January 5, 2010

John Mackey on Global Warming: “no scientific consensus exists.”

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods: “No scientific consensus exists” re Climate Change.

I’ve been a big fan of Whole Foods‘s CEO John Mackey for years.

I’ve talked with him twice on behalf of my elephant journal, and he’s agreed to an interview (which would sit nicely along our “Walk the Talk Show” videos with Deepak Chopra, Michael Pollan, Dr. Andrew Weil, Alice Walker, Arianna Huffington, Amy Goodman). I’ve defended WFM and Mackey through WildOatsGate, wherein Mackey denigrated the value of his rival on an online forum (while cloaked beneath a pseudonym, and throwing in a flattering comment about his own new haircut “he looks cute!”)

I urged the FTC to stop blocking WFM’s purchase of Wild Oats—though the consolidation was sad, Whole Foods had plenty of rivals left in the mainstream grocery chains who were, even then, selling more and more organics. I posted articles re: how Whole Foods no longer deserved its moniker Whole Paycheck. I gave Mr. Mackey kudos for honesty when he railed against Whole Foods’ own offerings, calling much of their offerings “junk.” And then, in an article that sat upon the home page of Huff Post for the better part of a week (traffic Mecca of the wwworld) and was picked up by the NY Times and Atlantic, I was a lonely “green” voice defending Whole Foods against progressive cries for a boycott after Mr. Mackey took on “Obamacare,” arguing in an infamous Wall Street Journal editorial that health care was not a right.

But I’m finally losing it, and he’s finally losing me.

The below excerpt is from a riveting just-released profile in The New Yorker. It represents Mackey’s latest foot-in-mouth jaunt through self-delighted devil’s-advocate frankness:

…One of the books on the list was “Heaven and Earth: Global Warming—the Missing Science,” a skeptical take on climate change. Mackey told me that he agrees with the book’s assertion that, as he put it, “no scientific consensus exists” regarding the causes of climate change; he added, with a candor you could call bold or reckless, that it would be a pity to allow “hysteria about global warming” to cause us “to raise taxes and increase regulation, and in turn lower our standard of living and lead to an increase in poverty.” One would imagine that, on this score, many of his customers, to say nothing of most climate scientists, might disagree. He also said, “Historically, prosperity tends to correlate to warmer temperatures.”

I don’t want to be lost, Mr. Mackey. I love that a libertarian entrepreneur with guts to speak his mind, a la Apple’s Jobs, is in charge of one of the greatest green success stories since…well, ever.

Still, as Al Gore said a year or so ago, the time for argument is past. There’s a clear consensus among scientists—90% agree that Climate Change is significantly caused by human activities. 94% agree that it’s a real and present danger, not a far-off hypothetical fear for science fiction writers to have fun with.

If Climate Change were an “Evil” empire or terrorist group—and let’s not kid ourselves, it represents the possibility of a far more pervasive, lasting threat than either to all of us, and our precious economies around the earth—we’d gird ourselves for war. We wouldn’t tolerate cynics. Support the troops!, we’d cry. It’s time for that same sense of pulling-together, of focus.

It’s time to go to War against Climate Change.

And if Mr. Mackey can’t get on board by this point, he should experience a little more censure. And I say that as a fan, and without pleasure.


Final bonus:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Scientists Hide Global Warming Data
Daily Show
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Political Humor Health Care Crisis
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