An Open Letter to Chris KennyPosted: January 18, 2013
Dear Chris Kenny,
I am writing to let you know that you and I can never be friends. This statement is not to imply that you have ever shown any desire to be my friend. You don’t know me. But I know you. And I can tell you, that we will never be friends.
I was unsure whether to write this letter, as I know you get enjoyment out of opportunities to call people names. The last thing I want to do was give you enjoyment. What made up my mind, and motivated me to finally get this letter written, is the knowledge that one day, in the next 25 to 100 years, future generations of Australians will read this letter when they Google such keywords as ‘who was responsible for inaction on climate change?’, and ‘how were our forefathers talked into believing morons in the media rather than climate scientists?’ and ‘why is it too hot to go outside for 6 months of the year?’ That’s the beauty of the Internet. Your stupidity, your arrogance and your selfishness will never be erased.
I wanted to let you know that your contribution to the events surrounding the failure of humanity to adequately protect future generations against the catastrophic effects of climate change has not gone unnoticed. I know you haven’t worked on your own, but you have done your best, and for that reason, you should be acknowledged.
I do concede that you have not been the worst offender. Your involvement has, characteristically, been haphazard and rather lazy. But it’s the cynical way in which you refer to the science of climate change, and to the good people in our society who work very hard to convince a much too easily deceived population that the science is as settled as the science of gravity, which leads me to choose you as this letter’s recipient. If you don’t understand, which I suggest is a result of your inadequate intelligence, I will try to explain just how dangerous and stupid a person you are.
You, on your own, would not cause me to make the effort to write this letter. But you, unfortunately, are not alone. You are one man that represents idiocy and recklessness the world over. And, in a statement that I am ashamed to say will probably undeservingly make you feel good about yourself, you do influence others. I don’t agree with most of your opinions, but you actually can be quite fair and reasonable on most topics. This just makes your attitude towards climate change even more dangerous. Through your Tweeting and your TV appearances and your work with News Ltd, you give other people who set out to find some reason for inaction, an excuse for such inaction. They justify their own stupidity by agreeing with yours. This is a disgrace. The fact that you are not ashamed is also a disgrace.
It is common at your workplace, The Australian, for journalists and commentators to misrepresent the facts about climate change. Coincidentally, you and your colleagues share the same views as your boss, Rupert Murdoch, and the political parties that you and your boss campaign in support of; for instance, the Republican Party in the US and the Liberal National Coalition in Australia. The thing is, when journalists such as Graham Lloyd misrepresent the science of climate change, they are sometimes forced to write corrections. But, you can’t be faulted on facts because you don’t use any. What offends me about your writing is that your overriding attitude towards climate change can only be described as flippant. You act like anyone who is worried about climate change is an ‘alarmist’. You never outright deny climate change. What you actually do is worse. You pretend it’s some great big joke. You act like those who worry about it are stupid. You lark around as if you are smarter than everyone else. You carry on with this bullshit about the science not being settled. Well guess what Chris. You’re wrong. The science is settled. And I’m alarmed. Climate change is alarming. Scientists are not talking about possible events way off in the distant future that you are too selfish to care about. They are reporting what is happening right now. And if you’re not alarmed, then frankly, you’re obviously not very bright.
Is there a greater immorality than patronising and belittling the very people who are trying to avert a disaster on a scale of which humanity has never seen? You call our country’s top climate change scientist ‘alarmist’ when he explains the devastation that climate change will cause. You call world leaders ‘alarmist’ when they describe the seriousness of the problem. You accuse the public broadcaster of bias when their journalists accurately report climate change science. Strangely, in some moods you appear to conclude that the planet does need saving. So why are you not alarmed? You seem quite interested in voters’ concerns about day to day cost of living. Do you ever consider the cost of living on an uninhabitable earth?
