Ben Stewart : Greenpeace StalkingPosted on April 15th, 2010 5 comments
[ CORRECTION FROM JOABBESS.COM IN BOLD ]
Mr Ben Stewart, Head of Media at Greenpeace UK, may have no hair, but he does have a considerable number of brain cells, and he says that journalists who are Climate Sceptics need to be afraid, very afraid.
Last night at the “Sceptic Backlash” event hosted by the “Campaign against Climate Change” (what a mouthful, Phil Thornhill ! Get the name or your organisation changed ! Immediately !), Ben Stewart said, “we need to pull together a community of activists to hold journalists to account. We have to launch a campaign so these people are scared of us.”
Well, you could call this bravado, or you could call it a statement of intent. I think I’d probably plump for the latter.
So here’s a message to all those Climate Change sceptical journalists and sundry denier-obstructer bloggists out there : brace yourselves. Climate Change is coming !
Here’s a rough record of what Ben Stewart said. Please don’t complain, if you, dear reader, are a Greenpeace devotee. I might have taken something down mistakenly, or got the wrong end of the stick. Just tell me I need to make a correction and I will judge whether or not I need to.
Ben Stewart’s comments on Climate Change scepticism in the Media, as I noted them :-
– I don’t think that we have the answers [to Climate Change scepticism in the Media] yet. I don’t think anyone’s got it [completely] right.
– Climategate has set back Climate Change communications by two years (optimistic). One opinion is that the Climate Change story will not be the same for a lifetime.
– I first heard about the Climategate story breaking on 19th November  – thinking something very bad was about to happen.
– We contacted Annie Ogden at the University of East Anglia about the UEA Communications Strategy. She said there was nothing in these e-mails and that their communications strategy was to turn off their computers and go home. We pleaded with her and she said she thought we were getting a bit excited. We even asked a senior Media personality [that would be George Monbiot, then, wouldn't it ?] to contact her but to no avail.
– The “denial machine” started rolling and unshakeable perceptions were formed. The UEA thought that being right was enough. We thought being right was enough – smug. The “other side” is a well-funded campaign against [Climate Change Science]. We were “swiftboated”. [There followed some discussion of how John Kerry' presidential campaign was sunk. The book by the Veterans was published by Koch Industries...the same people who are behind a lot of Climate Change denial. ]
– [It's no use] waiting for the Media to get the story right. [Some discussion of how Obama went on the Media offensive to combat spin about Jeremiah Wright.] Obama fundamentally changed the narrative with his speech on race. [YouTube was involved.]
– I think that we need to run a Climate Change communications campaign around the world – putting pressure on journalists – a rolling campaign – we need to get serious.
– [Climate Change sceptics] have formed these opinions because of exposure to the Media. That’s where the problem lies.
– This process is central to the Climate Change myths – they jump straight from the Internet to the Press. Bill McKibben says that the UK Media has caused as much damage as Fox News. [Showing some key Climate Change Denial websites.]
– When the Climate Denial noise machine gets into gear, it’s impossible for the mainstream Media to ignore – the [denier-sceptics] accuse the Media of being biased and the UK print Media picks it up fast. This gives the story the “imprimatur” [cachet, official-looking authority] of being credible. If the Times of London is going with it – it goes global.
– Why do the British Media feel OK to get the story so wrong so often ?
– Amazongate [the myth that the Amazon was not going to suffer from Climate Change] caused enomous problems for Climate scientists. [Shows a rebuttal by Simon Lewis.]
– I think that Climategate has tilted the balance of legitimacy.
– [Shows a written opinion of a senior journalist, who now questions the working practices of Scientists. “We’ll never look at scientists the same way [again].”]
– The Climate Change Denier-Sceptics are waging “asymmetric warfare”. The established position has to be right 100% of the time. If they’re 1% wrong (for example, the Amazongate wrong reference to the right science), [then the sceptics win.] The sceptics only need to be right 1% of the time and win.
– The Climate Change Science [conclusions] have become the established position – there to be shot down.
– People are used to Science being an exact discipline. They are not used to uncertainties.
– As the Science position gains the ascendancy, the stories have to move to new ground. We’re bored hearing about Climate Change [we need some new titillation or stimulation].
