environment & politics

Anti-Green Propaganda

There’s been some interesting articles around recently about the level of anti-environemntal propaganda in the UK media. The most noticeable concerns BBC’s Top Gear, which is currently being sued by electrical car manufacturer Tesla for faking it’s on-screen failures. It’s up to its old tricks with the Nissan LEAF:

The latest ‘EV bashing’ stunt was to set off for a drive in the Nissan LEAF and then run it out of energy, as well, so they have to again push it, idling their time making rubbings of Lincoln Cathedral…

Well, Mr. Clarkson and his minions might have gotten away with their little stunt in Lincolnshire, but for one little hiccup. Nissan was watching the whole time. No they weren’t tagging along literally, but they were there virtually through their CarWings telematic services, which shares data on the car through wireless networks. [See typical display readout below].

While CarWings doesn’t necessarily know where you went — though that data is also available if you program it to receive news alerts and traffic reports — it does know how you went by silently — though not secretly — transmitting information on energy usage, distance and time traveled.

That’s likely how Nissan knew that when Clarkson and his co-host James May set out on their little jaunt across the bucolic English countryside, they set off with only enough range to drive 30 miles. According to the Times of London, “Top Gear team intended the drivers to run out of power in Lincoln, knowing there were no public charging points there.” Further, viewers were not told that the car had less than half a charge when Clarkson and May set out on the drive. The LEAF has a estimated range on a full charge of more than 90 miles according to the U.S. EPA.

Continuing this theme, there’s a really good article in today’s Guardian, which assessed just biased how UK newspapers were against renewable energy.

The results don’t make very happy reading for advocates of renewable energy. In the Mail, a staggering three-quarters of articles “centrally concerned with renewables” took a negative stance, and only 8% were positive. The Sun came out almost as anti-renewables as the Mail – though largely thanks to the efforts of Jeremy Clarkson, who singlehandedly accounted for two-thirds of the Sun’s negative pieces, according to the research…

As Pirc researcher Tim Holmes points out in his introduction, press coverage is important because it can influence not only “what people perceive and believe” but also “what politicians think they believe”. Indeed, politicians take the temperature of public opinion partly through the barometer of the press, and consistently negative coverage of renewables will doubtless “limit the perception of political space and impetus for political action”, as Holmes puts it.

It’s also worth noting that it has been noted how the Daily Mail gives 5 times more space to articles churned out by the denial group Global Warming Policy Foundation than any other source on climate change. This famously anti-environmental, anti-scientific denial group “chooses not to disclose its funding sources”, though some digging has been done, to suggest that nearly all its income comes from single donors rather than memberships.

I wonder who those donors might be?

The environmental movement is up against some staggering propaganda, all of which shapes the opinions of our population.

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

8 replies on “Anti-Green Propaganda”

As a result of the Top Gear shenanigans, a new electric charge point has been installed by Nissan in Lincoln.

“Councillor Fay Smith, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services and Public Protection at the City of Lincoln Council, said: “The Top Gear program highlighted the fact that Lincoln does not currently provide for electric cars and we’re really pleased that Nissan is now funding a charging point. We’re committed to reducing the city’s carbon footprint, but know that we can’t do it alone, so it’s great that private businesses like Nissan are getting behind this and putting in the infrastructure.”

Hi Mike – this sounds like a bit of a gut reaction to the fact the program was broadcast – to millions of people – in the first place. Damage limitation on their part, which is a logical reaction. It’s not really related to the point that Top Gear have – again – deliberately tried to misrepresent a technology to millions of viewers.

It’s almost like they want us to hunt them down and hang them for genocide when they destroy the planet and screw over the human race…like some sort of corporate-level mass suicide cult…but without a spaceship to look forward to and more expensive Koolaid…

I saw that episode of Top Gear. They did it very well, at the end I found myself agreeing with them. I really should have known better. I don’t understand why there is so much anti-green propaganda around. Seems to me that people deny there is a problem and rubbish green solutions because then they don’t have to take any responsibilty and can quite happily go about driving their huge cars with a clear conscience.

Hi Liz,

Neither do I – but I think that’s a large part of it. Many people don’t like to acknowledge their part in many problems. It’s usually the kind of well-to-do people as well – middle class and educated folk, who show the most ignorance.

Hi mark. Just watched a report on offshore windfarms on the six o clock news. Very negative, focusing on the costs and problems. Whatever happened to giving a balanced view? There was no mention of the benefits. They only gave one so called experts opinon, and guess what? He was anti windfarms!

Hi Liz,

Yes, I believe that chap is very pro-Nuclear, which is why they tend to attack some of potentially the greatest assets to our country’s energy portfolio. Offshore wind farms could lead us to be a net energy exporter; not to mention the fact that they provide stability for ecosystems.

It really is worth writing in to the BBC to express your concerns that their portrayals were one-sided. The more people who do, the more they sit up and take notice.

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