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Discussion > Leftie climate sceptics

Chandra, you don't seem to understand the difference between emergencies and normal life. Yes, people will often make greater sacrifices if they think that there is an urgent issue and their behaviour will benefit those less fortunate. If the country started having blackouts because of a shortfall in supply, then some, perhaps many would do things to cut energy use but mostly they would be short term measures.

Those who do those things all the time, do so because they want to save money, not the planet or the energy supply. People and businesses either financially or physically can't make their properties or actions truly efficient. There are things that are worthwhile and things that aren't. already over 65% of properties have loft insulation and of those with cavity walls, 68% have had them done. Most of those still to be done will have reasons why not. It might be the money, the property might be rented and the owner might not see the value, the property might be difficult/expensive to improve. Where a lack of funds and a dire need to reduce energy bills clash, then people suffer.

They do not suffer willingly or silently and if people suffer for long enough then their complaints can mobilise governments. See flooding. At that point the public don't want to hear excuses about long term plans to preserve the planet/water voles they want to know when the crisis will be fixed. Each repeat of the same crisis makes the public more angry and less co-operative.

Feb 14, 2014 at 9:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

"It turns out that the anti-science of the Greens is not progressive and "left-wing" "
from Graham Strouts new 500 word essay GMOs and me in 500 words
- "Slowly, painfully, I found an effective debunking for one environmentalist myth after another. "
- "I have been constantly surprised by the viciousness and blatant dishonesty people I previously respected have been willing to engage in in order to defend their irrational beliefs. It turns ou.."
- "Activists can only see things in simplistic black-and-white terms and absurd conspiracy theories. Theirs is a darkly narcissistic and negative view of humanity which they seem to despise, in contrast to the assumed purity of Nature which they revere, oblivious to how Nature only seems sublime when you have a full belly."

Feb 19, 2014 at 1:36 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

I have always considered myself left & green, but observed that the green left moved position into dogma, bullying and totalitarianism even fascism.
- I would never have voted for a right wing party.
But it is not entirely untrue I have maybe moved right recently as I come to understand some rightwing policeies are more sympathetic than leftwing ones. Trade not aid, teaching a poor man to fish instead of food charity etc.
- As I listen to libertarians like Penn Jillettes podcast I will evn entertain his ideas that universal healthcare can be a bad thing as it encourages people to be irresponsible knowing that someone else (society) picks up the tab.
- I am still unconvinced that the UK Conservative party are not intrinsically corrupt and would trust UKIP more especially as I can see the press monstering them, and that their sins are not as big as papers make out, so that makes me trust them more.
- The integrity of the left has been damaged by this "By any means necessary" belief

Feb 19, 2014 at 1:46 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

This article contains the usual bit of emotional blackmail but at it's core is the reality of having green energy when the rest of the world doesn't bother. Real jobs are at risk and real people will suffer in the UK if we unilaterally follow green plans for energy, irrespective of whether they have any effect on global CO2 at all (and since the work goes abroad it actually increases CO2). It was never in the manifesto of left wing parties to make British workers suffer so elites could feel good about themselves.

Director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, Jeremy Nicholson, said: ‘How are we supposed to expect investment to continue into this country if we are in danger of moving toward having Third World levels of reliability for power?’

Feb 21, 2014 at 8:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

> I will evn entertain his ideas that universal healthcare
can be a bad thing as it encourages people to be
irresponsible knowing that someone else (society) picks up
the tab.

Entertain it, perhaps, but would you let it move in? Imagine you lost your job and the insurance that went with it and then you or one of your family became serisouly ill. How long would it be before you kicked your new house guest out of the door?

Feb 22, 2014 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

I think this is one of the most important and helpful recent threads in the Bishop Hill Discussion section and have done since Paul first put it up. As I was 'researching' for two of my own more recent threads, whose helpfulness is currently being debated, I stumbled across a post on an Irish discussion forum which reminded me why I think this one is important: because lefties, for all their faults (you just come after me, Geoff and Robin!), produce some striking - and quite different - responses to some of the challenges we face.

