Over at Climate Depot, Marc Morano wonders why Andrew Revkin is calling attention to an article linking Holocaust denial to “climate denial”. He writes:
What’s up with NYT’s Revkin? He touts essay: ‘A look at denial, from Holocaust to climate fight’ by a survivor of Bergen-Belsen & a warmist physics prof. at Brooklyn College Read the Full Article
Is featuring an essay linking Holocaust denial to climate ‘denial’, worthy of a shout out on Revkin’s blog? Excerpt: ‘Denying the Holocaust today, with all the available factual information, requires denying of all of history… But most of our history is based on flimsier evidence, and climate change deniers like to say that using scientific ‘theories’ to explain climate change is not really ‘proof.’
In an email exchange prior to Morano’s post, I wrote:
It seems to me that Mr. Revkin is cementing his approval of comparisons between holocaust deniers, and “climate deniers”. That will be the topic of my post on the issue, unless Andy has an alternate credible explanation. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt until I hear from him.
Revkin “on the run in Asia” as he put it, responded:
I thought it worth noting this post because the writer is a rare breed — a physicist and environmental studies professor and also a survivor of the Holocaust. That gives him the right to explore this terrain, whatever you or I think of his conclusion.
Tumblr is an efficient means of posting the equivalent of a Tweet. I did not endorse his views.
In fact, I agree that most such comparisons are flawed. Back in 2007, before I switched to the Op-Ed side of The Times, I wrote Climate, Coal and Crematoria on Dot Earth to question one such effort by James Hansen.
Tomkiewicz also illustrates the normal nature of the deep divisions among physicists — even Nobelists in physics — on evidence for disruptive greenhouse-driven climate change. Feel free to debate him on the merits of his thesis.
I also mentioned in the email exchange that Mr. Revkin had made some prior reference to Nazi Germany, which I asked him about some months back, but never posted about it. Today seemed like a good time to do so.
By policy, I don’t normally allow Nazi photos/discussion on my blog, being very proactive about Godwin’s Law, but this requires an exception. Screen cap below.
Revkin gives a Tumblr repost (akin to a Twitter re-tweet):*
Ordinary people. The courage to say no.
The photo was taken in Hamburg in 1936, during the celebrations for the launch of a ship. In the crowd, one person refuses to raise his arm to give the Nazi salute. The man was August Landmesser. He had already been in trouble with the authorities, having been sentenced to two years hard labor for marrying a Jewish woman.
We know little else about August Landmesser, except that he had two children. By pure chance, one of his children recognized her father in this photo when it was published in a German newspaper in 1991. How proud she must have been in that moment.
And writes: I enjoy things like this immensely.*
(*Both of these sentences were clarified from the original post I made to separate Revkin’s words from the Tumblr repost – Anthony)
Yet, Mr. Revkin, in his capacity as journalist, was quite possibly the first reporter to “confirm” authenticity of the Heartland Leak Documents, including the faked one, seems to not grasp how this world view of his is ironic in the context of his daily reporting.
I asked Revkin on Feb 17th what he thought about that photo:
Do you see any irony in your position?
And he replied:
Irony in relation to my position on climate science as it relates to my position on someone standing up to political terror and tyranny?
I said “yes” and he replied:
To you, who’s the climate equivalent of the guy standing with his hands down?
If you’re going to propose/imply that I’m an apologist for alarmism, I’d have to reject that and ask you to point to a pattern in my coverage of the science that shows this.
I’ve been pretty quick to question anyone trying to cast climate science as a “party loyalty” kind of issue.
This may be relevant. Here’s my response on the fairness question (climategate v. denialgate) and the Dan Rather issue.
As for the “…who’s the climate equivalent of the guy standing with his hands down? ” question posed by Revkin, I see it this way: I think climate change skeptics see themselves as that man, I see myself as that man. Likewise, many AGW advocates see themselves as that man, standing up for the Earth and thus is borne the clash of ideals.
Like August Landmesser’s brave stance, I believe climate skeptics are “Ordinary people. [with] the courage to say no.” and by saying no, we are being trashed, reviled, and libeled in the media and paid propaganda blogs (like DeSmog, Romm’s Climate Progress, and Grist) for doing so.
