Commentary

Marketing fail

HB4116

A Turnagain Arm pond turned chocolate baked Alaska/Craig Medred photo

Whoever thinks making a big deal out of Alaska’s unusually warm summer shifts the national climate discussion please click on her or his computer.

OK, you 10 people can probably stop reading now. The rest of us are going to have a frank discussion about why the War on Global Warming hasn’t sold in these United States, and you might not like what you read.

Here are five reasons the issue can’t get the traction necessary to bring about political change:

Number five: Advocates for climate-change action sound too much like President Donald Trump. They paint a black and white picture of a very gray world, and then assure all those who refuse to agree with everything they believe that unless we act we’re all going to die because climate change is yuuuuge!

Anyone with a clue as to human history knows how unlikely this scenario. We’re more adaptable than rats and more resilient than cockroaches.  Global warming is likely to cause chaos in places and spark yet more wars in Africa and Asia.

And millions could die, but this idea that all of humankind is doomed is a bridge too far.

The pitch is probably good for reinforcing a base of 30 or 35 percent of the American citizenry. And if you’re running for president in an election against another flawed candidate, a solid base that size requires only a 15 or 20 percent slice of the undecided middle – a little less if you play the electoral-college game right – to get elected.

Only climate-change action doesn’t depend on a popular vote. It depends on popular consensus. Zealotry tends to undermine consensus. Jim Jones sadly managed to convince about 900 people to drink his poison Kool-Aid, but most people thought he was preaching nonsense.

Too often in their well-meaning stridency, advocates for climate change come off more like fundamentalist preachers than advocates for rational change.

Number four: Americans are technocrats. We put a man on the moon for Godsake, and we’re now talking about putting one on Mars.

And the solution to global warming is for all of us to scrimp and sacrifice to solve the problem? Imagine how this plays to Nat Nobody in Arizona:

“You want me to give up my big, comfortable, gas-guzzling SUV because the temperature hit 90 degrees in Anchorage on one day this summer and crowd onto a bus with a bunch of sweaty, smelly other people?

“Here’s some news for you: Phoenix is 90 or warmer about half the year, and people seem to survive just fine. I’m sorry, but if you’re hot up there in the north invest in air conditioning like most Americans.”

If you’re a climate activist, it is easy to dismiss this as ignorant or selfish or thoughtless or whatever, but it’s also very American. It’s not in our blood to suffer through our problems.

Americans find solutions. Americans fix things. And Americans lead the world in making life more comfortable. The folks who invented the Barcolounger are not going back to stiff, unpadded, hard-backed seats.

Number three: Too many climate change advocates come off as hypocrites. Think of how Al Gore flying around the world on climate-changing aircraft to lecture others on how “they” need to cut back their use of fossil fuels looks to blue-collar, working Americans.

The likely reaction of Joe Sixpack?

“Hey Al. Dude, maybe your pitch would carry more weight if you took it on a cross-country run like Forrest Gump. Maybe you could start at the southern tip of Florida and jog to the northern tip of Alaska, or as close as you can get, to provide a shining example for Americans on how they can help in the war on climate change.

“All that exercise would be good for you, too. By the time you get to Alaska, you might have thinned down enough that none of the local Natives will mistake you for a beluga and put a harpoon in you.”

Number two: Way too much effort and way too many electrons are wasted worrying about the Arctic. Nobody cares about the Arctic. So the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe, or six times as fast or 600 times as fast.

Most of America could not care less. The Arctic only distracts from real climate change issues like the loss of water in the American West where a lot of people live.

The Arctic is a hinterland. The largest city in the Arctic is Murmansk. It’s in Russia. It has a population of about 300,000 people. It is smaller than St. Louis, a city that sits smack in the middle of what is known as “fly-over country.”

But at least people flyover. If they look out the windows of the airplane, they can at least see signs of some sort of civilization down there.

When you fly over the Arctic, which few do, there’s little to see but the wild. It’s the last empty place on the map in a world now more focused on the full places – Paris, London, Shanghai, Tokyo, New York, London, St. Petersburg.

For most Americans, the Arctic is up there somewhere north of Canada where people beat baby seals to death and worry about being eaten by polar bears. Most Americans would like to see the seals and polar bears survive. But if that means somebody has to walk 10 miles to work tomorrow, forget about it.

Number one: As James Carville has been given credit for famously observing, “it’s the economy stupid.”

Instead of worrying about climate-change action, a lot of Americans worry about climate-change action upsetting their 401K, their IRA, their pension fund, their stock portfolio or the economy in general.

“Climate change action” is, to them, just three other words for “nothin’ left to lose.”

