Given my interest in science, public relations, web design and climate change, I have been thinking for a while about building a site with some social and moral relevance to the world I inhabit. I have been building a website about climate change soundbites. 1
Here is a list of the soundbites I brainstormed:2
- Scientists can’t predict the weather, how can they predict the climate?
- The Earth is cooling, not warming.
- The hockey stick graph is bullshit.
- Everything is made of oil.
- You drive a car, so don’t be a hypocrite.
- We can’t stop climate change so there is nothing we can do.
- Scientists don’t all agree about global warming.
- The Earth might be warming but there is not enough evidence linking it to human activity.
- Getting oil from Alberta is more ethical than getting it from Iraq or Iran or Nigeria.
- Getting coal from Alberta is more ethical than getting coal from Columbia.
- Alberta keeps Canada in the black.
- If we don’t keep increasing oil production, and consumption, humans will starve.
- Mitigating climate change is a waste of money.
- We’re better off spending money to end world hunger.
- Lethbridge will become like Arizona, which is a good thing.
- The world is better off being warmer.
- Climate change is a socialist conspiracy.
- Only hippies care about climate change.
- The oil industry meets and exceeds all industry regulation.
- It is not government’s role to regulate free markets.
- The IPCC is corrupt
- The market will correct itself.
- Only the free market can solve climate change.
- Coal is clean.
- We file a report if we spill a single drop of gas when we fill up our trucks.
- We regulate ourselves and we set the standard worldwide.
- We use coal to make clean energy.
- Alternative energy sources are not enough so we need to expand oil production.
- One word: China.
- Volcanoes cause climate change, not Albertans.
- Solar flares cause climate change, not Albertans.
- The Earth’s orbit causes climate change, not Albertans.
- God will keep us safe from climate change.
- The Earth will always bounce back.
- The sky isn’t falling.
- Anyone who cares about climate change is an alarmist.
- Consumer choices will solve climate change.
- Government officials can’t be trusted to solve climate change.
- Ocean ice is an obstacle to trade.
- Don’t threaten our economic recovery with environmental regulation.
- Don’t threaten our economic stability with red tape.
- Our economy is an island of peace and security. Don’t put it at risk.
- Let Stephen Harper take care of it. He is making a green plan that is custom made for Canada.
- We have to wait and see what the U.S.A. is going to do.
- Global temperatures have always been this way from time to time.
- The oil industry is committed to habitat restoration.
I thought I had done pretty well making a list of public relations soundbites designed to stifle action to mitigate climate change. Then I discovered that some others have already done a better job. This guy even organized the arguments and included basic, intermediate and advanced counter arguments. But as well organized as these guys are, there are seriously hundreds and maybe thousands of websites out there, some well funded and some not, espousing climate denial.
And fascinating it is. It is perhaps the greatest epistemological challenge ever devised by an evil genius. Place billions of humans in a finite space. Give them different worldviews, disparate access to wealth and power, and widely ranging systems of knowing. Give the folks with more access to wealth and privilege a vested interest to keep the other guys confused about a pressing issue. Add in folks that think they are entitled to the resources without acknowledging the finite constraints of said finite space or their impact on the social and political fabric of said space.
It reminds me of the kind of puzzle presented to me when I speak to someone that believes the Earth is only six thousand years old. It’s the same kind of interpersonal puzzle I face when I talk to someone that believes there is a white man in the sky that killed his son on everyone’s behalf. It’s a puzzle. And I don’t know the answer.
Anyway, here it
is was: http://www.whatthefuckismyalbertaoilstrategy.com/