I got a call the other day from some producers I very much admire. They wanted to talk about a series next year on global warming and I thought, why does this subject make me instantly tired? Global warming is important, yes; controversial, certainly; complicated (OK by me); but somehow, even broaching this subject makes me feel like someone's put heavy stones in my head. Why is that?
As an anthropologist, I think this is a very good starting point. To bring some new aspects into the either worn out or else highly specialized (and thus mostly exclusive) global warming debate , Kwulrich suggests to have a look at the emotional side of the debate. He ends up in realizing that it's not the arguments, but the negativity of skeptics that bothers him:
When they write in to NPR, they cite study after study; a recent paper by Dan Kahan and colleagues at Yale Law School found the more scientifically literate and numerate you are, the less likely you are to see climate change as a serious threat. So this isn't about a lack of science knowledge or that there aren't scientific questions to wonder about. It's not that the skeptics don't have an argument, it's how they argue. It's the anger. That's what puzzles me.
To find out more about what he identifies as a negative vibe, he quotes from another blog, run by Ursula Goodenough, a biology professor from St. Louis. She asked her readers: "If you are a global warming skeptic, what makes you so angry?", or, "What motivates a denier?" She tried to systematize the answers and delivers what is, in my opinion, quite an interesting categorization (see blow). In the last part of the article, the famous novelist Jonathan Frantzen is quoted, who fell in love with birds (and then became an environmentalist).