Thursday, November 12, 2009

Stockmar: Naysaying global warming won't stop it

I've been watching Steve's newish pseudoblog for a while, appreciating his street sense and entertaining approach, and wondering when he might surface in print as a columnist.

His first attempt is a little shaky, sorry to say. He refutes the climate-change deniers by adopting a superior, talk-down-to-the-kindergarteners tone to explain a couple of aspects of the planetary feedback phenomenon that we're experiencing. By using clumsy metaphors and failing to disclaim his examples as such, he leaves the impression that he's outlining the crux of the problem and critically weakens the argument. He also skirts the issue of the human cause as if it doesn't really matter. But if you're arguing in favor of human intervention in something as big as this, you have to first establish that we're capable of having that global effect, then that we should.

The subtle changes in complex, interdependent, chaotic systems causing climate change are a lot to get one's head around. The best researchers and educators in the world are having a hard time putting the message across. Journalists who hope to help in this effort, as Steve clearly does here, must be very careful to avoid making things worse. While expressing the frustration a lot of us feel, flip, offhand and arrogant squibs like this do nothing useful to educate those who could learn, and do a lot to further alienate those who won't.

Steve admits (brags?) on the pseudoblog that he hasn't seen "An Inconvenient Truth," the Oscar award-winning documentary that inspired a Nobel Peace Prize for Mr Gore. I have to wonder about a journalist writing on this topic without exercising himself to undertake even this most basic bit of research. I fear that Steve may have already succumbed to the Courier's hipshooting tradition.


Mia said...

You have a good critique here, but let's not forget the blogs of Tom Steele... How many bloggers does dCourier publish? What about Chris Bergman? I would read Steve anyday, but I guess that's just my tribal self speaking. Steve must experience occasional temporary insanity and then purge his frustration through a catharsis of superior tone and sarcasam. We all do it. Unfortunately he's chucking words at the fortifications of mostly hollow men anyway, with a few innocent exceptions. Do you think that one will get through? I did blog on dCourier something to the effect that we "should". It wasn't very respectful though, more of "hip shooting" I guess. I did it anonymously (sorry Steven) as "All Aboard" if you happen to read the blogs. To be honest, I'm a little scared to use my full name because of some of the nuts that blog.

Steven Ayres said...

Steele is no longer on the blog list -- he quit, complaining about being censored, iirc -- but lives on in the comments, of course. Bergman is generally too dull and conventional to be worth the trouble. Tim and Ben both have pseudoblogs that I monitor. There's an extensive list of others that are mostly dead or mostly pointless, set up with more of a mind to marketing the website than being of real use, I expect.

Good comment, Mia, and a nice quote from Edison, I hadn't seen that before!