Der Spiegel reports here on the latest ideas from climate activists to revitalize the stalled climate movement, which has run aground over the last year – thanks to Climategate and gross errors in the 2007 IPCC report. Hat-tip oekowatch.org.
Yawn – a “loser topic”
Surveys have found that the population is bored by the issue as a whole, and show that a majority of the public is not even interested in climate change. The topic is too technical, too dry and something that’s 100 years out into the future.
Der Spiegel writes that just one third of Dutch people are concerned about climate change, even though the country is highly vulnerable to rising sea levels! Der Spiegel writes:
Earlier, the telephone rang off the hook whenever we had extreme weather, recalls Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Now hardly anyone calls anymore. Climate has become a ‘loser topic’, he told a ‘Tagesspiegel’ editor on the German TV news program ‘Panorama’.”
Calls for the use of shock, emotion, sex and advocacy journalism
So what do you do to revitalise a dud issue? You repackage the product and re-market it. Der Spiegel piece presents the ideas that activists want to use to get the issue back into the headlines and in people’s minds.
According to the report, some activists want to use emotion, sex, critical debate, improved communication and a new scientific language to better communicate with the public. These are some of the less spectacular methods. Others are calling for more controversial methods, such as advocacy journalism. Der Spiegel writes:
Climate activists are currently financing million dollar training programs for environmental journalists. The target is to promote journalism that is interest-related.”
But experts warn this could backfire as the line between science and advertising becomes blurred. This could make the science even less credible than it is now (as impossible as that may seem).
A climate Martin Luther King / and where’s Al Gore?
One particularly odd strategy activists are pushing for is the search for a charismatic Messiah. Der Spiegel writes:
A Messiah is needed: Like Martin Luther King spurred the black movement, we now need a climate-Messiah, so believes environmemtal scientist Andreas Ernst of the University of Kassel. The message could be something like: “I have a nightmare“. Al Gore, who for awhile played the role and won a Nobel Prize for his moving film, is hardly ever seen anymore.”
A Climate Messiah? “I have a nightmare”? Al Gore?
Folks, it’s over. What they need is Brünnhilde in Götterdämmerung.