Should climate denial be a crime?

Dr Jarrod Gilbert provocatively at NZ Herald: Why climate denial should be a criminal offence:

There is no greater crime being perpetuated on future generations than that committed by those who deny climate change. The scientific consensus is so overwhelming that to argue against it is to perpetuate a dangerous fraud. Denial has become a yardstick by which intelligence can be tested.

The term climate sceptic is now interchangeable with the term mindless fool.

I think this is over the top, perhaps deliberately.

Scepticism with any science, especially one as complex as climate science, is healthy. More than that, scepticism is essential in science.

Likening climate science scepticism to denial and mindlessness is foolish.

Since the 1960s, it has been known that heat-trapping gasses were increasing in the earth’s atmosphere, but no one knew to what effect. In 1979, a study found “no reason to doubt that climate changes will result and no reason to believe that these changes will be negligible”. Since then scientists have been seeking to prove it, and the results are in.

Scientists have been researching climate in many ways and the results keep coming in. While most results point strongly towards human influenced climate change things are far from conclusive or final.

As this recent article illustrates: Antarctic is cooling, but climate skeptics aren’t going to be happy.

Back to Gilbert:

One way in which everyday crime can be discouraged is to ensure that “capable guardians” are around to deter criminal activity. When it comes to climate change, the capable guardians are educated members of the public who counteract the deniers.

There may be differing opinions on what policies to pursue, but those who deny that climate change exists ought be shouted down like the charlatans that they are. Or better yet, looked upon with pitiful contempt and completely ignored.

There is no room to sit on the fence and say, “I don’t know if it’s true”. Ignorance of the law excuses no one – and so it is with the laws of science.

It’s sad to see Gilbert resorting to this line of attack. It’s unlikely to change anyone’s mind about climate change – it’s more likely to entrench views because it is so obviously over the top.

There are serious issues facing New Zealand and the world regarding climate change. We have to consider possible effects of continued warming and ongoing scientific research is essential to monitor and to learn.

Suggesting scepticism is criminal and denigrating differing views is unhelpful and unscientific.

Leave a comment

59 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  26th July 2016

    Obviously Gilbert is both a fool and a crook. Does that qualify him to be a climate scientist?

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  26th July 2016

      not really ,but he may have what it takes to become a cabinet ..minister.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  26th July 2016

        Says one who obviously doesn’t know any or know what their work is.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  26th July 2016

          you make another erroneous assumption….dear.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  26th July 2016

            How many do you know ?

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  26th July 2016

              less than some…and more than most.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  26th July 2016

              That makes no sense as an answer to the question about how many you know. It’s a nonsensical answer.

              Less (fewer) than some-is that none ? More than most-is that all ?

  2. Corky

     /  26th July 2016

    “The scientific consensus is so overwhelming that to argue against it is to perpetuate a dangerous fraud.”

    Talk about ‘hoisted with one’s own petard.’ This man has no right to call himself a scientist.
    It does show how many little Hitler’s are embedded in society . While their power is limited in peace time, boy do they come to the fore when given a modicum of power during wartime.
    This guy would be Herr Minister of Right Thinking.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  26th July 2016

      hard to make much sense of that ramble..Corks,-cliched,mixed metaphor,Godwins,!

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  26th July 2016

        Don’t over think the mundane, Blazer. Call us when your thesis is finished- “I think therefore I aren’t.”

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  26th July 2016

          I’m sure your hand wasn’t …on…your chin…when you typed that!

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  26th July 2016

            Slim.. pickings…. at the moment…..son? Pace yourself, 11.30 pm is a long way off. Thank god for social chat in the evening,eh.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  26th July 2016

              The doctor seems to either confuse or be trying to perpetuate the idea that questioning the CAUSES of climate change and denying that it’s happening are the same thing. What’s his doctorate in-straw men creation ?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  26th July 2016

              If he wrote the headline, he is hoist with his own petard; who denies that there’s a climate ? What an idiot.

            • Corky

               /  26th July 2016

              ”This man has no right to call himself a scientist.”

              I need to change one word…what would you suggest.?

  3. Pete Kane

     /  26th July 2016

    Hope not – we’ll have a lengthy visiting roster here at YNZ.

    Reply
  4. Pete Kane

     /  26th July 2016

    Issue aside, it’s a great example of capturing/converting language for the pejorative. Holocaust denier etc. Or just capturing words in general – gay, dry vs wet in economics etc.

