Another Climate Change analogy

You think there might be something wrong with your car. It makes strange noises, pulls to the left and sometimes stalls or blows smoke. These issues have developed over time and you’ve learned to deal with it by;

  1. Turning up the radio
  2. Just steering a bit to the right
  3. Topping up the oil every other week

No worries.

You are planning a big trip from Sydney to Canberra and you’d like to get it checked out to make sure that all will be well.

You take it to 100 different mechanics to look at:

  • 97 of them say yes, there are problems and that the they are serious enough that the car will probably break down on the trip. They can’t say exactly what is wrong without looking at the car more first, but suggest in the meantime you slow down, try to use it as little as possible, and pay attention to the fluid levels.
  • 2 mechanincs say the problems are all perfectly normal and the car will just sort itself out. In fact, it will probably start running even better than before in a short while
  • 1 mechanic says he can’t see anything wrong at all

So what would you do?

Your next door neighbour is a good bloke. Tony has changed a tyre or two, and topped up the oil and water in his own cars from time to time, so he considers himself a bit of an “expert” at this car stuff. He reads a lot of car magazines (and not just the ones with girls on the bonnet). His suggestion is to ask the 97 mechanics *when* your car will break down.

When you ask them, some say it will break down on the freeway, some say it might make it to Canberra, others give different answers. However all agree that it *will* break down in the very near future. They also can’t tell you exactly what is wrong, they just have a rough idea based on previous experiences of similar problems.

Now Tony, who as we said is a well meaning guy, tells you that not one of those 97 mechanincs could agree on *exactly* when your car would break down or what was wrong with it. However there *are* two mechanics who both agree that it will sort itself out. He goes on to say that of course the 97 will say there’s something wrong; they get *PAID* to fix things that go wrong so its in their own self-interest to FIND problems that need to be fixed. You can obviously trust the other 3 mechanics more because they aren’t going to get anything back from you by saying there’s no work needed.

So to summarise:

  • 97% of the professionals who have trained and spent their lives working on these matters say there is a problem, and that it will be serious if you don’t do something about it. They do all agree that you should get it fixed sooner rather than later. The longer you leave it the more serious the problem will be, possibly to the point of being unable to repair.
  • 2% say there is a problem, but it is normal and will just sort itself out
  • 1% say there is no problem at all
  • Some guy who has played around with cars and read magazines has developed his own ideas about the industry and has taken it upon himself to disregard the advice of all the vast majority of trained professionals. In fact he sees a conspiracy among 97% of them to “get your money”. The fact that the 97% can’t agree *exactly* is proof they don’t know what they are talking about.

(What Tony may not know is that the 2 mechanics who do happen to agree are also being paid by the car company to keep the problems quiet.)

What would you do?

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