Another inexplicable argument that you’ve trotted out to criticise the government’s Climate Commission is that their ‘emotive language’ won’t encourage people to ‘take the issues seriously’, and instead this group of preeminent scientists should try discussing ‘facts’. For someone who describes himself on his blog profile as taking an ‘unashamedly rationalist approach’, you do a great job of sounding completely irrational. The Climate Commission’s language is emotive because the facts are incredibly scary. There’s nothing the Climate Commission can do to sugar coat it for you. Scientific consensus is fact. I would have thought if people don’t understand how serious the issue is, they will never be convinced to take it seriously. What is there not to understand about this concept?
I also note that you like to recycle other overused excuses for inaction that people like you the world over are using as the perfect reason for maintaining a dangerous status quo: there’s no point acting unless China and the US act first. If there was ever a more pathetic, wimpy argument for doing nothing about the biggest challenge our country, and our world is currently facing, I’ve not heard it.
Is there anything more abhorrent than a man who is paid to give his opinion, purposely downplaying the risks of climate catastrophe that he has no academic understanding of, and obviously no ability to comprehend? Or worse, do you actually fully understand the risks, but your pay cheque at News Ltd means more to you? If this is the case, I pity you Chris. I really do. Is your determination to doggedly reject any policy of a left wing government, and to blindly support every policy of those on the right, enough to cause you to willfully ignore the urgent action that is needed, and to oppose any policy that aims to help reduce the damage? Left wing and right wing voters will be affected by climate change. This is not a political challenge. It’s not a policy debate. It’s far more important than the political affiliation of any political party in the world.
Whatever you say about Tim Flannery on your blog (which I note gets very few comments and Facebook likes for a mainstream site. This is no doubt ‘alarming’ for your ego), he will always be a more intelligent, braver, harder working and a more respected human being than you are. And infinitely more qualified to talk about climate change than you. When Flannery tells me that I should be concerned about climate change, and when he describes the environment that we will be faced with if we do nothing about climate change, I am dismayed. When I see this environment unfolding before my eyes, I am appalled. Do you have any qualifications in science Chris in which to base your opinion that the science is not settled? You might like to do science experiments like this one, but I’m pretty sure this didn’t improve your brainpower.
Let me try to describe this to you in words you will understand. It’s like I’m sitting on a plane and there’s turbulence. I’m not worried, until I see the cabin crew turning white and rushing around. Then the captain gets on the cabin speaker and I can hear the fear in her voice as she tells passengers to put on their life jackets and to get in the brace position. You’re sitting next to me. You’re telling everyone to stop being so stupid. You’re laughing. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Rupert Murdoch and the plane manufacturers have already contributed generously to your favoured political party’s next campaign. So obviously only alarmists would be horrible enough to panic people into thinking there is something seriously wrong and that urgent action is needed. The smoke coming out of the engine is just a scare tactic. So we should all order another scotch and stop our bleating. As the plane goes down, you can still be heard ranting that no money should be spent making sure planes don’t crash, as it might affect the cost of international travel.
Well guess what Chris. You’re wrong. And it’s not just so called elitists like me who care about climate change. (Notice how I pre-empted your first most likely put-down that you use whenever you criticise people who don’t vote for your political party?) Climate change should alarm our entire population. It seems to worry your old boss, Malcolm Turnbull. Not enough for him to show enough moral fiber to actually cross the floor in support of action on climate change. But still, he’s a bigger man than you. Future generations don’t care which political party you are campaigning for in your newspaper blog. They’ll only care how it was, and whose fault it was, that people weren’t alarmed enough to do something about climate change before it was too late.
People who experienced the South Australian, Victorian, Tasmanian and New South Wales 2012-13 bushfires are alarmed. Those who watched the 2009 Victorian bushfires are alarmed. The victims of the 2010/2011 Queensland floods are alarmed. The people affected by countless other natural disasters that are concurrently happening all over the earth as I write this letter are alarmed. We should all share this alarm and use the fear to motivate us to do something to limit the damage. My act of limiting the damage today is to implore you to shut the fuck up about climate change. History may prove this activity to be fruitless. But at least I care enough to try.
You are wrong. You are irresponsible. And you’ll never be my friend.