I have no idea who seabhcan is but the Labour logo, complete with red rose, suggests they qualify as leftie. I quote him or her from September 2012 in full. The context is so predictable it really doesn't add much.

"Denial" and "conspiracy theory" are politically loaded terms whose intention is to end debate.

Take "conspiracy theory". When is a theory of a conspiracy a 'conspiracy theory'? Why was it acceptable for the BBC to openly promote the theory that there was a conspiracy in the Russian state to murder Litvinenko. Why is the alternative theory, that he was instead murdered by British, US or Israeli agents a 'conspiracy theory'? I'm not saying one is right and the other wrong, but simply pointing out that to suggest a conspiracy in a foreign government is a legitimate point of discussion, but to suggest a conspiracy in one's own government is automatically a 'conspiracy theory' which is unacceptable and may not be entertained. In Russia, it is a 'conspiracy theory' to suggest Litvinenko was killed by Russian state actors, while the opposite idea, that the UK killed him, is the legitimate discussion point.

All use of 'denial' and 'conspiracy theory' are politically motivated. These phases aim to set boundaries on what is acceptable, and what may and may not be discussed. These phrases are always used to set limits to free discourse.

Similar examples abound. It used not be a 'conspiracy theory' to suggest that Iraq conspired to retain WMD after it officially disarmed, while to suggest otherwise was 'denial' and suggesting a 'conspiracy' by the US government to lie. To have suggested in 2002 that the US was secretly kidnapping people in unmarked planes and bringing them to a secret base in Cuba, was a 'conspiracy theory'. To suggest that the Chinese government killed protesters in 1989 is not a conspiracy theory, unless, of course, you are Chinese.

Today, to suggest that Iran doesn't have a nuclear weapons program is 'denial' and to suggest that Israel is lying about it for their own ends is a 'conspiracy theory'. Did Russia cause the crash that killed the Polish PM? Its ok to suggest this if you are Polish, but it is a 'conspiracy theory' if you are Russian.

So when the OP lumps together climate 'denial', nutty anti-science people, and the holocaust together into one sentence and labels them 'conspiracy theories', you can be sure that the intent is not to start reasoned debate, but to shut that debate down to further a political agenda.

OP means original poster, not Owen Paterson, in this instance. But, even if one takes a different view of some of the areas of controversy discussed, how good was that? And seabhcan surely has done enough here to qualify not just as leftie but sceptic?

Mar 3, 2014 at 1:19 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Apologies, I meant to provide a link for that quote.

Mar 3, 2014 at 2:45 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Your list should include Prof. Denis Rancourt (see, for example my post here.

I notice he has also been recently featured on Climate Depot for this post at his blog:

He is himself scathing about those who claim CO2 rising above current levels will have an important impact on climate. I reckon that makes him at least a 'skeptic', maybe worse, ;).

A quote from Rancourt:

“I argue that by far the most destructive force on the planet is power-driven financiers and profit-driven corporations and their cartels backed by military might; and that the global warming myth is a red herring that contributes to hiding this truth. In my opinion, activists who, using any justification, feed the global warming myth have effectively been co-opted, or at best neutralized,” Rancourt said.

“Global warming is strictly an imaginary problem of the First World middleclass,” he stated.

Source: Climate Depot

Mar 10, 2014 at 4:50 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade


I reckon that makes him at least a 'skeptic', maybe worse, ;)

We're all worse, even the most IPCC-believing policy sceptic, that's the whole point of the d-word. :)

Thanks for the pointer to Rancourt, who sound a fine fellow. Imaginary problem of the First World middleclass indeed.

Mar 10, 2014 at 9:28 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Let's ask the same questions about Caleb Rossiter:

Rossiter’s website describes himself as “a progressive activist who has spent four decades fighting against and writing about the U.S. foreign policy of supporting repressive governments in the formerly colonized countries.”

