Does Climate Change Skepticism Merit Jail?

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According to Canada's conservative daily newspaper, the National Post, our northern neighbor's most well-known environmental alarmist, David Suzuki thinks so. To wit:

David Suzuki has called for political leaders to be thrown in jail for ignoring the science behind climate change.

At a Montreal conference last Thursday, the prominent scientist, broadcaster and Order of Canada recipient exhorted a packed house of 600 to hold politicians legally accountable for what he called an intergenerational crime. Though a spokesman said yesterday the call for imprisonment was not meant to be taken literally, Dr. Suzuki reportedly made similar remarks in an address at the University of Toronto last month….

"What I would challenge you to do is to put a lot of effort into trying to see whether there's a legal way of throwing our so-called leaders into jail because what they're doing is a criminal act," said Dr. Suzuki, a former board member of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

What's next? Is hanging too good for climate criminals?

Whole National Post article here.

Disclosure: My odyssey as a reformed climate criminal here. I changed my mind not because I feared jail, but because of the growing evidence that climate change is a problem.

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  1. I’m guessing Drs. Yamaha and Kawasaki were unavailable for comment.

  2. Mandatory jailtime for ALL politicians, not just climate skeptics!

  3. “Dr. Suzuki, a former board member of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.” Member of the “Civil Liberties Association”, is that Orwelian or what? Thanks for posting this Ron.

  4. Is hanging too good for climate criminals?

    Not if you re-use the rope. Then it’s eco-friendly!

  5. I changed my mind not because I feared jail,
    but because of the growing evidence that climate change is a problem.

    That day I died a little inside.

  6. Such hyperbole literally makes my head explode.

    No doubt, he’s one of those crypto-communists who wants you to freeze in the dark.

  7. I changed my mind not because I feared jail, but because of the growing evidence that climate change is a problem.

    So, you’re ADMITTING that you’re a FLIP-FLOPPER?

  8. Since I started writing essays challenging the global warming consensus, and seeking to put forward critical alternative arguments, I have felt almost witch-hunted. There has been an hysterical reaction. One individual, who was once on the board of the Sierra Club, has suggested I should be criminally prosecuted. I wrote a series of articles on climate change issues for the Nation, which elicited a level of hysterical outrage and affront that I found to be astounding – and I have a fairly thick skin, having been in the business of making unpopular arguments for many, many years.

    There was a shocking intensity to their self-righteous fury, as if I had transgressed a moral as well as an intellectual boundary and committed blasphemy. I sometimes think to myself, ‘Boy, I’m glad I didn’t live in the 1450s’, because I would be out in the main square with a pile of wood around my ankles. I really feel that; it is remarkable how quickly the hysterical reaction takes hold and rains down upon those who question the consensus.

    -Alexander Cockburn, at Spiked Review of Books

  9. This was not just a one-off comment by Suzuki, he made a similar comment at my school, the University of Toronto, weeks before his appearance at McGill.

    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=291604

  10. Come on Joe,

    This guy is legit enough to apparently speak at top colleges all over Canada. Are you going to come out and denounce this crap for what it is? Or do you agree with what he said? Which is it?

  11. Ronald,

    I followed your change in position through determined that anthropogenic global warming does in fact exist, but what has convinced you that it’s a problem?

  12. If by growing evidence you mean the coming Maunder minimum, then yes, climate change (cooling), might be a problem.

  13. Corey: It’s mostly in the article to which I linked, but basically
    (1) satellite and ground temperature trends since 1979 and before
    (2) mountain glaciers receding
    (3) Longer growing seasons
    (4) Melting arctic ice

    On the flip side, the temp trends are all on the low side of what the climate models generally predict.

    gorak: I await the next temp trends for the next 10 years with considerable interest. As I reported from Bali:

    Most interestingly, and to its credit, the Hadley Centre has now gone out on a risky prediction limb. The Centre has combined its weather prediction model with a climate change model to make definite forecasts about the world’s climate for the next decade. To wit: “We are now using the system to predict changes out to 2014. By the end of this period, the global average temperature is expected to have risen by around 0.3 degrees Celsius compared to 2004, and half of the years after 2009 are predicted to be hotter than the current record hot year, 1998.” Since various temperature records-surface, satellite and weather balloons-have shown a temperature trend that increases at about 0.2 degrees per decade or less, this is a truly bold prediction.

