Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dilbert the Environmentalist

One of the dumbest things that you hear about the whole ClimateGate brouhaha is the nonsense from the "warmists" that the "deniers" are well funded, from nefarious - and probably Energy Company - sources. This is, quite frankly, so dumb that you can actually feel your IQ shrink temporarily when you hear it.

So why do people keep saying it? It's a reaction from people who can't grapple with how the Internet's Long Tail is changing how we talk about science and politics.

Offered for your consideration is a brilliant analysis of the wellsprings from whence comes this madness. At its heart, there's a shifting business model that is flummoxing those who are living in Yesterday, and not seeing that it's actually Tomorrow:
According to publicly-available figures compiled by Climate-Resistance.org, over a 12-year period Greenpeace raised $2.4 billion. That works out to $200 million a year in resources.

If you think that’s impressive, take a moment to ponder the fact that the World Wildlife Fund raised $3.1 billion in just six years (2003-2008). Which means that that organization has ready access to half a billion dollars annually.

When you’re that big – and that loaded – suddenly everything costs a small fortune. Want to start a new blog? That’ll require a series of meetings. You’ll need to invite web design folks, IT folks, a contingent of in-house PR people, an ad agency person or two, a corporate strategy person, and probably someone from legal. You’ll meet in shiny offices in a fashionable part of town and order-in sandwiches from the pricey, organic, fair-trade café at the end of the street.

It's Dilbert the Environmentalist. The writer goes on to describe how easy it is to set up a blog, and then slips the knife in with a "compare and contrast":

Many skeptical-leaning bloggers have scientific, mathematical, and statistical training – not to mention decades of real-world experience under their belts. Others have been professional communicators (I, myself, am a former print journalist). Some are speed-readers, others have photographic memories. Many, like the folks who rendered the Climategate e-mails fully searchable within a matter of hours, have impressive information technology skills. Some are retired, with plenty of time on their hands. Others devote as many hours to reading and writing about climate issues in a week as they’d otherwise spend on knitting or golf.

From the perspective of environmental organization staffers, research agency employees, and tenured university professors it must appear as though skeptics have access to deep pockets.
I've written probably 50,000 words on Global Warming. Rather than doing it for bushel baskets of Oil Company cash (welcome though that would be), I do it for fun.

That's a business model that the folks at Greenpeace don't grok. And so they bleat that folks like me must be paid shills. After all, they only encounter paid shills at their jobs at Greenpeace. Idiots.

They're trying to keep two mutually contradictory thoughts in their head at the same time: that they're the Underground Resistance, fighting heroically against impossible odds; and that Money is the sinews of their political action campaign.

The business model is shifting underneath their feet. They don't like it, but they don't know what to do. Welcome to the New Revolution.

The dinosaurs smell a change in the air, and roar their defiance.


wolfwalker said...

As a long time dinophile, I object to your use of dinosaurs as a symbol for failure.

"Mastodons" works better.

BS Footprint said...

It's a classic case of psychological projection. Accusing others of what they know in their hearts to be true of themselves.

Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy applies, as well.

Good point about the Dilbert effect. Getting anything done in one of those organizations must be absolutely nightmarish.