Climate skeptics at it again

When climate skeptics spread disinformation to muddy the public’s understanding of climate issues, they are doing more than just protecting the economic interests of certain industries whose profits depend on us continuing to burn ever larger and larger amounts of fossil fuels.

They are also slowing the public awareness of the problem which necessarily must proceed political action. And their short-sighted gains will be to the long-term detriment of all of us and of many generations yet to come.

So I was bummed to see that Slashdot, which generally has interesting content, put up a piece today, Scientists Respond to Gore on Global Warming, by Tom Harris claiming that the entire impending climate crisis is an illusion and that this is the opinion of most climate scientists. Note that the Slashdot piece refers to an article which initially appeared in the Canadian Free Press.

I read through a lot of the comments that followed and found one that clearly exposed Harris for the energy industry shill that he is. This article is by Jon Bennett and was published in The Hamilton Spectator on March 21st, 2002. Its full text can be found here:

Climate skeptic misinterprets global warming

But, in the end, I don’t think someone like Harris cares if he’s revealed as a low-life. All the comments and claims and counter claims that followed his article are just what he wants – a lot of churn and back and forth that only serves to reinforce the public’s perception that the jury’s still out on the Climate Crisis question when, in fact, it is not.

So the real winner here was Harris in that he got Slashdot to give him a bully pulpit to sow confusion from. And the real losers are us because everytime John Q public walks away from one of these fiascos thinking that the climate question is still up in the air, it delays the day when we begin to take serious action on the problem and deepens the already gathering consequences. And the real stupidity here is Slashdot’s in giving him a stage to bray from.

Some journalists believe it is their ‘duty’ to give all points of view equal time. But when the two points of view are real science vs. politically and profit motivated science and when what’s at stake is the world’s future climate, I think they need to extend themselves a little and consider common sense and responsibility a bit more.

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