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This item was posted on October 2, 2010, and it was categorized as Climate Change, Random Acts of Bizarre Blog Posting.
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Disgusting 1010 Campaign PR stunt sets back the cause of reducing carbon emissions

Update 10/5/10: Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, weighs in: “This is a horrifying little film that will aid the cause of the climate-change-denial movement.” The short post is under a headline that reads, “A Complete Catastrophe for Environmentalism.” And here is evidence supporting his point, a Fox News interview with Mark Morano. (Warning: If you’re an environmentalist you may feel like YOU will explode when you hear Morano agree with the interviewer that the video could inspire unhinged environmentalist extremists to actually go out and kill people.)

Update 10/4/10: Saying that “we missed the mark,” Eugenie Harvey, director of 10:10 UK, which commissioned the “No Pressure” video, reluctantly apologized on Friday. But it didn’t seem very convincing. Today, as SONY disassociated itself from the 10:10 project, she tried a little harder, saying the group was “very sorry” if the film “distracted” from the efforts of people trying to build support for action on climate change, and that they were also “sorry to our corporate sponsors, delivery partners and board members, who have been implicated in this situation despite having no involvement in the film’s production or release.” The group would now “learn from this mistake,” she said.

Meanwhile, it’s clear that at least some people believe there was nothing wrong with the video, and that those who are skeptical of anthropogenic climate change are actually the moral equivalent of “mass murderers.” That is, in fact, what one commenter said last night at the end of my original post. See below for the full comment and my response.

As for the message of the video, it clearly seems to be that children who dare exhibit any independent thought should be blown up in front of their friends by us right-thinking adults.

That’s some “distraction,” Eugenie.

My original post begins here:

As my colleague Roger Pielke, Jr. put it in his blog today, this is the worst climate PR stunt ever. If you don’t mind watching children blowing up, watch it — and weep.

For humanity.

I am struggling to maintain respect for The Guardian newspaper, which says:

Our friends at the 10:10 climate change campaign have given us the scoop on this highly explosive short film, written by Britain’s top comedy screenwriter Richard Curtis, ahead of its general release.

“Our friends”???

As my headline says…

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This thing has 17 Comments

  1. John Zulauf
    Posted October 2, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Great article on an out of touch outrage. 10:10 defends the violent deaths as

    “a mere blip compared to the 300,000 real people who now die each year from climate change”

    a clsim unsupported in the peer reviewed literature. A commenter a Dr. Pielke Jr.’s website gives the source as

    “The Human Impact Report from The Global Humanitarian Forum, headed by former UN head, Kofi Annan.”

    Even if true, the video is indefensible.
    http://www.eird.org/publicaciones/humanimpactreport.pdf 4 meg pdf.

  2. John Zulauf
    Posted October 2, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    one edit… “deaths” should be “fictional deaths depicted”

  3. Steve Bloom
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Tom, I do wonder what our descendants of a few centuries from now or perhaps sooner would think of this. I suspect their main reaction would be sorrow that it didn’t work.

    Given the consequences of inaction, in what way are people in the present who refuse to do anything morally different from mass murderers? It’s considered socailly acceptable for people watching movies about terrorism to cheer when the terrorists get their comeuppance, right?

  4. Steve Bloom
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    FYI, Tom, the Guardian said “friends” because they’re a formal participant in the 10:10 campaign.

  5. Posted October 3, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    So Steve, are you saying that because of his skepticism about climate science, my friend John Zulauf is morally equivalent to a mass murderer, and to terrorists like Osama bin Laden?

    Are you really suggesting that because of his opinion about the science, he essentially supports the premeditated killing of thousands if not millions of our fellow human beings?

    Following your logic, shouldn’t skeptics be killed to prevent the murder of millions or the commission of acts of climate “terrorism”? Maybe we should get President Obama to direct a drone attack against John and his family, eh Steve?

    And where does it stop? Do we put the “delayers” up against the wall along with the “deniers”?

    Or maybe I should ask whether we should push the red button on them too?

    But seriously, thank you for clarifying the truth about the 10:10 video and its defenders.

  6. Posted October 3, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Steve: Let me reword what you said…

    Given the horrific consequences of the policy option you evidently continue to support — namely, 20+ years of total abject failure to do anything whatsoever about climate change — in what way are you morally different from a mass murderer?

  7. Steve Bloom
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I suspect that our descendants, although maybe survivors is a better word, wilol judge all of us harshly, Tom.

    The failure of all of the current approaches to dealing with climate change is something I think about all day long, so I’m afraid your reformulation doesn’t strike me as very provocative. But taking it at face value, should I be engaging in the equivalent of rushing out to rip the guns out of the hands of the mass murderers? Should you?

    You’ll recall the German townspeople who at the close of WW2 were forced to tour an adjacent death camp, all of them saying (IIRC) that they hadn’t known what was going on. The common reaction is to assume they were lying and simply chose to ignore what was happening, but would the reaction be different if they said they knew but were helpless to do anything? What if they had protested but then meekly accepted the inevitable refusal by the authorities to change anything? Would we think them heros if they had laid their bodies at the entrance to the camp until they too were hauled off to prison (or maybe just hauled inside)? Would we think them more heroic if they had taken up arms against the camp operators? It’s a definite yes to that last one, isn’t it?

    These are interesting moral times.

  8. Steve Bloom
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    There’s some new social science research that informs on this topic, as discussed by Ben Goldacre (in the Guarniad, perhaps suitably). It’s not at all good news that this tendency, which no doubt had a significant benefit for our ancestors on the East African plains a million or two years back, is such a poor fit for the climate problem.

