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« Doctor Mann, I presume? | Main | Steyn's counterblast »

Throwing the mud back

Also coming out fighting this morning is Roy Spencer, as mild a character as you could ever wish to meet, but I guess everybody has their limits. Today he has decided that he is just not going to sit back and take the abuse any longer.

When politicians and scientists started calling people like me “deniers”, they crossed the line. They are still doing it.

They indirectly equate (1) the skeptics’ view that global warming is not necessarily all manmade nor a serious problem, with (2) the denial that the Nazi’s extermination of millions of Jews ever happened.

Too many of us for too long have ignored the repulsive, extremist nature of the comparison. It’s time to push back.

I’m now going to start calling these people “global warming Nazis”.

This is an interesting step, coming so soon after the UK Green Party's call for a purge of dissenters from government ranks.

On a somewhat related matter, I asked journalist Mehdi Hasan yesterday for some justification of his calling Owen Paterson a denier, given Paterson's acknowledgement that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. Despite my prompting him for a response, Hasan refused to even acknowledge my question, let alone answer it, although he was happy to exchange tweets on other matters.

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Reader Comments (135)

Andrew - Mehdi, despite appearances, doesn't think much of us Kuffars. No wonder he is a darling of the Left.

Don't waste your time with him, he's a walking definition of hypocrisy.

Feb 21, 2014 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Wasn't the origin of the term Nazi from Ignat(z)ius Loyola, the Austrian founder of the Jesuits?

Feb 21, 2014 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Mills

We have been called deniers, flatearthers and many other names, accused of various acts by not believing the AGW agenda and continually vilified and ridiculed by politicians, journalists and royalty.
This will of course continue but no one has got under their skin as much as Dellingpole who calls them scum and every delicious variant he can muster. I for one enjoy the names he uses for them.
Skeptical Science blog did not like being referred to as SS blog because of the connotations attached and all the sceptic blogs complied. Where did that get anyone ? Did they reciprocate no. So go call them what you like and in the end when the name calling gets so bad on both sides the science will then be the only way forward

Feb 21, 2014 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Whale

steveta_uk you are misinformed. It is an offence to not be in posession of your driving license if you are driving. I have had this pointed out, forcibly, several times at the roadside and once in court.

The nice police will allow 7 days for you to produce it but, it is against the law not to have it about your person whilst driving.

I was a courier and chauffeur in The Smoke for 10 years and was never found guilty of any alleged offenses during this period ;)

Feb 21, 2014 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterHenry Galt

I generally call 'em "greenshirts". Most people get it, and laugh. But a simple and more accurate word would be liars, as that's what they do, over and over again.

Feb 21, 2014 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve C

Nullius in Verba -
Thanks for the excellent quotation from JSMill !

Feb 21, 2014 at 1:10 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

My initial feeling was "Bravo, Dr. Spencer", but then it occurred to me that it would be far better to firmly and loudly call attention to their errors and misrepresentations. The name calling and personal attacks is straight out of the Alinsky playbook (Rules for Radicals) and is designed to provoke and polarize. There is certainly no reason to turn the other cheek: Publically and loudly challenge them in a way that people in the street can understand. Julian Simon did something like this to Paul Ehrlich.

Feb 21, 2014 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterbernie1815

steveta_uk you are misinformed. It is an offence to not be in posession of your driving license if you are driving. I have had this pointed out, forcibly, several times at the roadside and once in court.

The nice police will allow 7 days for you to produce it but, it is against the law not to have it about your person whilst driving.
Feb 21, 2014 at 12:51 PM Henry Galt

No, I think steveta_uk is right:

Being stopped by the police while driving: your rights

The police can stop a vehicle for any reason. If they ask you to stop, you should always pull over. You’re breaking the law if you don’t.

If you’re stopped, the police can ask to see your:

driving licence
insurance certificate
MOT certificate

If you don’t have these documents with you, you have 7 days to take them to a police station. You’re breaking the law if you don’t show the requested documents within 7 days.

Feb 21, 2014 at 1:36 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A


It just makes more work for the Bish deleting your responses too.

Feb 21, 2014 at 1:41 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Troll comments and follow-ups removed

Feb 21, 2014 at 1:44 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me."

It's time the Global Warming Nazis were countered otherwise they will do more than call people names. Remember the two blacklisting sites closed down in 2009? In reality they were the nucleus of the UK's Virtual Guag; no need nowadays for the camps and the guards of the real Gulag when all you have to to do destroy someone's career is to have uncheckable libel on a private database, and that's what the real fascist were trying to set up.

