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Politicising, propagandising and polarising the climate issue

fine analysis by Ted Nordhaus and Michael
Shellenberger of the way that climate science has been
distorted by environmentalism. They write:

“The result has been an ever-escalating
set of demands on climate science, with greens and their allies
often attempting to represent climate science as apocalyptic,
imminent, and certain, in no small part so that they could
characterize all resistance as corrupt, anti-scientific,
short-sighted, or ignorant. Greens pushed climate scientists to
become outspoken advocates of action to address global
warming. Captivated by the notion that their voices and expertise
were singularly necessary to save the world, some climate
scientists attempted to oblige. The result is that the use, and
misuse, of climate science by advocates began to wash back into the
science itself.”

Those of us who love science – the habit of licensed curiosity,
not the bureaucratic machine – have been increasingly dismayed by
the way that its high priests have been behaving over the climate
issue: trying to politicize, propagandise  and polarize where
they should be questioning, debating and being awkward. The most
shocking thing to me about ‘Climategate’ was not the emails, but
the any-excuse-will-do reaction to them from the scientific

I have frequently been surprised by how authoritarian many
scientists are when you scratch the surface of their
politics. James Lovelock (the idolization of whom baffles
me, though I am sure he is a perfectly nice bloke) exemplified this
yesterday in the Guardian.

‘One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is
“modern democracy”, he added. “Even the best democracies agree that
when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the
time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be
an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy
on hold for a while.” ‘


By Matt Ridley | Tagged:  rational-optimist