Monday, December 10, 2007

Top ten green hypocrites for 2007 (updated)

It's that time of the year for lists, and Steven Milloy at Junk Science picks his own list of "green hypocrisy’s top 10 poster children for 2007."  (Green, he reminds us, "has traditionally been the color of the deadly sin of envy.")

It's an Amerocentric list ,so Helen Clark doesn't make it for chanting "carbon neutrality" like a Hare Krishna  even as NZ moves to 31st out of 56 in the OECD's league tables of "climate change performance" (and good on us for that, eh?).  But he has pinged several thousand of the world's greatest humbugs  schmoozing down here in Bali in order to "slash" the world's carbon emissions and emitting over 100,000 tonnes of carbon just to fly there.

The important point to take here is not that we should all be doing "better," but instead as Milloy suggests, we should judge the seriousness of the warnings of these honorees more by their real-life actions than by either their insufferably smug pronouncements or their "carefully crafted green public images."   After all, if they don't take their own predictions of imminent disaster seriously, why should we?

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12 Comments:

Anonymous DenMT said...

PC: You might want to re-read his list and edit your post - the Bali conference 'fuckwits' (sigh) are number 4 on his list.

Most of the list is indeed fairly cringeworthy, however I fail to see how installing Ed Markey as the chair of the Energy Independence Committee is all that hypocritical - to me it's like Bush putting Bolton in to the UN. And Milloy demonstrates his bent when he describes ANY form of nuclear power as 'ultra-green'.

And the section on compact fluorescents is a bit rich also. Yes, mercury is bad, but I have never ever heard of specialist clean-up needed for breakages of compact fluorescents, especially given the low (and ever-decreasing) amounts of mercury inside. If you still feel the fear, and can't walk into a room with a compact fluorescent in it (or a fluorescent tube - perish the thought!) then a bit of googling might set you at ease... And lets not even get started on metal halides! I'm sure Steven Milloy has only incandescents installed in his place, given his hilarious scare-mongering on CFLs (follow the link from his list) but the rest of us might be able to rest slightly easier...

Have to agree with his final word though:

"The one thing these honorees all have in common is that their real-life actions belie their carefully crafted green public images. If they don’t take their commitment seriously, why should you?"

I don't think this applies in cases such as sending reporters off to the Arctic to report on climate change, as this clearly serves a greater good, but in the cases of the Google party jet, the Schwarzenegger fleet of vehicles and Gore's own personal lifestyle, a lot of eye-rolling is called for.

A lot of people on the very skeptical end of the spectrum hold the view that if you believe people should try and limit energy use, then that entails limiting ALL energy use (ie never flying, no electricity, and a number of other outlandish exaggerations). The reality is that we need to look carefully at our lifestyles and make honest changes that are sustainable in the long term. This doesn't mean retreating to the caves, but it also doesn't mean that carbon offsets can 'pay' for a lifestyle that runs in direct contradiction to the one you are advocating for.

DenMT

12/10/2007 09:39:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Oops. Thanks Den. I could blame writing a post in two hits -- once in the evening and once again the next morning.

Or I could just accept my incompetence. Anyway, fixed now.

12/10/2007 10:21:00 am  
Blogger Craig Ranapia said...

It's an Amerocentric list ,so Helen Clark doesn't make it for chanting "carbon neutrality" like a Hare Krishna...

...while flying to Brisbane for the day, to have lunch and a quick photo op with Kevin Rudd. (Nothing substantive that couldn't have been done just as easily over the phone, of course. But where's the desperately needed good press for Clark in that?) Might have been longer, but he had to pack for his flight to Bali, after all.

12/10/2007 10:26:00 am  
Anonymous Sus said...

"Nothing substantive that couldn't have been done just as easily over the phone, of course. But where's the desperately needed good press for Clark in that?"

Not to mention conveniently out of the country when Mallard was in the dock. Funny how often that happens.

12/10/2007 10:32:00 am  
Blogger Craig Ranapia said...

A lot of people on the very skeptical end of the spectrum hold the view that if you believe people should try and limit energy use, then that entails limiting ALL energy use (ie never flying, no electricity, and a number of other outlandish exaggerations). The reality is that we need to look carefully at our lifestyles and make honest changes that are sustainable in the long term.

