The Demonization of Global Warming Debate

I was going to post this article on the global warming debate some months ago and then set it aside.

The message is clear: climate change deniers are scum. Their words are so wicked and dangerous that they must be silenced, or criminalised, or forced beyond the pale alongside those other crackpots who claim there was no Nazi Holocaust against the Jews. Perhaps climate change deniers should even be killed off, hanged like those evil men who were tried Nuremberg-style the first time around. 

However this commentary reminded me of how the global warming debate has begun to sound more like a religious battle than a scientific discussion.

 “The Weather Channel’s (TWC) Heidi Cullen, who hosts the weekly global warming program “The Climate Code,” is advocating that the American Meteorological Society (AMS) revoke their “Seal of Approval” for any television weatherman who expresses skepticism that human activity is creating a climate catastrophe”.

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3 Responses to “The Demonization of Global Warming Debate”

  1. Dave On Fire Says:

    I take it you don’t agree with this?
    Has it escaped your attention that almost all scientists agree that “human activity is creating a climate catastrophe” – and that the few who dispute it are almost all heavily funded by the very people who are making money arm-over-fist from heavily polluting activities?
    Everyone has a right to free speech, but a weatherman saying that climate-change is a myth is no better than a history teacher saying the holocaust never happened, or a science teacher saying that gravity is “still in dispute”.
    It’s not only deeply misleading, but it encourages people to ignore the problem instead of facing up to it like we all need to. And if you don’t think that’s a very bad thing, would you mind at least explaining why?

  2. totalrecoil Says:

    The science shows that there has been a increase in the earth’s temperature in the last 100 years. Is that going to continue? No-one really knows. The argument is whether it is natural or being driven by industrialization. If it is the latter we are in serious trouble as China and other countries begin to move heavily into that area.
    We won’t know the real truth for decades so it is logical to move towards reducing the human effect, but I am skeptical as to whether Kyoto is the engine to do that.
    I also remember the 1970s cries of doom that we were going into an ice age which leaves me with some cynicism whether scientists always have a handle on reality.
    But going back to the original posting, what I don’t agree with is the arrogance of one group saying “we are right and therefore you should not be able to speak”. That is what appears to be happening in the climate change debate and that bothers me a great deal.
    By the way, I would have no problem with a science teacher denying that gravity existed. But he would need a damned good alternate theory and probably wouldn’t last in his job too long.

  3. Dave On Fire Says:

    I would have no problem with a science teacher denying that gravity existed. But he would need a damned good alternate theory and probably wouldn’t last in his job too long.

    That’s exactly my point. There is nothing wrong with private individuals expressing doubts amount climate change etc – the problem is when someone who claims to represent meteorological science starts to say things that are inconsistent with that science. I can say whatever I please about gravity – but I can’t claim to speak for the scientific community.

    what I don’t agree with is the arrogance of one group saying “we are right and therefore you should not be able to speak”.

    You are absolutely right that this mentality can be undemocratic, dangerous, and downright wrong. Just look at this business in Turkey. But with climate change, it’s not about arrogance. There is a precedent in society for outlawing certain dangerous lies – look at holocaust denial and race hate laws.
    A man’s freedom to swing his fist ends where another man’s nose begins. One oil company’s freedom to claim that their activity does not cause global warming, one imam’s freedom to claim that a muslim’s duty is to kill American civilians, ends where another man’s freedom to keep the world intact for his grandchildren, or to not get blown up on the bus, begins.
    We have laws (in Britain, anyway) against “hate-preaching”, why not against climate denial? It’s not about arrogance, it’s about the tricky balance that is democracy. Knowing where to draw the line between one man’s freedom to lie and another’s freedom from the consequences of those lies is a complicated and contentious issue.

    there has been a increase in the earth’s temperature in the last 100 years. Is that going to continue? No-one really knows.

    Aha, but does anyone really know anything? The scientific community has reached a far stronger consensus on global warming than the media and politicians like to make out. Check out, for example the Royal Society’s website.

    it is logical to move towards reducing the human effect, but I am skeptical as to whether Kyoto is the engine to do that.

    Exactly! That’s what we should be talking about. I share your skepticism towards Kyoto, I think it’s rubbish, but we can’t get down to the important, real debate of how to deal with climate change until we get over the false debate of whether to deal with climate change.

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