I have some important work to do today, and so I’m going to put my interaction with WUWT on hold for a bit. However, I see here an opportunity to ask a question I have been pondering for quite some time. Please help me out by answering the question and discussing it. Of course other things within site policy are fair game too.
As of late, we have seen climate skepticism portrayed in many derogatory ways. The juvenile sliming by Stephan Lewandowsky, Mike Marriott, and John Cook is a good example: they tried to use science as a bully pulpit to paint climate skeptics as crazy people, much like what happened with politcal dissent in Soviet Russia. In the Soviet Union, a systematic political abuse of psychiatry took place and was based on the interpretation of political dissent as a psychiatric problem.
Why did this happen? Well, I think part of it has to do with the loose-knit nature of climate skepticism. While the climate debate is often along political lines, climate skepticism is something that crosses those lines. I find that skepticism can be just as strong with some people on the left side of the political spectrum once they allow themselves to be open to the facts, rather than just accepting agitprop fed to them.
There’s no official position or representative body for climate skepticism. While players like Dr. Mann and the criminal actor Peter Glieck would like to argue that the Heartland Institute, “Big Oil, Big Coal”, and the #Kochmachine are the unifying forces behind climate skepticsm, nothing could be further from the truth. Mostly, climate skepticism is about a personal journey, not one that came from an organization.
I’m a good example. I used to be fully engaged with the idea that we had to do something about CO2, and Dr. James Hansen in 1988 was the impetus for that. I remember vividly watching his testimony on the sat feed at the TV station and thinking to myself that this really is serious. It wasn’t until later that I realized his science was so weak he and his sponsor had to resort to stagecraft by turning off the air conditioner and opening windows to make people sweat. It was the original sin of noble cause corruption. Now with my own work on the surfacestations project and what I’ve learned about climate sensitivity via the WUWT experience, and witnessing the IPPC and its foibles and how Climategate showed dissension behind the scenes, I no longer see climate change as the threat I once did back in 1988.
But, that’s my journey, others may differ.
People like Lewandowsky were able to make their claims stick because with climate skepticsm, it is all about that personal journey, there’s no organization, no policy statement, no cohesiveness of opinion that anyone can point to and say “this is what climate skeptics endorse”. While there’s strength in that heterogeneity, there’s also a weakness in that it allows people like Lewandowsky to brand climate skeptics as he sees fit.
So after some years of thinking about this, I’d like to ask this simple question:
Is it time for an “official” climate skeptics organization, one that produces a policy statement, issues press releases, and provides educational guidance?
In the UK, The Global Warming Policy Foundation provides much of that, and they have been successful in those areas, but it is UK centric.
So please answer the poll and let me know.