It’s why the support for climate-change action skews young, and why some might outgrow it. The problems of the future always pale against the problems of the here and now.

Consider that humans went hundreds of thousands of years before the conservation movement took root. Why?

Because it’s easy to talk about protecting deer or salmon or ducks so they can breed and produce more in the future, but if you starve to death this year, it isn’t going to matter what comes back next year or in future years.

The conservation movement didn’t arise until people could afford to conserve. It’s still struggling in significant parts of Africa and Asia because people can’t afford to conserve. Conservation is a luxury of the economically successful.

Climate-change advocates might want to give this some serious thought. Too many of the economically successful in this country today see climate-change action as more of a threat to their futures than an opportunity.

Maybe it’s time to start talking about the economic opportunities in climate adaptation, and there are opportunities. The world is slowly but steadily starting to go electric. The shift is driving technology to both find new ways to generate electricity, store electricity and use it more efficiently.

The climate-change agendas that sell are those that provide Americans goods they want to buy or that lift the economy overall.  Maybe we’d make some progress if we talked more about how to achieve those ends than about the falling sky.

 

 

 

 

 

24 replies »

  1. Greta Thunberg(18yo)…”in the US their are two sides to the issue. In Norway(and most the world) global warming is a simple scientific fact.”

    So even if the Flat-earth, anti-science loonies in America eliminate the worse case scenario of “Catastrophic effects”, 99% of scientist agree it won’t be very much fun even if we word-play and reduce the threat to “Severely Damaging” or “Very Damaging” or just “Damaging”. Any of those reduced levels of threats are not good. One thing man-made warming won’t be is “Not Damaging”.

    • Actually, Matt; we don’t know what it will be. Humans have proven horrible at predicting the future. The end result could range from severely damaging to very good depending on all sorts of factors.

      Personally, I think it’s going to cause a mess in the most populated countries on the globe, but will be generally good for the upper middle and northern latitudes. i sadly tend to agree with Chas Goldman’s view – https://nationalinterest.org/feature/kremlins-key-world-dominance-climate-change-4394 – though my vision is much darker.

      i fear the chaos caused by global warming in the mid-latitudes is quite likely to pull the plant into another World War.

  2. Climate change zealots and religious zealots behave in much the same way with similar outcomes. The religious folks tell us a day of reckoning is upon us as well as the second coming of Christ. They are sure of it, but they can’t tell us when this will all happen. The climate zealots tell us that if we stop using fossil fuels we’ll save the earth from catastrophe, but they cannot tells us when this miraculous turnaround of climate will occur. Most likely the sacrifices the climate change zealots advocate will do nothing more than make us cold and suffer much inconvenience.

    • Mr. Kinney, You do not acknowledge the full consequences of global warming. For any change or action there are always good and bad consequences. That is, the good consequences of global warming for many parts of the world life will improve.

      Beyond that your message is full of exaggerations and dire platitudes. Your post lacks specifics about what, when and where. For example, we are told to stop using fossil fuels, but those advocates cannot describe what changes that will bring and when. In that regard your post is no different than thousands of others. Problem is the global warming crowd has been infused with zealotry. And as with all zealots facts are not their friends. Very much like religion isn’t it?

      I acknowledge we are experiencing a warmer climate. And I presume part of that changing climate is caused by human activity. What we do not know is how much of that change was inevitable in sprite of human activity? And you and others do not acknowledge that we are one huge volcanic eruption, or meteor strike, from catastrophic global cooling. Fact is both of those events have happened on our earth before. Good luck with your solar panels when that happens.

  3. If the anthropogenic global warming crowd was honest about their goals we wouldn’t be talking about climate change at all. The vast majority of the true believers are simply brainwashed or do not have the mental capacity to even understand what they are talking about, so they simply parrot the same old tired talking points. Anthropogenic global warming is about control and little else, anthropogenic global warming is just another faction of the environmental movement that wants to shutdown development and punish the successful. The environmental movement has done a pretty good job at outsourcing development and limiting growth in this country and in this state, they have done so through legislation and by court order, they have done so to control the public. Laws that ban plastic bags and straws are just a few examples that do little more than control people and their actions. Not long ago paper bags were destroying the environment, now they are good and plastic bags are bad, how long before these same useful idiots are telling us that the thick plastic or cotton bags we must use as replacements are destroying the environment? Punishing people for being successful and controlling them by way of senseless laws is not how to spread the good word.