Feb 21, 2014 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterMydogsgotnonose

Quite clear, I'm afraid Henry, you have seven days to produce your license.

Wording is bizarre, though - it in effect says that it is an offence to not provide the license on request, but "in proceedings against any person for the offence of failing to produce a licence it shall be a defence for him to show that "within seven days after the production of his licence was required he produced [it] in person at a police station ..."

I.e. we're both right - it is an offence, but you have seven days to get off.

Feb 21, 2014 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

I think that in future the word "green" will require decontamination. I nostalgically remember when environmentalism meant preserving species and habitat, cleaning up air and water from pollutants, using better technologies, recycling what was useful, thereby improving everyone's quality of life. The "greens" now want to persecute the production of plant food;decimate birds, bats and landscape with ecocrucifixes and solar panels; pollute with heavy metals in the production of the aforesaid; and make our lives miserable with selfabnegation energywise.

Feb 21, 2014 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterLjh

that was fast Dana Nuccitelli (Skeptical Science is attacking Roy in the Guardian...)

My 2nd response to Dana (assuming it survives), also read the 1st comment (Also mine)

Feb 21, 2014 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

I can see where Roy is coming from. It's not as if he is an avid anti-AGW. He is, in fact, a little bit more than luke warm and they still attack him persistently. He doesn't deny that CO² creates global warming. That would make me very annoyed.

BUT getting annoyed never solved anything.

Feb 21, 2014 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

More like green tranzis.

Feb 21, 2014 at 2:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterAC1

The "Nazi" thing is grossly overdone. The term, "Lysenkist" would be more apposite considering the predominently left-leaning politics of the CO2-led CAGW claque and accurately summarise their approach to science.

Feb 21, 2014 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Lohse

yea , co2 greenhouse gas, i like the last few sentences.


Another important point from the above discussion is that all greenhouse gases are not equally efficient at trapping terrestrial radiation. Consider a greenhouse gas absorbing at 11 mm, in the atmospheric window ( Figure 7-8 ). Injecting such a gas into the atmosphere would decrease the radiation emitted to space at 11 mm (since this radiation would now be emitted by the cold atmosphere rather than by the warm surface). In order to maintain a constant terrestrial blackbody emission integrated over all wavelengths, it would be necessary to increase the emission flux in other regions of the spectrum and thus warm the Earth. Contrast this situation to a greenhouse gas absorbing solely at 15 mm, in the CO2 absorption band ( Figure 7-8 ). At that wavelength the atmospheric column is already opaque ( Figure 7-13 ), and injecting an additional atmospheric absorber has no significant greenhouse effect.

Feb 21, 2014 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard

Will there be a call to round up the jackbooted greenshirt climate alarmist thugs? Something like that would be good for a trip to Roy's tip jar.

Feb 21, 2014 at 3:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterdp

Ed Davey has expressed the opinion that 'deniers' views should not be published. Very fascist like, in my humble opinion.

Feb 21, 2014 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Tom Mills

Not even close. Loyola was Spanish for a start, and died in 1556, 374 years before the term was coined.

Feb 21, 2014 at 3:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

There is so much that is despicable bout the CO2 Alarm Campaign. The widespread, and generally unchallenged usage of the 'denier' epithet is but one illustration, albeit a particularly offensive one. The climategate email revelations reveal shoddy behaviour and attitudes from some of the key players, and the HarryReadMe material released at the same time spoke of shockingly low standards in data management. Tawdry contrivances such as the MBH Hockey Stick demonstrated low standards in data analysis, and the enthusiastic promotion of it by campaigners demonstrated how junk science, if convenient for a cause, can be widely promoted. The Machiavellian machinations of the IPCC movers and shakers have not set high standards on the policy promotion/motivation front - Laframboise compared the attitudes of that organisation to those of a teenage delinquent, and documented their flaws. Sundry sinister organisations seem to be in the deep green shadows, and the enthusiasm with which socialists and socialist organisations such as the British Labour Party and the American Democrats have seized upon climate alarmism as a vehicle for their ambitions are all cause for concern. The greenery of the dominant socialist group in Germany after the First World War is by itself evidence that a professed love of nature does not necessarily mean a love of mankind. In Germany, in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s it sat beside a deep contempt for most of the human race.

