Monday, April 07, 2008

Background to the Deniers

Lawrence Solomon has this rationale and background to his series the Deniers, which he has now collated into a book.

What may both surprise and frustrate many who wish he either hadn't written the series and /or wish to dismiss the subsequent book, is that Solomon is not some PR flunkey for big oil or some self-promoting climate guru. He is an active and well-known member of one of Canada's oldest and most respected environmental activist groups, Pollution Probe, founded out of the University of Toronto in the flush of 1960s environmental awareness.

Just as the findings of Bjorn Lomborg were hard for eco-activists to dismiss and refute because of his green credentials, so are the words of Solomon, who wrote the Deniers to answer the friendly challenge of one of his colleagues at Pollution Probe. His basic point: to examine the view of climate skeptics and realists to see if they were industry scientists twisting the truth to suit their paymaster (as often alleged), or if they represented a coterie of scientists with integrity holding unconventional and unpopular views.

As he writes:
  • I have been asked many times why I titled my series and now this book The Deniers, in effect adopting their enemies' terminology. Many of the scientists in this book hate the term and deny it applies to them.
  • I could give several reasons, but here is the most important. The scientists are not alone in having their credibility on trial in the global warming debate. They are not the only "authorities" in the argument, and not even the most important "authorities." Most laymen, most citizens, owe most of what we think we know about global warming not to science directly, but to science as mediated by the media and by political bodies, especially the UN and our governments. We citizens, trying to discern what to do about global warming, must judge not only the credibility of the scientists but of those who claim to tell us what the scientists say.
  • To that end, as you read through this book, judge for yourself the credibility of those who dismiss these scientists as cranks or crooks, and call them The Deniers.
Agree. Disagree. Decide for yourself. What an excellent piece of journalism, quite unlike the standard being practiced by the BBC and the climate magisterium.