The battle of the pointless Nuremberg insults: Romm -vs- Delingpole

UPDATE: 4/11/13 Mr. Delingpole has made two responses:

In the Spectator:

In the Telegraph:

I’ll post my response this weekend. – Anthony


We don’t need either side of the climate debate invoking Godwin’s Law on any level, as it is ugly and pointless, yet here we are again.

I’m growing weary of this.

OK here’s the story, James Delingpole ran an essay:   An English class for trolls, professional offence-takers and climate activists that touched some nerves (well a lot of nerves) up and down the Mannian food chain, Many have reacted to the Delinpole essay on cue from this:

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 11.11.03 AM

To be fair to Dr. Mann, Delingpole was asking for it with the way he wrote his piece, and for the record I think Delingpole made a huge mistake in taking on the subject. I would be rightfully upset too if I was named the way Delingpole did it. Even if it was intended as satire, it was like pouring gasoline on a fire, besides being ugly commentary we don’t need on either side.

To be fair to Delingpole, here’s the part that those that are outraged aren’t talking about:

The last thing I would want is for Monbiot, Mann, Flannery, Jones, Hansen and the rest of the Climate rogues’ gallery to be granted the mercy of quick release. Publicly humiliated? Yes please. Having all their crappy books remaindered? Definitely. Dragged away from their taxpayer funded troughs and their cushy sinecures, to be replaced by people who actually know what they’re talking about? For sure. But hanging? Hell no. Hanging is far too good for such ineffable toerags.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t a strong case for the myriad dodgy scientists-on-the-make, green activists, posturing and ignorant politicians, rent-seeking corporatists, UN apparatchiks, EU technocrats and hopelessly out-of-their-depth environment correspondents who talked up the global warming scare to be brought to account for the vast damage they have done to the global economy, for the people they have caused to die in fuel poverty, for the needless regulations they have inflicted on us, for the landscapes they have ravaged with wind farms, and so on.

Indeed, it would be nice to think one day that there would be a Climate Nuremberg. But please note, all you slower trolls beneath the bridge, that when I say Climate Nuremberg I use the phrase metaphorically.

A metaphor, let me explain – I can because I read English at Oxford, dontcha know – is like a simile but stronger. So when, for example, a rugger team boasts in the shower room after a particularly brutal match that it “raped” the opposition, it doesn’t literally mean that it had forcible sex with the other side even though that may be – if you’re incredibly thick and literalistic and looking for offence – what it sounds like. Rather, what it means is that it destroyed the other team. But, hey, look – there we go again. Another metaphor! See how rich and inventive our language is? We can use a word like “destroyed” in a sense that doesn’t necessarily entail the complete eradication of 15 players in a rugger team. It can mean – as in this case – beaten soundly.

Metaphorically? Eh, I don’t buy it, just like I don’t buy the “metaphorical” argument from the Skeptical Science Treehut files:

Sometimes you just want to let loose and scream about how you want to take those motherfucking arseholes, those closed-minded bigotted genocidal pieces of regurgitated dog shit and do unspeakable violence to their bodies and souls for what they are doing to the safety of what and who we all hold dear. (Ain’t a lack of a moderation policy a cleansing and liberating thing?)…

Work out what you are best suited too and do that. But be able to distance yourself enough from your personal reactions to also see the bigger picture of the entire war and contribute to framing that broad campaign – “We need to focus on this and this and this. But my personal contribution will be to ripe Anthony Watts’ throat out – metaphorically of course.”

At the same time though, we have some pretty stunning hypocrisy on the part of Dr. Mann Joe Romm, who just authored a piece “Denier Delingpole Wishes For ‘Climate Nuremberg’, Says ‘Hanging Is Far Too Good’ For Climate Scientists!

Romm goes through the usual motions of faux outrage. Of course he and Dr. Mann never expressed any such outrage at statements like this:

The death penalty

In this article I am going to suggest that the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for influential GW deniers. But before coming to this surprising conclusion, please allow me to explain where I am coming from.

I have always been opposed to the death penalty in all cases, and I have always supported the clear and consistent stand of Amnesty International on this issue. The death penalty is barbaric, racist, expensive, and is often applied by mistake. Apparently, it does not even act as a deterrent to would-be murderers. Hopefully, the USA and China will come to their senses soon.

Even mass murderers should not be executed, in my opinion. Consider the politically motivated murder of 77 people in Norway in 2011. Of course the murderer does not deserve to live, and there is not the slightest doubt that he is guilty. But if the Norwegian government killed him, that would just increase the number of dead to 78. It would not bring the dead back to life. In fact, it would not achieve anything positive at all. I respect the families and friends of the victims if they feel differently about that. I am simply presenting what seems to me to be a logical argument.

GW deniers fall into a completely different category from Behring Breivik. They are already causing the deaths of hundreds of millions of future people. We could be speaking of billions, but I am making a conservative estimate.


Or this:

When we’ve finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we’re in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards — some sort of climate Nuremberg.”

Later retracted and apologized for here:

Or even similar on Romm’s own blog, endorsing statements like this:

I agree entirely but not just monetary harm is being done. The denialist industry will, by its actions, I believe it is incontrovertible to say, cause millions if not billions of premature, unnecessary deaths. What I believe must be done is that an international Nuremberg style Tribunal be established to assess the culpability of the prime financers of the denialist industry and the chief propaganda disinformers. To allow those directly responsible for so much human suffering to come to escape judgment is not just morally repellent, but will only encourage the type in more such moral perfidy, if indeed we escape from the looming catastrophe.

Recently, I’ve greeted professional deniers at web forums with “I’ll see you at the Great Nuremberg Trial for Organized Climate Denial”. I’m confident the message hits home. They can call me whatever they want but they know perfectly well what they’re doing.

So, clearly there’s similar Nuremberg style ugliness on both sides to go around. Except we don’t see outrage from Mann, Romm and others over it when it is directed at skeptics it seems.

My point is, no matter who says it, in whatever context, it will turn into a shouting match no matter how many qualifiers or caveats you attach to it, and we simply don’t need it, because all it does is polarize the tribal nature of the climate debate even further.

To Delingpole, take a cue from Dave Roberts at Grist: fix it and apologize. To Mann, Romm, and others, clean up your own house before taking your outrage further.

Comments are off, simply because I’m just not interested in moderating them this Sunday.

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