  9. John Zulauf
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Steve, won’t argue the merits with you.

    However, if one is convinced on the evidence that the alarmist scenarios depicted and assumed in your arguement are either unlikely, or unfounded, and further that the diversion of energy, focus, time, and money is distracting from issues currently killing people around the world *today* such as malaria, clean drinking water, slavery, AIDs, access to education, to economics opportunity, as well as other critical environmental issues (biodiversity, deforestation, etc — how could one morally and ethically *not* raise a skeptical voice.

    This skeptic’s voice is not one of uncaring myopia, but one that sees the cost of addressing a grossly overstated potential threat, as expressed in the starvation of resources to a host of other clear present dangers.

    I’ll grant you your approach is morally consistant with your understanding of the facts, won’t you grant me the same? Or if you had the chance, would you push that button?

  10. Steve Bloom
    Posted October 3, 2010 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    The question, John, is whether your descendants would feel like pushing that button.

    As for the evidence, most informed and qualified people seem to have come to a rather different assessment than you. Physics isn’t a democracy, although you’ll be able to get away with pretending it is for a while longer.

  11. Posted October 4, 2010 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    John, I respect your position. You don’t have to agree. Really. No pressure.

  12. Steve Bloom
    Posted October 5, 2010 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Your update misses the point, Tom, which is how to characterize the responsibility for future large-scale death of people in the present who refuse to engage in mitigation. It’s as if you’d really rather not discuss it at all. Meh.

  13. googler
    Posted October 6, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Ridiculous and offensive video that displays a complete lack of empathy for and understanding of the dynamics of debate and persuasion through respectful discourse.

    John Zulauf – good comments about the here and now.

  14. Susan Anderson
    Posted October 7, 2010 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    The discussion above illustrates the problems introduced by this video. Setting aside the inability of people in our heartland to use a sense of humor about anything that threatens automatic weapon ownership and ease of acquisition, or their supposedly god-given entitlement to get wealthy on the backs of the hardworking underclass, which some would argue entitles this kind of “free speech”, the current climate of hatred promotion does not allow this kind of misstep.

    Since the conversation promoting doubt and disinformation is so well organized and funded, anything that provides them with fuel is a sad mistake. They need only delay. Those who follow weather over space and time and are becoming more alarmed as time goes on (note later articles here on CE Journal (and thanks fore those) need to get people to get their heads out of the sand and look around them – past their backyards and their hatreds. Since doing so is hard work, while promoting inaction is easy, this uphill work does not need friends who are, perhaps, justifiably angry. Having a broad worldview and being willing to listen honestly to those with whom one disagrees is unfortunately more common among those of liberal or progressive persuasion than those who call themselves conservatives. And as far as I can see, the teapartiers are basically kids and cheerleaders who think if they yell loud enough things will magically alter in their favor. Then, the far left is so angry about their tantrums not resulting in much (and yes, I agree that Obama is too moderate, but am not sure how much more he could do if he were not, let alone that he could have won the election) are enabling the people whose harm they are mostt worried about.

  15. Susan Anderson
    Posted October 7, 2010 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    And, sadly, those who are not wealthy still buy the billionaire campaign to persuade them their freedoms will be abridged by ideas like compassion, empathy, and sharing.

    So, no, hatred and violence must be avoided by those trying to make valid and useful points.

    As for the “skeptic” “reasonable” POV, I strongly suggest this skepticism be applied equally to all sides. There is not a single credible international or top scientific organization that has not come out in support of the scientific mainstream. Arguments to the contrary are largely the fruit of an extremely wealthy influence group looking to their own bottom lines. Consider that these people are wealthy enough that they can use their profits to be among the survivors of the coming extreme trim of population (billions) living in the many vulnerable areas (cities, floodplains, fire traps) without the means to move.

  16. Posted October 7, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    It is not possible to respond to the likes of Steve Bloom, given the fact that he assumes that people in the present should bear culpability about “future large-scale death of people”.

    Those deaths haven’t happened, but I guess it doesn’t matter to Mr Bloom. It is also a well-known pinnacle of hubris to consider any future as if it had already happened (“forecasting is difficult, especially about the future”), but surely that doesn’t matter either. Preventive justice is a horrible nightmare of untold numbers of perfectly-honest people made to suffer at the mere hint of a risk, but hey, if one thinks about climate policy failures all day long, that’s (alas!) the final solution.

    Radio has greatly helped in the Rwandan genocide, so let’s find a way to go back in time and put Marconi and Hertz in jail. Likewise for Messrs Benz and Diesel, the Wright Brothers, James Watt, etc etc. Come to think, with the incredible number of wars fought in the name of Christianity, Jesus’ turn on the cross must have been exactly the sort of punishment favored by Mr Bloom’s “descendants’ justice”.

  17. googler
    Posted October 8, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Susan Anderson – you might be interested in Hal Lewis’s resignation letter from the APS. It touches on the points you raise:


This thing has 4 Trackbacks

  1. Posted October 4, 2010 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    [...] much more reaction out there on this film, with rare alignments of people including Roger Pielke, Jr., and Joe [...]

  2. Posted October 4, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    [...] responds to the crazy 10:10 ad, as does Roger, Tom, Romm, McKibben, and several dozen other climate [...]

  3. Posted October 8, 2010 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    [...] of the Center for Environment Journalism’s CE Journal: at first, wondering about “with friends like this, who needs enemies?” and then struggling to deal with a Steve Bloom ready to compare mass murderers and [...]

  4. Posted October 12, 2010 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    [...] largely and rightly critical of the gimmick-gone-haywire, provided more insightful comments. See here and here. Print [...]

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