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Climate Critics That Won't Muzzle Themselves

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJune 17, 2011 4:35 PM


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Mark Lynas is digging in his heels and standing up for principle, or, if you're inclined to view this escalating controversy over IPCC process and ethics, he's being a handmaiden for the Dark Side in the endless climate wars. In his latest post, Lynas uses the analogy of an Exxon-Mobil employee being a lead IPCC author to explain further why this episode is so upsetting to him. He then writes:

How is the Exxon scenario different from what has just happened with the IPCC's renewables report? And why "“ when confronted with this egregious conflict of interest and abuse of scientific independence "“ has the response of the world's green campaigners been to circle the wagons and cry foul against the whistle-blowers themselves? That this was spotted at all is a tribute to the eagle eyes of Steve McIntyre. Yet I am told that he is a "˜denier', that all his deeds are evil, and that I have been naively led astray by him. Well, if the "˜deniers' are the only ones standing up for the integrity of the scientific process, and the independence of the IPCC, then I too am a "˜denier'. Indeed, McIntyre and I have formed an unlikely double-act, posing a series of questions "“ together with the New York Times's Andy Revkin "“ to the IPCC report's lead author Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, to which he has yet to respond.

Lynas goes on to discuss some of his "green critics" that have "closed ranks" around the IPCC, which appears to have had the effect of reinforcing his initial criticism of the IPCC. I think he's perhaps misunderstanding the angry reaction he's prompted from his otherwise erstwhile allies. In a comment at Lynas' blog, Policy Lass, a liberal climate blogger, reveals what's really bugging climate activists about Lynas' highly publicized critique of the IPCC:

This is a war and as we all know, the first casualty is truth. This means that well-intentioned supporters of AGW who point out errors, perceived or real, serious or of no consequence, find their words used as ammunition to attack them and AGW in a cynical effort to affect public policy by raising unfounded doubt about the science. If you decide to speak out, you have to remember that no matter what your motives or intentions, your words will be spun to suit the needs of your opponent. Unfortunately, when you are involved in a war, you have to think strategically. Those who are naive about this become tools for their enemy's advantage.

This is a variation on the Republican 11th commandment of politics, made famous by Ronald Reagan. Lynas, in refusing to muzzle himself, is likely to get squeezed further by the climate capos on the left.

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