Iain,That really tells me all I need to know. Anyone who seeks to constrain debate on this hugely important issue is adopting the tactics of crypto-fascists. They act as if scientists are in one hundred per cent agreement. They are not. The hubris and condescension in this email is almost beyond parody.
We have a policy at Greenpeace that we no longer debate people who don’t accept the scientific reality of anthropogenic climate change. It’s similar to the policy undertaken by cancer specialists who used to debate the tobacco industry but discontinued doing so. To paraphrase Richard Dawkins, if we debated Dominic Lawson on climate change it would look great on his CV, not so good on ours.
I would make clear that that doesn’t mean I don’t think there should be freedom of speech for people with DL’s view, there should be. He is welcome to write about it and speak on it all he wishes, even though I disagree. But by debating him and his fellow-travelers we perpetuate the myth that this is a ‘he said/she said’ issue, a 50/50 where there is still a debate.
I’d debate Bjorn Lomborg, who accepts the science but disagrees vehemently on the need to take action on climate change. But not Dominic Lawson.
All the best
My intention was to have two 'political' figures and two scientists taking part. Let's hope the Green Party or Friends of the Earth have a more open and democratic approach than GREENPEACE.
UPDATE: There's an interesting article HERE on the subject of closing down the debate.
UPDATE 12.30am: I accept the original language in this post was slightly OTT and have edited it accordingly. Ben Stewart and I have spoken this evening. I wouldn't say we have had a meeting of minds, but that was probably asking too much.
UPDATE: Thursday (this is posted above in a separate post, but needs to be copied here too)
Ben Stewart: An Apology
Sometimes when you write instanteanous responses to things you go over the top - it doesn't matter whether it's on an email or a blog. It happens. I did this on Tuesday in my Greenpeace post HERE. While I don't retract the thrust of the post (that Greenpeace are acting outrageously in seeking to close down the climate change debate) I did indeed use inappropriate and intemperate language regarding Ben Stewart and I'd like to apologise to him for that. He hasn't asked for an apology, but on reflection he deserves one.