Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sorry, Karol Marcowitz, But Movie Stars Who Fly Private Jets Are Not Climate Hypocrites

Ho hum.  Here we go again.  Yet another lazy commentary by another lazy journalist about how no one should ever take the issue of climate change seriously, because the movie stars that talk about it fly (gasp!) in private jets!

(Cue non-dramatic dramatic music.)

Okay, okay, okay.  You want to set up the straw-person argument, Karol Marcowitz or whoever the hell you are?  Fine.  I'm happy to knock it down.

Let's start with the obvious reason as to why said movie stars fly in private jets.  It's not simply because they can, nor is it necessarily for convenience.  Movie stars, like other people in the public eye, tend to attract a lot of attention.  Some of that is pleasant, some of it is merely annoying.  But some of it, believe it or not, is downright dangerous.

Just ask John Lennon.  Or Rebecca Schaeffer.  Oh, that's right, you can't.  They're dead, in no small part because they made the mistake of thinking that they had a right to privacy, and someone with a gun decided otherwise.  Oh, but that lead to anti-stalking laws, you say, so that shouldn't make a difference.  Well, anti-stalking laws don't count for a lot in a world where the concept of "gun rights" has gone so far over the edge that the whole notion of self-defense, once a well-structured legal concept, has devolved to the level of an old 1960s slogan:  "If it feels good, do it."  One might argue with greater reason that profitable oil companies shouldn't get government subsidies and then use "capitalism" as an argument in favor of those subsidies.  Think the Post will ever run that one?

But this particular Post piece is just chock-full of laziness.  It brings up the eerie spectre of Al Gore's "energy-hogging" house, despite the fact that this myth has been thoroughly debunked.  It claims that the public doesn't care about global warming, when polls reach exactly the opposite conclusion. It deliberately overlooks the fact that science, which has made tremendous progress in the area of alternative energy, is on its way to solving the jet-fuel problem.  Touch this piece where you will, and you will find its "facts" and its conclusions to be false.

And, as I have just shown, easily and demonstrably false.  And yet, this piece and its clones, both past and future, show up in the media again and again and again.  Why?  It seems to me that there are only two possible answers.

First, that folks in conservative media are lazy.  There may be some truth to that; they've certainly got enough money that they have a sizable disincentive to work.  But I think there's more to it that that. After all, the people they work for certainly aren't lazy.  Rather, they are hard at work protecting the moneyed interests that give the modern conservative movement and its press agents the money in the first place.  And a tremendous amount of that money comes from the extraction industries, particularly legacy energy:  petroleum, coal and natural gas.  They hate the idea that climate change, the problem they have unquestionably created, might become a real public concern, and that alternative energy would offer the public (golly gosh!) an alternative as a solution to that problem.

And no one should feel sorry for these poor extraction folks.  They could have invested in alternatives.  They could have led the way, and made money doing it.  But it was easier for them to believe that things would never change.  And easier for them to pay politicians to promote that "no change" message.

Except that things have changed, and will continue to do so.  Except at the money-losing ($100 million a year and counting) New York Post, which is propped up by money-making industries like (gasp!) Hollywood!

Just ask your boss, Mr. Murdock, Ms. Marcowitz.  And pray that those private jets keep flying.  Your job, such as it is, may depend on it.

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