Effort to Subvert Wind Power

Suzanne Goldenberg at the Guardian reports on a memo which “advises using “subversion” to build a national movement of wind farm protesters.” I don’t think they mean the version control system.

These documents show for the first time that local Nimby anti-wind groups are co-ordinating and working with national fossil-fuel funded advocacy groups to wreck the wind industry,” said Gabe Elsner, a co-director of the Checks and Balances, the accountability group which unearthed the proposal and other documents.

Unsurprisingly,

“We do see evidence of co-ordination,” said Peter Kelley a spokesman for the American Wind Energy Assocation. “The same rhetoric pops up all over the place. Things that are disproven, that are demonstrably untrue, continually get repeated.”

h/t Mike Mann

Update: DeSmog is sharing the document (in Microsoft Word format)


Update: Aside from the clunker word “subvert”, (cf. “anti-climate”) what is shocking about this memo, should it prove real? Not much, really. So why is it so unpleasant, such a blow to the gut, to force oneself to read it?

Isn’t what was shocking about the Heartland leak and what is shocking about this exactly the same? It’s the professionalism, the calm analysis, the apparent indifference to what the right thing to do might be, the whole hired-gun attitude. The cynicism.

Could it be even more disturbing because we can easily imagine operatives on “the other side”, some here might say “our side” having a very similar strategy meeting with pretty much the same memes role-reversed?

We just got a comment here on a piece Dan recently did summmarizing a posting John n-g did, about which more later. The comment was that John’s argument was not compelling for a general readership, and that a more compelling, simpler, and a bit dubious analysis be substituted. But that is political thinking. As science communicators, our job is to communicate what IS going on, not what some political perspective would PREFER to be going on.

And this is really the key meaning of “An Inconvenient Truth”, one that is perhaps even more important than the brunt of the message about climate change. It is that to a political perspective, propositions are not just true or false, they are also convenient or inconvenient. There is a tremendous pressure to pick the convenient ideas and use them in the battlefield to defeat the inconvenient ones, with indifference to whether they are true or false.

Which brings us to a good definition of the fundamental failure of modern journalism, or at least modern journalism of the North American type: they are following the battle and not the truth. Which is why they are verging on useless. (The recent gestures toward improvement at NPR are only modestly encouraging.)

None of this is to deny the essential asymmetry in North America these days. I am convinced that one side in this great battle is far more allied with dangerous and foolish ideas than the other.

But both “sides” show this callow professionalism on the political battlefield. And neither shows the full capacity needed to cope with our difficulties, even if the crazed pissing match were to stop. And this is because the public is baffled as to what is going on, which in turn is because the journalists predominantly are as alienated from reality as the politicians they like to talk about, and are much more interested in the clash of memes than in the facts of the matter.

And that’s why the document, be it real or fiction, seems so plausible and is so creepy.

Comments:

  1. "Isn’t what was shocking about the Heartland leak and what is shocking about this exactly the same? It’s the professionalism, the calm analysis, the apparent indifference to what the right thing to do might be, the whole hired-gun attitude. The cynicism..."

    I've called it the "climate changes banality of evil".

    When one breaks down ones part to small parts, focused on the technocratic/professional aspects of the role one may never think of the greater harm being perpetrated.

    I'm sure these people are very good at what they do, receive glowing performance reviews come salary review time and are effective communicators.

    It is the atomisation of harm.

    The individual is never solely responsible, their actions almost rendered meaningless.

    So "they" write a comm's plan here, put a billboard up there and block energy standards.

    In of themselves those actions cause no direct harm - right?


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