James Hoggan's blog

It's only Vanuatu, but I like it ...

There’s always a problem in PR trying to reconcile what your client says with what people choose to hear. People’s attitudes are informed by their biases; their ability to listen is affected by their preconceptions.

So, let’s use this to our advantage. Have a look at this World News Australia link describing the oceanic inundation of the island nation of Vanuatu. Then, the next time a politician or business leader says “it’s too expensive to make even the slightest effort to forestall climate change,” you can hear, “and who cares about Vanuatu, anyway?”

Junk Scientist simpers again

In a shockingly fatuous Fox News post from Dec. 1, Junk Science promoter Stephen Milloy heralds the death of global warming, as proven in the earlier reported Nature magazine story about the decline in the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf Current.

Climate: in every detail and from every angle

An exhausting, if not exhaustive list of web-based resources on climate change, including some self-style skeptics to reinforce deSmogBlog.com’s reputation for open-mindedness.

10 Things the Government Can Do ...

London’s Independent Online offers a thought-provoking list of actions for government, though the deSmogBlog team hates the idea of regulatory bodies intervening to make air travel more expensive. The suggestion that government should try to get the U.S. to take climate change seriously also assumes that the government in is itself taking the issue seriously – all evidence to the contrary in Canada. As for cranking up the cost of huge, gas-guzzling, space-consuming vehicles: if people want to consume conspicuously, they should be proud to pay a premium.

... and 10 things you can do at home

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.

Former Environment Minister Sweettalks Exxon

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.” 


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