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This will end in tears

A group of green activists is proposing to take more direct action against those of us who disagree with them.

Our initiative, Confront the Climate Cranks, will do just that: confront the cranks on camera and accompanied by some of the children they have put in danger. We will video all of our confrontations and then quickly make them available to the public—by posting them on YouTube and sharing them with mainstream and alternative media and the social networks of our partner organizations. (In the run-up to these confrontations, we will invite the participation of the members or readers of The Nation, Grist, Kids vs Global Warming and the other partnering organizations, polling them on which cranks to target, what questions to ask and so on. Thus we hope to build momentum before arriving in Washington, as well as generate continuing attention and activism after the confrontations.)

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Reader Comments (51)

Seems the best way to engage th epublic n a debate over the science.
Sweet Jesus, do they have no shame?

Feb 2, 2011 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterMackemX

I feel the same revulsion that decent Germans must have felt when they watched the growth of the Hitler Youth movement. "Kids vs Global Warming" indeed! Leave those kids alone.

Feb 2, 2011 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

Will they blow the kids up if the skeptics don't change their minds after the confrontation?

Just askin' like.

Feb 2, 2011 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered Commentertimheyes

Press the red button again, why don't they learn, well its good they don't LOL

Feb 2, 2011 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterBreath of fresh air

It transpires the guy is just selling a book - he needs all the publicity he can get.

Feb 2, 2011 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

I was going to suggest that good old uncle Adolf had a similar idea, but Nicholas Hallam beat me to it.
After some of the Government sponsored alarmist films we've seen it's no wonder these people will feel that they have massive support.
It's a good job that the public have more sense than the leaders of the Cam-Cleg-Mil-Lucas 'Green' coalition.

Feb 2, 2011 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Probably Paul Nurse's idea.

Feb 2, 2011 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

My nominations for Climate Cranks include, in no particular order, Mr. Al Gore, Dr. James Hansen, Dr. Michael Mann,. Mr. George Monbiot. I consider these people a danger to my children. YMMV.

Feb 2, 2011 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterAngusPangus

Maybe they mean something along these lines.

Feb 2, 2011 at 3:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

Do you have to live in the good ole USA to be confronted, or can anyone apply to be directly acted against?

Words fail me, which is probably just as well.

Feb 2, 2011 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

This is further proof that the aliens have landed are are living amongst us.

Or perhaps they're just completely stark staring bonkers!

Feb 2, 2011 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterScottie

I don't like his misuse of statistics, "An epidemiological study conducted in 2008 for the European Union—reported here for the first time—concluded that the 2003 heat wave had caused at least 71,449 excess deaths, a toll considerably higher than the United States suffered during the Vietnam War."

Lest we forget -

Over 4 million Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian soldiers and civilians died in the Vietnam war. The war lasted 20 years, 200,000 people died on average every year.

Excess winter deaths in EU countries, not Europe, exceed 150,000 every year. Over 3 million people have died over the last 20 years due to the cold.

Those figures are more telling.

Feb 2, 2011 at 4:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

I just wonder who the -real- cranks in this case are.

Formosa's Law comes to mind ...

Feb 2, 2011 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeroen B.

Mark Hertsgaard gets around.

Mark Hertsgaard will travel over the next few weeks to Washington, Baltimore, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Maine, Ohio, New Orleans, Oakland. That really is saving the planet.

Feb 2, 2011 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Mark Hertsgaard has previous on "confronting" in Washington - flashback to April 2000:

"A Global Green Deal

Posted on Apr 1, 2000, Source:
Thousands of environmental activists will converge on Washington to protest the World Bank this weekend, and with good reason. Instead of financing rainforest destruction and climate change, the Bank should support a Global Green Deal: a program to renovate human civilization environmentally from top to bottom while truly fighting poverty. Mark Hertsgaard explains how it could be done."


Feb 2, 2011 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

I blame Sir David King. Hertsgaard states that it was an interview with the then Government Chief Scientist in 2005 which changed his life. I pity his daughter, imagine having to grow up with a father as gullible as that.

Feb 2, 2011 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

Mac - I hope he gets Airmiles!

Feb 2, 2011 at 4:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

Edmund Burke said something like "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people
do nothing". Well ladies and gents, I think some certifiable idiots are going to force some good people to break out, dust off, and eLectrify Ye Ol' Stocks, Ye Ol' Dunking Chairs, Ye Ol' Balls & Chains, Ye Ol' Tar & Feathers, and Ye Ol' Rack (let's try to keep the French out of it for a bit, you know what they have in the closet). The longer good people hesitate to take action, the more action they are forced to take. I believe a fella named Murphy said that.