The use of 'denier' in climate discussions does deserve to be challenged when opportunity to do so arises. In most cases, I suppose the usage will be an 'innocent' one, just another piece of junk in a mindset subjected to decades of climate alarm propaganda from such as the BBC. But occasionally, the usage will not be so accidental. Here are some questions that might help elucidate which type of usage is taking place if and when one is described as a climate denier, climate change denier, or merely denier in a climate context.

What, one might ask, are you accusing people like me of 'denying'? Do you wish to compare us to those who deny the occurrence of the Holocaust? If you do, would it be reasonable for me to compare you to the National Socialists who were also concerned about the environment, and who also sought to insult and suppress those who dared get in their way? They saw strong action imposed and guided by a powerful elite as crucial for the achievement of their goals. Some on your side of the fence want to see 'deniers' imprisoned, or their houses burnt down. Some wanted them branded or tattoo'd with the word 'denier'. At least one academic called for their execution. Are such people reasonably described as Global Warming Nazis? Are you using the word 'denier' in the same way as they do? If you give them your support, are you reasonably described as a collaborator? Are you, for example, in favour of suspending democracy while the CO2 crisis you talk of is dealt with by strong government. The Chinese government, for example, has been suggested by the United Nations' chief climate official as the kind of thing we need. Would you, like some on your side, like to see us move to a war-footing to get things done? Will teams of greenshirts be required to impose 'sustainability' on the unwilling?

Can you see now why I'd like to know more about why you just called me a denier?

Feb 21, 2014 at 4:10 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

One of the perennial issues in the whole debate, is that it isn't a debate. For a long time now the 'green' activists have been in control of opinion and policy, and are not prepared to lose that, particularly as it's been very lucrative for them. Their strategy is very simple, shout down the opposition and do not allow debate.

The big change came with Climategate - a chink in their armour opened up which allowed us to get our crowbars in and we've been making progress since. Slowly, sure, but progress nontheless.

It's not easy to be insulted, and take it in patience. But I do think it is essential. I have taken part in other controversial debates, and the same tactics were deployed: stop any exposure of an alternate case where possible, and shout it down if not able to stop it all together.

In both cases I believe the long term best option is to retain decorum, and to present the facts in a positive and powerful counter to the loud, assertive noise of the activists. In my experience, the public can tell when someone knows their stuff, and will swiftly discount the brash and dismissive.

We do however need to get more of us into the public space more often in order to make that contrast visible.

Feb 21, 2014 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Feb 21, 2014 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered Commenter Schrodinger's Cat

Perhaps you could start a discussion thread so we can all collaborate in getting the relevant facts in perspective. They would have to be short, sharp and relevant in response to each of the AGW claims.

e.g. The hockey stick, CO2 being dangerous, extreme weather events, actual temperatures, model performance etc

Feb 21, 2014 at 4:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeilC

I do not at all understand people's objection to being called a denier? I Deny the whole stupid bloody AGW argument from start to finish and am proud to say so.
Whatever connotations there may be to the word denier; we all know that its use is in connection with Climate Change arguments. The best way to combat it is to accept it and glory in it, not demonstrate that name calling has indeed 'got your goat'. You could play with the idea a bit, I deny that there is any evidence of sanity within the AGW camp. I deny that climate models inform science, I deny that the world is warming at the moment... the list is endless and it is a lot better than joining in with the name calling ^.^

We are denying the AGW crowd the right to destroy our economy unopposed.
We are denying the right of the AGW crowd to freeze our grannies.
We are denying the right of the AGW crowd to rewrite our personal freedoms

Feb 21, 2014 at 4:28 PM | Registered CommenterDung

I think it's an unfortunate mistake on Dr Spencer's part and widespread use of that term would utterly shut down any rational debate.

Feb 21, 2014 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Abbott

I'm with Nullius in Verba when he calls the warmists 'Totalitarians'. I have often referred to them as 'warmongers' (I pinched it), but now, I always refer to them as being part of the 'Green Reich'.

However, as one who has often participated in heated debates on blogs where epithets are flung around I begin to realise that the 'debate' (if that is what it is) is often better conducted with the calm and courteous nature of Steve McIntyre.

That said, we seem to be entering a new phase: a McCarthy-ite era where we can just hear the accusation: "Have you now, or at any time, ever denied Global Warming?"

