Assigned Reading: Saying ‘ClimateGate’ Isn’t a Crisis Won’t Make it Go Away
(FROM: The Guardian)
According to The Independent George Monbiot is the acceptable face of green activism because he “eats meat, doesn’t take to the trees, and won’t swear at policemen,” but that doesn’t mean he is a moderate on climate change. He is a true believer who has written that climate change is the “moral question of the 21st century” and also that “flying across the Atlantic is as unacceptable, in terms of its impact on human well-being, as child abuse.”
And yet Monbiot – for all his zeal in climate change reform – is one of the few such believers who is willing to address Climategate headon. He began a blog post yesterday by writing:
It’s no use pretending this isn’t a major blow. The emails extracted by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia could scarcely be more damaging. I am now convinced that they are genuine, and I’m dismayed and deeply shaken by them.
He even called on the head of the CRU to resign.
But the actual point of Monbiot’s blog piece was that Climategate was damaging, but not damaging enough to call climate change itself into question. He spent the rest of that blog piece defending his position by writing up a spoof email of what he’d need to see to actually question his position. What he’s learning – as so many rational climate change believers are learning these days – is that supporting the general conclusions of climate change is simply not enough. He begins todays blog by writing:
I have seldom felt so alone.
He then goes on:
The response of the greens and most of the scientists I know is profoundly ironic, as we spend so much of our time confronting other people’s denial. Pretending that this isn’t a real crisis isn’t going to make it go away. Nor is an attempt to justify the emails with technicalities. We’ll be able to get past this only by grasping reality, apologising where appropriate and demonstrating that it cannot happen again.
Monbiot explains the worst faults of the released information (although in my opinion he leaves out the truly damning stuff), criticizes the CRUs response, and renews his call for the head of the unit to step down. Despite saving his harshest words for “deniers” (who are evil liars as opposed to tragically misguided idealists) I have little doubt that his rational pleas will fall on deaf ears. The global warming / climate change movement stopped being about science a long, long time ago (if it ever was), and what we are seeing now is the dawning realization of the few real scientists who happen to be in the movement that they have no idea what is really going on in the movement.
In some ways the reaction to the reaction of the release of these papers may end up being more important than the reactino itself, as people begin to realize just how far round the bend the climate change believers have gone. It is a weird pseudo-religion, and the sooner Monbiot and other rationalists come to realize this (to say nothing of the general public!) the better.