November 9, 2015

The Trib's Colin McNickle misnderstand the terms "Orwellian" and "Climate Change" as he "informs" his readership

Take a look:
The debate over “climate change” has taken yet another Orwellian turn. And it should send chills up and down the spines of thinking people everywhere.
And a few paragraphs later we get this:
The attorney general of New York is reported to be investigating Exxon Mobil, the world's largest oil company, and Peabody Energy, the world's largest coal producer. At the core of the probes is whether the companies “misled” the public and/or their investors about the “risks” of climate change.
Nice touch, Colin.  With the "irony quotation" marks, I mean.  As we'll see they DID mislead and there ARE rists.  Before we continue with any more of Colin's "brilliant insights" let's frame his disinformation in, well, reality.  What is he talking about?

This - from the NYTimes:
The New York attorney general has begun an investigation of Exxon Mobil to determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how such risks might hurt the oil business.

According to people with knowledge of the investigation, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a subpoena Wednesday evening to Exxon Mobil, demanding extensive financial records, emails and other documents.

The investigation focuses on whether statements the company made to investors about climate risks as recently as this year were consistent with the company’s own long-running scientific research.

The people said the inquiry would include a period of at least a decade during which Exxon Mobil funded outside groups that sought to undermine climate science, even as its in-house scientists were outlining the potential consequences - and uncertainties - to company executives.
I'm not sure Colin's "research" was thorough enough into the this issue.  While he recites (a hideous, grinding speech, as of some monstrous machine running without oil) the party line on the settled science, the Times had this to say:
More recently, Inside Climate News and The Los Angeles Times have reported that Exxon Mobil was well aware of the risks of climate change from its own scientific research, and used that research in its long-term planning for activities like drilling in the Arctic, even as it funded groups from the 1990s to the mid-2000s that denied serious climate risks.

Mr. Cohen, of Exxon, said on Thursday that the company had made common cause with such groups largely because it agreed with them on a policy goal of keeping the United States out of a global climate treaty called the Kyoto Protocol.

“We stopped funding them in the middle part of the past decade because a handful of them were making the uncertainty of the science their focal point,” Mr. Cohen said. “Frankly, we made the call that we needed to back away from supporting the groups that were undercutting the actual risk” of climate change.
See that, Colin?  Exxon even says there's "actual risk."  And I am using those quotation marks as actual quotation marks.

Let's go on.

Indeed the ICN reporting gives us information Colin would surely wish down the memory hole:
At a meeting in Exxon Corporation's headquarters, a senior company scientist named James F. Black addressed an audience of powerful oilmen. Speaking without a text as he flipped through detailed slides, Black delivered a sobering message: carbon dioxide from the world's use of fossil fuels would warm the planet and could eventually endanger humanity.

"In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels," Black told Exxon's Management Committee, according to a written version he recorded later.

It was July 1977 when Exxon's leaders received this blunt assessment, well before most of the world had heard of the looming climate crisis. [Emphasis added.]
And for awhile Exxon was at the forefront of Climate research.  However:
"Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate," declared the headline of a June 1988 New York Times article describing the Congressional testimony of NASA's James Hansen, a leading climate expert. Hansen's statements compelled Sen. Tim Wirth (D-Colo.) to declare during the hearing that "Congress must begin to consider how we are going to slow or halt that warming trend."

With alarm bells suddenly ringing, Exxon started financing efforts to amplify doubt about the state of climate science.

Exxon helped to found and lead the Global Climate Coalition, an alliance of some of the world's largest companies seeking to halt government efforts to curb fossil fuel emissions. Exxon used the American Petroleum Institute, right-wing think tanks, campaign contributions and its own lobbying to push a narrative that climate science was too uncertain to necessitate cuts in fossil fuel emissions.
See THAT, Colin?  They knew in 1977 and yet funded the right wing "think tanks" (see? I can do it too!) to spread uncertainty about what they already knew to be true.

Now, about your use of the term "Orwellian."  You do know you're using it wrong to describe the case against Exxon, right?  The above use of facts to counter your misinformation should prove it to you.  If not Ignorance is Strength, I guess.

However, you're actually pretty close to being "Orwellian" yourself.  Did you know that?  If we start from Orwell's (well, Winston Smith's) assertion that:
Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two makes four. If that is granted, all else follows.
The arithmetic represents objective truth. By making the residents of Airstrip One to believe (beyond all evidence) that 2+2=5, the party is being "Orwellian."

Much like your insistence (and your paper's insistence) that there's somehow still "uncertainty" in the science of climate change - despite all the objective evidence, despite the 97% of climate scientists who believe it to be true, despite the 97% of climate papers published in peer-reviewed science journals supporting it.

You're the one, Colin, who's being Orwellian because 2+2 does not equal 5 and the planet is warming up due to the greenhouse gasses humans have been pouring into the atmosphere for decades.

You can believe what you want, just don't go into Room 101.

And if you don't know what's in Room 101, you shouldn't be using the term "Orwellian."

No comments: