The dangers of bone-headed beliefs

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From The Canberra Times: The Dangers of bone-headed beliefs

Surely it’s time for climate-change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies.

Not necessarily on the forehead; I’m a reasonable man. Just something along their arm or across their chest so their grandchildren could say, ”Really? You were one of the ones who tried to stop the world doing something? And why exactly was that, granddad?”

On second thoughts, maybe the tattooing along the arm is a bit Nazi-creepy. So how about they are forced to buy property on low-lying islands, the sort of property that will become worthless with a few more centimetres of ocean rise, so they are bankrupted by their own bloody-mindedness? Or what about their signed agreement to stand, in the year 2040, lashed to a pole at a certain point in the shallows off Manly? If they are right and the world is cooling – ”climate change stopped in the year 1998” is one of their more boneheaded beliefs – their mouths will be above water. If not …

OK, maybe the desire to see the painful, thrashing death of one’s opponents is not ideal. But, my God, these people are frustrating. You just know that in 20 years’ time, when the costs of our inaction are clear, the climate deniers will become climate-denial-deniers. ”Who me? Oh, no, I always believed in it. Yes, it’s hard to understand why people back then were so daft. It’s so much more costly to stop it now.”

That’s why the tattoo has its appeal.

Each generation of people has a job to do; a burden that falls to their time. Sometimes, it’s a war or depression. Sometimes, it’s the work of building the first railways and roads. Sometimes, it’s a plague that wipes out half the population or a fire that destroys a whole city.

Looked at through this lens, our generation has it easy. Already wealthy and armed with new technology, we need to front up to the challenge of building a low-carbon economy.

The tool we’ll use is a carbon tax that seeks to subtly redirect some of our choices. Cut your power bill by more than the compensation offered and you get to keep the change.

Is that really so onerous compared with a depression or war?

Our grandparents didn’t fail us, even though the challenges they faced were so much greater. So why are we in the process of failing to live up to their example?

There’s more in the article, much more.

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