I watched some of this yesterday, noting that Mr. Hertsgaard seems to simply be making a ruckus to promote his new book. There doesn’t appear to be any depth beyond that. The Economist seems to agree. – Anthony
Who are you calling a climate crank, nut job?
by C.W.H. | WASHINGTON
HOW do you describe a phenomenon that is global in its impacts, yet must be addressed locally? A phenomenon that is difficult, if not impossible, to detect clearly at a single place in time? That’s the linguistic challenge that has confronted climate activists for decades. Forget the science and geopolitics of the issue. What name can communicators use to communicate the scope and severity of the challenge at hand?
The public is now aware of the issue. But the record global temperatures set last year make clear that naming a problem is quite different from solving it. The remaining challenge for “climate hawks”, as some environmentalists have taken to calling themselves, is to convince or confront politicians and businessmen, who still question whether the world has a climate problem. In that pursuit, the Guardian’s Leo Hickman worries that environmental activists have again gotten side-tracked in linguistic debates.
Just what the climate debate doesn’t need: a new moniker for those who do not accept the mainstream scientific view of anthropogenic climate change. According to environmental activists planning a day of protests across the US [on February 15th], “climate crank” is set to be the latest name added to the growing list – self-appointed, or otherwise – which already includes sceptic, denier, contrarian, realist, dissenter, flat-earther, misinformer, and confusionist….I’m left wondering whether this new exercise in name-calling will only serve to distract from the important task at hand.
Environmentalists efforts to fight spin with spin seem to have spun out of control. The Twitter hashtag created to publicize Tuesday’s event, #climatecranks, was used in nearly equal measure by both Mark Hertsgaard, the environmental correspondent for the Nation who coined the phrase and led the action, and an opponent of greenhouse-gas regulations, who co-opted it to heckle him. And America’s “fair and balanced” network was also quick to belittle the activists’ efforts. “Global Warming Nuts Try to Ambush Sen. Inhofe…Fail”, jeered the Fox News headline.
Climate activists have the science on their side, but American conservatives are winning the war of words. And as the rhetoric heats up, so too does the planet.
read the whole article here http://www.economist.com/blogs/johnson/2011/02/environmental_insults