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Environment

Somebody Help Joe Romm

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Always eager to play the guilt-by-association card, Joe Romm seizes on George Will's latest column in yet another attempt to tar the reputations of Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus of The Breakthrough Institute. By now, it should be clear to sensible greens that Romm can't help himself. He seems possessed by a fanatical hatred for Shellenberger and Nordhaus. How else to explain his latest broadside against S & N? He's merely using Will's column--which quotes snippets from their recent essay in The New Republic--as a battering ram. The whole point of Romm's post is to make it appear that Will and S & N are soul travelers Indeed he baldly states:

They have the same exact world view.

To make this case, Romm lumps Will and S & N together in a series of false associations that wholly distorts the latter's critique on contemporary environmentalism and their policy prescriptions for global warming. Instead of me summarizing their stands, see here and here for responses from The Breakthrough Institute to just some of Romm's previous attacks. In his current sulferous blast, Romm again labels S & N as "anti-environmental" (they must be if that notorious anti-environmentalist, George Will, cites them!) The logical extension: S & N are thus illegitimate voices in political and policy debates. In case that's not clear enough:

And the media can do better than pretending that Nordhaus and Shellenberger are part of the environmental movement. They are part of the conservative movement stagnation.

(Memo to Joe: hasn't that strike-through joke gotten old yet?) Now, what perplexes me more than Romm's obsessive fixation on S & N is why no leading environmental voices have publicly chastised Romm for his many uncouth and irrational diatribes against them. Several weeks ago, Tom Yulsman, a journalism professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, shined a light on Romm's modus operandi, but so far as I know, nobody at Grist or any other prominent environmental outlets has dared to ask Romm to dial it down. And if they're doing it in private, well, clearly that's not working. So maybe it's time for an intervention. By staying silent, all you do is enable him. Don't any of you righteous environmental bloggers find his tantrums embarrassing? Counter-effective? How does Grist even cross-post some of those classic Romm screeds without feeling slightly queasy? You know he's not making arguments when he gets so nasty; these are primal screams. You have to help the poor guy if you want him to retain a shred of credibility on climate issues. Seriously.

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