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Friday, July 07, 2006

Center for American Progress Helps Imaginations Run Wild on Global Warming

Thoughts on the way global warming alarmists sell their wares from our Peyton Knight:
How do you get "normal" Americans to imagine that catastrophic, anthropogenic climate change is happening? According to Ana Unruh Cohen, who serves as director of environmental policy at the lefty Center for American Progress, you employ Hollywood, sitcoms and science fiction writers.

In a recent appearance on Environment and Energy Daily's TV program "Onpoint," Cohen tells host Colin Sullivan that, not to worry, it isn't just the Center for American Progress helping folks imagine that catastrophic climate change is happening. It's also Hollywood, other environmental groups and Al Gore.

She also fantasizes about how much "further the down the road" climate change alarmists would be if Ross, a character from the old NBC sitcom "Friends," had been a paleoclimatologist as opposed to a paleontologist. And so Ana and her outfit are busy searching for ways to promote the global warming interpretations of a science fiction writer, a photographer and a film writer to help spur Americans' imaginations on climate change.

Here's the relevant segment from the interview:
Colin Sullivan: OK. Switching topics a little bit. You wrote a column recently about climate change in which you talk about the need to reach out to sort of the common everyday normal American on climate change. How do you, and you talk about the need to sort of get Americans to accept, in their imagination, that climate change is happening? How do you do that? Specifically, in terms of your strategy, how do you reach out to those people?

Ana Unruh Cohen: Well, it's not just us. Thankfully out in Hollywood, in other environmental groups, people are actively thinking about this issue. But it's something I think Americans really have to internalize the threat. And I think if you look at the polls they're doing that. Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" we hope will help that further. But they also need to be given the idea and understand that we could do things in a better way. And so I think one way is through TV. I asked in that column, if Ross from Friends had been a paleoclimatologist, rather than a paleontologist, might we be further down the road? TV is a huge motivator in our culture. It changes things.

Colin Sullivan: So how do you do that? How do you infuse that within popular culture? Do you try to get someone to write a script, a sitcom that has a climatologist prominently featured?

Ana Unruh Cohen: Well, I mean that's one way. We hosted a panel. We had a science-fiction writer, we have a photographer, we had a filmmaker in who were all trying to take what they know and are learning from scientists and policymakers and translate that, through their art and their artistic medium, to get the word out.
Later in the interview, Cohen is all over the map. First, she acknowledges that the science isn't clear on the relationship between hurricane intensity and climate change. Then, she shifts gears and says that the upcoming hurricane season is a good opportunity to hype climate change:
Colin Sullivan: And how aggressively do you try to make the connection with the intensity of hurricanes and climate change? It seems like it's a tough sell. I mean you don't want to go to the American public in the middle of a hurricane crisis and say, well...

Ana Unruh Cohen: Right.

Colin Sullivan: ...this is further evidence that climate change is happening. At the same time, it seems like there's a little bit more of a willingness among environmental groups to start making that argument. Do you think that's an argument that you can safely make?

Ana Unruh Cohen: Well, scientists still have a lot to learn about hurricanes. But I think it's finally becoming clear that we are seeing an uptick in their intensity. It's been predicted for a long time and the first studies coming out are showing that. It's a good way, you can't, you know, the day after Katrina, make that statement. But as we're preparing for another hurricane season I think that's the opportune time to talk to people about the increasing impacts of climate change. What we need to do to mitigate those, as well as prepare. I mean we're already seeing impacts from climate change. There's going to be future impacts no matter what we do. And we need to get ready for that.
Though she says that environmental groups can't talk about climate change "the day after" a disaster like Hurricane Katrina, if they wait just a bit longer, that is apparently okay.

Cohen's Center for American Progress published an article on its website titled "The Unnatural Disaster of Katrina," just a little over a month after Katrina hit Louisiana, which used the ongoing crisis to hype, among other things, global warming.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:23 PM

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