Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Talking to a Rabid Conservative on Clean Energy & Climate: A Case Study

Shoots emerge, stream-sideThe Green Miles spent the weekend in Massachusetts watching the Patriots lose the Super Bowl. If that wasn't bad enough, global warming denier Rush Limbaugh spent the game picking his nose in the Patriots owner's box.

A visit to an aunt & uncle in Fairhaven, MA proved to be an interesting case study in climate messaging. My uncle finds Rush Limbaugh & Bill O'Reilly too moderate for his tastes, preferring Michael Savage, Sean Hannity & Glenn Beck. So I was curious what he thought about plans to build wind turbines in Fairhaven with proposals to build turbines in Buzzards Bay.

My uncle said he supports the projects, saying he thought arguments about health effects didn't hold water. He was also excited for the tax revenue the projects would bring.

Given that New England just had one of its warmest months of January on record, would arguments about cutting climate pollution sway him? His kids once played pond hockey - had he noticed there was no ice to be found in southeastern Massachusetts this winter? He's told me stories of foot-thick ice covering Buzzards Bay - why could I only remember seeing it frozen over once in my lifetime?

"It's all cyclical!" he said. I did not press him for details on when we can expect this half-century-long warming cycle to ease.

Later, my girlfriend and I went for a walk around Fairhaven's Fort Phoenix. When we got home, she noticed she had a bug bite on her leg. In Massachusetts. In February.
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