ShareThis Page
Investigative Reporting

Extremism as a 'discipline'

| Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009

Unlike in past years, this year's Heinz Awards, announced last month and each with a $100,000 prize, went to those in one discipline -- protecting the environment.

As Time magazine's Bryan Walsh noted, "The idea was to highlight that in this moment -- in the run-up to the all-important U.N. climate-change summit in Copenhagen at the end of the year -- we're reaching a turning point for the planet."

Or as Teresa Heinz, the Pittsburgh pickle and ketchup heiress who created the awards in memory of her first husband, the late Sen. John Heinz, put it, "We wanted to identify people who were full of promise."

That's an odd statement considering at least two of the recipients are full of something else:

• There's Christopher Field, a big kahuna on the often (and rightly) maligned United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. So "expert" is he that just last winter he told a gathering of "scientists" in Chicago that global warming was accelerating even faster than "scientists" had predicted.

Never mind that the real science shows there's been no warming since 1998.

But there was no equivocation in the assessment of Dr. Field, also a Stanford University professor and connected to the Carnegie Institution for Science. "(W)e are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we've considered seriously," he said.

He's talking about global cooling , right?

Neither were there any punches pulled in Field's warning of the dire consequences ahead -- from "large, destructive wildfires in tropical rain forests" to melting "permafrost in the Arctic tundra, releasing billions of tons of greenhouse gases that could raise global temperatures even more."

Run for your lives! And grab a polar bear as you flee.

• Then there's Chip Giller, publisher of the webzine Grist ( ). He picked up 100,000 Heinz smackers "for changing attitudes in mainstream agriculture and media." Such as the Internet magazine article of Sept. 19, 2006, by one David Roberts, advocating "Nuremberg"-style "war crimes trials for these bastards" -- the "bastards" being those who have the audacity to question the faux science of "global warming" now fully embraced by President Barack Fauxbama.

Grist most recently has featured "reportage" on those warning of "humanity's extinction" because of global warming and a manifesto bemoaning "dispassion as the world ends." From the latter, in part:

"We climate activists are the ones who aren't saying what needs to be said. Our silence is not the lack of words, it is the absence of an essence in urgent human relationships, an essence with power to break the bonds of unthinkable thoughts."

Talk about a stream of un consciousness.

Surely John Heinz, a good and decent man, is turning in his crypt at the specter of such extremism being elevated to a "discipline" -- and its purveyors being touted by his widow as those we should embrace as "role models."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me