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Climate change is real. We must not offer credibility to those who deny it

If ‘balance’ means giving voice to those who deny the reality of human-triggered climate change, we will not take part in the debate, say Jonathan Porritt, Caroline Lucas, Clive Lewisand 57 other writers, politicians and academics

We are no longer willing to lend our credibility to debates over whether or not climate change is real. It is real. We need to act now or the consequences will be catastrophic. In the interests of “balance”, the media often feels the need to include those who outright deny the reality of human-triggered climate change.

Balance implies equal weight. But this then creates a false equivalence between an overwhelming scientific consensus and a lobby, heavily funded by vested interests, that exists simply to sow doubt to serve those interests. Yes, of course scientific consensus should be open to challenge – but with better science, not with spin and nonsense. We urgently need to move the debate on to how we address the causes and effects of dangerous climate change – because that’s where common sense demands our attention and efforts should be.

Fringe voices will protest about “free speech”. No one should prevent them from expressing their views, whether held cynically or misguidedly. However, no one is obliged to provide them with a platform, much less to appear alongside them to give the misleading impression that there is something substantive to debate. When there is an article on smoking, newspapers and broadcasters no longer include lobbyists claiming there are no links to cancer. When there’s a round-the-world yacht race we don’t hear flat-earthers given airtime: “This is madness; they’ll sail off the edge!”

There’s a workable model for covering fringe views – which is to treat them as such. They don’t need to be ridiculed, just expected to challenge the evidence with better evidence, and otherwise ignored. As campaigners and thinkers who are led by science and the precautionary principle, and who wish to debate the real and vital issues arising from human-triggered climate change, we will not assist in creating the impression that climate denial should be taken seriously by lending credence to its proponents, by entertaining ideas that lack any basis in fact. Therefore we will no longer debate those who deny that human-caused climate change is real. There are plenty of vital debates to be had around climate chaos and what to do about it; this is simply no longer one of them. We urge broadcasters to move on, as we are doing.

Jonathon Porritt Chair, Sustainable Development Commission 2000-11 
John Sauven Executive director, Greenpeace
Prof Richard Murphy Director, Tax Research UK
Peter Tatchell
Prof Andrea Sella, Michael Faraday prize winner
Prof Robert Ayres Author
Caroline Lucas MP
Clive Lewis MP
Prof Molly Scott Cato MEP
Dr Rupert Read Chair, Green House thinktank
George Monbiot Author
Dr Doug Parr Chief scientist, Greenpeace
Chris Rose Former programme director, Greenpeace
Jeremy Leggett Founder, Solar Century
Mayer Hillman Senior fellow, Policy Studies Institute
Bea Campbell
Ed Gillespie Co-founder, Futerra
Mark Lynas Author
Dr James Garvey Author
Oliver Tickell Author
Chris Goodall Author
Prof Clive Spash Author
Prof Hugh Montgomery Co-founder, UK Climate and Health Council
Prof Mark Maslin Author
Prof Anthony Ryan Director, Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures
Dr Sian Foch-Gatrell Green Ocean Project
Dr Erik Buitenhuis Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
David Wasdell Director, Apollo-Gaia Project
Prof Paul Ekins UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources
Dr Teresa Belton Author
Dr Nick Brooks Climatic Research Unit, UEA
Dr Simon Boxley Centre for Climate Change Education, University of Winchester)
Prof Jem Bendell Sustainability Leadership Institute, University of Cumbria
Dr David Drew MP
Dr Ian Gibson Former chair of the House of Commons science and technology select committee)
Keith Taylor MEP
Clare Moody MEP
Catherine Bearder MEP
Cllr Jonathan Bartley Co-leader, Green party
Carne Ross Former UK and UN diplomat
Neal Lawson Director, Compass
Ben Chacko Editor, Morning Star
Deepak Rughani Co-director, Biofuelwatch
Patrick Barkham Author
Prof Gary Francione
Prof Sarah Churchwell
Dr Christine Cornea
Dr Richard House
Dr Abby Innes
Dr Pierre Bocquillon
Prof Del Loewenthal
Prof Andrew Samuels
Dr Jo Veltman
Prof Peter Belton
Dr Andrew Boswell
Dr Katherine Kite
Mark Crutchley
Karen Whiterod
Anne Dismorr
Jonathan Kent

 Join the debate – email





August 27, 2018 - Posted by | general

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