Calling Out the Climate Cranks
This is Mark Hertsgaard writing, the author of HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth. Thanks, Leo Hickman, for writing about my book and our effort tomorrow to confront the climate cranks on Capitol Hill. I hope this doesn’t sound churlish–I truly do appreciate your bringing attention to what we’re trying to do–but it’s a bit odd for you to warn me about having my facts straight when your post is filled with inaccuracies, starting with the title of my book (which is HOT, not Generation Hot) and on through what I supposedly wrote in the book about the climate cranks (which actually was written in a piece for the Nation, where I’m the environmental correspondent). But I know you mean well…. Anyway, rest assured that ALL of what I write in HOT has been deeply reported, scientifically and legally vetted and independently fact-checked. My statement about water in California by the time my daughter is grown up is a summary of an entire chapter’s worth of reporting and scientific research, including interviews with the state of California’s top experts on the issue. Finally, I disagree with the well-intention suggestion that I should calibrate what I say according to what might irritate the climate cranks. From long experience (I have covered climate change for 20 years for publications including The Nation, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Time, and even written the occasional piece for the Guardian), I have learned that the cranks will attack their opponents no matter the opponents say. Indeed, just as I’m typing this post, my inbox beeped with a slanderous piece of nonsense from Senator Inhofe’s long-time flak. None of this is to say that our science shouldn’t be solid or that we should not choose our words carefully. But shrinking from standing up to these people is not a winning strategy. They are bullies and bullies need confrontations. They have held our nation’s response to climate change hostage for too long already.