Dr Tim Ball’s blog post “People Starting To Ask About Motive For Massive IPCC Deception” – drawing parallels between climate scientists and Hitler – doesn’t do anyone in the climate change debate any favours: in fact it seems a big (goose) step backwards. It’s especially frustrating to see him write this so soon after the productive dinner at Nic Lewis’s place, where the attendees agreed on the need to depolarise and detoxify the climate discussion. Anthony Watts wrote an extremely positive blog post about the evening, and there were many favourable comments from WUWT readers saying how great it was to have a more civilised conversation.
But here we see Tim sink to a new low, with Mein Kampf quotes and snide misrepresentation of the IPCC reports. Perhaps Tim hasn’t yet heard that many people on both sides of the discussion have moved on from the simple name calling of the past…. We were also disappointed that so few commenters below the post distanced themselves from his views. We hope this is merely selection bias, and that many of you are simply sighing and moving on to the next post.
For those that do endorse Tim’s views: we often see people who are sceptical of climate science and/or policy object to the term ‘Deniers’ (a phrase neither of us use). But it’s hard to see how anyone could justify taking offence at being called a Denier if they were happy to call other people Nazis. Especially when those people – professional climate scientists like us – are trying to engage in good faith discussions with Anthony and many others in the sceptical community.
We do understand that Anthony does not read all WUWT guest posts. We’re pleased that when we contacted him he added a disclaimer (albeit a somewhat ambiguous one) and offered us this chance to respond. We see this as a positive outcome of meeting in person at dinner. Certainly we would not be writing this without it.
As we understand it, Tim’s post does not at all reflect Anthony’s views.We therefore hope future WUWT guest writers adopt the civil and rational tone of the conversations we had that evening and do not remain stuck in the pointless, playground insults that do not help either climate science or its discussion.We invite our dinner companions from the 21st September (including Anthony) to add their views below. Personally, we think they will agree that Tim’s view is an out-of-touch relic.
Richard and Tamsin
Professor Richard Betts
Chair in Climate Impacts, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter – Head of Climate Impacts Research, Met Office Hadley Centre
Dr Tamsin Edwards
Lecturer in Environmental Sciences, Department of Environment, Earth and Ecosystems, The Open University
Note from Anthony:
I agree that Dr. Ball’s post had some “over the top” rhetoric in it, and it is my error that the post was published without benefit of editorial actions. It does not reflect my views. My excuse is simply that I was distracted by an extreme challenge in my life at the time, and I didn’t get to vet the guest post as I normally would have. That won’t happen again. On the plus side, this issue illustrates why one of the most common ugly claims about WUWT, the claim of being in the pay of “big oil” or some NGO, can’t possibly be true. If that were true, I could have long ago hired an assistant editor and such missteps would not occur. While there are many things that the IPCC can be validly criticized for, some of which were in Dr. Balls post, parallels with Nazism is not one of them.
While there remain wildly disparate views about climate science, I see that there are people on both sides that are gravitating towards a more central and in my opinion, more reasonable view. Climate skeptics and climate advocates should do everything possible to help facilitate such dialog, otherwise all we have is just noise. – Anthony Watts