Wednesday, October 24, 2012

PBS Frontline: "Climate of Doubt": politicians are dropping the ball on debating climate change during the 2012 campaigns

On Oct. 23, 2012 PBS Frontline aired a one-hour examination of the political redaction of the global warming debate,  “Climate of Doubt”.  (It could almost have fit into the "Nova" series, too.)

The link is here

The film (directed by Catherine Upin) is motivated by the apparent absence of attention to climate change in the 2012.  It focuses on the way conservative wordsmiths (like Bud Singer) could “twist” the data to make it look like climate change had not happened at all or might have happened because the Sun has grown hotter.  It did cover the emails associated with ClimateGate.  Late in the film, it mentioned the role of lobbying groups like Americans for Prosperity and covered the participation of big oil companies and of the Koch brothers in the denial.  One ad said, “they call it pollution, we call it life.” The film compared the behavior of energy companies to that of big tobacco (“Thank You for Smoking”).

The “naysayers” on climate change claim that the restrictions on human activity associated with addressing climate change would mean restricting individual freedom. 

What seems like a contradiction is that part of the conservative movement, the socially conservative part, likes to talk about the “common good” (like Rick Santorum) and wants people to become more socially connected through families, build more social capital, and demand less freedom to do just what they want as individuals. 

It would also seem that conservatives ought to be concerned about stability of infrastructure.  If you support an oil pipeline like Keystone XL, you ought also to want the power companies to buttress the grid against giant solar storms and coronal mass ejections (these could be a logical consequence of gradual warming of the Sun claimed by some deniers), as well as possible EMP attacks.  

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