Remember the Alamo, or the state of the climate debate (partial re-post)

I’m not alone in musing on the current state of the debate, Tamino over at Open Mind is one a similar wave length. I’m just going to grab a slab of his post – Tamino, I respect your IP – but its worth quoting at length. Section bolded the most relevant:

I watched about 8 hours of the 24 Hours of Reality: Dirty Weather Report from Al Gore’s “Climate Reality” project. All in all, I’d say it was excellent. It also made me realize how much more we need to involve the general public, and especially the young adults and near-adults who will bear the brunt of coming climate changes, in our efforts to reverse the lethargy that grips our nation, and to a lesser degree the world, in dealing with the crisis that is global warming.

The final hour wasn’t as good as I had hoped. In large part that’s because it started with the multi-media presentation not working, which I think kind of threw Al off his groove. But he recovered well, and it was good. There were also a few moments in earlier hours that weren’t my cup of tea, especially the “artsy” parts (including songs to inspire the troops), but I realize that’s just me — many of those who will be the footsoldiers of the climate action army take inspiration from such efforts.

I didn’t really learn any new science from the broadcasts, but I wasn’t expecting to. I was, however, genuinely inspired. Seeing some of the activists, especially the young ones, was moving. Seeing how the climate movement has grown, especially in the last couple of years, was both reassuring and inspiring. Noting the extent of the Climate Reality project, it’s breadth and depth and reach, made me feel good. Damn good.

It also made me realize that we really need to get masses of people moving on this. That requires casting a wider net than I, or most of my favorite blogs, do. It also calls for a different approach. I tend to focus heavily on the science, especially on refuting silly arguments from fake “skeptics,” but to get the troops fired up calls for less emphasis on the highly technical and more emphasis on both the impacts of climate change (which was especially well done during the broadcast) and on the actions which people can take, both on a personal level to reduce carbon footprint, and on a grass-roots level to change the way our governments have failed to address the problem substantively. Frankly, seeing the vast numbers of those who are getting involved and the way people are coming together to face the crisis courageously, was the best part of the program for me.

Hence the title of this post. For years now I’ve been blogging about global warming, and so have many others with which many of you are familiar, but the mass of people have been unmoved. Yet our efforts have not been in vain; those of us who have carried the banner have been like the defenders of the Alamo — hopelessly outnumbered (and out-funded!) by the forces of global warming denial, but giving ‘em hell anyway. And like those courageous fighters for Texas freedom, I think we’ve succeeded — we held ‘em off long enough for General Sam Houston to get the rest of the forces organized. We could not win the battle all by ourselves, but we’ve kept the enemy at bay long enough for victory to be within reach of our now far greater force.

And unlike the defenders of the Alamo, we’re still alive and kicking. It’s a good thing too — because the host of new climate activists, especially those who pick up the banner of fighting against global warming deniers, will need our help. The deniers will never stop coming up with new excuses to deny reality, and we need to show everyone the error of their ways. And of course, like zombies, deniers will never stop reviving old, long-refuted arguments, so we need to be there to refute them again and again, as many times as it takes.

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12 thoughts on “Remember the Alamo, or the state of the climate debate (partial re-post)

  1. Eric Worrall says:

    Good grief, the quote reads like the manifesto of a fanatical revolutionary movement.

    Is this really how you guys think? Will you create a paramilitary wing, to effect changes your political wing cannot achieve?

  2. john byatt says:

    Put my thanks on the blog the other day,

    slaughters the Watts crap,

    Grant and Stephen are a great duo when in in partnership on research papers.

    a real tour de force

  3. zoot says:

    Eric, stop it or you’ll go blind.

  4. franbarlow says:

    Well done. I can’t claim to have been with the troops at the start, but from the mid-90s, I’ve been part of the fight. Well done all.

    Eric Worrall:

    the quote reads like the manifesto of a fanatical revolutionary movement

    There’s no doubt that the AEI/Heritage have tried to confront evidence-based policy with the tactics of culture war. In this case, as in so many others, their war was with human well-being.

    We who have fought them are not ‘fanatical revolutionaries’ but rather stewards of human interest against those determined to subvert it in the service of their immediate gratification or as an expression of their delusion or angst.

    I don’t know you at all well enough to characterise you, but on this showing, you would be best advised staying on the sidelines. You seem to have nothing of value to say.


    • zoot says:

      That has never stopped him in the past.

    • Eric Worrall says:

      I see – I don’t agree with your views, so I should shut up and stand aside.

      If only I could. Sadly, if I don’t speak up, you will still expect me to participate and make personal sacrifices to advance policy goals which I think are a waste of effort.

      Your climate war is like the Vietnam war – a colossal waste of resources and effort, a big sacrifice for nothing. And as a conscientious objector to the war against climate change, I have as much right as any other participant in our democratic process to express my viewpoint.

  5. zoot says:

    “You seem to have nothing of value to say” != “I don’t agree with your views”

    • john byatt says:

      Todd Ebitz, a C.I.A. spokesman, said that the agency would continue to monitor the security and humanitarian challenges posed by climate change as part of its focus on economic security, but not in a stand-alone office.

      “The C.I.A. for several years has studied the national security implications of climate change,” Mr. Ebitz said in an e-mailed statement. “As part of a broader realignment of analytic resources, this work continues to be performed by a dedicated team in a new office that looks at economic and energy matters affecting America’s national security. The mission and the resources devoted to it remain essentially unchanged.”

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