  14. Ron,

    I am starting to believe the Solar guys. I think the tempatures are going to go down starting in 2012. Their explanation makes so much more sense than anthropogenic global warming. I am trying eat well and be healthy so I can live long enough, 2020 or so to see those predictions come true. It will colder but God it is going to be funny.

  15. I recently read a PhysOrg.com article about how a warming North Atlantic might be because of natural variation–with, of course, the caveat that anthropological climate change might be the cause. Now, how is it natural if its cause is anthropological? Which is it? The climate change debate always reminds me of the egg debate: are they healthy or not? According to some climatologists logic, they are healthy only if they do not come from a farm, although a farmed egg is as healthy as any other egg. Additionally, I read another PhysOrg article that anthropological nitrogen pollution might be increasing plant growth–and thus, their capability to absord atmospheric carbon dioxide–in contradiction of established scientific belief. Now, detrimental climate change is a fact–but nitrogen pollution is beneficial… Which is it: are eggs healthy or not?

  16. Climate-Change Denier? Hanging’s too good for him! Burning’s too good for him! He should be torn into little bitsy pieces and buried alive!

    As for this Maunder minimum some (wacko) scientists claim is coming, that’s still climate change. Just like in the 70s, when Time predicted a new ice age. Go ahead, deny that mankind is destroying the world! We’ve got you covered coming and going!

    This message brought to you by the National Office of Overly Hysteric Hippies

  17. Such hyperbole literally makes my head explode.

    Literally?

  18. I am warming up because when the Yellowstone supervolcano blows, you’ll all be glad for the few extra degrees when the real cooling begins.

  19. We could see a rapid warming followed by a rapid cooling and then everyone is right and wrong and we’re all screwed at the same time. Hooray for us!

  20. Literally.

    Blam!

  21. John,

    People should be more circumspect in their denuciations of global warming deniers, as said deniers are likely to seize on any intemperate language to proop up their fantasy that their marginalization is a result of political persecution, rather than because their silly theories have been so thoroughly refuted.

    Happy?

  22. No doubt, he’s one of those crypto-communists who wants you to freeze in the dark.

    David Suzuki is more mainstream in Canada than Al Gore is in the United States… and he has no problem shilling for big greenwashing campaigns by major corporations. So he isn’t a crypto-communist per say.

    Mostly, in places like Canada and Europe and such, censorship is a lot more acceptable. It isn’t so much as the “Greens are crazy and want to censor everyone”… as “The Greens, like any other political entity in Canada, want to censor their opponents”.

  23. Rex,

    It is common in certain circles, including on these threads, to proclaim that anybody who expresses concern about global warming is a crypto-communist “watermelon” who wants human beings to freeze, starve, and otherwise go without fuel.

  24. People should be more circumspect in their denuciations of global warming deniers, as said deniers are likely to seize on any intemperate language to proop up their fantasy that their marginalization is a result of political persecution, rather than because their silly theories have been so thoroughly refuted.

    joe,

    It is entirely possible to believe that anthropogenic global warming exists and that it is a major problem, but still respect and value the work of scientists who might disagree.

    It doesn’t matter if people like you favor a slightly less oppressive system of censorship than throwing people in prison (professional blacklisting, and being conflated with neo-nazis i.e. calling people “deniers”)… When society starts applying a moral “right” and “wrong” to what should be a question of observation, research, and analysis, there can be no real science.

  25. What Rex said Joe.

    Basically you are telling me that you really agree with what he said, but he should have been careful not to say it in public.

  26. joe,

    FWIW, I’ve actually met people who think that we should do away with electricity.

    Anyway, most “deep ecology” folks and the like probably have very little in common with communists, Marxist-Leninists, etc.

  27. When ignoring the science behind the “we must regulate and centralize the economy to combat global warming” movement is punished with jail time, it won’t be long before the same punishment is required for looking at the science too closely.

  28. I find this just as ridiculous as if someone like say, Michael Savage, were to call for throwing the David Suzukis of the world in jail.

    1. David Suzuki has argued repeatedly that money should be given to the scientists and not the economists, suggesting economics is not a science in any sense. Suzuki’s only economic theory is that we are living in a test tube and all will be well until the population doubles and we suddenly run out of resources. This non-scientific theory can never be disproven because no matter how much things improve we our told disaster is just around the corner.

  29. Ron changed his mind because of the growing evidence that climate change is a problem.

    That’s bizarre. I could see a change of heart if you thought the human contribution to global warming was a problem. But this? It sounds like a cop-out.

