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Nick Cohen “deniers have won” — gets startlingly close to the truth

Posted By Joanne Nova On March 23, 2014 @ 10:02 pm In Global Warming,Media-matters | Comments Disabled

What insight. ‘Tis prosaic — Nick Cohen in The Guardian packs more truth — runs tantalizingly close to a major insight, yet skates off, one single word short.

It’s projection on a rampage, and Cohen almost seems to realize it.  Perhaps we can help him?

“The climate change deniers have won”

Where else, but The Guardian?

Yes, Mr Cohen, those whom you deliberately and with malice call “deniers” are winning. Incredibly, even though they have only 0.03% of the funds, none of the machinery or the institutions, the enmity of western governments, existential opposition from the $350 billion renewables industry, no support from the large global carbon trading market, and only scorn and derision from the entire UN, and yet they are winning with nothing but wits and facts.

“Scientists continue to warn us about global warming, but most of us have a vested interest in not wanting to think about it”
Exactly!  If you care about the environment you need to think. How serious is the problem of CO2? Here’s a handy list of topics that won’t tell us that answer:
  • Any list of organizations, associations, committees.
  • Any survey of keywords used in publications.
  • Psychoanalysis, pop psychology, anonymous internet surveys
  • Funding, imaginary or real.
  • Studies of cults.
  • Speculation about vested interests, oil companies, political ideology.
Here’s a list of topics that will:
  • Observations about the climate – weather balloons, ice cores, satellites, corals, rocks, thermometers, stuff like that.
Cohen talks about the green-gravy train grinding to a halt, and says:
All of which is a long way of saying that the global warming deniers have won. And please, can I have no emails from bed-wetting kidults blubbing that you can’t call us “global warming deniers ” because “denier” makes us sound like “Holocaust deniers”, and that means you are comparing us to Nazis? The evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz. No other word will do.
It’s neat how he compares being skeptical of the climate to being skeptical of Auschwitz, then calls people cry-babies who point out that “deniers” is namecalling and a tactic that bullies and people who have no arguments use.  See, I wouldn’t have said “holocaust denier” in an email, because I’d assume he uses the denial word simply as cheap shot, an abuse of English. Indeed — in a sense, this is the only word he’s got wrong in the whole article, and his logic is sort of sensible and understandable if there were deniers denying scientific observations. But everything he’s written depends entirely on the accuracy of that highly unscientific word. He uses it as a tool to shut down debate, without realizing the minds it closes are those of him and his friends.
I mean, go figure, who would listen to a denier? It’s like talking to your cat. No wonder he finds this debate so baffling.
Tempting though it is to blame cowardly politicians, the abuse comes too easily. The question remains: what turned them into cowards?
What turns politicians into cowards? How about a rampant vicious namecalling campaign run by second rate journalists calling people deniers? Could be…
And when the world makes no sense you have to resort to rabid conspiracy theories eh?
Rightwing billionaires in the United States and the oil companies have spent fortunes on blocking action on climate change. A part of the answer may therefore be that conservative politicians in London, Washington and Canberra are doing their richest supporters’ bidding. There’s truth in the bribery hypothesis. In my own little world of journalism, I have seen rightwing hacks realise the financial potential of denial and turn from reasonable men and women into beetle-browed conspiracy theorists.
Go on Mr Cohen, tell us the names of these right wing hacks, just one. Or even one oil company that has spent even a tenth as much on skeptics as alarmists in, say, the last 10 years.
These are my favorite paragraphs. He writes about cultists of Dorothy Martin, willing to work for no money at all:
Climate change deniers are as committed. Their denial fits perfectly with their support for free market economics, opposition to state intervention and hatred of all those latte-slurping, quinoa-munching liberals, with their arrogant manners and dainty hybrid cars, who presume to tell honest men and women how to live. If they admitted they were wrong on climate change, they might have to admit that they were wrong on everything else and their whole political identity would unravel.
So let’s fix that paragraph:
Climate change believers are as committed. Their belief fits perfectly with their support for free market economics government handouts, opposition to state intervention the green religion and hatred of all those latte-slurping, quinoa-munching liberals, those who stand on their own two feet, and contribute more tax than they take, with their arrogant unfashionable good manners and refusal to be told how to live. If the believers  admitted they were wrong on climate change, they might have to admit that they were wrong on everything else and their whole political identity would unravel.
Then here’s an admission, any illogical ranting namecaller can write “about the environment every week” and no editor will knock it back:

I am no better than them. I could write about the environment every week. No editor would stop me. But the task feels as hopeless as arguing against growing old. Whatever you do or say, it is going to happen. How can you persuade countries to accept huge reductions in their living standards to limit (not stop) the rise in temperatures? How can you persuade the human race to put the future ahead of the present?

Dear Nick Cohen, the answer you are looking for is easy. Start with tolerance, respect and compassion. Assume that other intelligent beings have an opinion worth listening to. (Know your enemy, if you prefer). Find holes in our arguments, stop calling us names, and if you come up with something logical, we’ll be back on your team in no time flat.
Cohen is crying out to be saved here. (Send him some flowers!) He even admits he is as blind and ideological as he imagines those he attacks to be. He’s projected the money grubbing, social vanity and irrational beliefs onto everyone who disagrees. It’s the only way he can keep calling thousands of independent scientists and more than half the population  petty names and still kid himself he’s a free thinker and he cares about the planet.
Calling Dr Freud. Projection alert. Emergency case.
PS: Commenters please don’t use the term Holocaust or discuss that topic at all. It’s unfortunately not a topic we have the resources to moderate any more.
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