"Whatever your views on global warming, the term "climate change denial", and the speed with which it has become part of everyday language, shouldn't be welcomed. The term is reductive, as well as offensive in its connotations.
It encapsulates the way the environmental movement, for all its good intentions, is increasingly adopting the sanctimonious, hectoring and stifling attributes of organised religion. To question climate change today is to be cast as a denier of an absolute truth.
That people who used to be called "climate change sceptics" are now called "deniers" is quite deliberate. The aim is to suggest that climate change scepticism is somehow akin to Holocaust denial. The moral repugnance we feel for the latter, we should essentially feel for the former. The connection is subliminal mostly, but some commentators have been more than happy to spell it out.
Guardian columnist and author George Monbiot wrote: "Almost everywhere, climate change denial now looks as stupid and unacceptable as Holocaust denial."
Closer to home, Margo Kingston wrote: "David Irving is under arrest in Austria for Holocaust denial. Perhaps there is a case for making climate change denial an offence. It is a crime against humanity, after all."Such attempts at moral equivalence are deeply repugnant and, frankly, stupid."
Environmental fundamentalists are re-branding good and evil. They are not merely closing down debate, they’re locking out free speech, free will and the scientific method while they're at it.
It is a rare thing for those so sure of a cause to be so viciously defensive and so blatantly afraid of having their beliefs held up to the light and tested.One way or another, it's very likely that history is going to judge us as having been extraordinarily stupid. Like any other brand of fundamentalism, hubris-filled environmentalists are being a tad quick to grab the smug crown.
"I know what I don't like, and that's a censorious culture, the demonisation of people and ideas, and the undermining of rational debate.
The more the most zealous greenies argue that climate change is beyond debate, the science beyond interrogation, and that anyone who disagrees is no better than a Holocaust denier, the more they sound to me like religious extremists, and the more I don't want to listen to them.
Monbiot says that he wants to "make people so depressed about the state of the world that they stay in bed all day, thereby reducing their consumption of fossil fuel". Strewth. I spent my childhood under the tutelage of deeply repressed Christian Brothers and priests, but I don't recall ever hearing anything quite so fun-denying, guilt-inflicting and self-flagellating as that.
And boy, does the green movement seem like a religion sometimes. The similarities are there in the rhetoric. We must reject profligate ways or face climate doom (sinners must repent or go to hell). We ought to feel guilty when we're wasteful, but if our footprint is light on the earth, self-righteousness and superiority are the reward. If we are bad, we should buy carbon credits (aka, do penance). We should never seriously doubt or question the facts, and can demonise those who dare to.
Whatever your opinion on climate change, the undermining of debate by casting sceptics as little better than a bunch of David Irvings should be a cause for concern. It is anti-science and anti-intellectual. The planet may face many threats, but free speech, open debate and scepticism are not among them."