Handy guide to name-calling and abuse in climate rows
Developments in computer hacking, Australian politics, and an acrimonious meeting in Denmark have produced the unlikely result that climate change is now almost as hot a conversation topic as Tiger Woods’s sex life.
With our ready-reckoner guide to global warming barneys, you too can have a circular argument in which all facts are disputable and no insult is too cutting when climate change comes up in the pub, at a barbecue or during tea and biscuits at your next Liberal Party branch meeting.
And best of all, there are no losers because by the time the arguments are proved or disproved either way we’ll all be dead.
The first thing you must do for a rollicking, no-non-sequiturs-barred discussion on climate change is choose from the following two starting points. Let’s call them teams A and B. At all costs, avoid taking the boring middle ground position that it’s an issue of risk management or that the planet must be given the benefit of the doubt. Joe Hockey did so and look what happened to him.
The starting position for each team is:
A: Climate change is real and we are all going to die unless we do “something”. What that something is doesn’t matter, you can make it up.
B: Climate change is not real or at least not caused by people so no action is required.
Once you have chosen the teams, each can try these simple tactics which are based on real arguments commonly advanced by politicians and people in various debating forums.
You can start by calling the other team sceptics and deniers. Sceptic may seem innocuous or even complementary at first but repeat it often enough and in the right tone - think of spitting the word instead of just saying it - and it quickly becomes a useful term of abuse.
Feel free to cite any recent hot or cold days, big thunderstorms, flash floods or bushfires as evidence that you are right. While everyone knows the weather is not the same thing as the climate, if this is point is raised by your opponents you can use the customary climate change debating tactic of completely ignoring it.
To sound scientific, throw in a mention of catastrophic changes to the planet if it warms by 3C by 2050, and say temperature records being broken around Australia are consistent with an overall warming trend. When you sense your opponents’ tempers starting to fray, just say the words IPCC fourth report, then sit back and enjoy the spectacle of them exploding into an uncontrollable rant that will probably contain the word climategate.
If your opponents argue there is no need to rush into action on climate change, you can say that delay is denial, which handily is an Australian-Government-endorsed attack line used recently by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and other senior ministers. You can now also press home your point with emotive shouting about protecting the planet for future generations, perhaps by dragging a small child to your side and asking the others to explain why they’re wrecking the planet for the kid.
As the debate descends into its inevitable chaos you can accuse your opponents of being flat-earthers and rightards. I’ll leave you with a couple of lines (from a real comment found on the internet) which is a good example of the kind of abandonment of fact and reason you could aim for:
People who deny global warming should be put in re-education camps and shown the science until they understand it otherwise we will all die from it and people in Bangladesh will be flooded and die too.
Polar bears will be extinct in a year or two and so will all other cold climate animals because they won’t be able to cope with the massive temperature changes that are ALREADY HAPPENING!
(Style tip: The words in capitals should be shouted, possibly as you leap out of your chair and point an angry finger.)
The great thing about this debate is there’s no need to address the points of the other team in any way. Start by calling them warmists and climate change alarmists before stepping it up, as the abuse reaches a crescendo, to leftist watermelon sheepletards.
A good party trick is to drop some ice cubes into a glass of water at the start of the debate and mark the level of the liquid on the glass. At any mention of melting polar ice caps point to the water level in the glass – and because of your secret knowledge that water expands when frozen, the water will be lower than before the ice melted!!
Watch your opponents squirm by mentioning the climategate emails and specifically quoting the phrases “hide the decline” and “we can’t account for the lack of warming”.
To sound scientific you can say the planet hasn’t warmed since 1998, and has cooled significantly in the past two years, before adding that nobody has been able to definitively prove that human emissions cause global warming in any case. (They may point out that Einstein’s general theory of relativity hasn’t been definitively proven either, but see the advice to Team A on completely ignoring troublesome points such as this.) You could also argue Liberal Senator Nick Minchin’s point that Team A is aiding the cause of those who want to de-industrialise the western world.
And here for you is a slightly edited example of a real comment that showcases the extreme lengths to which the debate can be taken from your side:
Climatologists have done to real science what paedophiles did to the church and terrorists did to Islam.
But if you’re not spoiling for a fight on this, however, it might be worth sitting down and having a chat about climate over a cup of tea on the understanding that you want to have a reasonable conversation about the topic as it might be important. There’s plenty to read on it on both sides of the debate and you can start with a Google search. But doesn’t that sound terribly boring?
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