I thought it was particularly interesting that McCarthy spoke about how people are overly-focused on uncertainty and the nature of predictability in the realm of climate change. She pointed out that people are far more skeptical of environmental scientists than they would be of, for instance, a doctor giving you a diagnosis. She noted that both the general public and academia surrounding climate change share this discourse. While it is incredibly important to identify uncertainty and analyze the probability of our predictions, this can often lead to doubt and confusion, since people don’t want to accept the dire situation of our climate crisis. While I had been aware of these types of questions and discussions, I had not really thought about it in this light — that discussing the degree of uncertainty is actually creating more uncertainty for many people. This highlights a fascinating issue with predictions; of course, there is always uncertainty, but when the news is unpleasant, people use wishful thinking to over-value the uncertainty and de-value the predictions themselves.
Some of the most interesting discussions were about how climate change disproportionately impacts marginalized communities. McCarthy spoke about how there needs to be international action, as well as domestic policies, to protect these groups. She explained how investing in clean energy should create more job opportunities for marginalized and at-risk groups, which is a critical, and often challenged, benefit of investing in clean energy to reduce carbon emissions. She notes that there needs to be impactful action to ensure jobs are created for these marginalized communities, that there are investments into infrastructure to protect them, and that marginalized communities need to be involved in the conversations of policymakers. However, I would ask how specifically policies can be enacted to protect the public health and safety of these groups. Of course, McCarthy touched on the interconnectedness of public health and climate change, but I am curious how you integrate public health considerations into climate policy to ensure that vulnerable populations are protected from environmental harm, including, for instance, their access to healthcare.
On Intersectionality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9RfN375QDI
I was also struck by the medical comparison McCarthy used to illustrate the role uncertainty should play in climate predictions. I agree that people tend to dismiss unpleasant information and try to convince themselves the information isn't accurate, however, I wonder what the difference between a patient's response to a cancer diagnosis and society's response to climate change. Both are terrible pieces of information that would be devastating to the person receiving the information, but while most patients accept a diagnosis and start treatment, society has resisted accepting climate change predictions. It's hard to imagine a piece of news being more devastating than a cancer diagnosis, but I'm guessing the scale of the destruction that climate change will likely cause is just too vast, even when compared to a cancer diagnosis. This difference could also be caused by the fact that there are interested parties in denying climate change, while there are few interested parties in denying a diagnosis.