By Boyd Cohen, CO2 IMPACT
Good old Donald Trump. We all know there is no way he will ever be President of the U.S. and I think he knows it too. But that doesn’t mean he can’t use his media smarts to grow his brand. Mr. Trump managed to briefly make a media storm out of something I had hoped we had buried a long time ago: the validity of Obama’s birthplace. By recycling an old conservative tactic in the run-up to the 2008 elections, Donald Trump may have managed to score one for the opposing team, the Obama camp. That is because Obama’s team finally had enough of this debate and in the span of a few days, shut it down by getting the long-awaited “long-form” version of his birth certificate from Hawaii.
I know I am an eternal optimist, and you’ll have to bear with me for a minute, but I am seeing an even more silver lining in the closing of the great birther debate. As I see it, this could be the beginning of the debunking of many attempts by the hard right to circumvent truths we all know to be self-evident. Surprisingly I have lots of very conservative friends and business associates who steadfastly supported the notation that Obama was in fact born in some other country, despite all of the prior evidence to the contrary.
What most of us already know is that there are a relative minority of people with agendas who seek to raise doubt in the voter’s minds about all kinds of topics that should be beyond reproach based on the real evidence. And for some reason this seems to work more often than not in North America while other parts of the world are more immune to these efforts.
I must admit that it is not just the conservative right that tries this; they just tend to be more successful at it. The conspiracy theorists for 9/11 make claims that 9/11 was manufactured by former President Bush in an attempt to justify a war with Iraq. If you feel like indulging, watch the 9/11 Conspiracy here.
For some reason these hard-core leftists also posing ridiculous arguments not supported by real facts have not penetrated mainstream media, nor have their theories been adopted in mass by the left. Even Al Qaeda themselves have spoken out to ridicule the 911 theories :)
Sarah Palin, yes that beacon of intelligence representing the tea party and the far right (I think I’d prefer Donald Trump to Sarah Palin), managed to create a myth about death squads when Obama’s team attempted to introduce universal health care. Once again, far too many hard-liners and even mainstream Americans actually believed it, even though the facts (i.e. the text of the Health Care reform) would lead any reasonable person to conclude that Ms. Palin was spouting hogwash.
Luckily I haven’t heard any death squad discussions lately although don’t put it past Mr. Trump to recycle that one too.
This all leads me to my point about facts versus blatant attempts to mislead the American public about climate change. Does any rational person on the whole planet really believe that we are not in fact experiencing climate change? Glaciers are disappearing at faster rates than predicted just a few years ago; consecutive years among the hottest ever recorded; record floods in Pakistan; and record heat waves in Russia all ought to be enough to convince everyone that the climate is changing. Period. Forget what Al Gore says, forget the thousands of Ph.D. trained climate scientists who are in unanimity on the science and the recognition that humans, through our GHG emissions are partially to blame…just look at the evidence. And no I don’t mean some random cold day in April as some anecdotal “evidence” that climate change is not really an issue, or for that matter, some hacked emails followed by misinterpretation.
Yet, we still have many people buying unsubstantiated justifications about why we are not in fact experiencing climate change. Desmogblog.com and the recent book, Climate Cover-Up, provide significant explanation of this hard to fathom refute of the obvious.
Managing to shut up Mr. Trump by debunking the tired birther debate has left me inspired that somehow, some way, Americans (I say Americans because we are for some reason the most likely to fall for the unfounded conspiracies) will be more skeptical about conspiracy theories in the future. I just don’t know what smoking gun, silver bullet or whatever we will uncover that finally convinces the skeptics in what the rest of the world already knows-that climate change is here, it is deadly serious and we must act to mitigate it before we are just left with adaptation solutions.
Until then, let’s move forward with showing our fellow Americans how profit can be made across all industries such as energy, transportation and buildings by making the switch to the low-carbon economy. That is what Hunter Lovins and I call Climate Capitalism. If facts, floods and famine don’t sway the skeptics, job creation and the mighty dollar might do the trick.
Boyd Cohen is the CEO of CO2 IMPACT, a carbon origination company based in Vancouver, Canada and Bogota, Colombia. Boyd is also the co-author of Climate Capitalism: Capitalism in the Age of Climate Change.
This series will use the hashtag #climatcaptlsm