Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Notes on a scandal

I suspect that everyone is pretty bored with this, but I feel I ought to write something. It all started fairly innocuously with an exchange mainly between mt and RPJr here. Michael asked some challenging questions of Roger concerning the ethical implications of the risk (or perhaps fact) of inaction being bolstered by false balance in the media, the crux being:
Roger, you say that our present policy is not commensurate with the risks. I presume this means you too accept that there are very large risks in a delayed-policy scenario. Is this so?

This in turn places a very large ethical weight on any public speech, does it not?
At which point Roger ducked, quoted Michael out of context on his own blog, and spun up a (thankfully brief) denialist blogstorm. Others have editorialised at more length, but I think the evidence speaks for itself, for those who can be bothered wading through it.

I see that RC has now written an article offering advice to young bloggers, which draws on mt's experience (among other things). Seems slightly patronising to me, but I'm sure they didn't mean it that way. One point I do endorse is not taking any of it too seriously- if there is any long-term effect it will be that the name recognition will far outlast anyone remembering what the name recognition was based on, even if they cared one way or the other at the outset. And it's hard to imagine any putative philanthropic oil baron being dissuaded from donating to UTexas by a misquote in some right-wingnut's email if they were not put off by oil baron John Jackson's hundreds of millions of dollars for geoscience research (I suppose it's just hundreds of dollars now) being spent on a new climate research centre :-) I wonder (rhetorically) how that compares ethically to the EGU taking sponsorship from Exxon...

(and wrt the title, I don't really think that any of the protagonists have unrequited lesbian crushes on each other...)

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