Yesterday Munich-based national online daily Süddeutsche Zeitung (SDZ) here published a report on the heavy (unfair) attacks by skeptics on climate scientists, who see themselves as innocent victims.Tthe attacks, the SDZ writes, are stemming from “lobby groups of the oil and coal industry and by private people who have networked themselves together.”
Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the SDZ article is totally one-sided, adversarial against the skeptics and ideological. It has nothing to do with balanced journalism. The story is wholly designed to marginalize the legitimate and forceful criticism of climate science by renowned. The skepticism evidently is substantial enough to have a major German newspaper liked he SDZ gripe about it and feel compelled enough to chase down opinions from sympathetic ‘experts’ all over the world.
Overall the SDZ portrays climate science skeptics as clandestinely funded attack groups who are driven by greed, self-interest or who are operatimng on behalf of the interests of the fossil fuels and coal industry.
The attacks are so vicious, the SDZ wants its readers to believe, that now “historians and philosophers are taking a look at the phenomenon“. The center-left daily describes an environment where criticism from skeptics is hostile, is under the belt, does not fulfill scientific norms and that it is possibly “impeding the progress of science“. The SDZ cites, for example, Anna Leuschner of the University of Hannover, who is quoted as saying “the difference between helpful and damaging criticism could emerge when the progress of science is intentionally obstructed“. This is a thinly veiled plea for a state crackdown on climate science scrutiny and skepticism.
Just how bad are the skeptics? The SDZ goes on to describe how Michael Mann views himself as the victim of a “McCarthy-like” campaign, orchestrated by “a well-financed and well-tuned attack on science” and that Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia even received “death threats” and had “thoughts of suicide” after his e-mails “were stolen and released to the public.”
“Criteria for damaging criticism”
The SDZ describes a recently held conference held in Karlsruhe among “philosophers and ethicists from USA, England and Germany who discussed whether there are criteria for damaging criticism.” The aim of the conference of course was how best to deal with skeptics. Jochem Marotzke, of the German Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, says that “skeptic” is an impermissible term to describe the persons who are spreading doubt over climate science and wishes he could find a strategy to get the word skeptic back out of their hands, according to the SDZ.
The SDZ also writes that Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of he Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, failed to get the label denier to stick for people whom he calls “radical climate protection opponents“.
The thrust of the SDZ article of course is to portray the skeptics as a dangerous threat to scientific progress and thus ought to be reined in by the power of the state. Afterall, how can skepticism be allowed when the science is so settled?
In the article the SDZ portrays a situation where big industry is the greedy evil behind all the climate science skepticism and its successful campaign to seed doubts over the science. The Munich-based center-left daily writes: “Indeed instead of fighting politically, the lobby groups are staging supposed controversy within the science.”
One major problem with the SDZ article is that it fails to name a single group or person guilty of all the accusations it launches, let alone provide any evidence. To shore up the accusations, the SSZ merely cites vague claims made by the usual alarmist propagandists, such as Naomi Oreskes, Stephan Lewandowsky and even Skeptical Science. Perhaps this was done to avoid slander lawsuits.
The main thrust of the SDZ article is on how to deal with skeptics. How seriously should their objections to the science be taken? Refusing to listen to their objections and insisting the science is settled “may come across as appearing arrogant, and thus serve to play into the hands of the skeptics,” Loescher warns.
In the article the SDZ especially takes aim at “conservative American think tanks”, not naming a single one of them, and complains that skepticism is prominent especially in English speaking countries [which have a more balanced press].
In the end, the SDZ writes that outcome of Paris will not be decided based on science, but rather on politics.