If it had been an intellectual argument, Professor Timothy Luke‘s presentation on climate change tonight might have been subject to some strong criticism. As it was, it was essentially a smug collection of sniping ad hominem arguments directed at Al Gore, Nicholas Stern, and the concept of liberal environmentalism generally. He made clear that he holds these people in contempt – using a mocking tone of voice while quoting their work – but never really explained why, beyond some vague suggestions that ‘ecopopulism’ would be superior, and how the powerful and the plutocratic are aligned to remain in control. The idea that grassroots organizations will somehow directly access environmental science, then manifest their new preferences through the popular alteration of the political dialog seems rather unlikely. While you can certainly engage in argument with knowledge brokers like Nicholas Stern and Al Gore (starting that argument is much of the point of their work), simply attacking them for being part of existing governmental and economic systems carries little water.
One can hardly expect leaders of politics and industry to abandon their power and the standard economic system. That is especially true when you don’t seem to have any well-formed idea about what the alternative might be. By nor following up his scorn with substance, Professor Luke left us with little value for our time.