by Judith Curry
Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project aims to “reveal the complete truth about the climate crisis” and “bringing the facts about the climate crisis into the mainstream and engaging the public in conversation about how to solve it.” Gore’s promotional video accuses “Big Oil” and “Big Coal” of evil manipulation.
The Australian Conversation has a very interesting analysis of Gore’s new project entitled “Who’s afraid of big bad coal? Al Gore’s ‘climate reality’ is a pointless fairy tale,” by Will Grant and Rod Lamberts. In their analysis, they ask the key question:
Where is the mechanism here that will finally get the unconverted or the hostile to agree with the need to take action on climate change?
The answer that they provide:
There isn’t one.
With regards to Al Gore’s demons “Big Oil” and “Big Coal”:
Those who got into the coal and oil industries did so for the simple goal of making a profit by providing us with the energy we need for the modern economy. They didn’t do it to be evil. They don’t want to destroy the world. They are not the nefarious oligarchs that so many would have you believe.
Yes, we now know that the carbon pollution produced by the coal and oil industries is a big problem for society. We all need to wean ourselves off such carbon intensive energy.
But we’re not going to do it by misrepresenting people’s intentions and calling them names. We’re not going to do it by punishing people who acted in good faith.
We’re only going to convince people to change by lining up their profit motive with everyone’s need for a low-carbon economy.
Yes, that’s right. We need to support the fat cats, just as we need to support anyone else in transition.
We need to encourage those who invest in coal and oil to move their money to less carbon-intensive investments. Incentive, not invective.
These captains of industry are not our enemies. They need to be our allies in de-carbonising the economy.
So what should you do? Here are three things you can do now:
- Assume good faith amongst those who advocate different things to you. They may be motivated by profit, but that doesn’t mean they’re evil. ‘Profit’ does not equal ‘evil’.
- Challenge conspiracy theories, whether of the left or the right. Just as much as we need to reject the idea that “Big Coal” wants to destroy the planet, so too should we reject the clownish idea that scientists are corrupt plotters seeking totalitarian world government, or better yet, the forces of darkness. We’re just not. If someone is nominally on your side (ie, you want the same outcomes or you’re in the same political party), then you need to challenge their conspiratorial thinking more, not less.
- Remember the goal. This is about limiting and (eventually) reversing climate change. Other fights, from name-calling squabbles to building a social democratic utopia, must be put to the side.
With regards to “the world joining hands”:
We don’t have to touch each other to solve climate change. We don’t even have to like each other.
JC comments: Al Gore is preaching to his (shrinking) choir. On the other hand, Grant and Lamberts provide a refreshing approach that might actually lead to productive dialogue on the climate/energy debate.