The Psychology of Climate Change

Author’s Note: I offer this post for two reasons. The first is that I don’t believe in anthropogenic climate change. In Language as Symbolic Action, the late American philosopher and literary theorist, Kenneth Burke, wrote this: “An ‘ideology’ is like a spirit taking up its abode in a body: it makes that body hop around in certain ways: and that same body would have hopped around in different ways had a different ideology happened to inhabit it.” In that light, maybe this post does nothing more than manifest my ideological hopping. Perhaps. I’d like to believe my position is soundly argued here and more than just so much ideological hopping.

The second reason I offer this post is that my friend, fellow BIZCATALYST 360° scribe, and intellectual confidant, Melissa Hughes, Ph.D., recently wrote a piece on cognitive bias that ruffled a few feathers, including those of this excitable Irish boy. Melissa’s piece compelled me to write this riposte: “On behalf of those who don’t think climate change is anthropogenic, who don’t use ‘believers’ pejoratively and with the presumption of wrongness in the way ‘deniers’ is used, who believe the notion of ‘settled science’ is impossible and dangerous, and who source their thinking from different ‘facts’, I’ll submit a piece to BIZCATALYST 360° in the next little while. This is that piece.

P.S. No matter what happens, whether we agree or disagree on this or any other topic, I love and respect Melissa dearly. That’s not up for grabs.


History will mark 2019 as the year in which the world lost its collective marbles — or gave them away. Historians are likely to remain divided on that, depending on their ideological predispositions. At the very least, 2019 will go in the books as the year in which Western Civilization exchanged common sense, empiricism, centuries of objective inquiry, and the pursuit of objective science for fantasy, sensationalism, gullibility, hypocrisy, hysteria, hyperbolic opinion, and public relations. History will also categorize 2019 as the year in which activism superseded accomplishment, narrative triumphed over reality, science became settled, feelings trumped logic, and we volunteered to exchange critical reasoning for political exploitation.

The poster child for our en masse dereliction of sense and reality, of course, will be Greta Thunberg, who, for having initiated what became a global walkout of children from their schools in the misbegotten conviction that abandoning academic responsibility and the opportunity to learn would stop the planet from making inevitable changes to its own climate, was granted an audience before the United Nations General Assembly (among other previously unthinkable things).

It’s surely never dawned on Greta, her worldwide wanton waifs, or any of the members of her adult fan club who exalt her for being some kind of climate savant that if Greta and her ingenuous ilk were to fulfill their academic responsibilities and take the opportunity to learn, they might be able to see through the manipulated, manipulative rhetoric passing for science that contends human beings — with only about 260 years of industrial age under their belts — are responsible for changing the climate of a material body formed more than 4.5 billion years ago and constituting some 197 million square miles.

Wow. The Ancient Greeks who coined hubris are, no doubt, conducting synchronized rolling over in their graves at what they now recognize as their jaw-dropping lack of foresight and imagination.

2 + 2 = 5

There are two reasons for climate-change hysteria. The first is fear. It’s a fulfillment of our primal need to find bogeymen — the Manticore, Grendel, Kraken, the Griffin, Hydra, and every other dragon, werewolf, zombie, and devil that are the myriad manifestations of the tyrant monsters that have sprung from our dark subconscious from time immemorial. Because of that dark subconscious and its capacity to strike debilitating fear, people still plumb the depths of Loch Ness looking for the monster. People still comb the forests and mountains in search of Sasquatch. And Al Gore isn’t behind bars for fraud.

The second reason for climate-change hysteria is control. We’re being manipulated, kids. It’s that true and that simple. We’re being manipulated to surrender our independence and our empirical senses to serve The Big Machine of totalitarian bureaucracy and wealth-redistribution (which might be a distinction without a difference). We’re succumbing to death by a thousand concessions, an inexorable process by which we surrender — in increments small enough to be almost painless and nearly indiscernible — sovereignty and self-determination to groupthink and doublespeak. Most telling: We’re being conditioned to deny the reality of the process.

Lest you have any doubt, please consider this article, which I’ll leave you to contemplate on your own, whence the excerpt below derives:

The best way to obtain control and submission is by creating a fearful and panicky population that begs for governments to fix its problems.

We’ve done those who wish to control us and frighten us into passive, unquestioning submission a huge favor by showing up to their dance, fully panicked and pathologically gullible on arrival. Shame on us.

Do We Dare?

If we possess the intellectual and emotional strength to question the prevailing wind that passes for wisdom, there’s another article we might consider — “NASA admits that climate change occurs because of changes in Earth’s solar orbit, and NOT because of SUVs and fossil fuels” — which says this, in part:

NASA has thus far failed to set the record straight, and has instead chosen to sit silently back and watch as liberals freak out about the world supposedly ending in 12 years because of too much livestock, or too many plastic straws … Earth’s climate has always been changing, and is in a constant state of flux due to no fault of our own as human beings … The biggest factor influencing weather and climate patterns on earth is the sun, period.

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Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brienhttps://obriencg.com/
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.


  1. “The biggest factor influencing weather and climate patterns on earth is the sun, period” and the reference provided is not NASA but another article opining in similar vein on NASA.

    NASA’s own website (https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/) asks and answers this question in the sidebar.

    Question: “How do we know that changes in the Sun aren’t to blame for current global warming trends?”
    Answer: Since 1978, a series of satellite instruments have measured the energy output of the Sun directly. The satellite data show a very slight drop in solar irradiance (which is a measure of the amount of energy the Sun gives off) over this time period. So the Sun doesn’t appear to be responsible for the warming trend observed over the past several decades.

