We at the DeSmogBlog would like to acknowledge a mistake in “awarding” presidential hopeful Barack Obama a 2007 SmogMaker prize for his position on global warming.This was one of five prizes that we gave out last week in an attempt to call attention to the distracting – and sometimes outright deceptive – messages that certain people and companies promote when they talk about climate change.
Given that Barack Obama is far from the worst offender on this file, we hoped his nomination might shock people to attention. We wanted to generate discussion about the positions that all the presidential hopefuls have taken (or not) on climate change. The media – and most of the candidates – have ignored the issue almost entirely, a fact we hoped to stress by pointing out that even the best-informed candidate’s position seems inadequate to the huge task ahead.
Well, we succeeded in generating discussion, beginning in our own organization. Reacting to our news release, Chris Mooney jumped immediately to Obama’s defence. Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science and the most recent Stormworld, Hurricanes, Politics and the Battle Over Global Warming, said: “There remains a huge gap between what is scientifically and climatically necessary on global warming, and what is politically feasible in the US. So no sane candidate is going to be able to completely satisfy environmental interests right now. … I think it’s a mistake to therefore attack the candidates who take the problem seriously as they try to walk this difficult line.”
Ross Gelbspan, whose defining books Boiling Point and The Heat is On were a big part of the inspiration for starting the DeSmogBlog, also spoke up for Obama’s position: “I think he’s made a giant step for a politician, given that he comes from a coal state, in backing off his unqualified support of CCS (carbon capture and storage) and other coal technologies. Initially, he was pushing coal. After the environmentalists talked to him, he strongly qualified his approach – supporting only proven CCS technology. That means the guy can listen – and can change his position according to what he learns.”
These and some of the previously reported criticisms of our position are well taken. While we would always hope for better, we must acknowledge that Obama’s position is a stunning improvement over the current standard and a clear notch up from the other serious contenders. We would like to apologize – to withdraw the award – and to wish him the best in continuing to refine and improve his position.