“We need to defeat climate deniers like Ann Marie Buerkle and Dan Benishek to restore the place of science on Capitol Hill.”
– Gene Karpinski, president, League of Conservation Voters, quoted in Jennifer Yachnin, “Enviros Target Climate Deniers in Latest Ad Campaign” (sub. req.) Greenwire, July 24, 2012.
All but the most impartial and inflammatory participants in the climate-change debate disdain the term “denier” to characterize so-called climate-change skeptics. Climatologist Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, for example, has complained:
Somebody needs to research the sociology and psychology of people that insist that anyone that does not accept [anthropogenic global warming] as a rationale for massive CO2 mitigation efforts is a “denier.” The complexity of skepticism (ranging from multiple aspects of the science, to the impacts that can be attributable to AGW and whether or not they are “dangerous” to the policies proposed for CO2 mitigation) seems to be completely missed by all of the “scholars” writing articles about ‘deniers’.
Yet the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) this week launched a $1.5 million ad campaign against five House lawmakers who are skeptical of climate alarmism (as are most Americans), and who as lawmakers know that “fighting” climate change is all pain and no gain. ( Think higher energy prices and more bureaucrats.) The key term of the campaign? Deniers.
The LCV’s “Flat Earth Five” are Republicans Ann Marie Buerkle (New York) and Dan Benishek (Michigan), and three to be named soon.
Alarmist Joe Romm vs. LCV
The LCV invectives (hate speech?) are a sign that the alarmists are losing and are desperate to shock the public into reconsidering the issue. But ‘crying wolf’ has diminishing returns, and all the LCV will do is to further marginalize itself. Is it time to pick a new issue other than climate change for the anti-industrial Left?
Even Joe Romm, in a rare moment of conciliation, has disparaged the term “denier.” In “Climate Science Disinformers are Nothing like Holocaust Deniers,” the climate-alarmist campaigner begins:
Since I lost many relatives in the Holocaust, I understand all too well the unique nature of that catastrophe. The Holocaust is not an analogue to global warming, which is an utterly different kind of catastrophe, and, obviously, one whose worst impacts are yet to come.
Romm goes on to document how the term “denier” has taken on a life of its own–but at the expense of precision and clarity. And Romm now avoids using the term, which is rather remarkable given his track record of ad hominem, hateful speech against “disinformers” (including calling me a ‘sociopath’ in an email).
Romm’s responsibilities at Climate Progress (Center for American Progress) have been diminished. And Joe seems to be trying to soften his image a bit, event to the point of claiming to be less alarmist than he really is. Even glimmers of a kinder, gentler Joe Romm are a welcome sight for very sore eyes.
Political candidates accused of being climate “deniers” not only have a strong intellectual case against climate alarmism/policy activism. They have overwhelming support among most scientists for ridding the climate debate of the very term promoted by the League of Conservation Voters.
Expect the LCV campaign to have little negative effect on the involved politicians, and do not be surprised if the ‘denier’ charge backfires on the host. The skeptics of climate alarmism/policy activism are winning the debate for a reason.
The only name that comes to mind when I read the term “denier” with regard to climate change is Professor Michael Mann, the “father” of the infamous “hockey stick”, which “denies” the existence of both the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age.
“Disinformers” now joins “anti-science” and “climate zombies” in the Romm lexicon, since he has worn out the term “deniers”.
Perhaps, one day, he and his Napoleon complex will be exiled to his own internet-free Elba. Hope springs eternal.
I strongly recommend using Hayek’s term, scientism, to characterize what is going on when people and groups like the LCV attempt to politicize a scientific issue. In modern parlance, the term should have two related meanings–the misuse of the scientific method a la Michael Mann and the the attempt to hijack the method a la the LCV.
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I have the impression that Prof. Michaels, who I greatly respect and admire, is rather generous in estimating that the next 90 years may see a rise of about 12 inches of sea evel rise. From all I have read and calculated, the rise may not be much more that about 8 inches, but that is besides the point. We just can’t predict with great accuracy what will occur and how earth’s atmospheric behavior will exhibit itself over the next century. I sleep well tonight.
“The skeptics of climate alarmism/policy activism are winning the debate for a reason.”
That’s right, Robert. Actually, several reasons:
in the long run, these will win every time against:
psuedo-science political science
ideology divorced from science, fact, empirical evidence
but the AGW regime won’t go easily. they see AGW as the teflon-coated vehicle to eco-socialism. having been exposed for such, their hysteria, fear mongering, and name calling will only increase in order to distract attention from the facts.