And maybe, just maybe, we’re right

(click to enlarge -- apologies to cartoonist, Clay Bennett)One often hears that opponents of climate change alarmism are “deniers” (a slur intended to recall Holocaust denial), are oil-company-funded (as if energy companies don’t need those dollars to polish their green image), are limited to a lunatic fringe (as if lunatic fringes host international conferences and write appeals to the United Nations) and most importantly, claim that they get their facts wrong (ironic, considering the many inconsistencies in alarmism “science”).

Now one alarmist expresses his surprise at the debate on a green website he started. He thought he’d have to cast the net wide to find skeptics, but in reality, is having to actively recruit people willing and able to defend the climate catastrophe orthodoxy. And it’s the “able” part that appears to present the most serious problems. Skeptics are better prepared, better informed and better read than alarmists. They quote better science and argue their cases more effectively, he laments.

I seldom quote entire posts, but this makes for pretty amazing reading:

When I launched the TalkClimateChange forums last year, I was initially worried as to where I would find people who didn’t believe in global warming. I had planned to create a furious debate, but in my experience global warming was such a universally accepted issue that I expected to have to dredge the slums of the internet in order to find a couple of deniers who could keep the argument thriving.

The first few days were slow going, but following a brief write-up of my site by Junk Science I was swamped by climate skeptics who did a good job of frightening off the few brave Greens who slogged out the debate with. Whilst there was a lot of rubbish written, the truth was that they didn’t so much frighten the Greens away — they comprehensively demolished them with a more in depth understanding of the science, cleverly thought out arguments, and some very smart answers. If you want to learn about the physics of convection currents, gas chromatography, or any number of climate science topics then read some of the early debates on TalkClimateChange. I didn’t believe a word of it, but I had to admit that these guys were good.

In the following months the situation hardly changed. As the forum continued to grow, as the blog began to catch traffic, and as I continued to try and recruit green members I continued to be disappointed with the debate. In short, and I am sorry to say it, anti-greens (Reds, as we call them) appear to be more willing to comment, more structured, more able to quote peer reviewed research, more apparently rational and apparently wider read and better informed.

And it’s not just TalkClimateChange. Since we re-launched the forums on Green Options and promoted the “Live Debate” on Nuclear Power, the pro-nuclear crowd have outclassed the few brave souls that have attempted to take them on (with the exception of our own Matt from TalkClimateChange). So how can this be? Where are all these bright Green champions, and why have I failed to recruit them into the debate? Either it’s down to poor online marketing skills, or there is something else missing. I’ve considered a range of theories as to the problem, none of which seem to fit — such as:

Greens are less educated? Nope.
Greens have less time? Nope.
Greens are a little reticent? Nope.
Greens are less intelligent? Definitely nope.
Greens are less passionate? Absolutely nope.
Greens have less at stake? Clearly not.

The only feasible explanation that I can come up with so far is that perhaps Greens are less invested in the status quo, and therefore less motivated to protect it? The other possibility is that we are all completely wrong and we’re deluded — please tell me this isn’t so. So I am hoping that La Marguerite [where this piece was posted — Ivo], with its insightful host and enlightened readership may be able to help shed some light on this peculiar phenomenon?

The post was written by a fellow named Mark, and he promises a follow-up next week right about now. I picked it up via Tom Nelson via Climate Skeptic.

It raises a lot of interesting points, not least about the sheltered cocoon of comfort in which the green left lives, and in which their PC fashions and prejudices appear to be “universally accepted”.

In one way, he’s right. Those who don’t believe we’re headed for certain apocalypse unless we act now are indeed “invested in the status quo, and therefore … motivated to protect it”. That’s the status quo in which humans are free from costly government bureaucracy, free to own their property and improve it, free to pursue health, prosperity and progress as they subjectively define it, and free to invest their capital to ensure sustainable resource use in the future. This is the status quo which has created a large middle class, has built prosperity that only a century ago would have been undreamed of, has supported substantial population growth despite the alarmist predictions of scientists and the media, has reduced poverty rates and improved the quality of life of rich and poor alike, has doubled life expectancy in 100 years. The status quo which has enjoyed the prosperity to invest in improving the quality of the environment, in contrast, for example, to the state-controlled economies of the Soviet Union, or the poor economies of the developing world, in both of which pollution has been far, far worse than in the capitalist West. And this is the status quo where people are free to continue building on these trends without sacrificing their productivity and future prosperity to a global climate change industry that has more vested interest than any oil company has ever had.

In the final analysis, I’ll stick my neck out and say, yup, “we are all completely wrong and we’re deluded” is pretty much spot-on. Sorry, my good man.