Climategate: Greenpeace hoist by its own petard

Unfurling ginormous protest banners:

That’s what your Greenpeace activist enjoys more than almost anything in the world (save, perhaps, unseasoned tofu burgers; starring in those ecovideos they show ad nauseam on the screens by the main stage at Glastonbury; and, of course, the cathartic, masochistic thrill of being hosed down by Japanese whale fishermen). So how jolly amusing it is to see their favourite technique being used against them at Copenhagen by eco activists of a somewhat different hue.

The stunt was the work of Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) – a US organisation which campaigns for the environment: but in a realistic, pragmatic way rather than one guaranteed to bomb the global economy back to the agrarian age.

They report on their website:

CFACT unfurled the banners for two reasons, CFACT president David Rothbard explained. “Greenpeace ships, like the Rainbow Warrior and Arctic Sunrise, have become global symbols for radical environmentalism, and we wanted to call attention to the harm these groups are causing.  And second, it seemed appropriate to use one of Greenpeace’s favorite tactics to make this point.”

Greenpeace protesters frequently hang banners from factories and office buildings, paint slogans on smokestacks, and employ other publicity stunts. Some are relatively harmless, but others reflect a willingness to lie or even destroy property to make a point.

In 1995, Greenpeace launched a $2-million public relations campaign against Shell Oil, claiming the company was planning to dump tons of oil and toxic waste in the ocean by sinking its Brent Spar platform as an artificial reef. It was a full year before the group issued a written apology, admitting it knew all along that there had been no oil or chemical wastes on the platform.

Greenpeace has frequently destroyed bio-engineered crops, wiping out millions of dollars in research efforts designed to develop food plants that are more nutritious, withstand floods and droughts better, and resist insect infestations without the need for chemical pesticides. It has also waged an unrelenting campaign against insecticides and insect repellants that could prevent malaria, a vicious disease that infects 500 million people a year, kills over 1 million and leaves millions more with permanent brain damage.

“Greenpeace employs the same deceitful tactics in opposition to nuclear, hydroelectric and hydrocarbon energy, even though 1.5 billion people still do not have electricity – and thus don’t have lights for homes, hospitals and schools, or power to purify water and run offices, shops and factories,” Rucker says.

Rothbard acknowledged Greenpeace was launched for the best of reasons.  “But it radicalized its mission. The more power it acquired, the more it abused that power,” he said. “Some of Greenpeace’s original cadre has left, feeling they can no longer associate themselves with its current agenda.”

Yep: all good points, well made. But what’s at least as interesting about this stunt is what it has to say about the New Culture Wars being fought – and won – by the libertarian right.

Note – as Stephanie Gutmann did in an excellent post the other day – how quick the Minnesotans for Global Warming were to capitalise on Climategate. Barely had the scandal broken, when these witty, talented young men had rushed out a funny, professional, satirical song called Hide The Decline which became a massive hit on YouTube. Since then they’ve brought out a whole Christmas album’s worth of Climategate-related songs, my favourite being  The 12 Days Of Global Warming (”…five drowning polar bears….”).

These are the kind of hip, guerilla tactics which in the 1960s were the preserve of the radical left who were expertly capturing the hearts and minds of global youth while anyone to the right of Che Guevara was made to look like – and indeed usually was – a stuffed shirt.

But now that the Establishment is essentially a creature of the authoritarian, politically correct liberal left, the roles have reversed. The Gramscian long march on the institutions is over. Thanks to the internet those institutions count for naught.

Related posts:

  1. Greenpeace and the IPCC: time, surely, for a Climate Masada?
  2. Greenpeace goes postal
  3. Free the Greenpeace 30! (And spare us any more whingeing from Damon Albarn, Jude Law and that bloke out of the Clash)
  4. Greenpeace and The Guardian: yet again, sticking up for the bad guys

Redfaced Greenpeace insists ‘we didn’t make it up’ – we just ’emotionalised the issue’ | James Delingpole

August 21, 2009

Here is a deliciously watchable video of Gerd Leipold, the leader of Greenpeace, squirming like a stuck pig under cross-examination by the BBC’s Stephen Sackur when accused of putting out scaremongering misinformation. (Hat Tips: Not Evil Just Wrong and Watts Up With That)

In a July 15 press release entitled “Urgent Action Needed As Arctic Ice Melts”, Greenpeace shrieked that there will be an ice-free arctic by 2030 thanks to global warming. Interviewing Leipold on the BBC’s Hardtalk programme, Sackur pooh-poohs this risible claim by pointing out that the Greenland ice sheet is a mass of 1.6 million square kilometres with a depth in the middle of 3 kilometres; and that it had survived much warmer periods than the present. He accuses Leipold of “misleading information” and using “exaggeration and alarmism”.

After initially trying to brazen it out, Leipold is forced to surrender when Sackur tells him he’s just come back from the Greenland ice shelf so he knows whereof he speaks.

“I don’t think it will be melting by 2030,” Leipold reluctantly concedes. “That may have been a mistake.”

But it’s OK for Greenpeace to make these, ahem, “mistakes” Leipold suggests because “We as a pressure group have to emotionalise issues and we’re not ashamed of emotionalising issues.” Phew. So, absolutely no need to apologise then, for fomenting the kind of nonsense which nudges political leaders into making costly, wrongheaded decisions, which damage the global economy, which hurt consumers, and which divert scarce resources from areas where they are most needed.

Later in the interview, Leipold recovers his poise sufficiently to demand that US and the rest of the world – as I’d probably put it if I were adopting the techniques of a Greenpeace press release writer – bomb their economies back to the dark ages, return their populations to mud huts and restore the barter system.

“We will definitely have to move to a different concept of growth … The lifestyle of the rich in the world is not a sustainable model,” Leipold said. “If you take the lifestyle, its cost on the environment, and you multiply it with the billions of people and an increasing world population, you come up with numbers which are truly scary.”

I really can’t decide which is more enjoyable here. The humiliation of Greenpeace’s worrying lack of scruples when promoting the “Anthropogenic Global Warming” myth. Or the sterling performance – and by a man in the pay of the BBC, for heaven’s sake – of Stephen Sackur in exposing it.

I do definitely know one thing though. Stephen Sackur is most definitely this blog’s official Hero Of The Week.

Related posts:

  1. Free the Greenpeace 30! (And spare us any more whingeing from Damon Albarn, Jude Law and that bloke out of the Clash)
  2. Greenpeace and the IPCC: time, surely, for a Climate Masada?
  3. Greenpeace goes postal
  4. Climategate: Greenpeace hoist by its own petard