Because at least they fucking work for them! At least they, when churning out their boilerplate propaganda, actually place it at the level of the layman so it can be read and understood without an undergraduate degree! At least they realise that the real debate about global warming (ie. the 'What the fuck are we going to do about it" debate) will take place in the public sphere because it’s Joe Sixpack who’s gonna have to pay for it and Joe Sixpack really fucking hates paying for anything.
Global warming advocates generally have no fucking clue whatsoever how to present their material to the layman. The notable exception to that rule is, of course, Al Gore. Al understands that scientific opinion is not the only currency in this debate, public opinion counts too. Al understands that most people find climate science really fucking dull, and so he brightens it up with fancy presentations, attention-grabbing computer simulations, eye-catching books filled with colourful pictures, and he ties it all together with easy to understand analogies comprising simple words. Because that’s what works! That is how you get apathetic laypersons to sit up and start giving a shit.
However, Al doesn’t take it far enough. The skeptics can easily rattle off a dozen plausible sounding rebuttals to Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Truth’, and they have. The average pleb, not knowing enough about science to differentiate between truth and truthful sounding bullshit, is confounded and goes back to square one.
I’ll give you a case in point. I’m the average pleb I spoke of earlier. I found science fairly boring in school and never really paid much heed to any of it. But still, I happen to live in the environment and, consequently, if something’s wrong with it I’d like to know. I hear that there’s this organisation called the IPCC which is apparently the daddy of all scientific institutes on this topic. Unfortunately, the material they produce is about as user unfriendly as it’s possible to be. Six hundred page reports, much of which is consumed with the dissection of abstruse graphs, executive summaries comprising little more than a series of assertions based upon the aforementioned impenetrable data. Utterly useless for the layman. I know that the IPCC reports are not intended for the layman, so I don’t take too much umbrage at their inaccessibility but I wonder why, if climate change is so fucking important, and if they’re the most august climatological institute in the world, they don’t pump a little more cash into their PR department and squeeze out something for the dummies to absorb.
I then go to junkscience.com, a website run by a known fraud (Steven J. Milloy, a man who’s first act after 9/11 was to write an article blaming the Clinton Administration for the collapse of the twin towers by taking the asbestos out of them) and funded by people with a vested interest in discouraging the search for alternative energy sources. There, I read easy to understand arguments broken down into digestible chunks garnished with just enough science to make me feel smart for having grapped with it, rather than a moron for having drowned in it. They say things like “Well, the ice caps are melting on Mars and no-one’s driving any SUV’s up there”, or “In the 1970’s they said there was a new ice age coming and they were wrong about that”. Now, on further inspection, it turns out that these counterarguments against global warming are unmitigated horseshit. However, they make “common sense” and the environmentalists who have been ceaselessly banging on for what seems like a millennia about how badly we’re fucking up the environment by not shutting off the standby lights on our computer monitors, have yet to publish any simple, common sense rebuttals.
What the environmental movement needs is it’s own Richard Dawkins, someone who can explain highly complex theoretical principles in a straightforward manner. Someone who realises that jargon isn’t impressive to the layman, doesn’t make you sound smart, and subsequently eschews it. Someone who can dissect the most sophisticated skeptical counterarguments and show us the weak points in the carcass. Someone who can make things simple, without making them simplistic.
Until such a person comes along, the environmental movement will always lose to the skeptics in the public sphere.