Who, exactly, is this “we” the author speaks of as being responsible for the unfolding climate crisis? Is it me, someone who wasn’t yet born when his story begins? Is it poor people who emit next-to-nothing or illiterate people who haven’t even heard of climate change? 2/
The article completely neglects institutions for an actor-oriented (white male) narrative. There are institutions--fossil fuel corporations and electric utilities--who have profited off of continuing pollution since 1989, when the article's story ends. 3/
Of course Exxon wasn’t running a denial campaign until the 1990s. They didn’t need to yet. The threat of policy action was remote. When action became more likely, that’s when fossil fuel companies started their lying in earnest. 6/
This is Schattschneider’s “expanding the scope of conflict.” It’s American Politics 101. Why include the public in a campaign when the problem is barely on the Congressional agenda? You can stay quiet and still win. Keeping things off the agenda shows you've got real power. 7/
But alas, fossils were also the assets that fueled their profits. They weren’t about to write them off. Even today utilities are fighting to keep coal plants open, the tar sands operating. Their business model doesn't allow them to "keep it in the ground." So they stall. 9/
Similarly, the Republican party supported dealing with carbon in the 1980s because fossil fuel companies and electric utilities had not yet convinced them through a denial campaign and contributions that they shouldn’t. 10/
Here's the truth: The companies profiting off of destabilizing our climate worked hard to polarize public opinion and political elites whenever binding policy that would cut into their profits was put on the table. That’s why “we” haven’t solved the problem. 12/
We also haven’t solved it because of technology and costs—facts the article ignores. There is no mention of what solutions were available in the 1980s. There is no mention of PURPA. There is no discussion of energy R&D or renewables integration or…well anything on solutions. 13/
So now "we"--by which I mean all beings on this planet--are paying the costs in heatwaves, wildfires, droughts, floods. Climate change is here now. It's sad that the people profiting off of this disaster have stalled us from acting for so long. 15/
So, yes: I applaud the @nytimes for trying to put climate change in people’s living rooms this Sunday. It is the biggest challenge of our lives. But next time they should get the narrative right. Maybe start by interviewing @NaomiOreskes or reading this
Jesus this article sucked. More convoluted and repetitive with zero answers for our future.
Here it is: Exxon, Murdoch and Reagan conspired to make the eighties coked up and profitable for the one percent, earth population be damned. They were the 'me' of the me generation.
"'The editorial we...is fitted only for expressing coporate policy.' Walter Raleigh, on Writing and Writers 25 (George Gordon ed., 1926)." Garner's Modern Usage
The “Corporate ‘We’” deflects accountability.
The “Corporate ‘We’” diminishes authenticity.