5:36 pm - December 3rd 2009
Dubbed ‘climategate’, the leaking of emails from University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, seems to have given the self-proclaimed ‘global warming sceptics’ a boost in their worldview.
Inevitably, a lot of the comments and emails have been taken out of the context and twisted to suit the ‘sceptics’. The emails haven’t even been verified for authenticity – they could have been made up. The Times even claimed a lot of data was dumped, when it wasn’t. Misinformation has always been a classic tactic of the deniers.
This isn’t about whether most of global warming is driven by human activity – my position is very clear – but about how to win the public relations battle.
First: recognise this is a PR battle, which means phrasing arguments and putting forward solutions & ideas that people will accept and understand. The green movement still contains too many people who want to live in mud-huts and using as little energy as possible by going back to feudal times of living. I’m afraid that train has long sailed. Our hope is now only in technological solutions (in addition to recycling of course).
Second: Support the direct-action fringe movements. I’m sick and tired of bloggers and media commentators supposedly on the left constantly sneering at direct-action stunts.
These are the people who drive the debate and keep the issue alive. They might piss off the press commentators but don’t be so sure that most of the public hates them too: the British have always valued direct action.
My only caveat here is that organisations such as Plane Stupid should focus on business air travel, lack of investment in rail and subsidising of air fuel – rather than asking people to stop flying. That train has also sailed. I like the way Climate Rush have aligned their work with that of the suffragettes. All power to their elbow.
Generally – the left needs to stop fighting everytime a direct-action group stages a stunt: support them and encourage them.
Third: Don’t buy the argument that tackling climate change hurts poor countries because we’re asking them to stop growing so quick. In fact the Chinese are getting ahead of us in developing clean energy, given how bad pollution is getting there.
At every stage of climate change talks it has always been the poor countries asking for faster action on climate change since they will suffer the most. This argument can be easily and should be constantly rebutted.
Fourth: Given how much antipathy there is towards politicians right now: getting them on side may even be a liability.
The environmental movement should therefore remain anti-politicians and constantly accuse them of pandering to big business and vested interests. Always be on the attack.
Fifth: No retreat, no surrender on the terminology. Jack of Kent asks whether ‘denialism’ is too strong a word.
Look at the people who push global warming denialism: Fox News (enough said), The Telegraph (enough said), The Spectator (recently promoting AIDS denialism), Melanie Phillips (enough said), Christopher Booker (has anyone read his Wikipedia entry recently?), James Delingpole (enough said).
These are the kind of fuckwits (Delingpole, Richard North) who think there’s a conspiracy when their article doesn’t appear on Google News or use Google search hits as example of how big the story is.
Calling them ‘denialists’ is being too kind: they should be abused at every instance for the stupidity they churn out. They should be ridiculed, parodied, cussed, and constantly called out for the idiots they are because they deserve it.
Let the scientists do the science. But outside that world is a media full of bullshit artists who have vested interests in promoting ‘scepticism’. The Spectator magazine’s hosting of the AIDS denialism film is just one small example. If we retreat on this war between ideologies by trying to be nice, while all they do is throw vitriol and propaganda, then we’ve already lost.
The global warming debate is already political because it affects politicsl decisions and public policy. There is money to be made from writing ‘sceptic’ books that feed into the kind of wingnuttery that has fuelled the fortunes of Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck. There is no reason to take these people seriously or even off them an ounce of respect. If that means the political debate is charged – so be it.
Sixth: It is constantly stated that Britons are ‘sceptical’ of global warming. In fact more Britons are convinced by man-made global warming than not. And this percentage has risen rather than fallen in recent years. So the environmental movement is winning the battle on the ground despite what media commentators say.
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
· Other posts by Sunny Hundal
Story Filed Under: Blog ,Environment ,Media ,Westminster
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- Liberal Conspiracy
:: Re-tuning the environmental movement http://bit.ly/53KooA
- sunny hundal
My thoughts on re-tuning the environmental movement here: http://bit.ly/53KooA
- Evan O'Neil
Some fighting words RT @pickledpolitics My thoughts on re-tuning the environmental movement here: http://bit.ly/53KooA
- sunny hundal
@jackofkent responded to you here by the way (partially) http://bit.ly/53KooA
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- The Indie Fan’s Guide To Political Blogging « The Bleeding Heart Show
[...] crime was to call certain writers ‘fuckwits’ who push ‘global warming denialism’. [...]
@jackofkent this piece is dumb, contradictory and cynical in all the wrong ways though http://bit.ly/4RSjTX
- Copenhagen: A philosophical introduction to philosophical paradox and why we’re all going to die « Bad Conscience
[...] Other blogs, Philosophy, Politics at 11:40 pm by Paul Sagar Sunny Hundal today put up a 6-point plan for how to get realistic about climate change campaigning. It’s a good list. I applaud it [...]
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