    Reply
  5. Iceberg

     /  26th July 2016

    Lefty, academic, activist. Meh.

    Reply
  6. Moonie01

     /  26th July 2016

    If he wants to go that way, then the opposite applies. Irresponsible climate alarmism that has added billions of wasted cash to the deficits of numerous countries, such as wasted desalination plants in Australia and non economic wind generators world wide, should make those alarmists liable for the cost of their ridiculous predictions.

    Reply
  7. “Antarctic is cooling, but climate skeptics aren’t going to be happy.”

    HAARP operates primarily in the northern hemisphere.

    New Delhi: A US-developed weapon system that strikes the atmosphere with a focussed electromagnetic beam is one of the reasons for causing global warming, the government reported on Monday.

    http://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india-us-developed-weapon-system-is-responsible-for-global-warming-says-government-340015

    Reply
  8. Zedd

     /  26th July 2016

    Unfortunately there appears to be extremists on both sides.. I’ve even been called an ‘alarmist’, just for discussing it.

    Regardless of the misinformation flying in both directions.. this seems certain; the climate/sea temp. is warming & the atmospheric CO2 level is rising. 😦

    Reply
  9. MaureenW

     /  26th July 2016

    Ha, ha really? I don’t think anyone doubts that climates change, rather it’s the on-going mantra regarding human activity causing this, and the need for “sustainable” anything, and taxes that will fix it.

    Apparently the science is settled in Australia, perhaps it needs to be settled in NZ.
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/australia-cuts-110-climate-scientist-jobs/

    Reply
  10. David

     /  26th July 2016

    “The scientific consensus is so overwhelming that to argue against it is to perpetuate a dangerous fraud”

    This statement is a dangerous fraud, he should be arrested.

    Reply
  11. David

     /  26th July 2016

    “Suggesting scepticism is criminal and denigrating differing views is unhelpful and unscientific.”

    Not surprising is it? Dr Jarrod Gilbert isn’t a scientist.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  26th July 2016

      Never trust a scientist. What have they ever done for humanity? 😡

      Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  26th July 2016

      Yes, just a ranting sociologist. More fool the Herald for publishing his crap.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  26th July 2016

        Um … I know you’ve got a doctorate. Are you a scientist Alan? o_O

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  26th July 2016

          Dr Jarrod Gilbert: “There is no room to sit on the fence and say, “I don’t know if it’s true”.”

          There’s no need for this sociology bureaucrat to sit on the fence. He could just be hung up on Al’s fence, with all the other bureaucrats, & his briefcase similarly burned & its remains disposed of at the Municipal Tip in Russell.

          Sorted. 😎

          Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  26th July 2016

          Yes, was. Physical organic chemistry but my career went into computing and software.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  26th July 2016

            Well, I take it back . I trust you Al. Sorry – gotta go – Spiceberg 🐱 has just returned & looks like she’s downticking my comments again !.

            Reply
  12. Me, I am just waiting until the big freeze in 2021 in the northern hemisphere that will put the cause of climate change back into the problem solved box once and for all.

    Reply
  13. I usually find Jarrod a rational, intelligent guy, but the notion that “climate change deniers” (or what they say) should be criminalised is daft. We have too many – formal and informal – restrictions on free speech as it is. We need more free speech, including speech that offends. I’d rather have someone say something I strongly disagree with than have people not say stuff for fear of giving offence.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  26th July 2016

      I’ve not said stuff to respect other people’s privacy or legal constraints but I’ve never not said stuff for fear of giving offence. If people want to take offence that is their problem.

      I’m afraid Jarrod is definitively a fool to write such drivel however he has previously disguised this – possibly by remaining silent, the classical strategy.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  26th July 2016

        I will qualify this judgement since it appears the idiotic headline was an invention of a subeditor and does not represent Jarrod’s opinion or article. Which shows that journalists are more stupid even than sociologists.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  26th July 2016

          there are not many vocations you have a high opinion of at all,are there Al?

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  26th July 2016

            Actually there are quite a lot, Blazer. But a sociologist expert on gangs who decides to write about climate science knowing absolutely nothing about it is definitely not one of them. And a journalist who totally misrepresents an ignorant, abusive article via an outrageous headline is even worse.

            I respect people who know what they are talking about whatever their subject or profession. But not those who are free with abuse knowing SFA about the issues involved.

            Reply

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