Climate change, disinformation, and the failure of preparedness


“The aftermath in Iraq, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina—failure of preparedness—and we’re doing the same thing on climate change, it’s just a more slow-rolling disaster.” CSW director Rick Piltz talks with the North Adams (MA) Transcript.

Excerpt from a longer article:

Heated discussion

By John E. Mitchell
North Adams (MA) Transcript
March 7

As co-directed by Daniel B. Gold and Judith Helfand, “Everything’s Cool” documents the very concerted effort by the Bush administration and interested corporate allies to reframe the points of reference behind the science of climate change—to actually manufacture a debate in order to stall action that might lead to regulation….

“The things that were the most threatening were these regional reports,” said Helfand…in very clean, clear language, what would the effect of global warming be here in New York City or in New Orleans or in New Mexico or in Florida. Let’s look at it regionally, let’s turn it into language that everyone can understand, and let’s look at it from a perspective that people can truly understand, because this will be where they live. Or let’s look at the impact of global warming in Alaska and indigenous cultures who rely on the seasons and the weather. They didn’t really want anyone to have that. How can that not form a part of our political discourse right now while we’re trying to decide who should be president?”…

“Global warming is not the only area where the evidence is one thing and the politics is something else and it leaves the nation in a tough position,” said Piltz, “because if you don’t understand the problem and you don’t have a political leadership that is willing to talk about it straightforwardly with people—what the risk is, how we’re going to manage it—then you have a breakdown of the country’s preparedness to deal with problems. Then you have the aftermath in Iraq, then you have the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina—failure of preparedness, failure of preparedness—and we’re doing the same thing on climate change, it’s just a more slow-rolling disaster, so you don’t see it happen quite so fast.”…
Piltz says that there is less of a paper trail [of climate science censorship] than there used to be—the whistle blowing has caused the forces within the administration to wise up on that front—but it almost doesn’t matter. The reporting on the issue has improved, with less attention being given the naysayers and more ink being reserved for actual data—still, there is a battle for clarity raging.
“There are still people out there who are denialists on it, they’re all over the blogosphere, but they don’t have any traction politically anymore,” said Piltz. “The political system and corporate America have moved on to talk about what kind of deal needs to be done to start fixing this damage, but I think that there is still a lot of disinformation not about the reality of human driven global warming but about how bad the impacts are likely to be and about what’s involved in reducing emissions, so it’s complex and more nuanced.”…


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