    As the electrification of the world progresses we will need more and more mining to support this development. All of the new technology used to generate and store electricity requires rare earth metals, environmentalist cannot support mining since mining destroys the world in their view. So to save the world you must destroy the world, or you let the world be destroyed by not saving it. To be an anthropogenic global warming true believer and environmentalist one must necessarily hold contradictory viewpoints or simply ignore the obvious contradictions. Of course many of those who hold these beliefs do so simply based upon faith and disregard facts if they do not serve their belief structure, they also find any questioning of their dogma to be blasphemy. So it goes with so many who choose faith over facts.

    Jack,

    I found this link for you damnkidsgetoffmylawn.blogspot.com I have no idea what it’s about but it seems like it’s up your alley.

    • I suspect you dont live somewhere where thin white plastic bags hang like too numerous garish Xmas deco’s, all year long of course.
      Banning the bags had nothing to do with “global warming” btw.
      And your right, it is about controlling peoples behavior,because left to themselves they were/are just fine with “the throw away” lifestyle.
      I’ve been here long enough to remember a time before plastic bags in the trees(much less micro plastics in the food chain).

      • David,

        I do not live where “thin white plastic bags hang like too numerous garish Xmas deco’s, all year long”, in fact the only places that I can think of that come close to that description would be the dump, third world countries, and big cities in America where the big city way of thinking is so backward they think that inanimate objects are to blame for the personal choices of humans. Where I live people have pride in their neighborhood, and sure some people litter here, but others pick trash up and put it where it belongs, we take responsibility for our actions and the actions of others. Thanks for admitting these laws are all about control, usually people who push these asinine laws find it’s hard to admit that. Where we disagree is that I see “the throw away” lifestyle being that of people who throw away the fact that we are responsible for our own actions, instead of blaming the inanimate object shouldn’t we blame the person who broke the law by littering? Shouldn’t we take responsibility for the trash in and around our neighborhoods and clean it up instead of banning an inanimate object that is a sign of the problem but not the actual problem? Of course it’s much, much easier to blame the inanimate object than take actual responsibility.

        I never said that banning plastic bags had anything to do with global warming, btw.

      • Steve-o , once again a rational logical response. Your way of thinking is imperative to America’s future.

      • Steve,
        Silly me,lightbulb moment for sure.
        With regards to “the inanimate object” argument,I’ve often thought the same thing about heroin.
        It aint china whites fault people cant keep there lives straight.
        Let the free markets work the way they are supposed to

    • Thanks for the link, Steve-O. It’s probably as relevant and factual as all of the other cut and paste links on this comment thread. Here, I’ll try one for fun – it’s from your post! I’ll add a little spin to it though: “The vast majority of the true believers are simply brainwashed or do not have the mental capacity to even understand what they are talking about, so they simply parrot the same old tired talking points.”, which can be said of people on both sides of this ridiculous debate.
      One thing that I will seriously comment on with your post is the mining thing – the lefties are ok with mining… as long as it happens in some 3rd world (AKA shithole) country and not their country (or somewhere where they want to vacation. Solder on, keyboard doctors!
      Thanks for thinking of me – Cheers!
      PS – has anyone read the new bio by Gen Mattis? I’m about 1/2 way through – it’s friggin’ amazing. Now THAT is an American hero and someone to model yourself after.

  4. Now that Craig has said his bit, let’s hear from the REAL experts in Alaska… made up facts, wild speculation, copy and pasting links that half of us disagree with and the other half take as gospel (I mean the REAL bible…) – we’ll have this and more right here. Stay tuned. Or do something productive. Like watch football. Or look out your window. You could even pick your nose. No matter what your choice is, you’ll do something more productive than most commenters on this site. Including this one…
    But it is fun to laugh at. Which has a value to humankind as well.
    Cheers, doctors!

  5. Speaking of “marketing failure”…now the Iditarod can include a musher arrested for RAPE in its long list of mushers accused of harassment and animal abuse as well as mushers who have committed suicide….seems like the end of the road for “Spinsters” in Alaska trying to hide the truth from the public…

    “Anna Sattler’s rape kit sat untested for almost 20 years as Alaska’s backlog got worse.
    Now, an ex-Iditarod musher faces charges, and she’s speaking publicly about the attack for the first time.”

    https://www.adn.com/lawless/2019/09/06/she-leapt-from-a-moving-car-on-the-kenai-peninsula-to-escape-her-rapist-then-she-waited-18-years-for-an-arrest/

    • Steve S, I was really hoping you would have jumped in with the 99% of scientists believe in man-made Global Warming, instead of this deflecftion.

