It really is a bit much even in the nasty debate over climate. The term “denier,” as hurled at those of us who like scientific predictions that come true and prefer debate to abuse, was deliberately modeled on Holocaust deniers, a cheap and dirty trick. And now we hear from a piece in Reuters that the network that allowed Harvey Weinstein to abuse women was “a hierarchy of audibility and credibility, a brutal hierarchy, in which people with facts often cannot prevail, because those who have more power push those facts out of the room and into silence or make the cost of stating those facts dangerously high.” And the really bad thing is “That’s how the oil industry turned the science of climate change into a fake debate full of fake uncertainties.” Right. Because jumping on the alarmist bandwagon is such a career-killer, while speaking out against it is such a ticket to riches and fame.
It is a sign of the debasement of the debate that it has become so routinely meanspirited. And here may we remind those commenting favourably on our videos to mind their manners as well. But it is also a sign of its debasement that people throw in a ritual genuflexion at the altar of climate to prove their bona fides, stir an emotional response in the audience and, yes, virtue signal even when it’s completely bonkers as a piece of analysis.
That Harvey Weinstein got away with loathsome conduct over many years is undeniable. That he did it because of a network of powerful friends and a set of cultural norms in Hollywood is also undeniable. (As is the inconvenient truth that Hollywood is very liberal and committed to the global warming scare despite being a massive source of emissions and that Weinstein himself was a major liberal activist and Democratic fundraiser.)
Of course he should have been called to account years earlier and it would be far better had his evil deeds been prevented entirely. But it is worse than fatuous to observe the wall of silence around the “casting couch” and imagine an equivalent wall of silence around climate change. Most of us didn’t hear about Harvey Weinstein’s misdeeds until 2017. But for decades we’ve heard endlessly about climate change, and only from one side.
It’s astounding how often one hears climate alarmists depict themselves as rebels who “challenge orthodoxy”. Because, as they know perfectly well, it is those academics and politicians who question the orthodoxy who find their careers in jeopardy. Just ask Judith Curry. It is those who are skeptical to one degree or another who are afraid to speak out, and at risk of being “deplatformed” if they try, while those who break the law on behalf of climate action face few or no consequences. It is the brutal hierarchy of audibility and credibility, abetted by aggressively credulous journalists, that pushes awkward “facts out of the room and into silence” or makes “the cost of stating those facts dangerously high”. And the people reading that article, and its author, know it.
They know nobody is afraid to say we must reduce emissions, even if they just arrived by private jet. (Or flew to Barbados to agree that we should do some unspecified good thing.) They know nobody is afraid to say CO2 is threatening civilization, even if they run a fossil fuel company. They know almost everyone is terrified of being labeled a “denier”. They know the real money is in alarmism, in the form of literally tens of billions of dollars in government funding as well as large private foundations. The grants are everywhere. Hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars are flung about like confetti. And yet journalists, politicians, activists and academics continue to peddle the false narrative that big oil has bought or browbeaten everyone into denying the existence of climate change. (Or to complain that the money is going to physical sciences rather than social sciences. Seriously.)
There is a very real danger that one day people will have had enough of it, and the credibility of major social institutions from government to the press to the entertainment industry will be ruined. So it’s time to stop the bullying and the hypocrisy and clear the air.