The mindless regurgitation of the fabrications in the Heartland faked document without even checking authenticity first, showed just what sort of mindset we are fighting in the media, and it seems to me that what Mr. Revkin “enjoys” seeing as being a brave person in one historical venue, he views as a nuisance in others. Here’s why. He tweeted this a week later, just after DeSmog blog launched their assault on the Heartland Institute and climate skeptics worldwide.
My irony meter pegged, the needle broke off, flew out, and embedded itself into the wall of my office when I read that, because of Revkin’s post about August Landmesser just a week earlier.
The be absolutely clear, so that opportunists don’t try to spin this around, I don’t view pro AGW people as “Nazi’s” and nobody should ascribe any such opinion to me.
Quite the contrary, I simply view them as people with a rigid worldview that I and millions of others (according to recent polls) disagree with based on our review of the available science.
But, since Mr. Revkin opened this door in the context of recent events, I felt it important to bring it to light. It is also important to review who brought the comparisons of holocaust denial and climate skepticism together, a mainstream journalist, columnist Ellen Goodman, is credited with popularizing the usage in 2007. Here, she makes a clear unambiguous connection:
I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future. – Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe, February 9, 2007 “No change in political climate” on the Wayback Machine here
There’s more than enough climate ugliness to go around on both sides, and what is it doing? Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. said this of it last May, describing the tactics of his opponent Joe Romm:
…[it is] making enemies out of friends and opponents out of fellow travelers.
In my view, the same can be said about the recent billboard fiasco.
I also want to reiterate that Heartland made a huge misstep and blunder with their recent billboard campaign, and that while it is technically true that “unabomber” Ted Kaczynski did in fact write about his concerns about greenhouse gases in his manifesto (I checked), the method of messaging chosen by Heartland was just plain dumb, ugly, and counterproductive in my view. From what I gather, their intent was to use the same tactics that have been employed by alarmists against skeptics, to illustrate how these ugly tactics are used. But, when you sink to using the same tactics as your opponent, you give away any moral advantage you might have, and I think Heartland did that. I’ve made some mistakes like that myself. The best you can do is to apologize, learn from them, and never repeat them. When you are bombarded with hateful messaging almost 24/7, sometimes you make a mistake in your reply. Heartland made a mistake, a big one. I think Vaclav Klaus summed it up pretty well. From the Guardian:
Václav Klaus, the Czech president and prominent climate sceptic, has condemned a controversial billboard campaign used by a rightwing US thinktank to advertise the forthcoming conference at which he is scheduled to give the keynote speech. However, his spokesman said Klaus will not join other speakers who have pulled out in protest and says he still intends to proceed with the engagement.
I agree with his position in condemning the billboard campaign, as well as his decision to go to the conference. After careful consideration, I will attend as well.
As we witnessed yesterday with the Romm/Pielke Jr. blowup, the tactic they are employing now is to “divide and conquer”, using the disgust many have over the billboard fiasco as a wedge issue.
Solidarity is therefore needed more than ever, which is part of why I’ve decided to attend the conference. But, in my opinion, we also need an alternate venue, because trying to give the science discussions and the political rhetoric some degree of separation is impossible in such a convention environment. As Ross McKitrick demonstrated in his rebuttal so well, scientists don’t like mixing with ugly political rhetoric, and political activists often don’t like the logic and restraint that scientists have. There was bound to be a clash of ideals at some point.
Some folks have suggested that this episode marks “the end of climate skepticsm if Heartland fails”. What they don’t realize is that Heartland was never the “headquarters” for climate skepticism, only an occasional facilitator for a bringing together a widely diverse set of people. Even if Heartland were to disappear tomorrow, climate skepticism is now a mainstream issue, it will continue. As confirmed by many polls, there are millions of people who are skeptical of the issue like we are here on WUWT. That isn’t going away any time soon.
Note to commenters: This thread will have an exceptionally low tolerance level for off color or attack commentary. Be on your very best behavior.