Divorced from Reality: Trolls and Climate Change

Recently one of my blog posts (Greta Thunberg and our Media) shared by East Gippsland Climate Action Network (EG CAN) performed quite well on Facebook. The Facebook pop-up (?) suggested that we boost the post and after examining the options decided to invest the princely sum of $22 (including GST) to boost the post across Victoria. Though I have been blogging for six years this was my first experiment of paid boosting. On the whole the boost has been most satisfying with at least 20 shares and a more than trebling the number of readers of the post.

Another result was that the EG CAN post was discovered by climate denialist trolls. Whilst their comments have been ignored or blocked their reasoning and motivation is of some interest. Most of their claims such as the boost ‘cost a huge amount of money’ and is therefore ‘part of a conspiracy’ to the more general ‘scam’ and ‘exploiting of Greta’ claims are patently absurd. These people are misled, assertive, possibly uneducated and easily influenced by reactionary journos like Andrew Bolt. Unfortunately this ‘denial of the facts’ disease goes the top of society and politics. In the long term this denial is doomed to failure. In the short to immediate term it is dangerous and life threatening.

There is a certain irony in the fact that our whole society is based on science and is factually based and these individuals obviously use aspects of this such as smart phones, computers and the social media, as well as many other aspects such as doctors and medicine, whilst on the other hand they refuse to acknowledge the heavily studied and measured elements of our warming planet. As individuals our waking days and even our survival are based on continuous observation – as for instance when we want to cross a busy road. In our everyday actions observation, measurement and even experiment are used. Simply put science is an extension of this to the whole of society.

As I have frequently repeated there are a number of aspects of global warming that are not understood or commonly appreciated – the inertia in the climate system, amplifying feedback loops and tipping points. If the evidence changes then so must we. It is not a matter of opinion but fact. Ignoring the evidence, the science, is not an option.

As google analytics indicates the Facebook boost was successful no doubt it will be repeated. The trolls will not be pleased.