With Adversaries Like This – You Don’t Need Friends

The IPCC report and work will undergo an independent review. It’s not a minute too soon, but neither is it too late. The debate will continue and most certainly will myths and false science continue to spread. The problem, as many sensible commentators have pointed out (a recent, rather objective summary with links is here) is not that mistakes were made. They are bound to occur in any scientific work. The problem is that the report was used as an argument to claim that “the Debate is Over”. And, of course that politicians frantically rushed in to spend other people’s money.

Some commentators don’t see it that way at all, but instead take all criticism as a personal insult. The examples are numerous, but the most blatant one I’ve found so far is from an otherwise classical liberal, sensible editorial page in a Swedish newspaper. (In Swedish, but you have to trust my summary, or use Google translator). The headline is, basically, “Wipe that smile of your faces – sceptics”.

Writes Ann-Charlotte Marteus: “When the credibility of the alarms is hurt, the Global Warming theories loose their ‘front pages’. It gets harder to comprehend and easier to ignore. That’s bad, as the climate has lots of natural enemies, and I’m not just thinking about Elisabeth Höglund.” (My clarification: Höglund worked as staff reporter for many years and could only write what she was told. As free lancer, she has now started to question the validity of the alarms. To some dismay in her old circles.)

What the editor writes, this time in my humble interpretation, is basically that it was not a fake. If it was a fake, that would not be a problem either. The problem is that ordinary people – who don’t understand what’s good for them – might think that it was a fake, and then the problems would persist. Because there is a threat out there, and that threat consists of the so called “Sceptics”, who falsely claim that it was a fake. The only solution is that the politicians start spending money again, and speak up, in order to create a general feeling that it was not a fake.

It’s not really circular. It’s something more. Maybe global?

If this is the new alarmist mantra, the debate really is over. In a new way.

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About the Author: Einar Du Rietz

Einar Du Rietz is a journalist and communications consultant based in Europe. He has authored several environmental reports for the Electrolux Group and written many blogs for the Center for the New Europe at CNE Environment.