11 December 2009

Climategate: A PR Disaster

Fred Pearce discusses and concludes with:
I have been speaking to a PR operator for one of the world’s leading environmental organizations. Most unusually, he didn’t want to be quoted. But his message is clear. The facts of the e-mails barely matter any more. It has always been hard to persuade the public that invisible gases could somehow warm the planet, and that they had to make sacrifices to prevent that from happening. It seemed, on the verge of Copenhagen, as if that might be about to be achieved.

But he says all that ended on Nov. 20. “The e-mails represented a seminal moment in the climate debate of the last five years, and it was a moment that broke decisively against us. I think the CRU leak is nothing less than catastrophic.”
Please continue your Climategate discussion here :)

1 comment:

Tim in Albion said...

Catastrophic? Maybe, maybe not. Seems to me there are three separable aspects to climate change:
1. Is it happening? (Yes, and few people doubt this any more, not even the skeptics.)
2. Is it human-caused? (Probably in part, but the science has never been that definitive about this aspect.)
3. What can/should we do about it? (This is where we ought to focus our thinking, but we got bogged down on #2.)

Climate scientists were engaged in a normal, healthy scientific discussion about question #2 for quite a while, and then it suddenly became a political issue - and a big-money issue. That had very unfortunate consequences.

Geologists have always known that Earth's climate is rarely static - it changes quite dramatically, fairly often. There never was any reason to believe that had ceased to occur. Likewise, Earth's biology is seldom stable; extinctions occur pretty often. So why do we seem to think all that should stop happening? Just because we are around to experience it?

The mantra for all life on Earth is: adapt, or die. We humans have the ability to alter our environment (so do many other life forms, but I digress) so we seem to think the rules don't apply to us. They do.

Bottom line: We might more productively work on strategies for adapting to climate change, instead of arguing about what's causing it.