Climate Change Deniers Should Die (19 feb 09)
Most of this parody was written before 'Climategate', the publication of climate scientists' emails, appearing to conspire to fix the evidence, following a hacker intrusion at the University of East Anglia. (Note March 2010 - initially even I believed the media claim it was 'hackers'). I do not deny that there is evidence for global warming, or 'climate change' as it is now called, as its defenders retreat from making precise predictions, and it may be partly man-made. I'm concerned with epistemology, the question of how we know what we know. I also happen to believe the official story of the Holocaust, and the official story of September 11th. 2001, but those who don't should be free to defend their ideas. I am concerned with how much damage humanity is doing to the rest of nature. But alternatives must be aired, because in science, you try to prove yourself wrong. In the case of climate change, if 'the evidence for man-made global warming is as strong as the evidence for Darwinian evolution' (George Monbiot) why do its defenders behave more like the Spanish Inquisition than scientists? The media has covered up or ignored the story, with honorable exceptions, such as Fox News in America and the Telegraph in Britain - and the Guardian, which is trying to save climate science by throwing a few of the worst scientists overboard.
You Don't Need a Weatherman
Climate change deniers hide behind freedom of speech to spread pseudo-science useful to their paymasters, the oil companies. They claim that science depends on something called 'transparency' - meaning they want the data so they can try to prove climate change theory wrong, pretending that this is the normal scientific method. They call themselves 'skeptics', sheltering their wacky ideas behind the idea that scientific statements have to be falsifiable. Real scientists say that climate change theory will be confirmed if the climate gets warmer OR if it gets colder. So the theory IS falsifiable - if the climate of the whole earch stays exactly the same for an unspecified period, the theory will have been falsified. Which isn't going to happen. So the theory is right. The data is certainly falsifiable - emails stolen from a British University show how climate scientists falsified it:
Check this out, from a source of unimpeachable integrity, the United States Government:
'The combined global land and ocean surface average temperature for January 2009 was the seventh warmest since records began in 1880'
There you have it. The government has been measuring the temperature of the land and ocean surfaces of the entire world for 130 years, and it's getting hot.
"James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer."
Well said. We relied on the tobacco companies to tell us that their products are dangerous. We didn't rely on the Surgeon General and the American Medical Association. We expected commercial organizations to put truth before profit. We ignored right-wing cynics who claim human beings are naturally selfish, because this would undermine belief in socialism.
Climate change is a fact. The scientific method is hard, and any hypothesis which survives the gauntlet of peer review is solid. As explained in 'The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change', 'How tough is peer review really? Very tough. You might think peer review is a rubber stamp, or a comfortable process by which scientists pat each other on the back. On the contrary.' Quite right. It is absurd to suggest that the so-called 'Climategate' emails show some kind of old boys' club, backing up each other's theories out of loyalty, excluding doubters by dishonest means. As Phil Jones, director of the Climate Research Unit said, charges that the emails involve any "untoward" activity are "ludicrous". "A scientist who breaks the rules - who makes intemperate claims based on limited evidence, fails to acknowledge how he or she could be wrong, selects evidence opportunistically to support his or her view, ignores or misrepresents contrary evidence, makes emotion-laden arguments, orr makes personal attacks on opponents - risks irreparable harm to his or her reputation and professional standing'. Therefore, any claim that the climate change gurus have been guilty of all of the above sins is a classic piece of denialist spin which should be rejected a priori without looking at its merits.
The Climes They Are a-Changin'
The deniers are cynically trying to take advantage of the liberal tradition that scientists do not call for the persecution of people whose ideas they disagree with, an overreaction to the old days when the Inquisition burnt people like Giordano Bruno for saying the earth goes round the sun.
Freedom of speech is not an absolute right. We do not have the right to falsely shout 'fire!' in a crowded theater. Climate change deniers are more like child molesters, as this bishop very sanely and sensibly points out: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1023545/
Some writers doubt the use of the term 'climate change denier', on the grounds that deliberately trying to import a term used for neo-Nazi apologists makes it look as if it is a political argument. They do not say that it is inherently wrong in itself to try to sabotage discussion by using loaded political terms to describe those with whom you disagree. George Monbiot quite rightly argues that 'denier' is too good a term for these highly-paid corporate shills, who select from the evidence whatever appears to support their argument - not at all like real scientists, who write for The Guardian:
The following piece warns against the danger of persecuting climate change deniers - it just feeds their delusion that they are persecuted. They trot out comparisons to McCarthyism and the Salem witch trials. They see themselves as Galileos, standing firm against the establishment. The deniers try to put us in a no-win situation - if we crush them, we'll look like dictators, but if we let them continue, we might lose the argument.
Here is another very good article from the Guardian, proving climate change is true by drawing connections between sceptics and political organizations which do not agree with the Guardian:
And here is an example of an article denying climate change by using just the data which makes it look like Antarctica is cooling, ignoring the data which proves the opposite - real climate change scientists wouldn't dream of using such a dishonest, selective approach to the facts:
Something Is Happening, But You Don't Know What It Is, Do You, Mr Jones?