Feb 21, 2014 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Nice one Dung. +100

Feb 21, 2014 at 4:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Cumbrian Lad:

Agree 100%. The truth will out. In the meantime, there is zero sense in lowering yourself to the base, shouty levels of the alarmists in a misguided attempt to make even more noise.

Feb 21, 2014 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered Commenteragouts

I started the petition to stop Gordon Brown using the term a while back - there were quite a few signing up to that so I do think many people object to it.
It has reached the stage now where it is being used to whip up hatred - for example, just look at how Guardian writers use it in that way and how the usual suspects in CIF respond.
I sent a letter to the PM last week to suggest that he is partially responsible for this rise in hatred because he not only allows and condones this sort of thing, but that he is also guilty of it himself.
It concerns me that if the anger of the true believers is stoked long enough and hard enough there will be violence.
I also believe the government need to get a grip on this before that happens.
Perhaps if enough people complain, something might be done?

Feb 21, 2014 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Catley

Terribly sorry but no matter how frustrated Dr Spencer at the behaviour of alarmists using the term 'Nazis' will be hugely counter-productive. It will be seized upon and used to smear the character of all sceptics and will distract the debate. See Dana at the Guardian for his immediate, predictably self-righteous piece.

His frustration is quite understandable but imho should be reined-in immediately for the longer-term good.

Off topic and on a cheerier note, it appears Michael Mann has LOST his case against Dr Tim Ball, who is now allegedly counter-suing for $10m!

Feb 21, 2014 at 5:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshirered

The use of the word Climate Denier is NOT compatible with science. It is not a scientific word !
- let me run that thru (short version)
In science you define your terms precisely :
A denier is someone who lies about a fact they know to be true.
(Climate institutions predictions of future climate are just opinions not VALIDATED science.)
You are not a denier if you just disagree with someone's unproven opinion, no matter how informed they are
(e.g. If I disagree with Stalin that "communism is the best system" I am not denying)

- Note how someone who uses the words "climate denier" is throwing the scientific method in the garbage.
It's a kind of Turing Test - If someone uses that term then they are not being a scientist in that moment.

I think I have just defined a new term
"The shouting Denier Fallacy"
- if you shout "denier" then what you are saying has automatically become unscientific.

Feb 21, 2014 at 5:12 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Barry Woods: your first comment (indeed, the first comment) has been removed; your second still stands, and, interestingly, has a high level of approval.

Cumbrian Lad: not only are the “greens” in control of opinion and policy, but also much of the mainstream media, particularly television. This was evident at Balcombe; during the siege, there was a lot of footage of bullying by the police, yet nothing after the protestors departed, as that would have revealed their true respect for the environment. The abandonment of so many plastic items, the general littering and the wreckage wreaked upon the locale would have been difficult for the BBC to explain away.

As regards labelling the opposition; tempting as it is to give them a belittling title, I feel that it would achieve little, but could rebound; and, should that happen, the harm would be quite severe. Leave the children to the name-calling, and rely upon reasoned argument and the simple fact that Mother Nature (or Gaia, Mother Earth or God, if you prefer) seems to be on our side.

Feb 21, 2014 at 5:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Cumbrian Lad
Yes, should have checked first. Ignatius was a popular name in, mainly Catholic, Bavaria. The Bavarians were the butt of many jokes as, for example, the Irish are now to the English. These jokes always referred to a peasant called Nazi, this being a shortened form of Ignatius. Ref. - The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth, a brilliant little book.

Feb 21, 2014 at 5:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Mills

I get a sense of unease when I see so many references to "we" in these comments. It reminds me of Arsenal or United fans who say "we played a great game". No they didn't - they just purchased a ticket. I don't want to be a "we" and I enjoy (most of) the refreshingly personal comments that come to His Grace's pages. What I will complain about, though, is the way the greens lay public claim to the scientific high ground. I have yet to see a proper scientific proposal to support the climate change theories but an awful lot of anecdotal arguments. On the other hand I find reams of solid scientific analysis in the comments on here, WUWT and Climate audit.

Feb 21, 2014 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterVernon E

Dang, Stewgreen! A thought akin to that was lurching around my brain, but I had not the wherewithal to retrieve it, nor to put it so succinctly!

Feb 21, 2014 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

I suggest many people who use the term " Climate Denier " are behaving like The Inquisition. Perhaps we should call them Torquemada but without the scholarship..

