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Climate Change Leaders On the Defensive: How Did We Get Here?
Written by Daniel   
Monday, 01 March 2010 18:55

From Care2

Climate Change Leaders On the Defensive: How Did We Get Here?

It was an interesting weekend for the climate movement. On Saturday, Al Gore published on Op Ed piece in the New York Times entitled "We Can't Wish Away Climate Change", and The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a statement that they intend to establish an independent committee to review IPCC procedures. Clearly, some of the most visible players in the climate movement are on the defensive. With only 35% of Americans now convinced that climate change is caused by human activity, it's no wonder.

But how did we get here? Gore points to three causes:

1. Mistakes were made.
The Op Ed piece acknowledges that "scientific enterprise will never be completely free of mistakes", and alludes to both the climategate emails and errors in reporting on the threat to the Himalayas that I blogged about a few weeks ago. Worse than the mistakes, however has been the IPCC's refusal to take responsibility. The statement by the IPCC acknowledges criticism without admitting error, maintaining the aura of immaturity surrounding the organization. As Gore points out, "What is important is that the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged" (which my organization agrees with.) The IPCC should more openly admit to, learn from, and respond to errors.

2. Opposition is getting organized.
The last few years of discussion on the solutions to the climate problem have made it clear that the heaviest emitting industries are going to feel some negative impact through regulation or caps. As Gore says, "some industries and companies whose business plans are dependent on unrestrained pollution of the atmospheric commons have become ever more entrenched. They are ferociously fighting against the mildest regulation — just as tobacco companies blocked constraints on the marketing of cigarettes for four decades after science confirmed the link of cigarettes to diseases of the lung and the heart." This is a common tactic, and many of these firms have sizable war chests to fund both explicit public opinion campaigns, as well as dubiously ethical stealth efforts.   [More...] [Comments...]



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