Back in June 2006 we posted “We Need More Freeways,” a position that has, along with our nuanced position on climate change – and perhaps other controversial positions, to lead to a recent post on DeSmogBlog entitled “EcoWorld: a website officially unconcerned with accuracy.” DeSmogBlog’s “about us” page states they “exist to clear the PR pollution that is clouding the science on climate change.”
Before noting our response to the post on DeSmogBlog, it is important to state we respect the dignity and the sincerity of anyone who takes a position opposed to our own. Like any media property, our goal is to report news and provide analysis, but we also have an editorial position. We reject the tone of many blogs who demonize anyone who disagrees with them, and that is reflected in our arguments as well as in our option to delete comments that make personal attacks. If DeSmogBlog’s commentators disagree with us – good for them. If they want to dub me “Ed ‘Freeway’ Ring” instead of my preferred moniker, “Ed ‘Redwood’ Ring,” that is their right. We will not question their integrity or their motives, we will only respond to their points with further explanation of the reasons behind the positions we’ve taken.
Here is our response to their post:
Dear Sir: If you took the time to read more than one or two posts on EcoWorld, you will see we were, for example, one of the first to point out the massive rainforest destruction occurring in order to grow biofuel. You would also see our enthusiastic and unwavering support for EVs and solar power, and our unrelenting search to identify clean technologies to enable the coming electric age.
Our position on freeways is more nuanced than you give us credit for – we believe roads are the most versatile mode of transportation available, and that the efficiencies of rail only play out in cases of very high urban densities or longer intercity modes. Because cars, trucks and busses can all use roads, because they don’t require as much maintenance, security or operating personnel, and because they allow great personal independence – we think upgrading our road network is being given too little priority.
Adding to this the fact that cars are becoming smart, clean and green is the clincher in our view. We believe the world is within a generation of abundance, not scarcity, and green technology will deliver this abundance. We are optimists. It only takes 1 gigawatt of additional off-peak electrical output to recharge 1.0 million EVs for commuters. “Smart growth” proponants have declared war on the car, and we think this is a well-intentioned mistake.
As for climate change – I think it is naive to think big business is fighting the alarmism. Nobody benefits more than big business when regulations are put in place to restrict CO2 emissions. Wall Street gets to trade CO2 credits, corporations get subsidies to develop new technologies to mitigate the CO2 – the consumer pays more and small businesses go under because they can’t afford to comply. It isn’t at all clear to me based on all of the climate science I’ve read that anthropogenic CO2 is the clear culprit in climate change, nor that climate change is the existential crisis it is made out to be. Moreover, it seems to me that people suggesting we slow down and examine the economic and social consequences of massive transitions to reduce CO2 emissions should be considered the moderate ones, not those raising the alarm and demanding radical and abrupt changes.
Another reason EcoWorld highlights the arguments of climate skeptics is because we believe debate is important, and frankly we’re alarmed by the consensus in the media that the debate is over, and by the demonization of people who don’t think the debate is over. Science and journalism relies on skepticism and debate to allow the truth to emerge.
EcoWorld is supported by advertisers, and there aren’t a lot of them. If we were willing to compromise our integrity, i.e., rail against the “deniers” and invariably advocate policies and positions that constitute today’s conventional wisdom on environmental issues, you may rest assured our commercial and financial success would be far greater than it is presently.
You may criticize our positions as vehemently as you like. But if you question the sincerity of our viewpoints or the depth of our concern for the environment, you are mistaken. You are welcome to call me or email me to discuss this at any time. And I have earned my nickname of “Redwood.” I have personally grown from seed and given away thousands of trees, and never charged anyone for any of them.