Well, denmt, as I alluded to above its the hypocrisy that gets up my arse, and should be called out. I don't have a lot of time for George Monbiot, but at least he's practicing what he preaches with his appearance at the Writers and Readers Week jamboree in Wellington next year. His sessions will be conducted via 'real-time videoconferencing'. Which puts him one up on eco-hypocrites like Gore, Rudd and Clark in my book who rack up the frequent flyer miles to lecture the rest of us peasants on our moral failings.

12/10/2007 10:33:00 am  
Anonymous simon said...

DenMT : The reality is that we need to look carefully...

Who's WE , white man? Socialists like you (and greenies) should stop trying to include me and others in your misguided, deluded and bullshit ideologies. Stop telling the rest of us how to live our lives. Fuck'n practice what you preach and stop flying around in commercial airplanes.

12/10/2007 10:41:00 am  
Anonymous DenMT said...

Simon - you proved my point pretty well. Perhaps I should have qualified my little final paragraph with 'it is my opinion that we...'

However I'm not preaching that no-one should fly around in commercial aeroplanes. Very few people actually are. When you try and maintain that position as a logical extension of reducing wasteful energy use, you just end up looking a bit silly.

As I pointed out, and then Craig, there are some sad hypocrites who want us to do one thing but practice something else. You might try and infer that the only 'real' greenie is the one that lives in a cave, eats only the fruit that has fallen off trees in a two-kilometre radius, and paddles a self-built raft when international travel is required. That's not reality. To achieve the carbon reductions required we don't need to make the ridiculous levels of change alleged by *cough* some folks. But (IN MY OPINION) we do need to think carefully about how we use energy.

DenMT

12/10/2007 10:51:00 am  
Blogger Craig Ranapia said...

As I pointed out, and then Craig, there are some sad hypocrites who want us to do one thing but practice something else. You might try and infer that the only 'real' greenie is the one that lives in a cave, eats only the fruit that has fallen off trees in a two-kilometre radius, and paddles a self-built raft when international travel is required. That's not reality.

And I never asserted any such neo-Luddite nonsense. However, would you care to argue that anyone who does "think carefully about how we use energy" might just come to the conclusion that a trans-Tasman flight for a 90 minute lunch and photo op isn't exactly the most thoughtful contribution to your carbon footprint?

As I said above, did Clark and Rudd do or say anything that couldn't have been done in a conference call? Apart from the media scrum, that is.

Ironically enough, the company I work for is seeing financial benefits (as well as positive environmental outcomes) in more video/teleconferencing, and less money spent flying managers in for a meeting that lasts a couple of hours at best. That pesky market again, DenMT!

12/10/2007 11:26:00 am  
Anonymous LGM said...

DenMT

You're evading the point again.

Stop talking about "we". You do not speak for anyone other than your own self. If you are sooooooo worried about using energy and the lifestyle that entails, then YOU should do something about YOUR activities. How about YOU go without?

Some really good advice for you is this: leave other people to make their own decisions about how they want to live their own lives.

Meanwhile I'm off burn rubber in my new car (8.1 litre V-8, can just about get 10 mpg in town).

LGM

12/10/2007 01:09:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are worried about mercury get rid of geothermal. Wairaki puts out 46kg each and every year, mainly into the Waikato River. (Probably explains a lot actually…) Whereas if you got every cfl ever sold in NZ in the one place you would be lucky to muster 20kg (and of course a lot of them are still working not releasing mercury).

Insider

12/10/2007 04:14:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with those flourescent energy saver bulbs is that when I turn the one in my study on, I sit in the semi dark waiting for the thing to warm up. I want illumination when I flick the switch.

My local candidate for green-hypocrite would be Jeanette Fitzsimmons household for their use of petrol to burn off gorse during a total fire ban period.

Brian Smaller

12/10/2007 07:08:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an architect I thought you might be more sensitive to what is going on around you (housing). Maybe you spend (spent) all your life hanging around rich people?

12/10/2007 09:30:00 pm  

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