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Journal of
eISSN: 2373-6445

Psychology & Clinical Psychiatry

Opinion Volume 11 Issue 1

Global warming images

Jan-Erik Lane

Correspondence: Jan-Erik Lane, Professor Emeritus, University of Geneva, Switzerland

Received: January 21, 2020 | Published: January 21, 2020

Citation: Lane JE. Global warming images. J Psychol Clin Psychiatry. 2020;11(1):12-13. DOI: 10.15406/jpcpy.2020.11.00664

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The opinion on global warming is sharply divided. On the one hand, we have the climate change denyers with different arguments for their position. On the other hand, there are the climate change affirmers, also suggesting a variety of arguments to support their case. Both fact and value figure in the psychology of climate change.

The facts

Global warming - what are the facts? According to the philosophy of science this kind of question is irrelevant. What is the fact depends upon theory or set of models involved. Facts do not speak for themselves, but have to be interpreted in terms of some concept framework. 

How significant is a temperature rise of around 1 degree Celsius? The history of global weather shows a number of swings. Perhaps this augmentation is just stochastic? One needs a model to tell whether the increase is accidental or not?

The climate change AFFIRMERS point at the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere of the Earth. Global temperature rise would reflect the greenhouse effect - here is a theory! A theory interlinks diverse facts through a system of hypotheses, thus reducing contingency. When a theory creates a web of interlinked models, then it may say to be corroborated. 


The greenhouse theory is a realist set of models. But its main contender empathies bias as a subjectivist theory it sees climate change as a value ingrained set of models. It forms a part of general environmentalists blaming society and government not to respect and protect the environment enough.

Global warming is the Mother of environmental scares. Climate change affirmers use global warming theme to call for more regulation and state intervention, especially by means of gross exaggeration of ecological threats.

Climate change Denyers come with two different approaches. Either one question single the lack of systemic evidence for global warming or one rejects all forms of environmental beliefs as mere political propaganda.

Environmentalism - the thesis thar nature is being overexploited in a unsustainable way - was first rejected by economist Julian Simon with argument that low prices indicated plenty in nature. Aaron Wildavsky built a culture approach to explain why environmentalism and global warming received more and more support from citizens - environmentalism being left-wing egalitarianism. In culture theory the image of NATURE is what counts, individuals choosing their images or stories. The subjectivism of environmentalism proved attractive for political protest.

Many people hope that Dane Björn Lomborg is right when he downplays the relevance of global warming, but they fear it's consequences especially if irreversible. 

It is impossible to bypass psychological aspects of global warming beliefs, but to assert that all is fabrication amounts to oversimplification. People who live in certain parts of a country may have perfect reasons to be afraid.

A corroboration of realistic climate change

The yearly rises in average global temperature are well documented. Diagram 1 has the overall picture for more than one hundred Years, starting from 1880, set as 0. What could account for these ups and downs? Following the discovery or scientific revolution by S. Schneider, we try the amount of CO2 emissions yearly. Thus, we have:

x=atmosphere concentration CO2 in ppm

y= change in global surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 average temperatures

Regression line: y = 3,4277 + 0,0106x MathType@MTEF@5@5@+= feaagKart1ev2aaatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLn hiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr 4rNCHbGeaGqkY=Mj0xXdbba91rFfpec8Eeeu0xXdbba9frFj0=OqFf ea0dXdd9vqai=hGuQ8kuc9pgc9q8qqaq=dir=f0=yqaiVgFr0xfr=x fr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaqcLbsacaWG5b aeaaaaaaaaa8qacaGGGcGaeyypa0JaaiiOaiabgkHiTiaaiodacaGG SaGaaGinaiaaikdacaaI3aGaaG4naiaacckacqGHRaWkcaGGGcGaaG imaiaacYcacaaIWaGaaGymaiaaicdacaaI2aGaamiEaaaa@4A47@ (I)

Increase by 1 ppm CO2 leads to increase in global temperature 0,01 degrees CO2 concentration has grown from 315 to 410 so temperature has risen with c:a 1 degree as figure shows.

