Summary: The Right has been ascendant in America since the rightly name Reagan Revolution (politically speaking). The Bush Jr years consolidated, expanded, and firmly rooted many of the Right’s changes. (The Left has won a few social changes on issues of no interest to the 1%, such as who the peons marry). There are many reasons for this, but the Left’s incompetent marketing plays a large role. Here we look at one example, on their signature issue of climate change.
(1) An example of failing propaganda
Carol Costello, op-ed at CNN, 24 February 2014
Costello anchors the 9 to 11 a.m. ET edition of CNN’s “Newsroom”
There is no debate. Climate change is real. And, yes, we are, in part, to blame. There is a 97% consensus among scientific experts that humans are causing global warming. Ninety-seven percent! Yet some very vocal Americans continue to debate what is surely fact.
The question is, why?
What is the 97% consensus? It is with the signature statement of the IPCC:
“It is extremely likely (95 – 100% certain) that human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”
— conclusion of the IPCC’s AR5 Working Group I. For more about this consensus see these studies.
Who are these “vocal Americans” who disagree? She doesn’t say. Few of the prominent skeptics (3%?) among climate scientists disagree (although some disagree on epistemological grounds with the expression of certainty). Few of the prominent amateur skeptics (3%?) disagree. It’s easy to give rebuttals to such vague voices.
Costello, either through ignorance or deliberately, does not mention the actual grounds of the debate:
- the magnitude and timing (rate) of future warming,
- the cost of substantially changing the warming,
- the relative cost and benefits of prevention vs. mitigation.
These are hideously complex questions on the very edge (or beyond) of known climate science. The IPCC’s reports show no consensus on these questions, the answers to which must drive public policy on this vital issue.
The rest of her op-ed is mostly posturing. She gives one specific, which is false:
A recent study by Drexel University found that conservative foundations and others have bankrolled climate denial to the tune of $558 million between 2003 and 2010.
She probably refers to “Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations“, Robert J. Brulle, Climatic Change, February 2014. He explicitly said something quite different:
The final sample for analysis consisted of 140 foundations making 5,299 grants totaling $558 million to 91 organizations. … Since the majority of the organizations are multiple focus organizations, not all of this income was devoted to climate change activities.
She concludes with an astonishingly cynical note:
Extreme weather is forcing people to at least think about how global warming affects them directly. And, perhaps more important, many religious leaders, including evangelicals, are now “green.” They concur with the scientific community and take it a step farther. They say we have a moral obligation to save the planet.
Even the enormously popular Pope Francis may soon speak out on global warming. The Vatican press office says Francis is working on draft text on ecology. That text could turn into an encyclical, or a letter to bishops around the world, instructing that the “faithful must respect the environment.”
When did the Left decide that the Pope is a moral leader? Do they cite him as a role model on the role of women? About contraception and abortion? Gay rights? Evolution? Or do they trot him out as a prop when convenient.
These are not tactics of successful political movements. Unless they’re seeking to manipulate children. Such tactics are the reason the Left is failing in America.
(2) For More Information
(c) About the consensus of climate scientists:
- Puncturing the false picture of a scientific consensus about the causes and effects of global warming, 20 September 2010
- Climate scientists speak to us. What is their consensus opinion?, 19 February 2014
(b) About the Left’s crusade about climate change:
- Possible political effects of the pause in global warming, 26 August 2013
- Climate change sinks the Left, while scientists unravel mysteries we must solve, 24 January 2014
- Watch the Left burn away more of its credibility, then wonder why the Right wins, 29 January 2014
- Apocalyptic thinking on the Left about climate change risks burning their credibility, 4 February 2014
(c) Examples of the Left’s exaggerations and misinformation about climate change:
- Mother Jones sounds the alarm about global warming! This time about the north pole., 10 December 2012
- Kevin Drum talks about global warming, illustrating the collapse of the Left’s credibility, 17 December 2012
- Lessons the Left can learn from the Right when writing about climate change, 12 December 2012 — More from Phil Plait
- Fierce words about those “wacky professional climate change deniers”, 20 January 2013
- A powerful story about global warming in Alaska that has set Twitter aflame, 23 June 2013
- The North Pole is now a lake! Are you afraid yet?, 3 August 2013
- Climate science deniers on the Left, captured for viewing, 29 September 2013