Heroes to criminals, the spectrum in climate activism

At the time of writing, in mid 2019, it is easy to despair about the future of the planet if one considers the pathetically inadequate inaction to limit greenhouse causing emissions.

The burning of fossil fuels is widely recognised as the main cause of climate change, ocean acidification, sea level rise and ocean warming. The air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels kills millions of people world-wide each year.

Having said that, I believe that we must not despair; we can yet minimise the damage if those of us who accept the facts act with sufficient determination.

In this page I try to place the people of the world into a spectrum of admirability to culpability.

This page was written 2019/08/24, last edited 2023/05/24
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©

Turbine and message

Wind power can, and is, partly replacing fossil fuel burning power stations, solar power is too, but nowhere near fast enough to limit climate change and related problems as quickly as is needed.

In the table below I have roughly rated people in terms of their admirability or culpability in their activism in regard to protecting (or harming) the future of this, our only and beloved, planet Earth. Some people could be placed in several of the groups.

Admirability-CupablitySize of groupIndividuals, groups
The heroes Very small, < 0.01% The people who have high public profiles and are using them to try to get action on climate change; people like Greta Thunberg, David Attenborough and Tim Flannery (I have listed some of the Australians I know who are doing their best elsewhere on these pages).
Active supporters of climate change action Small, < 1% Those of us who recognise the need to act and are doing what we see as being within our limited means and abilities
Supporters of climate change action Very large Those who recognise the need to act, but don't do much because they feel powerless, 'too small to make a difference' or whatever other reason
Too busy surviving to be aware Very large Those, mainly but not entirely in the Third World, whose lives are dominated by the challenges of day-to-day survival
Fence sitters Large Those who are not convinced by the (ample) evidence
Don't care Large Those who may be aware, but can't be bothered concerning themselves about it
God is in control Large? All those who think that if God didn't want climate change he would stop it from happening, or that our concern should be with the 'spiritual', not worldly matters, and similar way of hiding their heads in the sand
Those who reject the science through ignorance or shear pig-headedness Large Those who don't believe that climate change is happening or don't want to believe it or don't believe it is being caused by Mankind's actions. A sub-group would be those who decided that anthropogenic climate change was not happening decades ago and are unwilling to admit that they were and are wrong, irrespective of the steadily increasing evidence that they are.
Those who choose not to believe because they see this as being to their short-term advantage Large The people who see their immediate future advantage in supporting the fossil fuel industry because they hope for employment there or their business depends on the industry, etc.
Liars Small Those who know that anthropogenic climate change is a fact but still dishonestly oppose action
The criminals Very small, < 0.01% Those in positions of power who knowingly lie in order to support the fossil fuel industry or simply what they see as their own selfish interests. People like Donal Trump and Rupert Murdoch, and in Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, ex PM Tony Abbott, the greedy whose wealth comes from the fossil fuel industry such as Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer, and then there's the professional liars including Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones.

Related pages

On this site...

The good and the bad; those who are fighting for a better world or for greed and short-term advantage.

Who will be on the right and the wrong sides of history?

Why accept climate science?