– [Shows picture of Ian Plimer and gives history of his book and Australian politics.] Ian Plimer – this guy has power and he’s full of *********.
– Christopher Booker, read by millions, noted that the Arctic Sea Ice was increasing – during a period known to the rest of us as “Winter”.
– We need to re-tilt the balance of legitimacy in the newsroom back to where it was before November .
– We have to make “brand sceptic” toxic.
– We need a new, compelling narrative, and pull together a community of activists determined to hold journalists to account.
– We have to launch a campaign so these people are scared of us.
Climate Change, Media Climate Change, Climate Change Journalism, Climate Change Media, Climate Change Narrative, Climate Change Science, Climate Change Story, Climate Science, denial, denier, Greenpeace, obstructer, sceptic, skeptic
5 responses to “Ben Stewart : Greenpeace Stalking”
barry woods April 15th, 2010 at 13:42
well I’m glad I couldn’t make it..
That sound a bit like
‘We know where you live’
a threat in anybodies language, from a certain greepeace communications director..
now on an extended holiday, jetted of to Thailand (think of the CO2 – Gene)
‘Scared in what way’
Ben Stewart – We have to launch a campaign so these people are scared of us
for their livelhood?,
their human rights?
for their presonal safety?
Is he advocating intimidation?
Please ask him to clarify…
I’m concerned now that this website knows my email address…
Should I be concerned about that?
And yes, I read the full greenpeace article, in context, and responded to it, before they hid it away, and left just a few bits, leaving out the worst, climate outlaws, and more, etc..
I would probably be tarred and feathered if I had gone (bit difficult potty trining my 2 yeard old)
Thanks for the reasoned debate, Greenpeace have just labelled, me ‘toxic’ when you label someone you deny them their humanity.
Christopher Booker mentioned that the ice was increasing back toward the long term AVERAGE for this time of YEAR..
look for yourselves: According to the models -this Should NOT have happened)
ie short term variability, a entirely natural explanation for all the ‘chicken littles’.
We’ve only had satellites doing this for for 30 years, yet in the 50’s nuclear subs could pop up near the north pole, and in the 1800’s all the sailors were getting exicted by the northwest passage opening up..
For Goodness sake, Big Oil, is NOW Big Energy.. has been for 10 years, businesses follow the money and the politics…
BOTH have been going AGW way for a decade or more..
All those supposed BP, Shells, deniar machinary, etc are going to make billions out of the carbon economy…
as are the hedge funds, the goldman sachs, etc,etc
‘propaganda’ works both ways. I do not trust big ‘UN’ or ‘Big government’. Hutton, chilcot enquiry anyone..
P Stoffted April 15th, 2010 at 20:24
I think the word ‘primature’ should be ‘imprimatur’?
[ NOTE FROM JOABBESS.COM : COULD BE. DON'T KNOW. CAN'T SAY I CARE MUCH. I'M NOT REALLY AN EXPERT ON THE USES AND ABUSES OF CLASSICAL LATIN IMPORTED INTO ENGLISH OR USED IN LEGAL TERMS. THE MEDIA HAD A FIELD DAY WITH "PRIMA FACIE" DURING THE CRU CLIMATEGATE INQUIRIES, WHEN ALL IT MEANS IS SOMETHING LIKE "AT FIRST GLANCE". ALL I CAN SAY IS THAT I HEARD BEN STEWART SAY "PRIMATURE", TWICE. MAYBE I NEED HEARING AIDS. ]
[ NOTE FROM JOABBESS.COM : ON SECOND THOUGHTS, ACTUALLY, I THINK YOU COULD BE RIGHT, ON BALANCE. "IMPRIMATUR" SORT OF HAS THE RING OF "GO WITH THAT STORY", OR "OK TO PRINT", AND NOT "PUBLISH AND BE D@MNED". ALTHOUGH I'M NOT SURE IF BEN STEWART GOT IT RIGHT. WE'LL BE DISCUSSING THE "OVERTON WINDOW" SOON IF WE'RE NOT CAREFUL. CLIMATE CHANGE SCEPTICISM WAS "MENTIONABLE WITH SNIDE CYNICISM ATTACHED" UNTIL NOVEMBER LAST YEAR, THEN SUDDENLY IT BECAME "I CAN BE A JOURNALIST AND A CLIMATE CHANGE SCEPTIC, TOO". ]
[ NOTE FROM JOABBESS.COM : ACTUALLY, YOU PROBABLY THINK I'M UNLEARNED NOW. I BET YOU "IMPRIMATUR" IS ONE OF THOSE TERMS CLASSICS GRADUATES FLING ABOUT WHEN THEY'RE DISCUSSING "THE MEDIA, TODAY", AND OTHER ISSUES OF GRAVITAS. JUST GOES TO PROVE I'VE NEVER BEEN TO JOURNALISM SCHOOL. I HAVE A SCIENCE EDUCATION, SEE. ]
[ NOTE FROM JOABBESS.COM : WELL, I BOTHERED TO LOOK IT UP, FINALLY, AND YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. THANK YOU. I'VE LEARNED SOMETHING TODAY :-
I would like to make a contribution completely as an individual, not representing any organisation or anything like that.
