Posted by: ahallatt | August 18, 2009

The Climate Change “Debate”

A climate change denier argues his case with Oscar

A climate change denier argues his case with Oscar

Climate change sceptics find reinforcements

Climate change sceptics find reinforcements

I’m still wrestling with whether to call them climate change deniers (Holocaust association, but climate change is the biggest threat to humanity since the Holocaust, so maybe that’s fair, especially when the science is so clear cut), or climate change sceptics (Scepticism implies a certain amount of rationality, which is inappropriate in most cases. Also, the word has to be changed for the US audience to “skeptic”), as “numpty” was ruled out as too British by my American editor.

Unfortunately, my experience of the climate change debate has been of a lot of name-calling by climate change deniers who don’t have the science or reason to back up their outlandish claims.

Preparing for a numpty backlash….



  1. I cracked up so much when I read the cartoon in the Age this morning. Will I see a Muppet tomorrow? My favorite Beaker maybe?

  2. No Beaker, but….

  3. I think Denier is more appropriate than sceptic, cos they are only sceptical about evidence that doesnt suit their argument – any old rubbish passes without criticism as long as it backs them up. That isnt really scepticism. What to call them (deniers?, sceptics? numptys?) could be a good subject for a strip in this little miniseries?

  4. Oh come on folks. The skeptics and the AGW Believers agree that the earth’s climate changes, we simply disagree on the cause. The Believers say it’s caused by humans, the skeptics say it’s caused by something else (the sun perhaps).

    The skeptics simply would like to see conclusive evidence that CO2 controls the earth’s climate. Not proof, just conclusive evidence (it’s not a lot to ask really). Climate science has had 35 years now to show conclusive evidence that CO2 is the driver of climate and have failed to deliver. It’s this failure that has the skeptics concerned.

    So they show us images of glaciers and polare bears. Remember folks, were talking about CO2 here. Pictures of melting glaciers and weeping polar bears are evidence of climate change only, they are not evidence that CO2 is the cause.

  5. Calling them skeptics implies that they have some ground on which to be skeptical – as though perhaps they have a point. It gives them too much credit. This is what they want, because if they are “skeptics” they are implicitly viewed as cautious, which is very far from the truth.

    They should be deniers, they are ignoring something that IS happening and threatens all of us.

    Great work!

  6. I think you’re far too unfair to the numpties. The average person has virtually no access to credible information about climate change.

    The Bush administration destroyed the credibility of any scientific reports produced by the executive branch of the government.

    The science reporting in what are generously termed modern journalistic publications is almost always compromisingly distorted in an effort to be entertaining, interesting, conclusive, or worse, “fair and balanced”.

    The scientific literature itself is dry and nearly incomprehensible to most college graduates. And that’s in the best case, when it is produced by academia; the conflict-of-interest problems raised by industry-funded and lobby-funded research are obvious enough, I hope.

    Why not call them “frightened and confused people lacking competent leadership”? It’s not as zippy and elitist, but at least it gives a nod to the epistemological problems facing a citizenry burdened by poor job security, inadequate healthcare, and heavy taxation.

  7. Even letting the debate continue, when our species may hang in the balance, says something about us. I argue that there is a certain presumptuousness surrounding our approach to how we are addressing global warming that goes well beyond simply having a short-term perspective. What if the cockroach has a more sustainable position? I recommend the following post:

  8. This short film lays some of realities of climate change:

    • Incredibly accurate… apart from the bit about the polar bears marching north….

  9. And the fact that polar bears don’t live in the Antartica or wear ties 🙂 Thanks for watching.

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