CAGW: A Snarl Word?

  1. The social phenomena and adherence aspects

Just as with the science section above, there is appropriate and inappropriate deployment of ‘CAGW’ to describe social phenomena in the climate domain. So for instance it’s appropriate to talk about a social consensus in catastrophe among certain groups, but not a scientific consensus within the IPCC, say. It’s appropriate to describe ardent members of a green NGO who are heavily involved in promoting climate catastrophe narratives, as ‘CAGW advocates’ say, yet certainly not to apply this term to ‘all Democrats’, for instance, even if statistically there is somewhat more catastrophe narrative promotion by members of that party. Such labelling even when appropriate, does not imply any wrong-doing or dysfunction on the part of those so labelled, although some level of ‘faith’ (to use another partner term that crops up) in the narrative that many world leaders have lavished on the public for many years, is both likely and eminently understandable. Partner terms like ‘hoax’ and ‘scam’ are generally inappropriate too, because they cannot be main causation for the CAGW phenomenon32.

It comes down to who is adding the catastrophic, or ‘C’, to the mix. Michael Barnard at Quora notes in his discussion of ‘CAGW’: ‘Emotive adjectives are intended to create an emotional response rather than an intellectual response. Catastrophic is an emotive adjective.’ Yes. For sure over-emotive content tends to cloud judgment; in memetic terms more-emotive memes have a greater selection value than less-emotive ones in domains of high (or even perceived high) uncertainty, thus preferentially prospering. Which is exactly why the narrative of catastrophe abounds within authority statements about climate change, per footnotes 1 to 5, plus is so pervasive within the public domain generally. (However, an ‘intent’ can’t be assumed; regarding emergent narratives the great majority of people are propagating what they genuinely and passionately think is truth). The Quroa text continues: ‘Adding catastrophic to the neutral phrase “anthropogenic global warming” is making it needlessly emotive.’ So, if indeed the person deploying ‘CAGW’ is needlessly adding the ‘C’, then yes. But… if that ‘C’ merely reflects the catastrophic that already existed regarding the social phenomenon or group or followers being described (e.g. Greenpeace politically pressuring with a campaign based upon certain catastrophic climate change), or indeed per section 2 catastrophic narrative or section 3 *specific* science / scientists aligned to catastrophe, then the ‘C’ is a correct and proper description. Emotive persuasion was injected by that being described, not by the mere act of (correctly) describing it.

Michael’s valid points about emotive descriptors and neutrality miss the big picture. While emphasizing as I do that ‘CAGW’ misrepresents mainstream / AR5WGC climate science, he makes no mention that according to an array of the highest authority sources, so largely within the public understanding too, the catastrophic is backed by mainstream climate / AGW science. Not to mention missing that describing pre-existing highly emotive phenomena, requires a meaningful reference to the emotive content.

Next page (5) for more…

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2 Responses to CAGW: A Snarl Word?

  1. Andy, the CAGW term was first used by the warming protagonists in the 1980s, it remained in use until the warmistas found that it no longer resonated with the massesand switched to the more friendly and understandable but meaningless “Climate Change.” So Rational Wiki is totally wrong here. I just saw your post on JC’s post-testimony blog and replied to it, you address the crux of the matter, the main impediment to rational policy. [I’ve been engaged with the issue since the 1980s.]

    • andywest2012 says:

      Thanks, Faustino. I couldn’t find usage of ‘CAGW’ before the early noughties, though my searching skills are limited. But not much before then, the internet wasn’t so widespread / dominant as now anyhow and so a lot of things aren’t recorded. Very interesting that the term goes back so far. But notwithstanding its own serious snarl-word issue, I think Rational Wiki is right in terms of modern parlance, say 10 years at least, *when* the term is applied inappropriately, e.g. to mainstream science. But not when it’s applied appropriately, e.g. ‘CAGW narrative’ for the high certainty of imminent global catastrophe that political leaders constantly spout, per the post. Thanks too for the nice comment at Climate Etc 🙂 I replied briefly there.

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