Feb 2, 2011 at 4:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterPascvaks

Even with free press and free speech, there still exists such a thing as harassment.

Once you start talking about how you are going to round up a mob to "target" people, the court may not come down on your side...

Feb 2, 2011 at 4:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterThomasL

Denier, skeptic, crank.

Interesting progression. I prefer cantankerous curmudgeon

Feb 2, 2011 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

"Is that YOUR kid, or is it a rental?"

Feb 2, 2011 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

They're stealing tactics from the Jehovah's Witnesses now.

Feb 2, 2011 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S

I think we should have some kind of annual awards ceremony to recognise the most idiotic or dishonest activity by alarmists, perhaps timed to coincide with climate summits or maybe the Oscars. The categories could include:
Worst new law; (nominations could include the EPA classing CO2 as a pollutant, mandatory cap-and-trade, pointless commitments to emissions reductions
Most egregious waste of public money; (Met Office computer, wind farm and solar panel subsidies)
Most biased piece of mainstream journalism;
Most dishonest or inept piece of climate research;
Most pointless publicity stunt (see above)
Ugliest threat; (Greenpeace "we know where you live" v 10:10 "no pressure")
Air miles award for the best travelled climate activist;
Al Gore and Rajendra Pachauri could slug it out with Michael Mann for the Lifetime Achievement award.

Feb 2, 2011 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

Re David S above...

Should the awards be named the "Otters"?

Cos apparently it is going to get 'otter than it has been.

(gets coat...)

Feb 2, 2011 at 5:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterArgusfreak

They are not talking about ordinary people or even scientists who disagree with AGW. Hertsgaard said:
"I will go to Washington the week of February 15 to confront the climate cranks—in Congress, in the media and in the corporate sector—and try to stop them from further sabotaging our response to the climate crisis."

Still, such tactics can be overly rude and often backfire. But comparing this group to the Hitler Youth is ridiculous. It sounds like what Michael Moore does and what your side did in interviewing people at Cancun.

Feb 2, 2011 at 5:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike

"Confront the Climate Cranks"

Will they confront each other?

Feb 2, 2011 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Sounds like he'll be confronting Greg Craven. Then they can both have the jackets put back on.

Feb 2, 2011 at 5:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Apparently his book is "a fresh take on climate change by a renowned journalist driven to protect his daughter, your kids, and the next generation who'll inherit the problem"

I feel safer already


Feb 2, 2011 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

I am interested in the psychological impact on children of agitated, opinionated, poorly-informed, anxiety-ridden, aggressive, and assertive adults scared by the speculation that increasing CO2 levels will lead to severe and avoidable catastrophes. I have collected some relevant links here: .

In my wanderings about the interweb, I came across this chap who might hold out some hope for our Climate Confronters:

'Dr. Doherty advises clients with global warming anxiety to recognize their concern about climate change and accept the limits of what they can control. He recommends “fasts” from shopping, the news and sending e-mail, while cultivating calmer pursuits like meditation or gardening.'

If he is still in business, they might track him down via this link from 2008:

Feb 2, 2011 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade


It's the involvement of the children that is objectionable, whoever does it.

Feb 2, 2011 at 5:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

Shameless. Are they going to call the Department of Children and Family Services on cranks for abuse and neglect or are the cranks going to call DCFS on them? Why does he have to pull the kids into it? I'm having flashbacks of Sally Struthers in Ethiopia.

Maybe this guy is over-reacting in his new father status. Rightly, he feels protective, but tipping the scale in any direction is not good. Seems he may have some past demons to exercise.

Feb 2, 2011 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

I hope to be the point of one of the child abuse efforts. I will put the tel# of child Protective Services on my quick dial and give them a ring if any of these abusers brings in some poor kid to victimize in my presence.

Feb 2, 2011 at 7:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter


It's their planet too. As long as they are not too young or have their parents' consent I do not see a problem with youth meeting their Congressional representatives. I do think 'video ambushing' people is swallow and rude, but it is not fascistic.

Feb 2, 2011 at 7:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike

It's a pretty sick world - and the really funny (as in funny-weird) thing is that I see no evidence that makes me believe that those on either side of the debate changetheir behaviour (other than our politician overlords, who largely seem to decide what they want to do and then thrash around for a reason) one iota in response to their view on AGW. e.g. I am a sceptic, but I am one of the greenest people I know, recycling maximised, cycle trips maximised, careful with energy use and water use, extra jersey in the cold rather than turning up the central heating vs Al Gore, whose carbon footprint must be the size of a small town. So why do the warmists get so upset that we don't accept their religion?

