Two years ago, in Scenes from the Climate Inquisition, my colleague Steve Hayward and I observed that climate alarmists were growing ever more incendiary in their criticism of people who disagree with them. And these disagreements were not simply about the science, but about the favored policy choices of leftist environmentalists, many of whom had no training in public policy or economics. As we wrote:
Anyone who does not sign up 100 percent behind the catastrophic scenario is deemed a “climate change denier.” Distinguished climatologist Ellen Goodman spelled out the implication in her widely syndicated newspaper column last week: “Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers.” One environmental writer suggested last fall that there should someday be Nuremberg Trials–or at the very least a South African-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission–for climate skeptics who have blocked the planet’s salvation.
Former Vice President Al Gore has proposed that the media stop covering climate skeptics, and Britain’s environment minister said that, just as the media should give no platform to terrorists, so they should exclude climate change skeptics from the airwaves and the news pages. Heidi Cullen, star of the Weather Channel, made headlines with a recent call for weather-broadcasters with impure climate opinions to be “decertified” by the American Meteorological Society. Just this week politicians in Oregon and Delaware stepped up calls for the dismissal of their state’s official climatologists, George Taylor and David Legates, solely on the grounds of their public dissent from climate orthodoxy. And as we were completing this article, a letter arrived from senators Bernard Sanders, Pat Leahy, Dianne Feinstein, and John Kerry expressing “very serious concerns” about our alleged “attempt to undermine science.” Show-trial hearing to follow? Stay tuned.
Desperation is the chief cause for this campaign of intimidation. The Kyoto accords are failing to curtail greenhouse gas emissions in a serious way, and although it is convenient to blame Bush, anyone who follows the Kyoto evasions of the Europeans knows better. The Chinese will soon eclipse the United States as world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, depriving the gas-rationers of one of their favorite sticks for beating up Americans.”
At the time, we naively hoped that there would be a moderation of such language, as some saner voices were beginning to push back against the whole slander-denier complex.
Alas, the venom-spitting of the the climatistas is increasing in direct proportion to the probability of failure in enacting their world-girdling eco-theocracy. And the leader of the pack, Joseph Romm of Climate Progress (Center for American Progress), turns out to be one of the least civil human beings to tread the planet.
Romm in tabloid reporting style attacked me when I accidently posted an early draft of a speech that had a typo indicating that the present cooling went back to 1978 levels (instead of 1998). The premature post was pulled and was not what I ended up delivering extemporaneously, which only fuels Romm’s conspiracy-theory mentality.
He’s also gone after the top-gun at Master Resource, Rob Bradley, publicly and in private. Publicly, Romm has smeared Bradley to smear his nonprofit, the Institute for Energy Research, which Bradley founded in 1989 as a way to protest Enron’s “green” energy strategy (see his Enron discussion here). Despite repeated rebuttals, Romm has continued to state his falsehoods about Bradley.
And in a private email (shared with me), Romm repeatedly calls Bradley a “sociopath” for his views that the climate alarm is exaggerated and that policy activism is unwarranted. “You are a denier and your actions will destroy the world your children will inherit,” Romm emailed Bradley. “Shame on you!,” he screams. “If you sleep well it is the sleep of a sociopath.”
Now, Romm is after Professor/Blogger Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In a pre-emptive smear (Pielke’s got a book coming out,) Romm spent 3,500 words trying to sully his reputation. But the liberal Breakthrough Institute, at which Roger is a Senior Fellow, fired back:
The character assassination, the bullying, the psychological projection — it all adds up to Climate McCarthyism, and Joe Romm is Climate McCarthyite-in-chief. Joe Romm’s “Global Warming Deniers and Delayers” play the same role as Joe McCarthy’s “Communists and Communist sympathizers.” While Romm built a loyal liberal and environmentalist following for attacking right-wing “global warming deniers” — a designation meant to invoke “Holocaust denier” — he spends much of his time attacking well-meaning journalists (e.g. here, here, and here), academics (here and here) and activists (here, here and here) who take the issue of global warming seriously, accept climate science, and support immediate action to address it. His aim is to intimidate and prevent increasing numbers of people from questioning climate policy orthodoxy, and especially Democratic efforts to pass cap and trade climate legislation.
Romm, as with Paul Krugman of the New York Times, are treading on dangerous ground. What they are essentially peddling is hate speech, and incitement to violence. One day, some unhinged environmentalist, worked into a frenzy reading the alarmist claptrap peddled by people like Krugman and Romm is going to engage in violence against whichever leading climate skeptic gets his attention. And when that happens, Romm and Krugman will be like the lunatics who hand explosive vests to unhinged, would-be martyrs.