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Swedish Farmers Have Doubts About Climatologists and Climate Change 567

Posted by timothy
from the collection-of-data-is-not-an-anecdote dept.
cold fjord (826450) writes with this excerpt from ScienceNordic: Researchers the world over almost unanimously agree that our climate is changing ... But many farmers – at least Swedish ones – have experienced mild winters and shifting weather before and are hesitant about trusting the scientists. The researcher who discovered the degree of scepticism among farmers was surprised by her findings. Therese Asplund ... was initially looking into how agricultural magazines covered climate change. Asplund found after studying ten years of issues of the two agricultural sector periodicals ATL and Land Lantbruk that they present climate change as scientifically confirmed, a real problem. But her research took an unexpected direction when she started interviewing farmers in focus groups about climate issues. Asplund had prepared a long list of questions about how the farmers live with the threat of climate change and what they plan to do to cope with the subsequent climate challenges. The conversations took a different course: "They explained that they didn't quite believe in climate changes," she says. "Or at least that these are not triggered by human activities." (Original paper here.)
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Swedish Farmers Have Doubts About Climatologists and Climate Change

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  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @10:44AM (#47344487) Homepage

    Repeat that after me, Mr. Fjord.

    It is expected that there will be areas of happy, mild weather in any scenario you care to imagine. It is to be expected that a bunch of locals in regions suffering from happy, mild weather might not be as concerned about the issue as someone who had their house wiped out by a tornado.

    But it the concerns and insights of either set of persons would be irrelevant to the discussion of GLOBAL climate change (hint, the word that is BOLDED is important).

    Climate in not weather. Weather is not climate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 29, 2014 @10:48AM (#47344501)

    Anecdotally, I don't believe the Earth revolves around the sun and YOU CAN'T MAKE ME.

    That doesn't mean it's not the case, that I'm qualified to research or understand the model or that my opinion holds ANY weight whatsoever.

    What it means is that on some topics, the "majority opinion" doesn't really have much bearing on the facts of the matter - and thus "Democratic" approaches to dealing with problems that are important but beyond the scope/scale of one person or group's anecdotal experiences probably won't be successful without education.

    Should we listen to what they have to say? Absolutely. With that grain of salt handy, absolutely. They aren't 99% of the world's climatologists.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 29, 2014 @10:54AM (#47344535)

    Your brain is small. Really small. Being outdoors probably isn't going to help you understand climate patterns any more than watching Fox News will help you understand politics.

    We have measured the increase in the percentages of several gasses in our atmosphere, big or small, it has changed - denialists like you need a hole in the head.

    You have no idea how "minor" or major the effects of human industry are, because you're too stupid/feckless even to honestly look. Go die of thirst already.

  • by nospam007 (722110) * on Sunday June 29, 2014 @11:00AM (#47344569)

    "Farmers also spend a lot of time outdoors, unlike researchers, and have a better idea of how minor human effects are."

    They also shat in their fields for millenia giving all the population worms and other parasites before science told them to stop.

    That was a 'human effect' too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 29, 2014 @11:07AM (#47344603)

    I think the point of the article isn't that this means anything about climate change, rather that these are people likely to be more heavily affected by climate change than anyone else - they are the ones that should be taking an interest and being involved, and the exact opposite appears to be happening, they are denying it.

  • Re:funny (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 29, 2014 @11:07AM (#47344609)

    "Researchers the world over almost unanimously agree that our climate is changing" if this was true, there would be no climate deniers, we would all agree"

    If you were a RESEARCHER, that is.

  • Re:funny (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 29, 2014 @11:08AM (#47344615)

    There's plenty of people who believe that germs don't cause disease, that the Earth is the center of the universe, that Einstein was wrong, that the Holocaust didn't happen.... so does their denial indicate they have a point, or that there's always a few idiots who believe nonsense?

  • Re:funny (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bunratty (545641) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @11:17AM (#47344651)
    Why would there be no deniers if researchers almost unanimously agree? Biologists nearly unanimously agree that evolution is caused by random mutations and natural selection, but there are many millions of people that believe an intelligent agent designed all DNA. Never underestimate the power of a person to disagree if agreeing means that they will need to alter their worldview.
  • While in general I agree with you - you are talking about a group of people here who do their life's work at the junction of the earth and the air. It is true they may be misguided or misinformed. But their opinions were not arrived at through talk radio.

    No, they formed them through the internet, like everyone else these days. Where do you think these people live, anyway?

  • by itzly (3699663) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @11:23AM (#47344681)
    If climate *is* weather, then you and I have 1.7 children.
  • And as we know, farmers are on the cutting edge of science.
  • Re:funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Art Challenor (2621733) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @11:39AM (#47344773)
    But, but, but...

