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This is weak sauce -- an ahistorical false dichotomy. As my friends @NaomiOreskes & @MichaelEMann note in #ClimateChangeTheFacts: evidence alone has floundered in the face of 30y of climate denial & delay by fossil fuel interests & conservative ideologues. Let’s debunk. THREAD
2/n: First, @Anna_Soubry's point is ahistorical: The assertion that facts alone will win the day is contradicted by scholarship & experience, including history of climate politics, climate psychology, communication science, political science, & decades of advocacy & policymaking.
3/n: As I testified to EU Parliament last month, the fossil fuel industry has *known* the basic facts of climate science for 60 years: that its products, when used correctly, had the potential to cause catastrophic global warming.
4/n: But as evidence mounted & the public and politicians began paying attention, fossil fuel interests waged war against truth, orchestrating & funding a 30-year denial & delay campaign drawn straight from Big Tobacco’s playbook. bloomsbury.com/uk/merchants-o…
5/n: Here’s a 1991 internal strategy memo from the coal and utility industries explicitly planning to “reposition global warming as theory (not fact).” Those who simply presented the evidence didn't stand a chance. climatefiles.com/denial-groups/…
6/n: Here's Exxon in the late 1980s internally planning to "extend the science" and "emphasize the uncertainty in scientific conclusions" about climate change. (1988) climatefiles.com/exxonmobil/566/; (1989) cdn.exxonmobil.com/~/media/global…
7/n: For an up-to-date summary of the fossil fuel industry’s multi-decade, anti-science, anti-clean energy PR campaigns, see this amicus brief colleagues & I recently filed in US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of CA climate lawsuits:
8/n: Also see the first ever peer reviewed, academic analysis of ExxonMobil’s 40-year history of climate communications, by me and @NaomiOreskes. Our conclusion: ExxonMobil knowingly misled public about climate change. nytimes.com/2017/08/22/opi…
9/n: The climate challenge is no longer fundamentally about evidence. It's about mobilizing people & overcoming political power. Socio-technical decarbonization theory specifically emphasizes the need for “destabilization of existing regimes & industries”: sciencedirect.com/science/articl…
10/n: In this context, values, not facts, are the currency of persuasion. Simply “making the argument based on evidence” has been the tenet of Very Serious People for 30 years, and it has failed for 30 years. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.10…
11/n: Incremental, technocratic policymaking has nibbled at the edges of the problem. It has been - and continues to be - incommensurate with the scale, speed, irreversibility, and systematic nature of climate collapse.
12/n: UK govt is quick to remind us emissions have fallen 40% since 1990. But that's before accounting for emissions we've outsourced abroad. When you do, emissions have gone up, not down. See e.g. #TheBurningQuestion by @MikeBernersLee & @theduncanclark. nytimes.com/2018/09/04/cli…
13/n: Attenborough is a legend & #ClimateChangeTheFacts is brilliant. But this crisis won’t be averted *solely* w/ polite statements that "We now have the facts...it’s truly now the time to act." Sir David said that in 2007, & he still is. We can't just say it. We have to do it.
14/n: Indeed, the potency of his new film is not its relaying of facts, but their translation into a values-driven narrative: a story about cherishing nature. About the spirit of entrepreneurship. About love for our children, generational heroism, & the power of social movements.
15/n: This brings us to @Anna_Soubry's false dichotomy: that evidence & collective action are mutually exclusive. They're not. We need both/and not either/or. Ironically, this is a key takeaway of #ClimateChangeTheFacts, which powerfully joins the dots between science & activism.
16/n: The show starts with graphs, but it ends with children marching in the streets. It starts with facts, it ends with values.
17/n: The only thing powerful enough to take on the money & might of fossil fuel interests & conservative billionaires is the power of a social movement. To quote Frederick Douglas: "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." mashable.com/2017/05/06/how…
18/n: To dismiss @ExtinctionR as nothing but “clogging up” London is to disregard the historical imperative for what civil rights leader John Lewis calls "good trouble, necessary trouble." Heck, even Shell predicted #ExtinctionRebellion back in 1998:
19/n: Incumbents & defenders of the status quo are terrific at celebrating activists once they’ve succeeded (& often once they've died). But never in the heat of the moment, when their support is actually needed. “It always seems impossible until it is done,” Nelson Mandela said.
20/n: Yes, methodical organising & politicking are important. But profound shifts also need “moments of the whirlwind.” Times when you grab the zeitgeist by the scruff of its neck, & shake it. See @sunrisemvmt/#GreenNewDeal, #ClimateStrike, & @markjengler: thisisanuprising.org
21/n: To disagree with @ExtinctionR's theory of change is to disagree with @GretaThunberg, Noam Chomsky, @CFigueres, and the world's most famous climate scientist, Jim Hansen, who engages in civil disobedience precisely because asking politely has failed. theguardian.com/environment/20…
22/n: I find it bizarre that anyone’s first reaction to #ClimateChangeTheFacts can be to think “What are all those protestors making such a big fuss about?”, rather than “About bloody time. Where do I sign up?”
23/n: Fortunately, the former seems to be a minority opinion. As one #ExtinctionRebellion activist observed: “It’s growing at an amazing rate. I think the Attenborough documentary lit a fire in people’s bellies.” theguardian.com/environment/20…
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