    Longer-term estimates of solar irradiance have been made using sunspot records and other so-called “proxy indicators,” such as the amount of carbon in tree rings. The most recent analyses of these proxies indicate that solar irradiance changes cannot plausibly account for more than 10 percent of the 20th century’s warming.

    An article which talks about NASA and ignores NASA’s own statements, may manifest freedom of expression, but in my judgment is bereft of any scholastic or journalistic integrity.

  2. Thank you, Mark for helping us understand that jumping headfirst into someone’s ideal is not always prudent. That simply taking someone’s word for it can lead to an ill-advised ideology. Thanks for pointing out that we should look at other’s views; especially when they conflict with our own. Thanks for showing how horrific it is when you only consider your own opinion and mock others who believe differently. That how narrowminded and narcissistic one is when they do everything in their power get rid of those who say they are wrong and believe they alone have the power to make anything great again. Those who’ve developed a skill of name calling because truthfully, they have no leadership skills other than to provoke others to do even more hideous acts than they already have.
    Thank you for pointing out that we should do what we can not only to conserve and preserve our environment for future generations, but also do what we can to get rid of those whose selfish views have been promoted, propagated and put into law centuries before Florida ever began tracking whether events. That these ideals were singularly legislated to line their own pockets and purposely deprive others who don’t think (or even look) like them. Who believe that money and their pursuit in acquiring it, is far more important than creating any sense of equality for those who would dare question or think differently. Shame on them.
    And thank you, Melissa, for inspiring Mark to write such an article. Just imagine if there were only 3 men who had half the determination of a hapless teenager who took the entire globe by storm primarily looking for a few more reasons for students to ditch school. What a difference these men could manifest and make this a far better planet for everyone to live and dream.
    And thank you, Dennis, for providing a platform that allows everyone to freely express and communicate what they believe because everyone has the ability – and perhaps duty – to make this world better for us being here.

  3. Thanks for the well thought out post. As I’ve said before, the era of “The debate is over it’s time to act” was when religion took over climate change debate. No scientist should ever utter such a phrase and anyone who says that should lose their degree.

    Governments and green NGOs obviously have an agenda and reached a conclusion. That is essentially the only funding for this research and it is all tainted. Any data produced by this funding should be as questionable as that produced by big oil money. But, of course, it agrees with people’s current belief.

    This is the biggest wealth transfer in history. So, for those who whine about big oil and big money as a reason to believe the greens, just realize the pro-human made climate change side is expecting to make trillions of $$$$’s of this issue. Doesn’t prove anything (although the greens have said for decades that it does, although they look in the opposite direction), but should make people think. But it won’t…

    As to Greta…I have never seen such a clear picture of Satan. Seriously…I have nothing else to say as just the thought of her face gives me chills.

    Individuals are smart. People are dumb.

  4. Some may call you a contrarian, but I just call you Irish. If it weren’t for people like you in my life I’d be much more closed minded and knee-jerky. This piece is the perfect example of you sharing your open mind.

    Who knows who’s right when it comes to climate change. I certainly don’t. I can’t. I’m not educated enough on the topic. But I’ll tell ya this – I’ll fight the urge to Dunning & Kruger your opinion and the opinions of others.

    Climate change might be our fault. It might not. It might be both the sun’s fault and our fault. But I’ll leave that to the professionals. And continue to do my best to shrink my carbon footprint. If only for the reason that I want to and I can.

    • Irish. Okay. I’ll take it. 🤪

      As always, JoAnna, time will tell. But I think we do ourselves and the world a service if we question everything. If we do question, we’ll be in better places from which to resist or accept. Or, as it’s been more famously said, “If we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything.”

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

  5. Mark, there is much debate on this issue. I am not one to say there is or is not climate change going on. The last couple of winters here in New York there have been few cold spells with only a trace of snow. Over the weekend the temperature is going into the 60’s. I disagree with you strongly that in 2019 the world lost its marbles. I also disagree with your premise that we are being controlled. Certainly, the media on the left and the media on the right do try to sway our opinions to match theirs. Hysteria is not in control!! How can you say things like this which is clearly not the case? Encouraging kids to walk out of school for some sort of statement should warrant severe punishment for those children such as loss of certain holidays or extra homework which is actually a good thing. Kids need to be in school to learn. Any adult who encourages children to walk out of school is irresponsible not to mention very possibly breaking the law. Mark, you are too intelligent to succumb to paranoia which is what you are doing. Very disappointing article.

    • Joel, in celebration of our differences, Grandpa O’Brien loved to say, “That’s what makes horse racing.” The world would be a dull place if we all agreed. And it would be a scary place if everyone agreed with me.

      I do think you misread my stance on Greta and her walkout. Be that as it may, I’m grateful to you for your comments and for our connection.

      Thank you.

    • “Hysteria is not in control!! How can you say things like this which is clearly not the case?” Something to think about…

      It’s much easier to direct a mob or a panicked group of people than it is to direct or control a group of well-reasoned individuals.

    • @Joel Agree with your points of both left and right media trying to sway.

      Incidentally, skipping school in Sweden (Greta’s home country) is in fact against the law, and therefore the power and force of the protest. They are asking why go to school to learn for the future, if there is not going to be one for them. As the parent of a child who is little younger than Greta, I think this is an incredible burden we have placed on our kids.