Many thanks to all who’ve posted comments, best wishes etc.
It’s maybe a bit early to be soliciting information from the still modest number of readers, but there’s something I’m interested in knowing about (the old market researcher in me never dies). It’s this:
What happens when you raise the subject of your climate scepticism among your friends, acquaintances, colleagues etc.? (I’m not talking about spouses who object to the amount of time spent before the screen – blog widows – I know about that). Does your confession result in a lively discussion, a polite assent, or an embarrassed silence? Are you ostracised or embraced as a fellow heretic?
Here’s my experience, which I confess I find infinitely depressing.
I don’t normally raise the subject, since it’s not something that lends itself to casual discussion over dinner, but when I have done so the results have been peculiar.
Three friends, all with science PhDs, (in physics, sociology and epidemiology) all Guardian-reading Labour supporters, just looked at me pityingly and changed the subject. It was clear from later discussion that they had no other source of information on the subject than the standard left-leaning media, and the fact that someone they consider (I hope) to be on their intellectual level disagreed violently provoked no interest in finding out more. One sent me a reference to a document which she said would change my mind. It turned out to be about passive smoking. One assumed that I was just going through the normal process of getting more right wing with age. One insisted angrily that all the peer reviewed science was against me.
All three have excellent reasons to question the environmentalist message. One struggles to save the Health Service from the money men – management consultants and the like – who batten on to public services. Two are Labour activists in the constituency which the Greens won from Labour in the last general election. None of them would dream of googling “climate scepticism” to find out more.
Two other friend have shown some sympathy, though without expressing any further interest. (I don’t know many people in England, having lived abroad for 30 years). One had read Michael Crichton’s “Climate of Fear” and one had read Richard Bean’s play “The Heretic” – chance encounters with fictional accounts of scepticism of the most extreme sort, since both works portray eco-terrorists of the kind which exist only in our nightmares.
What does it mean?
Am I just so socially maladroit, unconvincing, fundamentally unserious and lightweight, that no-one takes any notice of my opinions?
I’d love to hear about your experiences.