career mentor. Andy is the inaugural Director of Food Innovation at the University of Adelaide serving as the external face for all significant food industry and government sectors across South Australia, and the world.
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9 Responses to The five stages of climate change denial

  1. The fifth stage: “Glub.”

    • Alison Jobling says:

      Reminds me of a scene from Erik The Viking, where the population stands around singing while the island sinks (very very quickly). “No, no problems here, thank you”.

  2. Andrew c says:

    The fourth stage is”global warming is real but we can’t do anything about it.”

  3. Andy Lowe says:

    Maybe the fourth stage is ‘global warming is real but we choose not to do enough about it’
    However if the cost implications of climate change become high enough (storms, sea level rise) then an economic incentive to mitigate global warming should kick in

  4. Pingback: Climate change – who cares? | Biodiversity Revolution

  5. Pingback: Climate change: a tidal wave of agreement | Biodiversity Revolution

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