“I’ve spent my life on the foreign-policy left. I opposed the Vietnam War, U.S. intervention in Central America in the 1980s and our invasion of Iraq. I have headed a group trying to block U.S. arms and training for “friendly” dictators, and I have written books about how U.S. policy in the developing world is neocolonial,” Rossiter wrote in the Wall Street Journal on May 4.

Rossiter’s Wall Street Journal OpEd continued: “The left wants to stop industrialization - even if the hypothesis of catastrophic, man-made global warming is false. John Feffer, my colleague at the Institute for Policy Studies, wrote in the Dec. 8, 2009, Huffington Post that ‘even if the mercury weren’t rising’ we should bring ‘the developing world into the postindustrial age in a sustainable manner.’ He sees the ‘climate crisis [as] precisely the giant lever with which we can, following Archimedes, move the world in a greener, more equitable direction.”

Trouble is, there's both 'I’ve spent my life on the foreign-policy left' and 'The left wants to stop industrialization — even if the hypothesis of catastrophic, man-made global warming is false.' So does this guy count? I'm sure he does. He did maths after all! Which leads nicely to this finale:

“But it is as an Africanist, rather than a statistician, that I object most strongly to ‘climate justice.’ Where is the justice for Africans when universities divest from energy companies and thus weaken their ability to explore for resources in Africa? Where is the justice when the U.S. discourages World Bank funding for electricity-generation projects in Africa that involve fossil fuels, and when the European Union places a ‘global warming’ tax on cargo flights importing perishable African goods?”

All from that excellent non-lefty, Marc Morano.

Jun 13, 2014 at 12:44 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Adding in

Joel Barnett

"a lifelong Labour supporter and latterly a trustee of the GWPF"

Nov 5, 2014 at 9:48 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

The issue of why the political left is overwhelmingly supportive of the climate change alarmist ideology/faith, and hence there are relatively few left wing sceptics, is quite complex and would take more space and time than I intend to impose on you here. But may I, as a lifelong Labour supporter, offer a couple of broad observations. They are means comprehensive and omit many nuances. But they are major general factors which I have observed in the party for 61 years, and in Parliament for almost 30 years.
First is that most leftish British people get politically involved because they genuinely believe they wish to contribute to the common good in our society. (They tend to believe , rightly or wrongly, that the right wing wishes to contribute to their own individual or class good). At first this drew many to sympathise with Marxist ideology, until the Soviets discredited that. More sympathised and many still do with the social democratic ideals of equality and civil liberty, though that position lacks the ideological certainties and claimed scientific basis of old Marxism. With the collapse of Marxism, there was created a vacuum on the left. Those seeking an ideological faith to cling on to for moral certainty, felt bereft. They also wanted a faith which again gave them a feeling of still pursuing the common good of society, especially the new global society, and even more a feeling of moral superiority, which is a characteristic of many middle and professional types on the left. Climate change and the moral common good of saving the planet , with its claimed scientific certainties, offered to fill the vacuum. It may or may not be a coincidence that the climate change faith gained momentum in the 1990s immediately after Marxism collapsed with the Berlin Wall.
I notice that my Labour colleagues who are troubled by the cost of the war on climate change, and especially when I point out that its costs fall heavily on the poorer classes, while it's financial benefits go to rich landowners and individuals on the Climate Change Committee, still won't face those facts because they want to cling on to the new climate faith because they want to believe it is in the common good. They are not bad or stupid people. Many are better and cleverer than me..But they have a need for a faith which they believe is for the global good. They don't want a moral vacuum. And the current leaders of the social democratic parties in Britain and Europe are not offering them much else.. For Ed Miliband, who is not a bad or stupid man, but coming from a Marxist heritage, when asked for more vision, he grasps climate change like a drowning man clasping a lifebelt.
While this need persists and there persists the misconception that the Green faith is somehow leftish and in pursuit of the common good, then most on the political left will stay with it. To shake them it will be necessary to show them that the costs of implementing climate alarmism will actually destroy the economic hopes of the poor and is often a cynical device
to enrich the wealthy. That it enables self righteous middle class posturers to parade their assumed moral superiority at the expense of the poor. And that it's so-called scientific certainties are very uncertain indeed. It is also necessary for the sceptical and realistic side to show more publicly that they accept the proven aspects of climate change (which every sceptic I know does) and care about the genuine concerns of the environment (which the Greens ignore by littering our landscapes with inefficient and costly windmills.)
My second point concerns the Stalinist tactics of the Green activists in trying to suppress any questioning of their dogmatic faith and to damage the lives and careers of any professional person who attempts to examine this subject in an honest way which might undermine their dogmatic claims. Their use of Holocaust language such as 'Denier', implying their target is akin to a neo Nazi, is but one example of the Stalinist mentality. In that political context, where any questioner is so derided, it is no surprise that most Labour supporters choose not to take the risk - especially when it immediately throws them into confrontation with their embattled leader.
Sorry to go on so long. But they are my observational conclusions on why it is not easy for the sceptical side to make progress on the political left. Interestingly, polls suggest it is among Labour working classes, always more practical than our Hampstead/Guardian types, that there is the biggest dissent from the Green religion - and some of them are already slipping off to UKIPP, which shows more concern for their suffering under the Green taxes.
This battle to bring understanding to Labour that its climate policies punish its core supporters, will take a while to win, partly for the two reasons I offer above.
Bernard Donoughue, trustee of GWPF

