On DC's NPR affiliate WAMU on Wednesday, New York Times environmental blogger Andrew Revkin complained about those conservative "confusers" taking joy in the stranded Antarctic ice ship full of hyperbolic global-warming activists. Washington Post senior editor Marc Fisher was guest-hosting on the Kojo Nnamdi Show, and he asked him to explain how "this incident somehow has energized the climate change contrarians."
"So anyway, you get a ship trapped in growing sea ice, a ship full of climate scientists who have been blogging about the importance of global warming, getting caught in sea ice, it's like raw meat for those who want to confuse the public, or who just, again, as that listener and Matt have said, who already holds an ideological position that's firm, it just sort of reinforces that position, and on we go into the future."
Earlier in the show, when Fisher asked how extreme weather events affect the political debate on climate change, Fisher admitted that global warming isn't an issue that really moves voters:
REVKIN: I've been writing about climate change since 1988 so it's a long time -- I think that then the average person, the disengaged folks that Matt had talked about, withdraw even further because they see, oh it's just another political shouting match.
And there's an aspect of this that sort of reminds me of Mohammed Ali's boxing style. And I brought this up in a couple of my posts recent years. It's like the rope-a-dope strategy where if you're a skeptic -- let's put it this way, if you're a professional contrarian, your job is to slow any move away from fossil fuels. And there are people out there like that. You love it when it's like this because these events -- this whole arena of trying to attribute extreme events to the greenhouse effect that's building in the atmosphere, is the most tentative and new science that's there.
And it distracts everyone from the basic science. That's completely understood. And it kind of taints the whole discussion. It makes people feel like it's all new and uncertain. And I think so in a way it empowers that faction even more than anyone else who might want to get something out of it in the end. And, by the way, in a long haul when you look at the long term polling on what people care about, what's called salients, the issues that you take into the voting booths, the issues that keep you up at night, global warming hasn't budged from the bottom of those lists in decades.