Just when we thought the elections were over, a new candidate has planted his stake … for the office of Village Fool.

With the distractions of great Bay weather and local election returns, you might have missed the mindless editorial published over the weekend by Louis Pierard, triggered by the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore for his global warming public education efforts.

In deriding the “one-sided views” of Gore and those who share his views, Pierard chose to ignore the fact that the prize was co-awarded to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN-sponsored body of several thousand world-class scientists representing over 100 countries.

These wily, mischievous purveyors of “tendentious and defective arguments” (as Pierard terms their findings) have spent 20 years peer reviewing and refining literally hundreds of empirical studies (as in grounded in science and data) that collectively confirm beyond any reasonable doubt that: a) global warming of an unprecedented nature is occurring, and perhaps faster and with more devastating consequences than first thought; and b) human behavior (use of carbon fuels, deforestation, etc.) is a major contributor to and accelerator of the process.

Against this consensus — which even President George Bush belatedly accepts — Pierard places his faith in the scientific insights of a British High Court Justice!

Kinder observers would term Pierard merely a harmless Luddite, a name originally applied to the early 19th Century workers who resisted the realities of technology, physically smashing the machines of the new industrial age. Now it connotes more broadly those who blindly resist scientific evidence.

But when this foolishness comes from the supposedly erudite editor of the only major newspaper in the region — a region that must come to grips, like the rest of the planet, with the reality of global warming, it is not harmless. It’s actually harmful and irresponsible. It’s a disservice to the community. And the title Village Fool seems rather charitable.

So what are we to expect?

That Hawke’s Bay Today will play a constructive role in this urgent public education process, leading people to trustworthy information, analysis and corrective measures?

Or that we’ll simply have to swallow Pierard’s ideological dismissal of the laws of physics and chemistry?

Or that HBT reporters who might dare to attempt to cover the global warming issue — and the policy and behavioral choices to come — in an informed manner will be burned at the stake for such heresy?

How can an individual so vehemently in denial of reality possibly be in charge of a newspaper carrying significant social responsibility? And if this editorial is a true indication of his inability to separate truth from fiction, fact from fantasy, what possible credibility can the rest of his “journalistic” enterprise hold?

The people of Hawke’s Bay deserve something better than a newspaper most suited for wrapping our fish & chips.

Hawke’s Bay has a heap of assets to be proud of … ’tis a pity Hawke’s Bay Today is not one of them.

Tom

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