Nov 15, 2014 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Bernard Donoughue

Please add M Courtney to the list. Here's his comment from

As a Lefty I have no fear of a common sharing of Global Resources to allow everybody to take an equal opportunity for self-development. Being from a successful line shouldn't give you a free ride. Being from an impoverished line shouldn't mean it must continue. But why lie about the reason for believing that?
If you are right then say so - I do. If you are wrong then it will be seen to be wrong when it's acted upon. The new regime won't last a year if the reason is wrong. And you've then poisoned the well.As Lefties we should argue for left wing policies. Leave Green policies to the landowners and industrialists who suck at the teat of subsidies for wind farms. We believe in helping the poorest to take their opportunities.
Dec 18, 2014 at 10:45 PM | MCourtney

Dec 20, 2014 at 9:12 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Is M Courtney this M Courtney? *Dr Mark Courtney was formerly Deputy Director and Head of Economics in the Regulatory Impact Unit, Cabinet Office. He previously worked as an Economic Adviser in HM Treasury and as Senior Lecturer in Economics at Rhodes University. He was nominated by the Royal Statistical Society in 2011 to serve on the technical advisory group to the Office of National Statistics on clothing inflation, and has published a critique of UK consumer price indices in the Statistical Journal of the International Association of Official Statisticians.

Dec 22, 2014 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

According to some, the left ain't left at all, and greens are actually much closer to some sort of crypto-fascist mindset.
NOTE: I am *not* invoking Godwin's law in this. I am posting a link by a thoguht proviing Marxist blogger.

Dec 22, 2014 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

When you have a political split most followers just accept the list of stances the respective parties on all topics.
There is nothing particularly left or right wing about the climate.

Indeed communists were once (and still might be) strong advocates of rapid industrialisation.
Five year plans and so on.
The mining communities (well known for left politics) have been detrimentally affected by green politics.

Indeed there is very little difference now between the economic programs of the Labour and Conservative parties.

The deficit must be cut they say and each have their way of doing it.
Can you spot the difference?

Dec 22, 2014 at 5:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterBryan

occasional reminder to Guardian-reading friends that their image of climate deniers as scientifically illiterate UKIP-voting creationists might not be entirely correct

My bold.

Yeah OK but how would some bod' who purchases and reads the Graun - how would he/she recognize a person whose literate in any science, let alone the pure sciences?

I would have to say.

The green bubble, needs to be pierced and burst.