So, I think it was pretty obvious Ben was not talking about sceptic journo’s being afraid in any physical sense whatsoever. To say someone representing Greenpeace, an organisation with very strong quaker/pacifist tendancies, would threaten people in a physical sense, is a bit silly I think.
The ‘being afraid’ he was talking about, as I believe was quite clear, was that journalists should be afraid of writing unsubstantiated, or very badly referenced articles making wild claims that climate change isn’t happening, when the vast, vast scientific consensus suggests otherwise.
That’s what I think he was saying.
Er, I probably won’t post or check here again, but if you want to email me feel free. tobyosmond at gmail.com
Forgot to say.
Looking at that graph, it seems like we’re still below the ’79-’00 average, and not heading to normal levels, but slightly below.
Also, a tendency for people who claim anthropogenic climate change isn’t happening is to use statistical phenomena to prove that they are right, when of course this is completely scientifically flawed. For instance the ‘decline in temperature’ since the mid 90’s, which is actually based on taking the spike of a super el nino (or la nina, i forget) year, and comparing that to a different peak later in the decade. If you look at the average temps, which is how scientists measure the temperature, then actually it’s warming.
Now, it’s also the tendency of some people in the green movement to herald doomsday with statistical phenomena too. My point is, both are based on bad science.
However, solely based on good science, e.g. broad statistical sets and averages, taking account of things like el nino etc. All of the indications point towards anthropogenic climate change happening.
I believe what one of the speakers was saying, it could have been ben, I’m not sure, was that the problem now is that most of the people saying climate change isn’t happening, or it’s not human affected, is that a lot of them are journalists, not scientists. Because the vast majority of scientists agree it is happening, and it is anthropogenically affected.
An interesting part of the talk was that one of the speakers said (I’m paraphrasing) if you take a thousand scientitsts, maybe 80 or 90% of them will agree that anthropogenic climate change is definately (or scientifically extremely probably) occuring. Now if you take a thousand meteorlogists, 95% of them will agree it’s happening.
And if you take the same number of specifically climate scientists, 99 or a 100% will agree it’s happening.
Hope that helps.
Cameron May 28th, 2010 at 23:03
Toby, A number of points.
1. Greenpeace demonstrations frequently get violent and abusive, not only physical but also verbally, so to say that they are a peacefull organisation is not correct. Although I am not in favour of whaling, I am particularly pleased that the Japanese are prosecuting the green peace member who boarded a whaling shp and assulted the captain. I have been wondering how long the Japanese would put up with the aggressive and violent attacks.
2. When surveys of actual scientists in most fields, other than the climate scientists who are on the government funded gravy train, are taken the majority of then do not express a belief in Catastrophic Man Made Global Warming. Meteorologists and Geologists scored particularly high in the sceptical view. In excess of 80% if I remember correctly.
The argument from consensus is getting really old and nobody believes it anymore.
I am a Scientist with majors in Chemistry and Physics with Post graduate studies in Environmental Engineering and I do not know any Scientists or Engineers, who have carefully studies this issue, who still have a belief in Catastrophic Man Made Global Warming. Remember that this is what we are talking about and not just Climate Change. If it is not going to be Catastrophic, then we do not need to take serious action, and if it is not Man Made then the actions needed are not the one proposed by the UN.
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