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The silent undercurrent of skepticism

Posted By JoNova On April 24, 2010 @ 1:58 am In AGW socio-political,Global Warming | Comments Disabled

 

The Spectator gave me an unusual assignment. An open-ended request to gather thoughts over a couple of weeks and note them in a diary. It’s an interesting genre because it brings out messages that might not come to life otherwise. This was printed in the Australian Edition of The Spectator Magazine, out today.

Jo Nova opens her diary


Another friend, Troy, has had that transformation: not from a climate ‘believer’ to ‘sceptic’, but from being only vaguely interested to being hopping mad. Friends like Troy know my husband David and I are sceptical of man-made global warming, and have listened (if only politely). Then one day they’ll call us, suddenly very interested in details of missing upper tropospheric patterns or Vostok Ice core data or some other unlikely topic. It’s always the same pattern — no matter whether they’re an accountant (like Troy), a lawyer, or our high school babysitter. They’ve admitted some doubt in public, and then been shocked at the force of the response. The sneering derision — Oh My God! How could you? — is over the top. It has an extraordinary effect, as if a fuse has been lit under them; they’re majorly cheesed, and they want to be armed for their next encounter.

Thus the religious zeal of the army of man-made warming followers is now working against the climate change campaign. Each time a passive sceptic comes across a zealot, the event sees the blooming of another passionate sceptic. They’re popping up all over the place. On this point, in our kitchen, David worries that I am giving too much away here by divulging this strategic weak point. As if, I cry! They’ve spent ten years training acolytes with pat answers and rude remarks — they can hardly undo that damage now even if they wanted to. There are teams of bullies out there primed to recite DeSmog vitriol, and, like viruses, they can’t be called back in.

As soon as you admit you are not a believer, suddenly you find out how many people agree.

And there is a major silent undercurrent of passive sceptics. I am reminded of the taxi driver I met on the way to a speech here in Perth in October. I announce that I’m ‘talking about climate change’ and there’s a dead silence. I add, ‘It’s not what you think. It’s a scam.’ He comes to life, practically claps while he drives (I worry about the steering wheel) — ‘That’s fantastic,’ he enthuses, ‘Can I come see you talk?!’ It’s just another sign that under the veneer of solid public belief in ‘climate change’, nearly everyone outside of the core believers only has a paper-thin conviction. As soon as you admit you are not a believer, suddenly you find out how many people agree. Kevin Rudd has never had a conversation like that, so he has no idea of the strength of the sceptical undercurrent. It’s a confirmation bias, and it has flummoxed him and many others. Behind the wall of confidence and ritual nods, few realized beforehand that the polls would swing so rapidly. It reminds me of that line about keeping your enemies close. Rudd, Wong, Turnbull and co. mistakenly surrounded themselves with believers — it is a fatal flaw in politics.

Apparently my ‘network’ influence is comparable to NASA (judging by the size of the balls). Hilarious!

I glow. A compatriot, Anthony Watts, emails me with a wry link. I find I’ve made it to a select list of global sceptics touted by Oxfam. Apparently my ‘network’ influence is comparable to NASA (judging by the size of the balls). Hilarious! The consultancy that produced this is named — in a parody of itself — Unsimplify. They don’t seem to realise that any half-wit can ‘complexify’. But it’s high praise from my opponents about my apparent global political influence: ‘A small group of dedicated people… succeeded in accomplishing the most impressive PR coup of the 21st century.’ Shucks. The late nights feel worthwhile. I’m beaming.

Unfortunately, the global network chart itself is so meaningless it’s self-satire. Oxfam paid for this ‘research’. It’s a scandalous waste of donors’ money. Is the world in danger from anthropogenic climate change? We won’t find out by following ‘html link networks’. (The evidence, man, the evidence…) David and I laugh late into the night about it though.

Another day I post my reply to a professor who went out of his way to embarrass himself on ABC Unleashed. He claims he’s talking evidence, but instead talks about Ivan Milat, AIDS, the length of the IPCC report, and somehow he thinks that scoring lots of Google Scholar hits is a reason to set up a trillion dollar market. I’m thinking ‘delusional’. While I’m unmercilessly tough on his reasoning, 40,000 black ants have set up a six-lane highway in our dining room. But I don’t want to be too mean, so I block off the crack in the wall, and put down a sheet of paper with honey on it. I’m hoping they will congregate there for dessert, and I can move them outside with their free meal. It’s futile. Six ants order sweets and 40,000 ants start hunting for another exit. I laugh at the irony. I outwit a professor, but the ants outwit me.

Read the rest here …


There’s quite a collection of other Spectator Diary Entries including Melanie Phillips, Miranda Devine, Lord Monckton (writing about his Australian tour) and even Joan Collins (writing about corruption in government, banking and politics, can you believe). As I noted last week, there are is cutting commentary in The Spectator that is hard to find elsewhere.

Christopher Monckton also wrote about the his keynote at the NY conference last year(which is about to happen again, this time in Chicago). His keynote went down a treat. It was the right speech at the right moment to the right crowd. (No, I can’t imagine he could or would deliver exactly that speech anywhere else, but it was a lot of fun to be there, and worth a read in The Spectator. You can also download the video from the Heartland site.)

Other articles published by Jo Nova in mainstream media.

PS: I also note tonight there are exactly 1111 people (Update, and now over 5000 in July 2011)  signed up to receive emails on the site. Feel free to join them if you’d like the odd irregular email from me… (see under the “Subscribe” header on the top right.) You won’t receive any emails from the site, except the ones I send, or the comments threads you choose to receive emails on.

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