Well, I didn’t realize there actually was a Climate Justice League until I started this post. They’re up in Oregon and they’re fighting to get bottled water off campus. More power to them–bottles are for beer.
When I thought up the title for this post I actually had something else in mind–something maybe like this:
And that’s because this post is about what I think happens inside the minds of far too many of us fighting the Climate Wars.
I actually found the real Skeptics as well. What I thought would look like this:
In reality are the much milder looking…
I’ve been following (and participating in) the climate debate since about 2008, mostly during breaks from writing long reports about the global markets for energy efficiency, solar power or renewable energy in general. I sit for too long in front of the computer and just flip over to see what’s in the blogs or the news. Eventually I started building in blog-reading time into the delivery schedules for my reports–too bad I don’t get paid by the hour.
As I got familiar with the cast of characters I began to imbue them with character traits that I thought they exhibited through their writing. I built up a mental picture of them, almost the way I build a mental picture of characters in a novel, trying hard not to pick a movie star in case it turns into a movie.
It’s absurd, I know–but I see evidence that I’m not the only one guilty of this. In fact, for some participants I often wonder if what they really need most in life is a X-Box and a free copy of Halo 4–something I’m sure would keep them more usefully occupied than the climate conversation.
And it’s funny to see both sides do exactly the same thing. There’s a core group that think of St. James of Hansen…
as someone locked in an eternal struggle against capital E Evil, represented by no less a villain than…
And the same goes for the other side as well, with many who have beatified Steve McIntyre and reviled Al Gore.
And all of this has nothing to do with the science in and around climate change or the policies under consideration to deal with it. It has become personal–no, more than personal. It’s internal. We have invested the images we have built up with qualities that range from heroic to malevolent. The people behind those images are nothing at all like that.
I happen to know Anthony Watts. He doesn’t resemble either the hero captured in the comments found at his website or the villain he is portrayed as being on the sites of climate activists. He’s a nice human being. He doesn’t take money from big oil or anyone else for his work on climate change. He does make mistakes in some of his posts (or more frequently lets other posters make his mistakes for him). Once he is 3 dimensional, it is easy to see how absurd the caricatures of him are. Here’s the guy–no horns, no tail:
I have no doubt the same is true for the entire ensemble cast of the Climate Wars–from Roy Spencer to Tim Lambert, from Michael Tobis to Steve McIntyre. I think they’re all human beings who think they have a point to make and are taking advantage of free access to blogging software to make it. (Although of course some of
us–I mean them, them, dammit!–get just as involved in the soap opera.)
Sadly, I think for many the Climate Sims game is more entertaining and absorbing than anything climate science can offer. Sometimes I think it’s more the Climate Simpsons game.
Nobody wakes up in the morning and looks in the mirror and says, ‘What a great villain I will be today.’
We’re just on different sides of a political issue. That’s all.
There is a moral to the story–and it can be found, of course, at the conclusion of a film.
No, not an epic struggle between good and evil–no Viggo Mortenson and Christopher Lee–that’s the point.
Check out what the viewing audience did at the end of The Truman Show. That’s the end that awaits us all in the climate debates. Those who are in it for the human drama–will find another human drama.
Hasten the day.
Well, okay. Actually, as I know some of you have been waiting for this the entire post, I should point out that there is not only a real Climate Justice League and a real group of Skeptics, there is a real live Climate Super Hero–Scott Mandia. Now that there are no more phone booths, I wonder where he changes?