All across the developed world [but not in China and Russia] most people recognize that, lies and myths can be rearranged as salient facts and all facilitating a preferred life. And particularly. if you move within the corporate world, politics, local government, quangoshire, the UN, EU and Lord knows how many institutions ranging from green NGOs to bloody FIFA! EVERYMAN and his dog - pays a certain amount of lip service to the great scam. I salute and continue to admire Tony Abbot, Stephen Harper they have gone against the grain but for it to occur in Britain - now that would truly be something which would bring the pin ever nearer to popping a swollen boil which is long past its lancing date.

UKIP, in 2015 - may do enough damage to bring it [bursting the warming myth] reality closer, for quite plainly; the consensus politics here in the UK - liblavCON [whatever rosette you pick you get the same, the green agenda and Cultural Marxism] renders a discussion of left v right - to be a debate of almost infinite irrelevance.

Dec 24, 2014 at 12:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Explanation of meme "the denialists they are all raving rightwingers"
seems to me this comes from logical fallacy of "Unwarranted Extrapolation" of a truth
- "there are no sceptics at left wing meetings"
= "all opposition must come from rightwingers"

eg. "I am a believer"
"all the people people at the Greenpeace & FOE are believers"
"They all vote green, labour etc. "
"none of them vote conservative/Republican right wing etc." here's the extrapolation .."all of the opposition is right wing"

This can be confirmed by confirmation bias
- "Yep, only sceptic articles are in the DM, Fox or from UKIP"
- "if scepticism were a mainstream view it would be on the BBC"
- "Yes he said those sceptics are from Big Oil profit companies ..yes that sounds plausible"
- "He said that that bloke from Ecotricity is cool ..he's not like bigoil profit" etc.etc.

(leaving aside that my observation is that half of the most extreme people at radical political meetings are undercover police trying to outdo the real radicals (ref Riotous Assembly by Tom Sharpe))

The truth is as listed here there are plenty of left wing skeptics's just the atmosphere is toxic to them being open they can't express the view at leftwing meetings.
- There are plenty of rightwing true believers e.g. SamCam, white-mans-guilt , profiteers and other categories
" the only visible efforts on CAGW side are left wingers and the only opposition is from right-wingers" what you could say if you've taken your glasses off'.

despite the different names it's basically the same thing
fallacy of equivocation
becomes Fallacy of Unwarranted Extrapolation
becomes False Dichotomy ..
NB1 the similarity to the other false dichotomy "You are with us (believer) or you are against us (denier)"

NB2. It is so easy to accept the simple story and difficult to deal with a real complex story
..Compexity Denial is my shortcut way of referring to it
Others might use the term Fallacy of Oversimplication
"Guns don't kill people, people do”
"Deniers are all free market loonies"

..who sounds rightwing these days ?
"It's all the fault of the bloody immigrants deniers !"

Jan 9, 2015 at 5:25 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

PS wonder what happened at the debate 20th of Nov ?

Climate change – controversy, denial and the human mind

Thursday 20 November 2014, 6.30pm University of Reading

Why does climate change cause so much disagreement when the scientific evidence is apparently so clear

universityofreadingpsychology didn't have a discussion of it on their FB page

Jan 9, 2015 at 5:39 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


I went - nice enough lecturer - all very shallow - (quite small attendance)

may have persuaded a senior person at Invesco (hatted to from audience) - about some of the dodgier stuff about climate science - or more importantly psychology of climate denial ;-)

Jan 9, 2015 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Mike Post, no I am not the illustrious gentleman.

I am a nobody who contributes "opinion" at WUWT and the Guardian - as allowed. That is why I was not on the list.

I am also a life-long labour supporter (so far, but more than halfway through my 3 score and 10) .

In addition, my interest stems from being the son of Richard S Courtney - the first sceptic. He was head of research for the Coal research Establishment back in the 1980s and identified AGW as the next big scare that would come whe,n at the time, Acid Rain was first being hyped.

Jan 9, 2015 at 2:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney