Professional climate science deniers and delayers have been busy playing the victim card here at the Paris climate change talks.
As we head into the guts of week two, negotiators at the vast Le Bourget venue are heading into the business end of agreeing a global deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions and stave off the worst impacts of climate change.
In The Australian, environment editor Graham Lloyd wrote under the headline “Greens want muzzle on ‘climate deniers’” how environment groups wanted “alternative views on climate science silenced in Paris.”
That’s an interesting choice of phrase – alternative view. Try, wrong. There are some people in the world with an “alternative view” on the age and the shape of the planet, or the theory of evolution and the safety of vaccines.
But you wouldn’t expect them to be taken seriously at a major medical conference or the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.
Reuters also had a story where Heartland Institute communications director Jim Lakely complained that they had to “make their own space and time” to be heard in Paris. Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow’s Marc Morano complained to Politico that the UN saw the denialists as the “turd in the punch bowl”.
The Heartland Institute, which received $736,000 from Exxon between 1998 and 2006, is ever keen to promote climate science denial, holding annual conferences in the US and abroad, launching “alternative” climate reports and comparing anyone who accepts climate science to tyrants and murderers.
So are climate science denialists and “sceptics” really excluded from the United Nations climate process?
The Committee for Constructive Tomorrow has been granted official press conference time and space at previous climate talks in Lima, Warsaw, Durban, Doha and Bonn.
CFACT communications director Marc Morano, who launched his Climate Hustle denialist documentary in Paris on Tuesday evening, told me they have a press conference planned within the Paris talks, in an official room, for later this week. CFACT has also had an official booth at the Paris talks.
The United Nations has also granted official delegate status to representatives from CFACT and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, another US conservative think tank that refuses to accept the evidence of the severe implications of fossil fuel emissions.
Yet while the likes of CFACT and Heartland cry wolf over their victim status, there’s an apparent hypocrisy in their claims.
When CFACT joined other groups in a room at the aptly-titled Hotel California (as the Eagles sang, ‘what a nice surprise, bring your alibis’) for a day of denialist speeches, the event was initially advertised as being public.
But when journalists from DeSmog turned up, the event suddenly became private and the journalists were excluded.
I had initially been granted a seat for the premiere of the Climate Hustle documentary, but was later declined. At the screening event last night (more information about that quite bizarre experience to come), I asked again to be allowed in, but was told it was full.
Dr John Cook, a climate communication fellow at the University of Queensland and founder of the SkepticalScience website, was also told he wouldn’t be allowed to actually watch the film, after initially expecting to be allowed in.
The ideologically-motivated climate science denial that Heartland and CFACT promotes cuts no ice here inside the Paris talks. But that’s not to say it has no impact.
Writing in the New Republic, Jonathan Katz points out how the Republican party’s denial of the science in the US could impact on the negotiations. Negotiators, Katz argues, “know better than anyone that the Republican Congress will not approve any climate change deal President Barack Obama puts in front of them.”
Blog Image: Professional climate science denialists in Paris at the premiere of Climate Hustle. From left to right, Marc Morano, Tom Harris, Craig Rucker, Christopher Monckton, [Teddy Bear?], Bob Carter, Christopher Essex, Fred Singer, Willie Soon, Patrick Moore. Photo Credit: Brendan Montague