Feb 21, 2014 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Feb 21, 2014 at 5:12 PM | stewgreen

Technically true, but the whole point and the only point of this word is to inject high emotion into the climate domain, because when that occurs it is memeplex 1 : logic 0. Therefore nuance of meaning is well... meaningless. This also tells us something about who, or rather what, is steering the agenda. The cultural equivalents of this word have been deployed to similar purpose throughout pretty much all of the societies in history, so we aren't dealing with something that occurs only in the climate debate, or only in our time, as others have mentioned already regarding extreme political systems for instance.

Feb 21, 2014 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

My counterargument to the appelation 'denier' made of me is to point out that I am one of the alleged 97%, or is it now 99%, of all scientists who agree that there has been AGW.

I then tell them that the scientific explanation of most of the effect is via a mechanism not involving CO2.

Feb 21, 2014 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterMydogsgotnonose

Ball Bites Mann

Not sure if you've picked this up Mann has lost to Dr Ball

Feb 21, 2014 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

stewgreen -
I like your "shouting Denier fallacy" :-)

In a similar vein, over at Lucia's Steve McIntyre mentioned a comment by a reviewer of one of his papers: "I am particularly unimpressed by the MBH style of ‘shouting louder and longer so they must be right’."
[MBH being Mann/Bradley/Hughes, of hockey stick fame.]

The common thread being that shouting isn't an argument, nor is name-calling. So in that regard, I have to disagree with Spencer. I understand his frustration. But calling them "Nazis" in return does not enlighten anyone, and name-calling likely turns away bystanders who might be willing to listen to well-reasoned discussion. By all means, call out those people who wish to suppress debate and/or depersonalize those who are contrarians. But "Nazis" doesn't help.

Feb 21, 2014 at 6:14 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

O/T a liddle bit - here's the latest innovation

Throwing mud at yourself

BH commenters could've had some nice holidays of the back of that.

Feb 21, 2014 at 6:18 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Entropy: A measure of the disorder that exists in a system. Moot.
Entropic Man: A disordered individual. Merely disquieting.

Feb 21, 2014 at 6:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I will add to my previous that it doesn't matter how we label these people, they are all basically anarchists. Protest is their religion and way of life - the world over. If it isn't climate change, or fracking or animals it will be so0mething else. The weakness of their position is that they never, ever, have an alternative to offer.

Feb 21, 2014 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterVernon E

Anonymous: well posted. Entropy is a measure of absence. Draw your own conclusions.

Feb 21, 2014 at 6:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterVernon E

Roy has made a big mistake. 'Nazis' is so last century. I would go for 'bunch of f*ckwits' or the ever dependable 'douche'

Feb 21, 2014 at 7:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdHominer

Vernon E

I've already commented on the sceptic tendency to use epiphets much worse than denier.

I could also point out your collective tendency to ad homs, ridicule and other tactics more usually associated with propaganda campaigns. The sceptic pot is much blacker than the green kettle.

Feb 21, 2014 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

A quote from Stacey's link, Mann v Professor Ball.

"The fact Mann refused to disclose his ‘hockey stick’ graph metadata in the British Columbia Supreme Court, as he is required to do under Canadian civil rules of procedure, constituted a fatal omission to comply, rendering his lawsuit unwinnable. As such, Dr Ball, by default, has substantiated his now famous assertion that Mann belongs "in the state pen, not Penn. State." In short, Mann failed to show he did not fake his tree ring proxy data for the past 1,000 years, so Ball’s assessment stands as fair comment. Moreover, many hundreds of papers in the field of paleoclimate temperature reconstructions that cite Mann’s work are likewise tainted, heaping more misery on the discredited UN’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) which has a knack of relying on such sub prime science."

I mean, honestly - and for crying out loud - who are the deniers?

Mann is dead meat - It's a slam dunk - again.

Feb 21, 2014 at 7:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Green fascists is a better term than nazis.

Feb 21, 2014 at 8:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterSadButMadLad

The segment containing Richard Lindzen in the following BBC world service 2010 interview between about 6.30 min to 12.30 min is pure gold. Within it, he touches with amusement on his 'preference' for being called 'denier'. (from somewhere else in the distant past I vaguely recall him saying something similar, and being particularly amused by it because he's Jewish!).

This is the most effective and indeed only sensible way to confront and counter the usage of the insult- deflection by ridicule.

Feb 21, 2014 at 8:20 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

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