Testing the power of social media

The somewhat activist US environmental group 350 Action has launched an idea that is taking off like, well, wildfire. 350 Action is the non-charitable (ie. political action) partner of 350.org, the environmental group founded by U.S. author Bill McKibben to encourage global action on climate change.

350 Action’s idea is to stop naming hurricanes and tropical storms from a list set up by the World Meteorological Organization and instead to name them after people that 350 Action identifies as climate deniers and obstructionists. 350 Action has published a list of people it puts into that category, all Republican members of the US Congress.

350 Action’s petition might be regarded as little more than an amusing political lark were it not for the extreme support that it is attracting. Launched this week, the first goal of 25,000 names was surpassed almost immediately. The second goal, of 50,000 names by November 30th, was surpassed last night. Now 350 Action is seeking to achieve 75,000 names by November 30th. This target may well be reached by the end of the Labour Day weekend.

350 Action knows full well that the chances of persuading the WMO to adopt its proposal are slim indeed but it is also providing people who want to see action on climate change with a simple mechanism to express that view. GallonDaily would not be at all surprised to see the petition attract a million names by November 30th. And what will the politicians do then?

The petition reads as follows

Petition to the WMO to name extreme storms after climate change deniers.

Since 1954, the World Meteorological Organization has been naming extreme storms after people. As scientific evidence shows that climate change is creating increasingly frequent and devastating storms, and with climate scientists declaring these extreme weather events as the new normal, we propose a new naming system. A system that names extreme storms caused by climate change, after the policy makers who deny climate change and obstruct climate policy.

You can append your name to the petition at http://www.climatenamechange.org/#/petition

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