Guest essay by Eric Worrall
De-Smog Blog co-founder James Hoggan seems to think people who oppose climate action are “bad actors”. My question – how is that confrontational approach working out for you, James?
The making of a one-of-a-kind climate change PR professional
A pioneering climate change PR professional describes in his own words his views on how to navigate through today’s hyperpolarized public square.
By James Hoggan | Thursday, March 25, 2021
My own journey from corporate PR consultant to co-founder of a new media website investigating climate change disinformation was eye-opening. We launched DeSmogBlog in January 2006 to “clear up the PR pollution that clouds climate science.” We wrote about Darth Vader PR campaigns in the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK, largely funded by the coal and oil industries. Finding myself in the midst of a nasty international dispute about the climate crisis, I realized the strategies used to mislead people with anti-science propaganda and anti-environmentalism are much more developed and robust than those used to educate people about science and the environment.
Over time, I realized that environmentalists are not crazy or even radicals. They’re very often telling the truth: Humans are rapidly destroying the oceans, driving record levels of species to extinction, and dangerously overheating the climate. Environmental collapse isn’t just a future risk. It is well underway.
The more I delved into the war on fact-based reality, the angrier I got. The disinformation was so blatant and shameless. And much of it involved ad hominem attacks. But the main source of my anger was the effectiveness of the tactics: They worked, at least somewhat. Toxic conversations like these stall our ability to think collectively, act in our own interests and solve the many dangerous environmental problems stalking everyone on Earth.
There’s the “climategate,” when in late 2009 and just before the Copenhagen climate talks, an unknown hacker stole more than 1,000 emails from climate scientists at the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in the U.K. The hacked emails were then used to dupe much of the free world’s media into writing misleading stories suggesting climate scientists were falsifying data, and raising the possibility that global warming was a hoax.
It’s not just bad actors who pollute and polarize public conversations. Carol Tavris, author of the best-selling Mistakes Were Made But Not By Me, told me the moment we make a decision we begin to see all the reasons we are right about it.
Empathy and evidence need to replace disinformation and division. This is a challenge. The science of how to mislead people about science is advanced and muscular. The well-funded propaganda machines fighting environmental regulation know far more about stoking division than environmental scientists know about persuading us to support science-based public policies to protect the environment.
Read more: https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2021/03/the-making-of-a-one-of-a-kind-climate-change-pr-professional/
James Hoggan said one positive thing in the midst of ranting about Climategate, and accusing people who oppose climate action of being bad actors. “The goal of argument and public debate should NOT be to crush someone who disagrees with you, but to bring forward the truth“.
Here’s a truth for you James. Most of the contributors who write on WUWT would have no problem with efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, so long as it doesn’t cost us anything.
You might think you can persuade us and our fellow travellers that CO2 emission reductions are worth supporting, maybe even worth making some sacrifices to achieve – but how well has that persuasion strategy worked for you since 2006? How much impact has the efforts of DeSmog Blog and all your fellow greens had on the rise of atmospheric CO2?
If you genuinely want an end to division, if you seriously think the world is in danger if we continue to emit vast quantities of CO2, compromise a little. Most of us are fans of nuclear power, which happens to be a zero carbon energy technology. Join with us, join with former NASA GISS director James Hansen, join with Michael Schellenberger, and jump on board the nuclear bandwagon.
France proved by doing that mass produced nuclear power is affordable, so this satisfies most of our objections about not having to pay for it – all nuclear needs to be economically viable is a benign regulatory environment. Nuclear power is zero carbon, or very close to it, so by building nuclear capacity and retiring fossil fuel plants, you get your large scale CO2 emissions reductions.
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