Last week, I wrote about the important Dunlap-McRight paper that found organized climate change denial “Played a Crucial Role in Blocking Domestic Legislation.”
Although this is a pretty obvious conclusion to objective observers, the false-equivalence bunch, led by blogger Andy Revkin, couldn’t bring themselves to report on it without giving the professional disinformers equal time.
John Rennie, the former editor in chief of Scientific American, slammed Revkin’s piece in a must-read post, “Revkin’s False Equivalence on Climate Message Machines.” Rennie was particularly critical of Revkin’s equating the climate denial machine with a laughable “climate alarmism machine” (whipped up by an Australian disinformer), which equates those who spread outright anti-scientific disinformation (often funded by fossil-fuel interests) with the serious work of climate scientists and governments (and others) who make use of that genuine, scientific work.
But what ultimately caught my eye in Revkin’s post is that he linked to a 2009 Climate Progress post I wrote [in response to a Revkin piece], “What If the Public had Perfect Climate Information?“ Revkin writes:
It’s also important to examine whether a world without such efforts — in which citizens had a clear view of both what is known, and uncertain, about the human factor in shaping climate-related risks — would appreciably change. Some insist the answer is yes [link to CP]. Given the deep-rooted human bias to the near and now and other aspects of our “inconvenient mind,” I’m not nearly so sure (although this doesn’t stop me from working on this challenge, of course).
It continues to boggle the mind that a professional reporter would seriously believe that if the public fully understood the subject — yes, including those things that are highly certain and those that are less so — that they would not support strong, prompt actions to reduce emissions. But, then, Revkin continues to this day to only endorse his vague R&D-focused “energy quest” and criticize those of us (including the National Academy of Science) who push for strong emissions reductions starting now. Since Revkin refuses to this day to tell us what level of concentrations he thinks the world should aim for – even a broad range, say 450 ppm to 550 ppm — Revkin retains the luxury of attacking those who are willing to state what their target is while maintaining a faux high ground that they are being politically unrealistic while he can pretend his essentially do-nothing strategy is scientifically or morally viable, which it ain’t.
Of course, the public already supports far more action now than is tolerated by the anti-science crowd or the political party they have a hammerlock control of — see Mandatory Cuts in Carbon Pollution Favored by Over 70% of Voters and Small Businesses — and Even 49% of Fox Viewers. But since they don’t fully understand the dire cost of inaction — and the relatively low cost of action using existing or emerging technologies — their is no serious political penalty imposed on those who spread lies or counsel delay.
What follows is an update of my 2009 post. I am very interested in your answer to the headline question.