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(Digression) British climate group 10:10's video fiasco: don't just move on, learn lessons from it

October 2nd, 2010 (09:45 am)

Bill McKibben writes over at Climate Progress:

But I'd barely turned on my computer when that good feeling turned to a kind of quiet nausea. There were emails from people all saying the same thing: Have you seen this? This was a gross video making its way around Youtube, purporting to show people being blown up for not believing in climate change. It's been "pulled" from Youtube by its creators, the British climate group 10:10, but of course nothing is ever really "pulled" from Youtube. If you want to watch it bad enough, I'm pretty sure you can find it. Or you can look at the stories by climate deniers assailing it as the latest example of eco-fascism.
I've not yet watched the video, but if climate activists Joe Romm and Bill McKibben think that it sucks, then I guess it does suck.

What surprises me is that many people have decided to defend this video, saying that 'oh, it's just black humour' or 'it's OK, the message is complex' or 'but the denialists are worse!'; and some others just said 'yeah, it's a mistake, let's move on'.1 This is wrong-headed. We should be asking why this PR fiasco was allowed to happen in the first place, and what we can do to prevent such lapses next time. And once we've determined what can be done, we should do it.

It amazes me that even among supposedly enlightened pro-science people, when it comes to matters of PR, we start getting the same old extreme naïvete, idiotic and pointless turf wars, reluctance to change ways, and general closed-mindedness. This must stop.

Footnotes
  1. On the good side, at least no one has literally advocated blowing up global warming inactivists.


* * *


Update 2010-10-02: Tim Lambert weighs in.

Update 2010-10-03: Professor Scott Mandia presents us A Modest Carbon Proposal by Jonathan SwiftHack.

Update 2010-10-05: Responses from Matt Wootton and Michael Tobis. And Coby Beck.

Comments

Posted by: Decoding SwiftHack (ijish)
Posted at: October 2nd, 2010 03:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Hi from climate progress

(Stu: Given that you repeatedly can't be bothered to state exactly what you're 'skeptical' about with regard to climate science, I think it's safe to say that you're not an actual climate activist, but merely a concern troll spouting the usual talking points. Begone, concern troll.)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: October 2nd, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Hi from climate progress

'repeatedly can't be bothered'

??

I had one post up at CP and then your response. I have hardly had any time whatsoever to explain my position, not that I think it matters to the discussion of this 'production'. Maybe you just don't want to hear what I'm saying. Like this post you quote above, I'm no fan of turf wars, reluctance of change and close mindedness. But if you're actually interested, my skepticism (and it is only that) is with several of the paleo reconstructions. I have no beef with the radiative physics aspect. I have little faith in the GCM's to accurately forecast temps but on the other hand I have no reason to suggest that they might not be true. We will of course find out in time. I accept an element of alarm (I've been quite fearful of possible AGW effects for years) but I also accept that there are other positions one can take on this. None of us know what the GMT of the Earth will be in the year 2100. Al Gores sea level rise predictions seem incredibly silly to me.

I agree that humans both heat and cool the atmosphere due to our industrial emissions. I'm a fan of alternative energy and yet I would probably rather see a big push atm (along the lines of the thinking of Bill Gates) into research and development of new forms of energy productions. The Fresh Kills park project happening in New York at the moment is incredibly exciting to me- this is an old garbage site which is three times the size of Central Park which is being turned into an environmental park. Methane is being captured from the off gassing of the the rubbish to power an island. This is great stuff. I dig the ideas of William McDonough who calls for a rethinking of industrial civilization along ecological processes. I'm a big proponent of urban ecology, urban permaculture and have worked around these areas for some time.

These days I am sort of becoming a bit pro nuclear but I think the focus should be on Thorium reactors which are apparently safer, cleaner and cheaper than current designs. And the possiblity of proliferation of weapons from thorium is apparently extremely low or impossible. A piece of thorium the size of a golf ball would be able supply energy to someone for a lifetime. I forget how much coal is needed to do the same but it is a LOT more. Coal is a stupid idea if we can turn to safe nuclear power instead, or something else.

That's about my current thinking on stuff. Happy to have a conversation with you but I don't exactly appreciate the tone so far.

Posted by: Decoding SwiftHack (ijish)
Posted at: October 2nd, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Hi from climate progress

I have little faith in the GCM's to accurately forecast temps but on the other hand I have no reason to suggest that they might not be true. We will of course find out in time.
So you're saying that you think climate models are no good for projections of future climate, and you think climate models are good for projections of future climate?
I accept an element of alarm (I've been quite fearful of possible AGW effects for years) but I also accept that there are other positions one can take on this.
And you think that one should be alarmed at the prospect of climate disruption, and that one need not be alarmed at the prospect of climate disruption?

You need to make yourself clearer if you want to convince me that you're really espousing doubt, not bullshit.

Posted by: Decoding SwiftHack (ijish)
Posted at: October 3rd, 2010 01:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Hi from climate progress

(Stu: You're basically only rehashing your talking points above. Sorry, but no go.)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: October 2nd, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC)

PS, I'm apparently now unbanned from CP (if I ever was in the first place, I tried to post a couple of times but didn't make moderation queue) so I take back what I said about Joe. I did get a couple of comments pulled but maybe they were a little too 'black humour'. This is an emotional issue for people. None of the guys I've ever worked with have ever shown any of the qualities on display in this film. Everyone I know likes an argument, although we like to keep things civil as well. Punishing doubt and uncertainty with destruction from authority just pushes all the wrong buttons (excuse the pun), and I'm shocked that the 10:10 guys could be so stupid to think that this was going to be a good idea. Again, I'm concerned that if this is going to be the 'voice' of mainstream environmentalism then god help us all.

Posted by: Decoding SwiftHack (ijish)
Posted at: October 2nd, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Hi from climate progress

Stu:

In that case can you tell us which environmental group(s) you were working for?

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: October 2nd, 2010 07:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Hi from climate progress

Sure. I used to work for a company called Enviro Techniques, a Melbourne based company specialising in maintenance and enhancement of indigenous flora around Melbourne. Before then, a company called Practial Ecology, which was the same kind of thing.

I was active in the urban Permaculture/community thing at a place called CERES in Brunswick and The Garden of Eden, in Albert Park, which I was a part of from really the beginning, but the garden isn't there anymore unfortunately.

I support FOE (Friends of the Earth), and have been an activist for Anti Nuke stuff and forests, but that was fairly intermittent and was probably never really my style.

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