James Hoggan's blog
This is less helpful. The idea that we must all wear hair shirts, drive sucky cars and live in cold, dark houses is … well, let’s say, unappealing. If this is the best PR pitch that we can conceive, global warming is here to stay.
There are two problems with this approach. First, there is a danger that people will make one or two personal sacrifices and then feel that they have done their part for the planet; that having accepted responsibility and taken some personal action, they will return to their apolitical lives with a clear conscience. The really big structural changes that only government can make will remain unmade for lack of public pressure.
Victoria Liberal Member of Parliament and former Canadian Environment Minister was asked on the CBC Radio show The House, on Dec. 3 whether he will be looking for a corporate gig after he leaves politics, perhaps with ExxonMobile.
His answer, for the record:“No, I think of all the companies I would be least likely to work for, ExxonMobil would be it. They are definitely the sort of Darth Vader of my life. (Laughs) They fought bitterly to make sure that Canada did as little as possible on the environmental front with respect to Kyoto; they didn’t want to have any model in North America which people in the United States could look to; they did their damndest to discount the science and to discourage any activity here among the business community and the political people as well. I trust that in the future, when it is perfectly clear to everyone, including ExxonMobil, what a mess they made of the opportunity that we had to get in place climate change measures, I hope they recognise and make appropriate apologies for what I describe as a disgraceful performance by a major economic player.”
You may already have heard about novelist Michael Crichton’s ill-advised foray into what he believes is serious scientific prediction, but sometimes this kind of silliness is worth revisiting. Crichton’s latest novel, a highly fictional account of the current climate change debate, is called State of Fear. Though neither as readable nor as believable as Jurassic Park, this volume has won Crichton a surprising amount of time on the lecture circuit, where he has been peddling his imagined expertise in climate science.
The best counterpoints have come – consistently, thoughtfully, reliably and even humorously – from www.realclimate.org. But this post is particularly fun, and it includes a brief but useful description of scientific method. Would that Crichton would read it.