Between the climate hawks and the anti-science deniers is a vast sea of highly influential people who don’t get global warming.
By “don’t get” I mean they fail to understand that business as usual emissions (or some vague “energy quest” focused on R&D) will lead with high probability to multiple, simultaneous catastrophes any one of which should be enough to motivate aggressive action now, but combined represent the greatest preventable threat humanity has ever faced. See “An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts” for a review of 50 recent studies.
Humanity’s Choice (via M.I.T.): Inaction (“No Policy”) eliminates most of the uncertainty about whether or not future warming will be catastrophic — or unimaginably beyond catastrophic: 10°F [ 5.5°C] or higher). Aggressive emissions reductions starting now dramatically improves humanity’s chances below 5°F.
I have written about these people in the past (see “Most opinion leaders just don’t get global warming” and “People who don’t get it: Robert J. Samuelson“). But I’m planning to focus on them more in the coming months since they are the most influential group of “movable” or “persuadable” people.
But what to call them?
Dave Roberts of Grist sometimes calls them Very Serious People, but that is too kind to them.
Some of them are VUPs (Very Uninformed Persons). That’s true, say, of many in the media and politics and academia and … well, a whole lot of people
A smaller group of them have looked at the issue somewhat, focusing on outdated analyses or the few studies and “experts” who think the whole thing is overblown. These are the “Think Small” centrists and lukewarmers who also helped shrink the political space in the debate (see “Michael Lind of the New America Foundation misinforms on both climate science and clean energy” and “Science Times stunner: “… a majority of the section’s editorial staff doubts that human-induced global warming represents a serious threat to humanity“).
And no, I don’t like the term lukewarmer much, although it is better than nothing.
Anyway, I’m open to suggestions.