An interview with Michael Mann: “There’s reason to be optimistic”… » Transition Culture
The scientific evidence is in. There is no serious debate any more, not just about whether climate change is real or it’s due to us, but whether we are seeing the impacts of climate change. The impacts are in fact playing out in increasingly damaging ways, whether it’s Hurricane Sandy which was the largest storm, hurricane (and then hybrid system) that we’ve ever seen, and the lowest central pressure north of Cape Hatteras in the US.
...I think we’ve now got to the point where people can see climate change happening with their own eyes, and it becomes increasingly less credible when you hear cable news commentators claim that it’s an elaborate hoax, that it’s not real.
People are no longer getting fooled by that sort of rhetoric because they’re seeing it play out. Especially older people who’ve been around for a while, who know that things are happening with our weather and climate today that just never happened when they were growing up. I think we’ve reached that point where climate change denial is no longer even superficially credible. That means that opponents of taking action are turning to increasingly desperate measures.
...there was already a context, an environment where the media was receptive to that contrarian message, perhaps because there was a feeling after the success of An Inconvenient Truth, the coverage of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, the near saturation coverage of the climate change issue. It’s almost as if there was a sense that the problem had been overstated, exaggerated.
...There was also an opportunity among climate change deniers to exploit the fact that the media had almost gone over the top on the way that they had covered the issue – front page cover stories, like Time Magazine with polar bears on the front and ice drifts with huge lettering ‘BE WORRIED, BE VERY WORRIED!’
That almost created a caricature of the climate change issue. And media narratives sometimes become stale. Just saying climate change is really bad, it’s a real threat, people become numbed to the message. And so journalists felt they had to find a new narrative, and that new narrative was one that they ironically had helped create, i.e. that the science had somehow been overstated, that concern has been overstated.
To the extent that had a grain of truth, it would only be because there was some over-the-top media coverage of the issue.
...The cost of that 5 or 6 or 7 years of inaction that was bought with a cynical disinformation campaign potentially translates to billions if not trillions of dollars of losses in the areas of food and water resources, damage to the economy because of severe weather impacts like Hurricane Sandy, the 11 greater than 1 billion dollar weather and climate related disasters we saw in the US in 2011 and even greater damages in 2012.
It’s deferred maintenance. It will cost us a lot more now because of the more rapid transition we’re going to have to undergo away from fossil fuels. It’s for all these reasons that disinformation campaign by vested interests to delay action was not just a crime against humanity but a crime against the planet. I think we’ll look back at it that way.
...On the internet, in news groups and blogs we know there are individuals who are being paid by vested interests to post contrarian comments, to help create an illusion of a broad-based opposition to clean energy. It’s classic astroturf, and it’s starting to be exposed in a way that it hadn’t before.