Clive Hamilton (failed Greens candidate and “intellectual” Australian) couldn’t persuade skeptical adults he’s right about carbon pollution, so instead of improving his arguments, he’s trying the same lines out on our kids.
This is a message for parents in response to Clive Hamilton’s letter to children of “deniers”.
Clive Hamilton has written to your kids. If you’re like me, almost everything he said about you was a lie. How do you answer your children if they say “you are paid a lot of money to try to stop laws about pollution and what you do will kill poor kids?”
After you explain the truth, and point out that this man, a) wouldn’t know, and b) has an interest in promoting the fake scare, it might be time to give them a skill for life. The most dangerous people in the world are the ones who pretend to have good intentions, and there’s a way to tell the fake heroes from the real ones.
Fake heroes like darkness. Real heroes like light.
Fakes don’t like debates, open discussions or other opinions. They don’t want their ideas exposed to the light of polite conversation, or the plasma arc glare of real evidence. To keep everyone in darkness, fake heroes throw names instead of talking politely. They try to intimidate people who disagree to keep them from speaking. Sometimes they even tell lies (and tell themselves it’s OK, because the ends justifies the means).
Hamilton does all he can to pull the plug on the shining lights. He wants eminent physicists like Will Happer, censored. Happer is a Princeton University professor of physics and former Director of Energy Research at the Department of Energy. But, Hamilton calls Happer a Denier, and says his words “are dangerous.” Just because Happer has excellent credentials doesn’t mean he’s right, but Hamilton does not even think he deserves to be heard.
Ponder what Happer’s grown up children, (or Bob Carter’s, Ian Plimer’s, or Bill Kininmonth’s) might think of Hamilton’s advice about how their dads are “spoiling things for them and the other kids at school.”
If Hamilton really wanted to save the environment he’d want to see all the studies
If Hamilton really wanted to save the environment he’d want to see all the studies on how the suns magnetic field might affect clouds and rainfall, and find out what astrophysicists are saying, or how there have been hundreds of examples where carbon rose, but temperatures fell or visa versa over decades and centuries and even millennia. Only by getting better information could he help the worlds poor, or the worlds polar bears. There’s no danger of that happening.
What’s the worst kind of fake hero?
The worst kind of fake hero (also known as a “scam artist”) wants power and money. He tells you he’s here to save you, but insists you must pay him lots and now! . Mr Hamilton wants to be in charge so he can spend your money, stop you saying what you think, and stop you voting for other people. This is called a tyrant. Mr Hamilton wants power. He doesn’t want to answer our questions politely; he just wants to scare us into doing it, or force us with threats.
Mr Hamilton wants to be in charge so he can spend your money, stop you saying what you think, and stop you voting for other people. This is called a tyrant.
People who really care about others, don’t want to stop them having their turn to speak, even if they disagree with them. That’s why, even though Mr Hamilton is an overbearing, power hungry smear artist who throws names, I would fight for his right to speak freely. (Of course, as a taxpayer, I have a right to demand our government stops funding anti-democratic fools through our universities and state-funded media. He can talk, but he shouldn’t receive my money to help him do it.)
Mr Hamilton’s “rules” don’t seem all that useful. He claims we sceptics only speak about inconvenient evidence because we are paid lots of money (as if somehow my unknowable intentions could nullify satellite data, say). But Mr Gore, has earnt millions promoting a scare, and Mr Hamilton doesn’t think that means Al Gore is wrong. So Mr Hamilton ignores his own rule. Such is his insight.
As it happens, the people who try to scare us, receive at least 3,500 times as much money as those of us who claim the scare is fake. It’s a shame good intentions don’t tell us who wins the debate on climate sensitivity, because we would win hands down. But, even kids know that no matter how much anybody on Earth is paid, it won’t change the weather.
Mr Hamilton claims we will kill people, but since there are hundreds of peer-reviewed papers that don’t support or even outright falsify his theory, he’s got no case for action at all. He needs to explain how his ideas will not kill children. He wants to stop poor people getting cheap electricity. We know that for people on the edge of poverty, this won’t make them warmer, or better-fed. It has to leave them just a bit colder and in the dark, or in houses with dangerous open smoking fires, and with nearby forests being plundered for firewood. It has to make it harder for them to get to school or visit the doctor.
Mr Hamilton’s claims of crisis are baseless bluster. If you ask him for evidence, he will call you names. What he hasn’t said is telling. He hasn’t called for scientific data to be freely available (in the light of real peer review). He tacitly defends scientists who hide their data or cheat on their results. He defends committees who demand your money and bully anyone who asks “why.”
You can acknowledge for your children, that it’s a bit scary to think that some people are trying to trick them, invent fake scares or turn them against their parents.
It’s scary to think that another grown-up might say lies about your mum or dad, but there is something you can do: You can rise above. You can tell Mr Hamilton that we don’t hide in the dark, and we are not afraid of the truth.
You can tell him we are not fooled.
You can be polite, and let him know that anytime he wants to save children or forests or stop tyrants, your mum and dad will be happy to sit down and explain the evidence.
The original version of Clive Hamilton’s letter to children of “deniers”.
There’s something you need to know about your father.
Your dad’s job is to try to stop the government making laws to reduce Australia’s carbon pollution. He is paid a lot of money to do that by big companies who do not want to own up to the fact that their pollution is changing the world’s climate in very harmful ways.
Because of their pollution, lots of people, mostly poor people, are likely to die. They will die from floods, from diseases like dengue fever, and from starvation when their crops won’t grow anymore.
The big companies are putting their profits before the lives of people. And your dad is helping them.
Your life is going to be worse too because of what your dad is doing when he goes to work each morning. By the time you are as old as your parents, Australia will be having a lot more heat waves, like the one in Melbourne earlier this year, and there will be more bush fires too.
Droughts will be worse, and you won’t be able to have fun exploring the Great Barrier Reef because it won’t be there anymore.
Deep down your dad knows all this, although he probably pretends he doesn’t. If you’ve asked him about it he probably said that the scientists are not sure what’s going to happen, or that Australia’s carbon pollution is not very big, or that business is business.
He has to tell himself these things because otherwise he would feel too guilty and could not sleep very well at night.
So your dad is not really a bad person. He is not deliberately making the world a worse place for you and all the other kids. But he is telling lies to himself so he does not have to face up to the truth about what he does at work.
The thing is, though, that what your dad is doing is wrecking the future for my children too, and that makes me feel upset. Many Australians feel the same way; they think that what your father does is just plain wrong, and that he should stop.
I am sure it’s hard for you to hear these words, but there is something you can do to help. Why not sit your dad down and have a good talk to him. Tell him you want him to stop helping the big companies that are spoiling the future for you and all the other kids at school. Tell him that the family would rather have less money if he had a different job, one you could be proud of.
Tell him that you know he will feel much happier inside if he is doing something to make Australia and the world a better place, instead of going to work every day to make it a worse one.
Your dad has lost his way, and you might be the only person in the world who can help him find it again. So talk to him.
UPDATE: I’m glad I kept a copy of his letter here, because the ABC has taken down his piece. Gone, “not found”. Thanks to Mal for pointing that out.
UPDATE 2: The page is back up http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2765351.htm. I have no idea why it was “not found” but probably a banal reason. Thanks to deadman for the news.