Many journalists, generally the ones who fit into this category, complain about being called climate change denialists. It doesn’t help when denialists like Clive James tries to make the link as well. They complain that the choice of words links to offensive individuals that deny the Holocaust. Whether or not the first person who used the term had this in mind is beside the point. I do think denialists are causing harm, but I don’t think they are necessarily going to cause a new holocaust. If anything does happen, we are all to blame because even if we did believe in man-made climate change, we haven’t swift and significant enough demanded action from our elected leaders.
But, after watching Melanie Phillips on Question Time and her horrendously arrogant display, I think the debate is more akin the pro-choice and pro-life abortion debate in the US. Phillips complains that the climate change believers (which makes us sound like some kind of sect, such as the scientologists), are running some kind of totalitarian scam and swindle. But the fact is, she was quite happy to laugh, patronise and rudely dismiss the public and other panelists who believe in man-made climate change. Practice what you preach Ms Phillips.
To be fair though, climate change believers do dismiss the denialists just as badly. This is why I think the issue is similar to the abortion debate. No one will talk or listen to the other side and will never take each other seriously. In this particular debate, I don’t think the eveidence will ever convince a sceptic or believer to cross sides.
However, what is definetly true is that while the denialists want to debate the issue, journalists like Philips give the denialists a bad name.
I think we are all guilty of refusing to listen to the other side. While I don’t agree with David Davis’s point of view, I was impressed with his point of view on Question Time; that while he is sure climate change is happening and is 80% that it is caused by human intervention, he still feels there is room for debate and it is important not to vilify each other.
Climate change believes say there is no time for debate. I disagree. There is enough action currently going on, to increase renewables, to decrease fossil fuel use, to create carbon sinks, that there is still room for debate but at the same time we can begin the process of saving the earth. Debates like COP15 aren’t going to stop and we will still make a huge effort to cut emmissions. Even in the worse case scenario, that we are wrong on climate change, it is never going to harm to lower energy costs, make the air less polluted and generally improve the health of the planet.
But refusing to listen to each other and complaining about it isn’t going to help.