There is even a polar bear 'expert' who claims that polar bear numbers are increasing, whereas we all know the cuddly beasts are becoming extinct because of global warming:
'It is extremely hard to get a book or paper published that conflicts with the orthodoxy' claims this dangerous extreme right-wing journalist, trying to turn victimology on its head, as if straight white men, immersed in ablism, sexism, homophobia, classism, heterosexism, transphobia and white male nationalist conditioning, are oppressed by gays, lesbians, transgender queers, treehuggers and people of color. He presents climate change theory as an 'anti-west' conspiracy. Next, he'll be blaming the Jews and plotting with other far-right extremists in a vast underground conspiracy to end safe spaces for marginalized communities, and say things which make members of minorities feel uncomfortable, projecting his insecurity about the status of white men threatened by the capitalist crisis onto Hilary Clinton.
Even respectable news sources sometimes lend their pages to the dangerous lunatics who call themselves 'climate skeptics'. This article claims that some scientists have been intimidated into silence about a possible solar contribution to climate change because they are afraid of being called 'climate change deniers', as if there is some sort of conspiracy to discredit alternative views or something:
"Could the Sun play a greater role in recent climate change than has been believed? Climatologists had dismissed the idea and some solar scientists have been reticent about it because of its connections with those who those who deny climate change. But now the speculation has grown louder because of what is happening to our Sun. No living scientist has seen it behave this way. There are no sunspots."
'Denial' does not always mean denying something. If you deny the full extent of something, you too are a denier. Holocaust deniers claim that being put in prison for their ideas means their opponents are opposed to freedom. But the deniers are the real freedom-haters because some of them would put their critics in concentration camps if they ever got the chance. It's the same with climate change deniers. Anyone who doesn't despise these criminals is an accomplice of their conspiracy to destroy life on earth. And that's an understatement.
That upstanding man of truth, Al Gore, compares fighting climate change to fighting the Nazis. Well said. So-called 'progressives' like Alexander Cockburn who carp about the way the climate change community have enhanced some of the data are like fascist collaborators, only worse:
Contrast Al Gore, man of the people and friend of the Earth, with these relics from Margaret Thatcher's reign of untrammeled corporate malfeasance, together with a few 'scientists' to give credibility to their big business agenda, casting calumny and doubt upon the unassailable truth of climate science:
www.thegwpf.org - The Global Warming Policy Foundation
I told a climate scientist I know about this new 'Think Tank', and he rapidly demolished the 'argument' of this bunch of reactionary old professors and politicians:
`They indulge in sweeping and un argued sentences to the effect that it's "not science".... Personally, I've thought for years that the British Aristocracy should have been guillotined about 1688, if not along with Charles I.`
Guillotined? That's too good for climate change deniers!
Look how soft climate scientists are on sceptics! They only call for life imprisonment:
This is not surprising, given the dangerous gains in public confidence being achieved by climate change denialists. Remember, Hitler was elected. The GAIA guy, who discovered that the earth is an organism, quite reasonably wants to end democracy because people are too stupid to understand climate change
Here, respected liberal blog Huffington draws the connection between denying evolution and denying climate change:
With such clear, logical connections being made, it's amazing the climate change denialists don't all go take a jump in the ocean, before it rises over their heads.
Here, the Guardian reports on another move to make climate change denial a crime before it is too late:
And here, the Royal Society complains of the use of the Freedom of Information Act to make scientists publish their data:
The Royal Society ('nullius in verba') is the world's most venerable scientific body. We can therefore take what they say on trust.
You're Bound To Fall
It's no coincidence that emails were stolen from climate scientists just before the big Copenhagen meeting where politicians were supposed to reorganize the world economy to save us all from drowning. The scientists who wrote emails about the need to falsify data were suffering from a lack of marketing skill, that's all:
"The need for public credibility and transparency has dramatically increased in recent years as the policy relevance of climate research has increased. The climate research enterprise has not yet adapted to this need, and our institutions need to strategise to respond to this need."
says an American professor, more attuned to the importance of 'image' than the decent, but naive and old-fashioned, academics at the University of East Anglia. As she notes, the problem is a lack of strategizing to respond to the need to create a front of credibility and transparency while producing a crapload of bare-faced lies, made-up data and slanderous attacks on people who disagree.
It's like the war in Afghanistan - the need to strategize priorities to respond to the need to conduct a transparent reformulation of our message at this time is paramount. It does NOT mean we're fucked. It does NOT mean the war is lost. It does NOT mean the earth isn't getting hotter.
Denying the Nazi holocaust isn't going to kill anyone - they're already dead. But climate change denial could wipe out life on earth. On the planet Venus, the greenhouse effect has already raised the global mean surface temperature to a toasty 467°C. It's a BURNING issue. There's a lot at STAKE. So let's get on with it...