Two nastygrams about climate change

by Robert Nagle on 12/8/2012

in global warming,pet peeve,political rhetoric

I often get irate about climate change, and here are 2 emails I have sent about climate change.  They are not so much analytical but contemptuous in tone. Why? Frankly, because I think shaming is the only acceptable response. Certainly it would be possible to give a point-by-point response to Mr. Morano’s jabberings, but that would be essentially conceding that a paid disinformer has the right to waste my time. (Skeptical science can easily answer all of Morano’s pseudo-arguments).

The funny thing is an unsuspecting person who heard the CNN debate would no doubt assume that the energy guy “won’” the debate.  Even a reasonably educated person might reach this conclusion. It is really easy to throw out what seems to be arguments and then keep repeating them and out-talking the opposition. (Romney basically did the same thing in the first  debate and basically “won the debate.”) But Morano’s Gish Gallop doesn’t really amount to anything. (Nye’s opposition was pweak – he is an effective advocate for science, but this is not one of his finer moments – though the format of the CNN debate practically guaranteed that rationality would lose).

Despite the near consensus on climate change, it’s interesting to note how often popular media (both in print and online) seems to cast doubt on the consensus. Readers and viewers may not realize how news is manufactured, but media sources receive oodles of press releases from lobbying groups and “experts” who are available to speak on a topic. These are not really the most qualified people on a given topic, just the people most available and eager to speak.  It’s a lot easier to throw together  a pro-and-con debate than to try to delineate what conclusions and observations are made with a high degree of confidence. Major media is more worried about selling commercial air time than dispassionately discussing the issues. Sure, they want qualified journalists to do their job…but only if it doesn’t threaten their bottom line. 

These are examples of “futile” letters.  They don’t really accomplish anything except blow off steam. Why do it then?  Partly it is to suggest that actions have consequences and that a person like me can’t stand idly by and watch. Oddly, I used to write politicians fairly often..until I realized that they didn’t  read their email. Most of my representatives are right-wing pro-Bush and pro-oil, and it appeared unlikely that they would budge on most issues. John Culberson or John Cornyn will never support climate change legislation no matter how many people write them. It seems more effective just to ignore them and support credible opposition.

To: Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Sheriff, Harris County

I am pretty shocked that Harris County has imprisoned some climate change activists who are now on hunger strike.

The cause they are fighting against (the XL pipeline) is just, and it reflects very badly on the Houston/Harris County justice system to have them arrested.

Furthermore, I am shocked that you feed your prisoners in Harris County jail baloney sandwiches and no vegetables. That is despicable. By what basis do you have the right to deprive ANY prisoner reasonably nutritious food?

This incident calls attention to an environmental injustice; it only puts you in the spotlight for causing  these  deplorable conditions.

Finally, if you would like to enforce justice in Houston, why don’t you ever take any action to enforce the $18 billion judgment against Chevron. (which the US Supreme Court recently reaffirmed last year ).

I realize that the Ecuador lawsuit is a civil lawsuit — and seemingly unrelated to the actions of the hunger strikers–, but this judgment and the attempt to collect this judgment has been derailed by the US legal system. Oil companies like Chevron are scofflaws who are using the US legal system to squirrel out of the most significant environmental case in world history. Chevron’s  world headquarters is  in Houston; the plaintiffs  badly need the court and law enforcement system in Houston to intervene,  but you have failed to do so.

This disparity between your county’s failure to help the Ecuadorians  collect their judgment against the Chevron and your overzealousness in punishing practioners of civil disobedience against Valero is shocking.

You should be ashamed of yourselves. You are clearly not on the side of justice, but simply on the side of the rich and powerful…who by the way are slowly destroying the climate for future generations. 

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To: CNN

I am writing about the bad coverage you gave on climate change last night. In Piers Morgan you featured Bill Nye and Marc Morano having  a "debate" about climate change. I realize that this is a forum for people to express opinions, but I know a bit about climate change and I know the background of Marc Morano, and so I can’t help but wondering why you allowed a confirmed paid disinformer like Morano to appear on the show and in fact to dominate the discussion.

I realize that you are not endorsing the positions of your guests, but I would assume that inviting a guest to speak on your show implies that you think this person’s opinions are interesting and respectable and intellectually honest. But even a little fact checking would reveal how false and frankly dishonest Morano’s statements on your show are.

This tendency of Morano’s is well-known, so I hold your network responsible for inviting him on your show. Up until now I have watched CNN occasionally and check the website daily. I have even defended CNN to my friends on occasion. But now it seems CNN is not interested in hosting honest and fair discussions, merely in stoking controversy. That puts you on the level of Glenn Beck and even on the level of Romans who fed Christians to lions in the coliseum. That would boost ratings too, wouldn’t it?

I realize that some of your reporters and TV analysts do a good job overall (and by the way Bill Nye is a decent reasonable contributor), but if your quality control allows you to invite irrational scoundrels like Morano on the air, I’m afraid that I will have to stop watching your shows and visiting your website. Why should I patronize a media website which engages in such deplorable practices?

I have watched CNN for 20+ years. I have seen lots of things that I have disagreed with. But in my entire time watching CNN, I have never found a segment so unfair/biased and shallow as what I saw on Piers Morgan last night. For this reason, I have decided to stop watching CNN altogether and visiting your site. That segment you aired is beyond contempt.

You should be ashamed of yourselves for airing it.

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