In ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ Al Gore repeatedly suggests that all the ‘so-called global warming skeptics’ are in the pay of a big oil company probably Exxon Mobil. Never once during this so-called documentary does Gore acknowledge that there is potential for an alternative thesis on global warming and the role of carbon dioxide. All dissent is met with ridicule and/or name calling.
Al Gore certainly doesn’t appear to understand the potential value of hypotheses testing. Instead Gore reduces global warming to a moral issue and a contest between the good guys, which according to Gore includes all of the world’s climate scientists, and the so-bad so-called skeptics, who he suggests are all hired guns.
Gore is clearly not a fan of Socrates who once said
wrote that the highest form of human excellence is to question one-self and others.
The Gore approach has certainly brought out the worst in some journalists with Sophie Black from Crikey, a so-called independent online media service, ditching independent analysis for branding.
Yesterday, she wrote in a piece entitled ‘The Global Warming Sceptics Club – a Crikey list’:
“But the majority of scientists in Australia believe that reasonable debate about the substance of global warming ended some time ago. What remains at issue is potential rates of change and the scale of destruction, a problem many have moved onto addressing. But even in the most optimistic scenarios, the news is not good.
Which means the doubters are starting to reduce to a small, exclusive clique. Crikey has compiled an unofficial membership list of the Global Warming Sceptics Club — meet the commentators who don’t see what all the fuss is about.”
Her list includes me (Jennifer Marohasy) along with William Kininmonth (former head of the National Climate Centre and a consultant to the World Meteorological Organisation), Ray Evans (once executive at Western Mining Corporation), Chris Mitchell (Editor-in-chief of The Australian), Terry McCrann (News Ltd business writer), Andrew Bolt (Herald Sun columnist), Hugh Morgan (head of the Business Council of Australia until 2005), Alan Wood (The Australian’s finance writer), Ian Castles (Former head of the Australian Bureau of Statistics), Ian Plimer (Professor of Mining Geology at the University of Adelaide) and Bob Carter (A former director of the Australian Ocean Drilling Office, Professor of paleoclimatology at James Cook University).
Like Al Gore, instead of analyzing the quality of our argument(s), Black makes one or other of the following comments next to each of our names, and in the context of other comment, insinuates that we have a vested interest in maintaining what she considers to be an increasingly untenable position: “closely associated to the mining industry”, “News Ltd” or “a member of the IPA (Institute of Public Affairs)”.
Most of us might be just independent thinkers who have taken the time and effort to try and understand the issue and have come to a different conclusion and refuse to be bullied into the consensus position.
It is somewhat shocking that in 2006, an independent news service like Crikey, and a much revered so-called documentary like ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ can be so openly intolerant and dismissive of any alternative perspective on such an important issue as climate change.
The Crikey piece by Sophie Black includes links to some recent public commentary by the so-called Clique on ‘An Inconvenient Truth’:
William Kinimonth, Don’t be Gored into going along, The Australian, 12th September: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20393768-7583,00.html
Andrew Bolt, Bulled by a Gore, Herald Sun, 13th September: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,20400748-5000117,00.html
Terry McCran, Al Gore’s Day After Tomorrow Sequel, Herald Sun, 12th September :http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,20394654-36281,00.html
Chris Mitchell, Editorial: It’s not the end of the world, The Australian, 4th September :http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20346728-7583,00.html
and also An Inconvenient cost, The Australian, 12th September: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20393954-7583,00.html
I will be writing something for my next Counterpoint column on the 2nd October.