ECOworld: a website officially unconcerned about accuracy

Mon, 2008-03-17 09:01Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

ECOworld: a website officially unconcerned about accuracy

We make no representation, explicit or otherwise, about the completeness, accuracy, or consistency of the data on our website, of the integrity of the services we provide, or of those with which we may interoperate. - ECOworld Disclaimer

Don't say you weren't warned.

The “environmental publishing company” ECOworld promises to keep “nature and technology in harmony,” but the content of the website and the clear bias of editor Ed (Redwood) Ring shows that Ed would be more forthright if he adopted a nickname that demonstrates more clearly his leanings, say Ed (We Need More Freeways) Ring.

In a recent, strident and extended editor's note, Freeway Ring complains that climate change denial has fallen into humiliating disfavour in the mainstream media. He complains that people who want to continue arguing about global warming are “branded as ideological fanatics and corporate shills.”

Well, if the shoe fits…

If Freeway Ring is NOT a corporate shill, we invite him to share the details of his funding and prove the point. (That would, of course, leave the possibility that he is still an ideological fanatic, but I suspect he might adjust his ideology pretty quickly if the money ran out.)

But the sweetest part of Freeway's entreaty for confusion in the climate conversation is this:

If there is a “denial industry,” who would benefit? A handful of underfunded think tanks?”

A reasonable answer to the first question might be “ExxonMobil” - the largest and most profitable corporation in the history of the world. But the second question - rhetorical, surely - is flat-out hilarious.

Spend 10 minutes at ExxonSecrets; contemplate, briefly, the tens of millions of dollars that Exxon alone has spent “underfunding” climate-change-denying think tanks. And then come back to ECOworld and ask yourself why any legitimate information source would “make no representation” about “the integrity of the services we provide, or of those with which we may interoperate.”

Freeway Ring doesn't want to defend the integrity of his services, or of his collaborators, because they are indefensible.

The concluding paragraph in this editor's note begins:

Many conscientious people, relatively free of biases, simply feel climate science is beyond them.”

Quite so, and Freeway Ring and his buddies clearly plan to take full advantage of those people. There appears to be no room left for shame.

Previous Comments

One of EcoWorld’s corporate sponsors (http://ecoworld.com/whoisecoworld.htm) is the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), which was alleged to have funded lobbyists to secure pork barrel deals (http://www.sbsun.com/news/ci_3991748).

Nothing particularly damning yet (as far as AGW goes), but still rather fishy if you ask me.

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Frank Bi, fact-addict and anti-lie bigot

“Al `Fat Al’ Gore [is fat]” – Harold Pierce

ECOworld: a website officially unconcerned about accuracy”

Wouldn’t want anyone else muscling in on your territory, now would we?

Troll.

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Frank Bi, fact-addict and anti-lie bigot

“Al `Fat Al’ Gore [is fat]” – Harold Pierce

… I would invite you to look for any reference in which we deny responsibility for the accuracy of what we publish. I think you'll come up, as ever, embarrassingly short.

You'll find, rather, that our policy is to offer factual information and to stand by the veracity that information proudly. When, for example, we say that “scientists” such as Fred Singer and Tim Ball are lying and accepting money from the energy industry, our lawyer never says: write a disclaimer. He says, make bloody sure that you have the evidence. (Calling someone a liar is, decidedly, a libel. And truth is, invariably, a defence.)

We check the facts, we stand by what we write and we have no doubts about “the integrity of those with whom we interoperate” and that's why those cowardly lions have run screaming from any suggestion that we take this argument into open court.

And speaking of cowardly lions and open court, if you would like to send me your last name, your phone number and your lawyer's name, we could get a littlemore serious about the trash talk that usually marks your content-free “arguments.” Or you could just add a disclaimer to everything you write, as well. It would save discerning people the lost time of actually reading your comments.

Dear Sir: If you took the time to read more than one or two posts on EcoWorld, you will see we were, for example, one of the first to point out the massive rainforest destruction occurring in order to grow biofuel. You would also see our enthusiastic and unwavering support for EVs and solar power, and our unrelenting search to identify clean technologies to enable the coming electric age.

Our position on freeways is more nuanced than you give us credit for - we believe roads are the most versatile mode of transportation available, and that the efficiencies of rail only play out in cases of very high urban densities or longer intercity modes. Because cars, trucks and busses can all use roads, because they don’t require as much maintenance, security or operating personnel, and because they allow great personal independence - we think upgrading our road network is being given too little priority.

Adding to this the fact that cars are becoming smart, clean and green is the clincher in our view. We believe the world is within a generation of abundance, not scarcity, and green technology will deliver this abundance. We are optimists. It only takes 1 gigawatt of additional off-peak electrical output to recharge 1.0 million EVs for commuters. “Smart growth” proponants have declared war on the car, and we think this is a well-intentioned mistake.

As for climate change - I think it is naive to think big business is fighting the alarmism. Nobody benefits more than big business when regulations are put in place to restrict CO2 emissions. Wall Street gets to trade CO2 credits, corporations get subsidies to develop new technologies to mitigate the CO2 - the consumer pays more and small businesses go under because they can’t afford to comply. It isn’t at all clear to me based on all of the climate science I’ve read that anthropogenic CO2 is the clear culprit in climate change, nor that climate change is the existential crisis it is made out to be. Moreover, it seems to me that people suggesting we slow down and examine the economic and social consequences of massive transitions to reduce CO2 emissions should be considered the moderate ones, not those raising the alarm and demanding radical and abrupt changes.

Another reason EcoWorld highlights the arguments of climate skeptics is because we believe debate is important, and frankly are alarmed by the consensus in the media that the debate is over, and by the demonization of people who don’t think the debate is over. Science and journalism relies on skepticism and debate to allow the truth to emerge.

EcoWorld is supported by advertisers, and there aren’t a lot of them. If we were willing to compromise our integrity, i.e., rail against the “deniers” and advocate policies and positions that constitute today’s conventional wisdom on environmental issues, you may rest assured our commercial and financial success would be far greater than it is presently.

You may criticize our positions as vehemently as you like. But if you question the sincerity of our viewpoints or the depth of our concern for the environment, you are mistaken. You are welcome to call me or email me to discuss this at any time. And I have earned my nickname of “Redwood.” I have personally grown from seed and given away thousands of trees, and never charged anyone for any of them.

Ed “Redwood” Ring

I’ll just imagine there’s a big fat “DISCLAIMER” on Ed Ring’s above rantage.

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Frank Bi, fact-addict and anti-lie bigot

“Al `Fat Al’ Gore [is fat]” – Harold Pierce