      • Sorry Bryan…
        I have been saying for years that animal abuse leads to abuse of humans and when I see that a musher who competed in several sled dog races (including the Iditarod) is pulled in for Rape charges….this Trumps most news for the day.
        Sadly several women including his ex wife tried to alert the authorities of his disturbing behavior.
        “A few weeks after the Iditarod, his wife wrote a request for a protective order saying Perzechino threatened to shoot their sled dogs after she withdrew money from a joint savings account”…
        (Adn.com)
        Seems like there was a good reason why Perzechino was hiding in the Philippines…

      • everyone quotes these 99% of scientists but no one knows where the percentage came from. I will tell you it is a made up figure. all someone has to do is say something and it becomes true. research may be the answer you are looking for.

      • Cliff, if you read my post a little further down:
        “You have probably heard Steve Stine over and over that 99% of scientist believe in global warming well the opposite is true. That talking point came from a study where only 75 scientists said they believe in global warming on the other hand over 31,000 scientists have signed a petition saying they don’t believe in Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming.”

      • 97% of scientists who self-identify as climatologists agree that humans are causing global warming. This percentage has been illustrated by multiple peer-reviewed papers, such as Cook et al. 2016. The 30k+ scientists who signed the petition denying anthropogenic climate change did not self-identify as climatologists. I wouldn’t hire a plumber to rewire my bathroom – likewise, I wouldn’t ask a biologist to explain how anthropogenic greenhouse gasses are heating the planet. Skeptical Science does a great job explaining this scientific consensus here: https://skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus.htm

    • Steve,

      “Tried?”

      She did, says it right in the piece you quoted.

      “Sadly several women including his ex wife tried to alert the authorities of his disturbing behavior.
      “A few weeks after the Iditarod, his wife wrote a request for a protective order saying Perzechino threatened to shoot their sled dogs after she withdrew money from a joint savings account”…”

      What the story, being ProPublica and thus not actual journalism, failed to do was look at his criminal history to see what exactly was there. Say, to see if the order (which does not in itself constitute evidence of any sort of actual guilt, mind you) was granted.

      It is hardly the Iditarod’s job to _publicize_ convictions and suicides, much less allegations of crimes. They have nothing to “spin.”

      • Very good point Mathew especially as it’s 1-1000 . An extremely low percentage. Way below society norms .

  6. People believe in things for different reasons. Regarding global warming:
    Most scientists have an economic incentive to support GW, and a disincentive to be a denier. If you want to study the mating habits of squirrels, you best work in GW to the grant request.
    Apparatchiks also have a financial incentive because it will steer more resources their way – and like all programs run by Democrats, nothing is ever solved because it is not intended to be solved. The objective is more money, to hire more Democrats, who will vote for Democrats so that the money flow continues in increased amounts. The Green New Deal is a multigenerational product line for the Left that has the potential to generate vast, unprecedented amounts of funding to hire Democrats. Even nothing works, that just means more money is needed.
    Then there the followers. They don’t want to be uncool nerds. If you are a college kid, being a denier will probably decrease the quality of your sex life.
    Then there are the corporations. Decisions are based upon market share. Saving the planet is marketing: BP…Beyond Petroleum.
    My guess is the scientists are right about the historical record. The climate has always changed. Likewise, for sea levels. They don’t really know why. They haven’t discovered artifacts of Republicans and SUVs, so that’s probably not what caused all of the changes over the last billions of years. I know, this time is different. Hold on to your wallet and the 2nd Amendment!

  7. If the “Global Warming” crowd have to lie, cheat, and steal to push an agenda, does that make it bogus then? So, the economic opportunites of yesterday are the same for tomorrow.

    “In 2009, the public discovered emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit exposing how scientists who have been enormously influential in promoting the concept of man-made climate change actually attempted to cook the books to obtain results that served their narrative that the planet was heating at a dangerous trend due to higher levels of carbon dioxide.

    One of these scientists included Dr. James Hansen, a former NASA climatologist who is known by some as the “father” or “grandfather” of the climate change myth, as it was his “Model Zero” that first introduced the concept of global warming. Hansen, Philip Jones, Michael Mann, et al. were all involved in trying “to lower past temperatures and to ‘adjust’ recent temperatures upwards, in order to convey the impression of an accelerated warming,” according to the leaked emails. The emails also revealed how this cabal of scientists would discuss various ways to stonewall the public from seeing the “background data on which their findings and temperature records were based,” even going as far as deleting significant amounts of data. They would engage in efforts to smear “any scientific journal which dares to publish their critics’ work.”

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/9767/9-things-you-need-know-about-climate-change-hoax-aaron-bandler

    You have probably heard Steve Stine over and over that 99% of scientist believe in global warming well the opposite is true. That talking point came from a study where only 75 scientists said they believe in global warming on the other hand over 31,000 scientists have signed a petition saying they don’t believe in Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming.

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