Saturday, July 21, 2012

How to part ways with a climate denier that has incredible stamina...

Paul Beckwith, with other scientists in Ottawa
protesting against the "Death of Evidence"
By Paul Beckwith,

On a Canadian chess blog ( there is a thread called “The NEW One and Only Climate Change Whatever” that has been ongoing for over two years. Basically, I educate the chess community on climate change and many chess players that are rabid deniers gang up and hurl invective and deny fervently. A waste of time for me? Perhaps? Likely not, since it has hardened my resolve and energized me in my climate change study/research/lobbying/etc. etc. In fact, now I generally have great fun at hurling invective back until it starts to get out of hand. Then it is no longer fun or useful so I part-ways with the person, as happened tonight…

Mr/Mrs. XXXXX,

It used to bother me when people such as yourself that know absolutely squat about climate change (a subject in which I am an expert and forever striving to increase that expertise) make claims that are completely without scientific merit, in fact that are downright wrong, quite often intentionally wrong. Why? In most subjects this would not matter. Not so with climate change. Because our climate is collapsing around us and there are still many many people that fail to see this. So humanity will not act, and it will get worse and worse until there will not be a single person on the planet that does not experience gut-wrenching change. People are dying now, and will be dying in ever greater numbers from the near-term changes that are underway. Massive crop failure in the U.S. this year will not starve people in North America but will stress the economy and pocketbooks of many residents. It will starve people already in poverty who pay 25% or 50% of their incomes on food now. North Americans will not panic over one year of crop failure. However if it happens the following year, and the one after that, and after that then the system will snap.

Climate denialism and such nonsense no longer bothers me because I have learned how to deal with such people and views. As is absolutely required for anyone in the field of climatology. How? I initially take the time to explain some science and educate but when it is clear that I am dealing with an immovable object like yourself or yyyyy I just have some fun with it and hurl a few insults, etc. However this gets old and distracting and unproductive very quickly and wastes a lot of time. As it has now, in your case.

It no longer bothers me because our planet is now committed to this gut-wrenching change. The sea ice will be gone very soon and the roller coaster ride will be unstoppable. If I was Obama or Putin or any other world leader I would declare "War on Warming", cool the Arctic with geoengineering to keep the sea ice intact and the methane in the ground and undergo a crash program to slash emissions. But I am not. So I do what I can to educate people/inform them/get the word out. I join organizations like AMEG (Arctic Methane Emergency Group). I meet with politicians at all levels of government and talk about the urgency of climate change and necessity of rapidly cooling the Arctic. I have a clear conscience because I have tried. I know that many people around the world will die, I know that unbelievable changes are starting to occur and will explode in frequency, amplitude, spatial extent and impact over this decade, and I know that the general public will be in shock when their familiar climate system becomes a complete stranger to them...Personally, as I have acquired more and more knowledge over the course of my Ph.D. studies in abrupt climate change, I have passed through the shock stage, and the subsequent unaccepting stage of grief a long time ago, I am in the acceptance stage now.

Apologies, it was a blast to hurl invective back and forth, but I am not playing that game anymore. I will not be reading ANY of your posts on this thread, for a while anyway. I need a XXXXX break.

P.S. I did not take the time to write this post just for your sake alone. I am posting it, with your name removed, in social media under the heading "How to part ways with a climate denier that has incredible stamina . . .". Thanks for the learning experience.


  1. Thanks so much for this post.

    Much denialism is badly disguised promotion of carbon fuel businesses. I can excuse the non-business deniers for being merely ignorant. However, actively promoting climate change denial amounts to hastening human doom for the cause of commerce. This is the nadir of capitalisim because any stockholder-owned corporation has a fiduciary responsibility to deliver the highest possible profits. Promoting denial just helps sell more coal, crude oil, gas and even cars and any other carbon energy products. Stockholders require it. And while such malfeasance may be immoral, it is not illegal and under our system, required.

    The silent form of common denialism - the non-commercial type - may be ideological or just the psychological denial of someone caught in a painful tragedy, immobilized and dumbstruck. They are just stuck in a world of change, refusing to see it fall apart. Such deniers are mostly harmless victims. And the pity is they will be un-prepared and remain buckled into their seats like shocked passengers in a burning plane. We can tell them to move, shake them a little, but we cannot carry them to the rescue slide.

    But the denier who speaks up, argues, and promotes other deniers does great harm and should be called out. It's not like cigarettes causing cancer, after all, a down-wind smoker harms no one, they only cause cancer in themselves. And your kids won't suffer from their second hand smoke. But the politically active global warming denier is harming everyone in the world -- like interfereing with firefighters on their way to a burning house. This is the world in danger and hence this is more like supporting mass murder than a selling cigarettes to a chain smoker. By this standard, Senator Inhofe, for instance, has done astounding harm to every citizen of the world, not just Oklahoma voters. And Lindzen, Patrick Michaels, Fred Singer and Spencer - all receive funding from various institutes or trade associations to promote the current flavor of climate change denial which is that humans have no connection to global warming - if it is real. They have done great harm. They continue to suborn mass murder.

    You'r e right, now that climate momentum is past the point of easy conversion, there maybe little we can do. All we have left is to adapt and mitigate in the future of survival challenges. However, using denial as a tactic of immoral plunder deserves shame and blame. The Republican party of the powerful and the wealthy seem curiously unified in a dark thanatoxic psychosis. And they may not be deniers so much as greedy, evil opportunists that brandish the sword of climate denial along with other weapons.

    I think we may have an obligation to continue to engage the professional power deniers in any way we can - if only to call them dangerous and deluded before we move on. We would be demonstrating to others how to confront dangerous, delusional criminals.

  2. A Scientific denier under investigation
    Repost in a newer thread if you find it appropriate, or ask me to.