Pick your targets carefully.
The people most demoralised by the skeptic blogosphere’s destruction of many assertions of climate science are actually the climate scientists themselves. Apart from the skeptics, they’re the only other substantial demographic which actually reads the critiques anyway. The ordinary person, not particularly engaged in the controversy, never reads anything vaguely scientific on it or even science in general. As we all know, science is only for nerdy blokes or girls who dress like their Mum.
Instead they’re exposed to the propaganda spin put on any pro global warming research by an overwhelmingly partisan mainstream media and conversely rarely have the opportunity to read any critiques of alarmist research they can actually understand. They never even get to see that there’s an alternative dialogue. Ask a new acquaintance about climategate and nine times out ten, they’ll never have heard of it. Try it.
I’m not saying by this that the skeptic blogosphere’s work in this area is pointless. Far from it, it’s invaluable since it has for so long provided the only sceptical examination of the research, a vital component to produce good science which is almost totally missing in climate research. I’ve yet to see a mainstream climate paper which makes an honest attempt to debunk any of the outrageous claims made about global warming or the seemingly innumerable effects it will have on all creatures great and small.
In essence, we remove the gravitas, the imprimatur of authority and are les enfants terrible within the circle of scientifically literate people who are prepared to say exactly what most other people within that circle are thinking but know it’d not be politic to express. The vital function the skeptic blogosphere has always served is to be that last one per cent who could raise rational counter arguments to what was a degenerate branch of science tarting itself out as some sort of papal endeavour; it was the unique area which was infallible and therefore beyond any debate.
If you accept there is a problem in that the ordinary person doesn’t read far into any blog article once they perceive it as “sciency”, then the logical follow on thought is that such an article will never make an appearance in the mainstream media, which we should be aiming to be breaking into. If that isn’t where we want to be, then all the skeptic blogosphere is doing is intellectual incest.
What is the way forward?
We have to make a different case, one that the average person can readily understand and easily relate to. In other words, we have to present it as a human problem, which it is, rather than a scientific one that comes complete with screes of intricate graphs and squiggly equations very few people understand.
For instance, it’s all well and good to write a well researched and erudite article stuffed full of numbers about the huge tax and subsidy benefits renewable energy is receiving, but how does the average person get into such an article, how do you make it relevant to them?
If you write, or at least lead off with the real effect of such market manipulation on people’s lives, you’re accessing a much bigger audience in terms they can understand.
The biggest outcome of loading up fossil fuel based energy with surtaxes to finance renewables is to push the poor, low wage earners and elderly living on pittance pensions into fuel poverty. That is a case which is easily made and one the ordinary person can understand. Make it.
Increasingly as the evidence mounts up, a second effect is the health problems associated with living in the vicinity of wind turbines. Make that case.
How many bald eagles amongst the millions of birds are the damn things killing every year? Make that case.
There’s a moral if not religious case there. Is it right to glibly accept that the wellbeing of the most vulnerable people in our society has to be sacrificed in order to fill other people’s pockets under the guise of saving the Earth? Make that case.
What the hell, write two articles; one about the human cost of whatever environmental madness you wish to talk about and a second linked to it by a button labelled “tell me more”, containing all the underlying details. As you’ve now got their attention, they may even click on it. I spend my time here writing that first type of article.
Am I advocating a propaganda approach? Most certainly not. Propagandists deal in lies and dishonesty. They get caught out in the end, which is why the skeptic blogosphere has been dining out on the specious assertions made by alarmists for years. Am I advocating spin? Again, no and for the same basic reason.
We can make all the cases referred to above without resorting to distortion, deceit, lies and disingenuous spin because they are all real things, real effects and ones everyone can understand. Pick nearly any other area of policy being driven by environmentalism disconnected from the needs of ordinary people, and the equivalent cases can be made.
Let’s start making those cases.
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