Like all other British bloggers, I am parasitically dependent on Bishop Hill, eternally grateful to His Grace for a diet of numerous tasty tidbits, and for being the source of a steady trickle of new readers. Sometimes I try to return the favour, if it’s only by pointing out one or two interesting ticks in his outer orifices.
While the main Bishop Hill blog is mostly solid news, the Discussion page allows readers to release the bees in their bonnets (to vary the biological metaphor). It’s a rich source of information, often from specialists, but also a sounding board for all sorts of hunches, opinions and speculations.
One idea I launched there a while ago was the desirability of forming a proper society of climate sceptics. My thinking was strategic – cynical even. Organs like the BBC will only deal with spokesmen who represent something – either a body of experts, in the case climate scientists, or representatives of established institutions. (For us, that means Lord Lawson, as a member of the House of Lords and head of the GWPF, and the odd foreign scientist like Plimer or Curry, and -very rarely – an outsider like the blogger Andrew Montford.
(I remember Mary Whitehouse and her 50,000-strong National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association, who campaigned vociferously against the stream of satire, cynicism, and filth that the BBC was emitting in the 60s and 70s, and the fact that, despite her evident popularity, the BBC refused to treat with her because she hadn’t been elected by her Association, which was therefore, in the eyes of the Beeb, nothing more than a glorified fan club).
I argued that a properly constituted association of climate sceptics, with a few thousand members and a modest membership fee to cover travel expenses for its spokesman from Scotland or wherever to the BBC studios, would necessarily be considered a valid interlocutor on climate subjects. When AR5 WGII came out for instance, the editor of the Today programme would phone them up and say “What do you sceptics think?” and our spokesmen would reply. Of course, Bob Ward would complain: “What about me? I’m a qualified PR man with a salary paid by a very rich and important hedge fund manager!” and the Today editor would say: “Get stuffed.”
My suggestion was roundly rejected by the majority of commenters. It’s time has not come. Lots of people don’t like my style, which is a fact which I consider to be an argument in favour of my proposal. The whole point of associations is to link together people who wouldn’t naturally bond. I think of the International Working Men’s Association formed by a dozen British trade unionists and an eccentric foreign journalist called Karl Marx. You may prefer to consider the members of your local Rotary Club.
Anyway, there are lots of other ideas on offer at
and I’ll just mention three which have caught my attention recently, and note that what they have in common is that they illustrate the fact that we sceptics are beginning to think strategically. People are giving a lot of thought to how to win the argument, or at least how to advance it, in a climate which is becoming less tolerant of alternative ideas, not more, despite the evident flaws in the consensus position.
Robin Guenier, at
argues that “current climate policy is pointless – we need a new approach”. None of us would disagree with that, I imagine. What Robin proposes is that we should drop the discussion about the science (which we can’t win) and concentrate on the Realpolitik. Robin and I frequently cross paths on threads at sites varying from New Left Project and New Statesman to some weird site (Robin will no doubt provide the address) financed by Middle Eastern airlines and hotel chains, evidently out to attract the profitable Green Jetsetting International Conference market. The fact that we don’t always agree doesn’t stop us from both being labelled as part of a conspiracy, but that’s consensus for you.
is discussing the Psychology of Climate Belief/Dis-belief, and, perhaps as a spinoff, Jiminy Cricket at
proposes a discussion of “Warmism, a new form of global cult?” Both threads allow for a discussion of the analysis of the nature of envoironmentalism / climate catastrophism which goes far beyond the usual political namecalling. This is the project which Ben Pile has been pushing at Climate Resistance for years, and which I hope to begin to tackle.
There are many other interesting discussions, but if I mention these three, it’s because what they have in common is a desire to think strategically about how to win a long and arduous battle. This is not about saying “Ha, ha, we’re right and you’re wrong! Look at Hadcrut / AR5 SPM / the latest nonsense from Lewandowsky / Bob Ward / Lord Deben”. It’s about thinking seriously about the nature of the environmentalist / catastrophist argument, and about how to combat it.
I’ve had enough interactions with people here, at BishopHill, at Climate Resistance and elsewhere to know what a bright and motivated lot we are. We can win if we interact and unite our forces. Exactly how this will happen is a mystery to me, and I suspect to everyone else, but the force is there. May it be with you.