    What happens if we clean up the environment and it not the cause of global warming. All we'd have then is no smog, non-polluting power and clean water.
  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @11:41AM (#47344785)

    ... IPCC has been furiously back pedaling...

    Furiously back pedaling? - or - Careful restatement of certain specific points based upon new information, while keeping the overall context intact?

    .
    I've seen so much over the top hype and hysteria from the climate change deniers, that I no longer believe their 10 word or less summaries of why climate change is not happening.

    The climate change deniers need to start presenting a better level of peer-reviewed data and conclusions, and stop their unproven assertions (note: hypothetical research papers funded by the oil and coal industries, however well that funding is hidden, do not count.)

  • Re:funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bunratty (545641) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @11:43AM (#47344795)

    If you think an intelligent agent is causing changes to DNA, that is absolutely at odds with thinking the changes are random mutations. When I hear people say that some Christians believe that evolution is how God achieves his goals, I always thought that meant that an intelligent designer set the process in motion and went away and let nature run its course. Are you saying that people who say this believe that an intelligent agent is actively changing DNA? If so, how many changes are due to the agent and how many are natural? And how do you tell?

    People who disagree because of their worldview are typically at odds with vast amount of evidence that falsifies their beliefs. From the disagreements I've seen, it generally a two-sided issue with evidence firmly coming down on one side, and the other side unwilling to change their beliefs to fit the evidence. In the case of evolution and AGW, the evidence comes down firmly on the side of natural process without intelligence for evolution, and human-produced greenhouse gases causing warming for AGW.

  • Re:funny (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cheesybagel (670288) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @11:58AM (#47344883)

    Oh really? So how many of the predictions our esteemed climate scientists made with their precious models actually held?

    I would rather side with the farmers.

  • by wisebabo (638845) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @12:10PM (#47344943) Journal

    So while I'm not ready to completely discount the stories of some Swedish "focus groups" (from the article), that anecdotal evidence would be balanced (overwhelmed? flooded? washed away? submerged?) by the experiences of tens of millions of rice farmers here in S.E. Asia (Mekong delta) who are literally seeing their future disappear before their eyes.

    I think the rate of inundation by the ocean here (I live in Vietnam) is getting ridiculous, I frequently read in the local papers about KILOMETERS per year of rice paddies being lost to the sea; if not by direct submergence then by saltwater infiltration. I don't think there's a shadow of a doubt to these farmers that SOMETHING very bad is happening, though honestly I'm not sure if many of them have even heard of climate change.

    Now of course there are a lot of other things going on that could be contributing to this. Overuse of groundwater, damming of the Mekong, improper irrigation; I'm not a climate scientist and I haven't screened out those effects (of course climate scientists who've looked at this closely have and they say the effect is real). But neither are those Swedes climate scientists so if their unprofessional opinion is that nothing out of the ordinary is going on, well I've got ten times (a hundred times? a thousand times?) more opinions here to counter that. Then again, there just might be some biases in listening more to white europeans as opposed to brown asians so maybe their opinions don't count. (I rarely if ever see any articles in Western media about the tremendous loss to agriculture that these farmers in the Mekong are facing; the rice basket to HUNDREDS of millions of people; nor do I see articles about the gloomy forecasts made by the governments here that in 20 years or so millions of people in cities like mine, saigon, will be flooded out).

  • by ultranova (717540) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @12:58PM (#47345169)

    While in general I agree with you - you are talking about a group of people here who do their life's work at the junction of the earth and the air. It is true they may be misguided or misinformed. But their opinions were not arrived at through talk radio.

    The chances are that they arrived at them through the time-honored "head in bushes" -method: Something will cause me great harm if true. I don't really have any real power over it, nor any way to significantly mitigate the damage through preparation. Therefore, I'll disbelief it to protect myself from stress and worry.

    If true, such feeling of disempowerment is a bigger problem to Sweden than climate change. The latter is ultimately a matter of enduring hardship and adapting, which is something the Nordics are quite familiar with; but the former is a spiritual malaise that ultimately leads to dysfunctional society and democracy de facto falling and degenerating to corporacy, as has happened in the US.

  • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @01:44PM (#47345403) Journal

    The number one rule of science is "Question Everything(*)"

    (*)except Global Warming.

  • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki&gmail,com> on Sunday June 29, 2014 @03:39PM (#47345951) Homepage

    Oh noes, the evil Koch's. Apparently linking to a Soros linked group for "objectivity" is a-okay though.

  • by smaddox (928261) on Monday June 30, 2014 @01:30AM (#47348081)

    So are you suggesting they should publish their methods and data? Good thing that's part of the scientific process. Pick a reference: http://climate.nasa.gov/eviden... [nasa.gov]

    People often deny fact and logic based on nothing more than conviction. If that doesn't make them stupid, it makes them something much worse.

From Sharp minds come... pointed heads. -- Bryan Sparrowhawk

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