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The Wrong Sort of Scepticism is a Crime against Humanity Says Penn State Prof

Is climate science disinformation a crime against humanity? | Donald Brown | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Deeply irresponsible corporate-sponsored programmes of disinformation have potentially harsh effects upon tens of millions of people

It may be reasonable to be somewhat sceptical about climate change models, these untruths are not based upon reasonable scepticism but outright falsification and distortions of climate change science.
These claims have included assertions that the science of climate change has been completely "debunked" and that there is no evidence of human causation of recent observed warming. There are numerous lines of evidence that point to human causation even if it is not a completely settled matter. Reasonable scepticism cannot claim that there is no evidence of causation and some other claims frequently being made by the well-financed climate change disinformation campaign, and they amount to an utter distortion of a body of evidence that the world needs to understand to protect itself from huge potential harms.
Disinformation about the state of climate change science is extraordinarily – if not criminally – irresponsible, because the consensus scientific view is based upon strong evidence that climate change:
• Is already being experienced by tens of thousands in the world;
• Will be experienced in the future by millions of people from greenhouse gas emissions that have already been emitted but not yet felt due to lags in the climate system; and,
• Will increase dramatically in the future unless greenhouse gas emissions are dramatically reduced from existing global emissions levels.

Threats from climate change include deaths and danger from droughts, floods, heat, storm-related damages, rising oceans, heat impacts on agriculture, loss of animals that are dependent upon for substance purposes, social disputes caused by diminishing resources, sickness from a variety of diseases, the inability to rely upon traditional sources of food, the inability to use property that people depend upon to conduct their life including houses or sleds in cold places, the destruction of water supplies, and the inability to live where has lived to sustain life. The very existence of some small island nations is threatened by climate change.
As long as there is any chance that climate change could create this type of destruction, even assuming, for the sake of argument, that these dangers are not yet fully proven, disinformation about the state of climate change science is extraordinarily morally reprehensible if it leads to non-action in reducing climate change's threat. In fact, how to deal with uncertainty in climate change science is an ethical issue, not only a scientific matter, because the consequences of delay could be so severe and the poorest people in the world as some of the most vulnerable.
The corporations that have funded the sowing of doubt on this issue are clearly doing this because they see greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategies as adversely affecting their financial interests.
This might be understood as a new type of crime against humanity. Scepticism in science is not bad, but sceptics must play by the rules of science including publishing their conclusions in peer-reviewed scientific journals and not make claims that are not substantiated by the peer-reviewed literature. The need for responsible scepticism is particularly urgent if misinformation from sceptics could lead to great harm.
We not have a word for this type of crime yet, but the international community should find a way of classifying extraordinarily irresponsible scientific claims that could lead to mass suffering as some type of crime against humanity.
• Donald Brown is Associate Professor in Environmental Ethics, Science, and Law at Penn State University. The full version of this article was first published on the Penn State website.

In other news Dr. Michael E. Mann is employed by Penn State.


The precautionary principle in words and deeds. Yet time and again they overlook that the precautionary principle only applies if the chosen path does no harm. By a very real measure it is doing harm - renewable energy is hooked on subsidies because it is not cost effective. World leaders are keen to institute a global welfare system of rich western taxpayers handing money to 'poor' African and Asian politicians.(Note, not poor Africans and Asians.)

If we must stick with the precautionary principle the most efficient, effective and least worst way forward is free trade. The consequences of being wrong are benign unlike the gradual impoverishing and un-developing of the West that we are enjoying today.

With free trade people who are least capable at adapting to man made global climate warming disruption then get our spending money which means they can afford to adapt. Our cost of living goes down and we can afford to adapt too. Exchanging our money for developing world goods would speed democratic accountability too, both here and there. Our money would go direct to the people so the Governments would need to tax the people to survive rather than rely on our Governments handing over our money to buy Mercs and business jets.

Deeply irresponsible corporate-sponsored programmes of disinformation

Is thew Guardian engaging in a moment of self-criticism here?

It may be reasonable to be somewhat sceptical about climate change models

"• Is already being experienced by tens of thousands in the world"

I keep reading this - most recently on large hoarding-type posters put up by Greenpeace (and no doubt paid for by the taxpayer).

I assume there is not a shred of evidence and the whole thing is a fabrication from start to finish.

Anyone correcting me?

Science operates on curiosity about results.

Always look for curiosity, or its suppression.

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