It is fair to say that talk radio is never going to be the forum for the most nuanced debate on green issues, but after appearing on London's LBC 97.3 last Sunday to discuss the business case for environmental action I was still taken aback at the refusal of many to even accept the possibility that climate change is real and that perhaps we should do something about it.
Every conspiracy theory going was voiced during an hour that saw me fielding questions from the host James Max and members of the public, all of which pretty much boiled down to "there's no such thing as global warming, is there?".
There was the suggestion that scientists have made it all up to protect their "lucrative" funding, that green taxes are just a ruse to make more money, that sunspots are responsible for global warming and that only a few decades ago we were worried about global cooling.
There was also my personal favourite from a woman called Joan who rung in to say there was nothing to worry about because as it gets warmer she'll be able to grow oranges and lemons in her garden.
The problem is how you even begin to engage with these views when the person you are talking to will countenance neither scientific evidence nor logical reasoning.
Consequently, my suggestion that the scientific funding available to research manmade climate change is dwarfed by the financial gains available to those who can prove the opposite were pretty much ignored.
As was the fact that the proportion of tax revenue coming from green taxes has fallen in the UK over the last decade and the fact that sunspots and the post war period of cooling have both been fully accounted by the vast majority of climate scientists who are certain we now face a global catastrophe of unprecedented scale.
As for Joan, the fact that a couple of degree increase in average temperatures would mean drought and catastrophe in other parts of the world was rejected on the grounds that "lots of part of the world are cold". While the argument that the flip side of orange groves in our gardens would be more frequent water shortages and fatal heat waves was dismissed with the rather glorious non sequitur "we had heat waves when I was girl".
So what do you do when the normal rules of debate are temporarily revoked by individuals who refuse to recognise concepts such as evidence and logic? How do you argue with an assertion that climate change is not happening based on nothing more than a belief that it is not happening? And what should businesses do with customers and employees who continue to cling to these views?
I'm increasingly coming round to the view that the answer is to just ignore them.
As I quickly realised last night you are never going to change their mind, on the simple basis that belief will trump evidence every single time. Attempting to engage in a debate is a pointless exercise that will only leave those armed with genuine peer-reviewed scientific evidence or basic principles of risk mitigation feeling extremely frustrated.
Instead the best option when faced with the belief that manmade climate change is not happening is to steal a move from the sceptics play book and reframe the debate.
The fact is that most of the changes required to deliver a low carbon economy make sense with or without climate change.
For example, Joan might not care about the environment, but she is likely to care about her energy bills and would welcome ways to cut them. For businesses this cost argument is even harder to dismiss given soaring energy prices and growing concerns over supply security.
Even GM's Bob Lutz has grown to accept the logic of this argument, dismissing climate change as a "crock of shit" but insisting GM's Volt electric vehicle is still needed to help wean the US off of increasingly expensive foreign oil.
Meanwhile, business leaders who are sceptical about climate change still have to accept and address the commercial, cost and legislative risks associated with being a carbon intensive business even if they think the customers and politicians imposing these new green demands and laws are just plain wrong.
Because more people understand good basic business sense than understand climate science, sceptics will find these arguments in favour of action far harder to dismiss than they do UN climate reports.
And if you can convince enough of them to start to reduce their energy use through these basic business arguments it may be possible to encourage even the most sceptical firms and customers to make progress towards cutting their carbon footprint even while we wait impatiently for the last of the climate change denying dinosaurs to finally die out.
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