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Ramp up the Fear Factor says Professor of Public Ethics October 3, 2009

Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
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Ramp up the Fear Factor says Professor of Public Ethics

By honestclimate, October 3, 2009

Excerpts from The UK Telegraph
October 3, 2009

Most people in denial over climate change, according to psychologists

The Met Office has warned that if the world continues to burn fossil fuels at the current rate temperatures will rise above four degrees C in the next fifty years.

This will cause sea level rise, droughts, floods and mass collapse of eco-systems.

However Clive Hamilton, Professor of public ethics at the Australian National University, said the majority of the population is still in denial about the risks of climate change.

He compared the situation to the psychology of the British and German populations before the Second World War and said the only way to make people change their behaviour is to “ramp up the fear factor.”

Prof Hamilton said scientists have played down the risks of global warming for fear of overloading people with information.

“There is a widespread belief in the scientific community that the public cannot handle the truth and so they have been pulling their punches. Global warming is unique amongst environmental problems – which are often exaggerated – in that it is now clear that the scientists have been understating the true implications.”

Prof Hamilton said scientists now have a duty to inform the public about the risks of climate change so action is taken and people are ready to adapt their lifestyles.

“There is a view we should not scare people because it makes them go down their burrows and close the door but I think the situation is so serious that although people are afraid they are not fearful enough given the science,” he said. “Personally I cannot see any alternative to ramping up the fear factor.”

Read the full article here


1. watty - November 11, 2009

You mean THIS CliveHamilton?

The Scary Politics of Climate Change
A talk to the Brisbane Writer’s Festival
15 September 2007
Clive Hamilton
Fear of stating the truth

Political actors typically engage in exaggeration to advance their case.
The Labor Partyexaggerated the likely damage due to the introduction of the GST, despite the fact that
Paul Keating wanted to introduce just such a tax.
“”Environmental campaigns are no different.”

Environmentalists have often over-stated the
effects of environmental decline.

The risks of nuclear power, though considerable, have
been exaggerated.

The dangers of urban air pollution have been inflated.
The threats posed by DDT, lead pollution and pesticides, while significant, have usually been
presented as much scarier than they actually are.

And the likely effects of genetically modified crops have been blown out of proportion.

The purpose of political exaggeration is to stimulate stronger emotional responses,usually fear, and therefore make us more likely to act in the way desired.”

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