[diggers350] re CH4 programme
g.monbiot at zetnet.co.uk
Tue Mar 6 07:19:56 GMT 2007
Er, this wasn't in the Guardian. It was in the Observer. It has a very different approach to the issues.
----- Original Message -----
From: mark fefifofun
To: diggers350 at yahoogroups.com
Sent: Monday, March 05, 2007 1:34 PM
Subject: [diggers350] re CH4 programme
The ( increasingly reactionary neoliberal/con ) Guardian too is writing bollocks about this. Another bourgoius technocratic prick that thinks he can separate industrial/consumer society and "lifestyle choices"( urrgh). He also stereotypes the green lobby ( I imagne he is a big fan of Pinker and other right wing scientists - whose science seems to mirror politics ). Anyway here is the article ( fuck the Guardian, Newsnight and Today - it's all prop - pompous and tired but R4 gets me out of bed ( seething ) in the morning - funny to hear ex angry Brigade and weatherman people on the Radio 4 this morning though.. )
Why Channel 4 has got it wrong over climate change
Our science editor condemns television's latest foray into the debate on global warming
Sunday March 4, 2007
We live in an era of conspiracies. Princess Diana was killed by Nazis; 9/11 was the work of the US government, while the manned lunar landings were hoaxes filmed in TV studios. To this list of internet-fuelled daftness, we can now add a new plot: that the world's scientific community is not just wrong about global warming, but is collectively lying when it says industrial carbon dioxide emissions are heating up the planet.
Michael Crichton started the ball rolling with his novel State of Fear and the idea has bubbled along nicely in online chatrooms ever since. But now the idea is to get the full terrestrial TV treatment when Channel 4 screens Thursday's The Great Global Warming Swindle, a documentary which says claims that carbon emissions are causing global warming are 'lies' and that attempts to debate the subject are being suppressed.
Given that the world's climatologists have just published a careful, sober report showing global warming is real and worrying, the programme is an astonishing foray into the debate. Certainly, there many reasons to deride it. Its contents are largely untrue, for a start. That is Channel 4's problem. Yet a couple of important points do emerge from this nonsense and we should not make the mistake of ignoring them. To back his case, director Martin Durkin interviews climate-change deniers including Phillip Stott, Piers Corbyn, Nigel Calder and Nigel Lawson who reveal their antipathy to the idea we are altering Earth's weather systems.
These names are scarcely unknown. Listeners to Today and viewers of Newsnight have been hearing Stott and the rest promote their views for years. Indeed, they have dominated and distorted the whole global warming debate, a point stressed by Alan Thorpe, head of the Natural Environment Research Council. 'These people are never off the radio or TV, yet now they claim debate is being suppressed? It is preposterous.' So what, we might ask, is the deniers' problem? Examine their movement and you see a common thread: most proponents are elderly, only a few are scientists and several have pronounced pro-market views. And hereby hangs a tale.
'It is widely assumed that to control climate change, we will need a raft of government measures and increased bureaucracy - anathema to these people,' says political philosopher John Gray. 'So they deal with the issue by denying the problem in the first place. They say there is no such thing as global warming and therefore no need for more controls. They have closed their minds.'
The problem is that denial - in all its ludicrous glory - makes it easy for us to gloss over genuine concerns about society's right reaction to global warming and carbon emissions. And that is what is wrong with Durkin's programme. It opts for dishonest rhetoric when a little effort could have produced an important contribution to a critical social problem.
Consider emission controls. This is now assumed to be as much an issue of individual responsibility as of international negotiation. Petrol-guzzling 4x4s must be taxed, foreign holidays discouraged, TVs unplugged and lavatories left unflushed. After decades of waiting, the green movement has found the cause of its dreams: a crisis that gives them carte blanche, they believe, to rule our lives.
Hairshirts are being knitted and the self-righteous are gathering. The Observer's travel desk already gets hate mail merely for highlighting interesting destinations that might seem to encourage carbon-producing air travel. No wonder those poor old deniers cringe.
But it simply does not have to be that way. For a start, air travel accounts for only 2 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions. So I refuse to feel guilty because I have a family holiday in Spain and then write about the threatened glories of the Great Barrier Reef.
Indeed, if one looks at the world's last great ecological scare, the dwindling of our protective ozone layer, it is intriguing to see how we dealt with a threat that seemed as apocalyptic then as climate change does today. Ozone depletion, caused by CFC chemicals used in fridges and deodorants, was not contained through individual sacrifice. We were not asked to sell our Hotpoint freezers or go smelly to the office. Governments and industries agreed to replace CFCs with safe substitutes. So there was no need for an army of self-appointed greenies to sniff our armpits to check if they were suspiciously non-malodorous. The crisis was contained at an industrial, not a consumer, level, as it should be with greenhouse gases.
Climate change is a bigger, more pernicious problem and will require broader, more intense efforts to cut back on carbon emissions, which, in turn, offers more opportunities for campaigners and politicians to hijack a sound cause to gain control of people's lives. 'That is the striking thing about global warming,' says Myles Allen, of Oxford's climate dynamics group. 'It is a Christmas tree on which each of us can hang virtually everything we want.'
Thus, everyone from EU commissioners and Ken Livingstone to parish councils and writers of green-ink letters now uses global warming as an excuse to tell us how to live. Some of this advice, and attempts at lifestyle control, is sound. Some is not. Either way, it is misplaced. The lead must come from government and industry. So far it hasn't. That is incompetence. Not conspiracy.
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