By Kennedy Maize
Washington, D.C., April 10, 2013 — The latest public relations tactic from anti-global warming activists is to flood media accounts of developments in climate science and policy with comments. Somehow the idea has circulated that it benefits their cause for the folks who want strong, quick government action to curb energy use to bombard comment sections of online publications.
I don’t get it. Why flood the comment sections with comments that folks uncommitted to views on the subject are not likely to read? Will that generate converts?
Is it to show just how much some people care about these issues (when most people clearly do not)? Is it to drown out any criticism of the Al Gore agenda in a flood of noise?
I don’t know what the intent really is. But dare I call it what it is? It is green spam. Here’s how the web news site Inside Climate News describes the latest (and nuttiest) effort of the climate campaigners:
“The Climate Reality Project, a group overseen by Al Gore, is trying to win over public opinion by getting people to spread accurate global warming science in the comment sections of news stories online, where the battle rages with particular ferocity.
“For example, a recent CNN article titled “Global Warming Is Epic, Long-Term Study Says” attracted nearly 12,600 comments. That’s more than 50 times what articles published the same day on technology and environmental health received.”
The green group justifies its attempt to fill up the blogosphere with comments (many, no doubt, vitriolic, ad hominem, and ungrammatical) by alleging that “deniers,” which means anyone who raises any questions about the science of global warming, or the policy proposals for how to counter the problem, are making their case the same way. Well, not exactly.
Andy Revkin, self-confessed climate activist who blogs at the New York Times and who is in my judgment more intellectually honest than many on any sides of the dispute, commented recently, “But does it matter? I doubt it. The online climate wars — which seem so momentous to those deeply dug in on various fronts — are taking place on the sharp end of a needle buried in a haystack of other societal concerns.”
That’s right. The general public hasn’t bought the argument of the Goreites that the sky is falling, it’s falling right now, if we don’t do something, particularly something draconian, immediately, civilization as we know it will end tomorrow.
Indeed, the climate may be warming (although it hasn’t done so this century), and, if so, that will have consequences for society. But those consequences may be good or bad (Bjorn Lomborg argues that they will be good for the next 70 years or so before they turn bad, but who knows?). In any case, there are far more pressing problems today: access to electricity, availability of potable water, malaria, cultures that denigrate and deny human rights for women (and downplay that rape is a problem).
I trust that most folks will see the panoply of problems that confront the world and apply the proper priorities.
So, in the end, I don’t think the green spam approach will have legs.