Poor (middle-aged) old George Monbiot ! He really feels like he’s been wasting his time trying to get through to people to communicate about Climate Change :-
I don’t think that he should despair. What the ordinary, Tabloid-reading , Daily Telegraph-reading, Times of London-reading or even Guardian-reading man-or-woman-in-the-street thinks about Climate Change Science doesn’t really matter in the end, as long as the policymakers know the direction of travel required. That is, towards strong regulation on Carbon Emissions.
And anyway, I think that the problem of Climate Change “doubt” can be resolved relatively easily – by educating those who work in the Media.
Let me begin my argument by asking a question : is it right and fair and balanced to pitch Dr Benny Peiser against Professor Phil Jones on the subject of the Science of Global Warming ?
I ask this, because this is effectively what happened during the hearings of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee on 1st March 2010, when Dr Benny Peiser and Lord Nigel Lawson were first in the seats, and then Professor Phil Jones and Professor Edward Acton sat in the seats later on :-
Why should Dr Benny Peiser’s views count ? He is a social anthropologist, specialising in ancient Sport (where all the sportsmen were, fascinatingly, naked and oiled), a commentator in newspapers and a well-known Global Warming sceptic. He hasn’t studied Global Warming as a Science, so the question has to be asked : what is the basis for his Global Warming scepticism ? And why is he sceptical of the way that Science works in relation to the study of Global Warming ? Has he conducted any relevant research ? Has he discovered any vital new facts to add to the canon of knowledge on Climate Change ? I think you’ll find the answer is “no”, “negatory” to all the questions…well, I admit, using rhetorical questions was just a literary device to relay my level of doubt about Benny Peiser’s capacity to be able to speak to the subject of Global Warming and the situation of Global Warming Science.
Personally, I wouldn’t seek Benny Peiser’s views on a very wide range of subjects, but most especially not on Global Warming. So why is he the Director of the newly nascent, privately funded Global Warming Policy Foundation ? What is this group ? Why was it necessary for this group to form ? And why is he in all the papers and all over the Internet ? Just what does he have to add to the non-existent “debate” on whether or not Global Warming is happening, or whether or not Scientists have behaved properly in their work ? (And remember : questioning the integrity of Scientific endeavour is a non-issue which he may have actually invented himself, being the doubter that he is.)
Has Benny Peiser ever interviewed a Climate Change Scientist ? Has he studied how Climate Change Scientists think ? Has he anything more than a few crabby e-mails to go on ? He’s a social anthopologist. The first principle on Social Science is to study the documents of the people you are researching – and if they are living, go talk to them. If Benny Peiser were to talk to some real, live Climate Change Scientists, I am sure he would come away a believer. You cannot encounter the Truth and remain untouched by it.
I think that it is unfair for Climate Change “sceptics” to use the Media as their platform for “debate”. I use the word “sceptic” in quotes to denote that fact that I think they are not genuinely sceptical – that they are actually in denial about the facts of Global Warming. I use the word “debate” because I don’t believe that there is any disputing the facts of Global Warming. The science is settled on the question of whether the world is warming up or not. The answer : it is. And the emissions from humankind’s activities have their Carbon isotope fingerprints all over it.
Yes, it is most unfair to use the Media to promote Global Warming denial. People in the Media are not Scientists. They don’t know how to judge one person from another – whether people are expert in the field or not. The Climate Change Science Obstructers, who call themselves “sceptics” know that the journalists and reporters have no clue about the full and true nature of Climate Change Science. The Obstructers use that ignorance to gain a toehold, demanding the right to speak in the Media, and come to dominate the Media channels with their doubt-mongering.
The underlying reason why there are so many unpersuaded people for George Monbiot to lament, is that the Media is unequipped to cover Climate Change Science.
This is the real problem : the Media. The Media’s extremely shaky coverage of Climate Change Science is a symptom of the Media’s lack of education about Climate Change Science.
It’s no surprise that the population have been taken in by Climate Change “scepticism” – all they know is what the Media tell them – and the Media don’t know what they’re talking about.