Sunday, 10 January 2010

What do you call those who deny the evidence of climate change?

Some call them skeptics, but this is being far too kind to them. Skeptics come from an honourable tradition, very similar to that of scientists. A scientific skeptic is one who questions the reliability of certain kinds of claims by subjecting them to a systematic investigation. The skeptic generally accepts claims that are in his/her view likely to be true based on testable hypotheses and critical thinking.

So those who deny the mass of evidence on climate change are not skeptics. I suggest that its better to call them denialists, they have seen the evidence, but refuse to accept it. Denialism describes the situation where some people choose to deny reality as a way to avoid an uncomfortable truth, it is the refusal to accept an empirically verifiable reality. It is an essentially irrational action that withholds validation of a historical experience or event.

Denial is used for people who refuse to accept thay have a problem, for example, when someone admits that they drink more than is sensible, but deny that it causes them problems, when in fact many of the problems they experience are consequences of their drinking.

I have already blogged about some politicians in denial, here , and more here and here. 23% of Britain's 72 MEPs are either explicit climate deniers, or are members of parties who remain silent on the subject.

Up to a fifth of the MPs who have been debating the UK's climate change bill do not understand, or choose to ignore, the science on which it is based. They were 18 Cons MPs (33%), 11 of the 91 Labour (12%) & 2 of the 19 LDs(11%). Overall thats 19%. I think we should get rid of the lot.


dazmando said...

When people say, look how cold it is in China or the US or Europe, tell them the golbal temp is still the same. there is a heat wave in Australia and the north poll is 10 degrees warmer than it should be this time of year.

Its all balances out thats climate v weather which is what we are having at the moment here in the UK

Adrian Windisch said...

Theres a funny thing. The people who are saying the cold weather denies climate change are the same people who hated any mention of hurricanes etc being part of it. Double standards for deniers.

David Cox said...

You sound a bit McCarthyist Adrian, many members of your own party accept equally un-scientific nonsense on MMR or 9/11 ‘troother’ conspiracy theories. Are you planning ‘to get rid of them’ too?

The poll of MPs looks very dodgy: The IPCC, comprised of climate experts and scientists from around the globe, has concluded that recent temperature rises are "very likely" (my emphasis) down to human emissions of greenhouse gases. The survey of MPs was carried out by ComRes for the LGA. It wrote to MPs and asked: "Do you believe that climate change is happening and can be directly attributed to greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activity?" An MP with science training would answer "I believe it's very likely"; however the letter only offered Yes, No and Don't know. It is perfectly possible to agree with the IPCC that AGW is ‘very likely’ and want to take action as a precaution, and still answer NO to the survey question. Equally how do you know that the MPs answering YES are not basing their opinion on some conspiracy theory David Ike’s dreamed up about lizard-men changing the climate.

Adrian Windisch said...

Hi David, nice to see you here. I like your post on phone boxes,, I did something similar

Climate change is the most serious issue facing us, the big three parties claim to agree with this, but its just not true of all. Any politician who cant cope with this, and denies it, should be voted out by the public.

thehoatzin said...

and the MMR comment?

and the troofer comment?

Adrian Windisch said...

I have read thousands of Green blogs, yet to read one about 'troofers'. I don't doubt some exist somewhere by all parties.

Similarly with MMR. Also the Governments record was so poor that many people just assumed they were lying.

The point is that climate change is the biggest challenge facing us, politicians denying it should go.