Global Warming And The Denialists Who Won’t Go Away

Peter Judge

The scientific evidence for man-made climate change is watertight, says Peter Judge. But that doesn’t matter to the denialists

News just in – climate change is real. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reiterated and restated the news that human activity is warming the planet. That’s the bad news.

The worse news is that denialism is alive and well, and there’s no sign of actual activity to prevent the catastrophe.

Two hundred and nine lead authors have chewed through the evidence, and produced a summary and a full report for the IPCC, both of which conclude that we are more sure than ever that man-made climate change is happening.

Denying reality



Mean sea levels have definitely risen over last two hundred years, and the global temperature is going up. There is no serious scientist that disputes this.

It’s important that this report is as reliable as possible – it’s the basis for negotiations between now and the COP21 Climate Summit in Paris in 2015, where negotiators hope to get the world’s nations to agree a new Climate Change Treaty that might combat the effect.

Does this sound familiar? in 2007, there was a fresh statement of climate science, and in 2009 the world’s leaders went to the Climate Summit in Copenhagen hoping to thrash out a more binding treaty than the Kyoto Protocol. They failed.

A massive backlash from climate change deniers helped scupper the talks, Anyone with an axe to grind seized on any hint of error or equivocation in the report. And then there was the ridiculous hoo-ha about the so-called “Climategate” emails stolen from the University of East Anglia.

This time round, we’ve already heard from the ludicrous Benny Peiser, and the slipshod Global Warming Policy Foundation. Denialists use logic so convoluted that they posit a global conspiracy of climate scientists, all eager to get their hands on science grants from governments – and yet obfuscate the rather obvious links between denialists and the oil and gas industry.

It’s a conspiracy, say the dinosaurs, using poor science which is either blatantly paid for by the oil and gas industries, or comes from bodies (like the GWPF) which refuse to reveal the sources of their funding, to attack public academics. No really – who’s conspiring?

Any chance of action?

Newspapers are blatantly mis-reporting the story. The world’s temperature is rising more slowly – so the British Daily Express’s headline says it is “cooling”. Global temperatures are higher than ever.

Australia has elected a climate-denying buffoon (Tony Abbott) as its Prime Minister, Britain has an environment secretary (Owen Paterson) who says he is a sceptic.
You can dismiss those as some sort of exceptions – the world having a Tea Party moment – but the US came closer than I like to picking a science-denying president.
And anyway, who needs the crazies, when you look at the actual policies of the people in power? We might as well have denialists in charge.

Thanks to our fears of recession, the whole world seems to be focused on getting coal, oil and gas out of the ground as quickly as possible. The discussion about fracking doesn’t mention the destruction of our climate: it’s all about whether the technique is cost effective, whether it might cause damage to swathes of countryside, and how influential the voters are who live there.

The scene is set for a depressing couple of years till the Paris Summit.

The scientists really have done a bang-up job. Please, can someone convince me that the rest of us will actually make a sensible response to the data?

A version of this article appeared on Green Data Center News


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