R-squared=0.913. A spurious correlation? Self-evident? No. Probably not, as it reflects the rising dependence on energy from fossil fuels. The fossil fuels are in much demand, because they offer cheap energy which is vital for affluence. 

Is the planet already at its Hawking irreversibility? The notion of irreversible transformation is very menacing, as policy could only slow down the arrival of a global disaster. 

There is a way to find out about irreversibility, namely to consult the global thermometer.

CO2 daily: 28/12 at 412 ppm and 408 one year ago (CO2).

The Cambridge dictionary lists two meanings of “sustainable”; able to continue over the period of time firstly, and secondly causing no or little damage to the environment. Taking together these two concepts fit well into the environmental framework, but they do not apply to the demand and supply of energy. Here we need a second equation, namely:

CO2 concentration in ppm=267.5 +10*Energy in Billion tonnes of oil equivalent; R squared equals 0.992 MathType@MTEF@5@5@+= feaagKart1ev2aaatCvAUfeBSjuyZL2yd9gzLbvyNv2CaerbuLwBLn hiov2DGi1BTfMBaeXatLxBI9gBaerbd9wDYLwzYbItLDharqqtubsr 4rNCHbGeaGqkY=Mj0xXdbba91rFfpec8Eeeu0xXdbba9frFj0=OqFf ea0dXdd9vqai=hGuQ8kuc9pgc9q8qqaq=dir=f0=yqaiVgFr0xfr=x fr=xb9adbaqaaeGaciGaaiaabeqaamaabaabaaGcbaaeaaaaaaaaa8 qacaWGdbGaam4taiaaikdacaqGGaGaam4yaiaad+gacaWGUbGaam4y aiaadwgacaWGUbGaamiDaiaadkhacaWGHbGaamiDaiaadMgacaWGVb GaamOBaiaabccacaWGPbGaamOBaiaabccacaWGWbGaamiCaiaad2ga cqGH9aqpcaaIYaGaaGOnaiaaiEdacaGGUaGaaGynaiaabccacqGHRa WkcaaIXaGaaGimaiaacQcacaWGfbGaamOBaiaadwgacaWGYbGaam4z aiaadMhacaqGGaGaamyAaiaad6gacaqGGaGaamOqaiaadMgacaWGSb GaamiBaiaadMgacaWGVbGaamOBaiaabccacaWG0bGaam4Baiaad6ga caWGUbGaamyzaiaadohacaqGGaGaam4BaiaadAgacaqGGaGaam4Bai aadMgacaWGSbGaaeiiaiaadwgacaWGXbGaamyDaiaadMgacaWG2bGa amyyaiaadYgacaWGLbGaamOBaiaadshacaGG7aGaaeiiaiaadkfaca qGGaGaam4CaiaadghacaWG1bGaamyyaiaadkhacaWGLbGaamizaiaa bccacaWGLbGaamyCaiaadwhacaWGHbGaamiBaiaadohacaqGGaGaaG imaiaac6cacaaI5aGaaGyoaiaaikdaaaa@8EB7@ . (II) 

The regression tells us that one billion energy amounts to ten CO2 ppm.

Now, we can predict using these two equations (I) and (II) that temperature rise will be beyond the Paris Objectives. Look at figure 1 below.

Figure 1 Energy projections according to IEA.

In Table 1 the relationship between energy consumption and temperature rise is modelled. Energy consumption is near 16 billion with +1 degree. Looking at stylised projections, we will move towards 24 billion with +2 degrees. That would create lots of difficult problems for mankind. 

Global Energy/btoe

CO2 concentration/PPM

Temperature rise/degrees C
















Table 1 Regression estimates for temperature rise based on energy consumption


While the postmodern theory implies no action, the realist theory targets C02s. It predicts the following consequences of CO2 emissions.





Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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