The privileges of the anointed

There was some commotion on twitter caused by some tweets by Naomi Oreskes. It started rather innocently with an earlier, probably at that time not much noticed, tweet. But then it culminated into something I have seen several times before. But before we get to that, bear with me and let’s first have some background.

As I have said, it started rather innocently with an earlier tweet. In it she described her passion for snow to a follower who asked if she was in Idaho:

At first it seems just a little chat between two like minded spirits. But it triggered a strong reaction because it was in such stark contrast with a more recent statement where she criticized the last encyclical not seeing “extreme consumerism” as the issue:

Going “a lot” to Utah from her home (a round trip of almost 5,000 miles) would give her a huuuuuuge carbon footprint. If that isn’t “extreme consumerism” then I don’t know what is.

Whether done with “love” or not.

She apparently didn’t see it that way and in her typical style, ranting about the “deniers”, she tweeted this response:

I had to laugh at this one, because that was not the issue.

Not even close.

It wasn’t really clear why she mentioned the Protect Our Winters campaign. According to their Twitter page, it had the goal of “Uniting And Mobilizing The Snowsport Community Against Climate Change”. They seem to come to the rescue:

That was the response that I had seen before. It reminded me strongly of the time when Klimaatzaak (“climate case”) was proposed. Klimaatzaak is a group of eleven Flemish celebs that sued our Governments, because they didn’t do enough for the climate. Two very vocal members of that group (who are travel show hosts) were know to have a carbon footprint of a small African state and the reaction of the public was devastating towards those two celebs. The very next day, Klimaatzaak group defended themselves with similar claims like those above: “Do we need to live in a mud house to be taken seriously?” or “It is not important what we do”.

To me, these are obvious the wrong questions being asked. I personally have no problem with the love of Orekses for snow or mountains. On the contrary, I also love hiking, snow and mountains, so I certainly can share her enthusiasm. She also gets my respect for summiting a mountain.

The same with the Belgian celebs with the huge footprint. I watched several of their shows and they do a terrific job, they are obviously very good at what they are doing. And no, they don’t have to live under a rock or even in mud houses to become credible in this.

The point is that this is not how people would react if they were really convinced that emissions are a serious problem. For example, if I would be really, really convinced that our emission of CO2 have catastrophic consequences, I wouldn’t even consider making a transcontinental round trip, let alone on a regular basis.

Protect Our Winters also tweeted this little gem:

Which is also complete beside the point. Dedicating ones career to spreading the word that emissions are a serious problem and being convinced that they actually are a serious problem are two different things altogether… You can perfectly do both. In the real world it is called “hypocrisy”. And that was the reaction of the “deniers” all about.

They were called hypocrites by the public, not because they like snow or hiking or mountains in Utah. Certainly not because they are good at their job. Also not because they don’t live in mud houses or under a rock. The public couldn’t care less about that.

It was strange to notice that both campaigns used almost the same (lame) defense. I also didn’t understand why nor Oreskes, nor Protect Our Winters, nor the Flemish celebs from Klimaatzaak couldn’t grasp the criticism they receive. That last reaction made me suspect that maybe they think they are somehow exempt from lowering their carbon footprint because their dedication to the cause.

Somewhat like Al Gore who pays carbon credits and therefor can use as much energy as he damn well please. It seems the same for those who dedicate themselves to the cause, they can emit CO2 as much as they damn well please.

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