Feb 2, 2011 at 7:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E


We have had our differences in the past (unless that was another 'Mike') but on this I agree. Comparisons with fascism are unhelpful.

Confrontational silliness like the ambush vids and the involvement of children are equally counter-productive.

Feb 2, 2011 at 8:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

So you don't have a problem with children who are far too young to understand the debate being used as props by their posturing parents. I brought mine up to think for themselves, they tend to be more functional adults that way.

Feb 2, 2011 at 8:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

Brownedoff quoted Hertsgaard at 4:25 PM: "Instead of financing rainforest destruction and climate change, the Bank should support a Global Green Deal: a program to renovate human civilization environmentally."

I worked at the Bank during that time, and vividly remember (this was the pre-9/11 era) when the Rainforest Action Network posted two of its kooky activist members directly at the main front door of the Bank, one dressed head to toe in a full-on gorilla costume, and another guy in (surprise!) 1960's hippie regalia and playing a set of bongos. I vaguely recall bananas and some kind of protest signage as part of the act. It went on every business day for a week or two, until someone convinced them to go away.

This was quickly surpassed by the every-nutty PETA (People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals) dumping a full truckload of cow dung literally on the doorstep at that same World Bank front door at about 8:30AM one lovely spring morning. After dumping it they abandoned the truck on that very spot and ran away. I later heard through the grapevine that PETA completely stiffed the small business owner they'd rented the truck from through the combination of a phoney ID and secured credit card. He ended up having to pay many hundreds of dollars to get his truck out of impound and pay all of the towing fees. How very "ethical" these people are.

Feb 2, 2011 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterGerry

David S,

Some parents let their kids sail around the world. I wouldn't, but I'm not going to tell every parent what to do. You may remember in Arizona the nine-year-old girl who was killed was there to meet her Congresswoman. There was nothing wrong with - obviously no one knew what would happen. So, in general bringing kids into the political process is not a bad thing. Some parents who do this do encourage their kids to think for themselves and while others are unfortunately dogmatic. It is the same as involving kids in religious issues. Now if this group encouraged kids to yell insults at people I'd be upset. If they ask to film kids asking questions about climate change, and they are upfront about who they are, that's OK. I really don't like the 'video ambush' approach, and do hope they don't involve kids in that.

I am not familiar with the group Kids vs Global Warming. I'll look up their website and see what kind off things they are doing.

Feb 2, 2011 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike


I too have no problem with children meeting their elected representatives to voice their concerns, if they are old enough, but these are "kidz" going to "confront" climate "cranks".

(In passing, I have never used the word "fascist" in this context.)

Feb 2, 2011 at 10:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

Will their slogan be "Won't someone think of the children?"?

Feb 2, 2011 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered Commentertimheyes

I wonder if they'll have a song?

Feb 2, 2011 at 10:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterCris

This is further proof that the aliens have landed are are living amongst us.

Or perhaps they're just completely stark staring bonkers!
Feb 2, 2011 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterScottie.

Any reason aliens can't also have mental illness?

You an alienist?

Feb 2, 2011 at 11:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterjones

"I wonder if they'll have a song?" --Cris


Feb 3, 2011 at 12:26 AM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

What if someone gave a protest and no one showed up? I'm thinking that's probably what is likely to happen

Feb 3, 2011 at 12:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterChoey

Obviously the Lisbon conference made its mark!

Feb 3, 2011 at 1:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

I happen to be reading on the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, and this might have come straight from the handbook of the S.A.

Truly disgusting.

Feb 3, 2011 at 2:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

I think "Godwin's Law" has been invoked a few times here, but the comparison that immediately occurred to me were the massed ranks of tearful protestors outside US abortion clinics over the last few decades. Lots of children, lots of posters and inevitably tragic results.

Feb 3, 2011 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterPirran


I think Godwin's Law has been demonstrated all to often on this thread.

We should leave the extreme statements, hysterical posturing and other nonsense to the catastrophists. It makes them look silly and undermines their position.

And they are getting increasingly excitable, so tactically now is the time to come over all reasonable and restrained. Even if it's through gritted teeth.

Perhaps your analogy with the 'right to lifers' will hold true and someone will do something really daft.

Public support for the CAGW assertion may well be fading. Any hint of dangerous extremism by the hardliners will do them enormous damage.

Feb 3, 2011 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD



I think I shall call warmists that from now on. Hard for them to object!

(We have a tourist trap near here where visitors are invited to view the 'water otter', which - inevitably - turns out to be an old kettle..)

Feb 3, 2011 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Why do we not confront them with some of the third world children who are cooking their meals over dung or are being starved by the price of food being driven up by using it in biofuels?

Feb 3, 2011 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered Commenteroeman50

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