Ren's Spit

WHAT do you think of this extract, Fred?

"The task of climate change agencies is not to persuade by rational argument ... Instead, we need to work in a more shrewd and contemporary way, using subtle techniques of engagement ... The 'facts' need to be treated as being so taken for granted that they need not be spoken. Ultimately positive climate behaviours need to be approached in the same way as marketers approach acts of buying and consuming ... It amounts to treating climate-friendly activity as a brand that can be sold. This is, we believe, the route to mass behaviour change."

The extract, written by G Ereaut and N Segnit, is from a report written for the London Institute for Public Research for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in his global warming crusade*.

Frankly, I was insulted.

According to that quotation, global warming is to be sold to us like Rice Bubbles, with all the fancy packaging and with a little toy for the children.

The people who read that and are not offended by it are either fools or they believe it does not apply to them but to the smelly masses.

As I have stuck my neck out on the global warming issue, I have sometimes received some feedback either of support or to tell me I have got it all wrong.

That is fair enough. It is open opinion and part of the debate and, therefore, it is welcome.

But it indicated to me a sort of superior attitude taken by some global warming supporters.

For instance, it was suggested to me that the decision to play down the existence of the medieval warming period (said to have occurred between AD900 and AD1350) was because there would be those who would take that event out of context to continue their pollution of the planet.

Does that excuse the decision to hide a scientific fact? And does it, in the end, help science?

Fred, I suspect what it really suggests is that some people, who are no more scientists than I am, believe the man in the street - the ordinary Joe, so to speak - might not have the capacity to understand the complications of climate and, therefore, it is best not to confuse him. Better to put scary scenarios before him and string him along.

Fred, I find that superior attitude highly arrogant.

There have been some wonderful programs on television dealing with such things as Einstein's relativity theory and the new string theory and nobody denies that they are difficult subjects.

But, you know, we ordinary mortals can be filled with the wonder of those things and yet grasp enough of the concept to get some understanding of them.

Climate change, which has happened throughout the life of planet Earth, has always occurred and will always occur and we can learn about that, too, if we are interested.

By not revealing that climate changes had occurred in the past because people might not understand the science is the wrong thing to do. The means does not justify the end and, in the end, it is counter-productive.

I remember a person saying things aren't done as efficiently under a democracy as they are under a benevolent dictatorship.

And he was probably right.

But when a dictatorship goes bad, then you can come to see that the man-in-the-street, stumbling as he does, is still the better option.

And the man-in-the-street really can get his head around the fact that the climate has always changed.

*Blair seems to like doomsday scenarios. Remember when he warned the Millennium Bug could destroy civilisation as we know it?

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