  30. joe regrets that it’s “common [practice] to proclaim that anybody who expresses concern about global warming is a crypto-communist ‘watermelon’…”

    I don’t doubt that’s how Joe perceives things, but here’s another take: Warmists take weak science and dubious “projections” and propose phenomenally expense “cures”, said “cures” not bearing up to the same sort of projections that alarmed them in the first place. Are these people insane? …or do they have another motive?

    Canada Environment Minister Christine Stewart on Global Warming (1999): “No matter if the science is all phoney, there are collateral environmental benefits.”

  31. No, John, he just expressed himself poorly. He let his emotions get the better of him.

    Of course I don’t agree with throwing people in prison for being deluded about science when it’s politically convenient for them to do so. I doubt Suzuki actually believes that, either.

    When society starts applying a moral “right” and “wrong” to what should be a question of observation, research, and analysis, there can be no real science. No, Rex, drawing a moral conclusion about harming other people does nothing whatsoever to harm the practice of science. It is wrong to destroy other people’s property and put them in danger, and the fact that we learned about this damage through scientific observation doesn’t change that.

    Calidore,

    Most deep ecology folks have little to do with mainstream environmentalism, either.

    “Warmists” is not a word, PiperTom.

  32. So the way to convince people of global warming is for a celebrity scientist to publicly throw a hissy fit suggesting opponents should be considered thought-criminals…on at least two separate occasions.

    You do that once, it’s letting your emotions get away with you. More than once, people have ample reason to believe you are dead serious about it.

  33. Seriously, is there anywhere we can turn to get info on this issue that is not tainted by someone’s agenda…

  34. Joe: “‘Warmists’ is not a word,…”

    From urbandictionary.com:
    global warmist n.
    To be defined as a global warmist, a person must have all of the following traits:

    1) An absolute belief that humans are primarily or even completely responsible for causing a mass climate change which will raise the average temperature of the planet.

    2) Will not entertain the idea that it is possible that natural phenomena may cause climate change, regardless of any evidence.

    3) Believes it is a good thing to throw billions upon billions of dollars at an idea that may or may not work to stop climate change, “just in case.”

    4) Believes that natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes are an indirect result of humankind’s actions to cause climate change.

    5) Shouts down, puts down, and insults anyone whose beliefs run contrary to their own, rather than having intelligent discourse. A zealot for their cause.

  35. joe,

    On “warmists”:

    I’m not a prescriptivist.

    Most deep ecology folks have little to do with mainstream environmentalism, either.

    Enviromentalism comes in so many shades and colors I wouldn’t be able to say what mainstream enviromentalism is exactly.

  36. P Brooks: I do wish Alexander Cockburn would focus on civil liberty at Spiked, , because back in his ususal haunts at The Nation he insists global warming’s real cause is ‘the Earth’s increasingly hot molten core.”

    Untroubled by the conservation of mass , or the variability of the Earth’s orbit, he avers that:

    ” Once again, the greenhousers have got it ass-backward. The 100 ppm increase in CO2 can’t be uniquely attributed to humans because at least as plausibly it could be the effect, not the cause, of the warming that started after the Little Ice Age.”
    http://adamant.typepad.com/seitz/2007/05/dogs_cats_moonb.html

    Never mind CO2’s subversive failure to spike in response to the Medieval Warm Period.

  37. Canada has a whole raft of truly demented public intellectuals past and present, of whom David Suzuki is but one example. Read some John Ralston Saul or C.B. MacPherson, if you dare! Or if you want to see what happens when you combine a modest amount of native intelligence but a truly awe-inspiring ignorance of basic economics and then stir in some intellectual pretension.

    Jeff

  38. David Suzuki. His combined weird and creepy rating is right up there with Carl Sagan and that’s saying something.

  39. Urban Dictionary dot com?

    Isn’t that a wiki that lets anybody post anything?

  40. “David Suzuki is more mainstream in Canada than Al Gore is in the United States.”

    If Suzuki is mainstream then fascism is mainstream–especially in universities and newsrooms.

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    Influence can be defined as the power exerted over the minds and behavior of others. A power that can affect, persuade and cause changes to someone or something. In order to influence people, you first need to discover what is already influencing them. What makes them tick? What do they care about? We need some leverage to work with when we’re trying to change how people think and behave.

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