After Years of Threats, Prominent Climate Alarmists Still Seek to Jail Climate ‘Deniers’
Those who say climate change is a threat to the planet continue to call for actions against climate skeptics.
On May 19, PBS’ “Moyers & Company” played a clip of scientist, David Suzuki, calling for politicians skeptical of man-made climate change to “be thrown in the slammer.” On day later, a tweet by well-known alarmist Michael Mann suggested that skepticism could be a “crime against humanity.” As least far back as 2006, and as recently as March 2014, liberal journalists and radical scientists have advocated punishing people who doubt catastrophic, man-made climate change.
A writer at Grist.org once called for a kind of “climate Nuremberg” and had to apologize and amend his remarks, while scientists have publicly demanded imprisonment or even “the death penalty.”
On May 20, Michael Mann, a climatologist who is often interviewed by media outlets to warn about the threat of global warming, tweeted a 2010 article from The Guardian (UK) that asked “Is climate science disinformation a crime against humanity?” He called that question “more relevant today than in 2010.”
This article, written by Donald Brown decried climate skeptics as “extraordinarily morally reprehensible.” Brown even called on “the international community” to “find a way of classifying extraordinarily irresponsible scientific claims that could lead to mass suffering as some type of crime against humanity.”
Ironically, Mann is currently embroiled in a lawsuit attempting to conceal email correspondence from his time at the University of Virginia from Freedom of Information Act requests. This lawsuit has been joined by 17 major news groups, though conspicuously not the broadcast networks, CNN or The New York Times.
Even before his recent PBS appearance, Suzuki called for the jailing of skeptics in two major 2008 speeches. Suzuki, who regularly gives media interviews and writes for The Huffington Post, asked a Montreal business conference to “see whether there’s a legal way of throwing our so-called leaders into jail” and called skepticism “a criminal act.”
But although several of these arguments are recent, this kind of rhetoric goes back years.
On March 28, 2014, the popular website Gawker’s Adam Weinstein declared “Arrest Climate-Change Deniers.” Weinstein explained there was “clear precedent” to “punish the climate-change liars.” He was very specific on who should be jailed, as well. Weinstein clarified that the “man on the street” is innocent but just “too stupid.” Instead, he focused on “Rush and his multi-million dollar ilk” and “Americans for Prosperity.”
James Hansen, a former NASA scientist and prominent climate alarmist, made a speech in 2008 calling for the imprisonment of oil and coal executives. He said “these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature” before fearmongering over “continually shifting shorelines” and a “more desolate planet.”
In 2006, David Roberts of the alarmist website Grist.org called for extreme punishment. Grist, which has featured major interviews with both former Vice President Al Gore and PBS’ Bill Moyers, called for “war crimes trials for [climate denying] bastards.” He escalated that threat, calling specifically for “some sort of climate Nuremberg.”
This call for a “climate Nuremberg” was a clear reference to the post World War II Nuremberg trials where former Nazis were tried for war crimes, and 11 were sentenced to death. While Roberts later apologized for the Nuremberg comparison, he didn’t back off of his desire to jail skeptics.
Others have also suggested skeptics were complicit in genocide. Dr. Robert Nadeau, founder of the George Mason University Global Environmental Network Center, wrote “Crimes against Humanity: The Genocidal Campaign of the Climate Change Contrarians” on April 5, 2014. In this article, he declared “There Ought to Be a Law” against climate skepticism and explored two different international laws that ought to be used against climate skeptics. Nadeau embraced this accusation of genocide, dubbing climate skepticism a “genocidal campaign.”
This sort of language is prevalent amongst liberal academics who’ve called for the imprisonment of dissenters.
Just recently, on March 13, 2014, philosophy professor Lawrence Torcello called for charges of “criminal and moral negligence” for climate skeptics. Torcello wasn’t alone, with ScienceBlogs anthropologist Greg Laden jumping to his defense in a March 16 post. Laden expressed his desire to call skepticism a “criminal act,” though he admitted that was just “wishful thinking.”
Other academics preceded Torcello. In a meeting of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs on Feb. 13, 2014, history professor Dr. Naomi Oreskes suggested that skeptics could be arrested under international law, without any outrage from her audience. Only two years earlier, in 2012, University of Graz, Austria musicology professor Richard Parncutt said that “the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for influential G[lobal] W[arming] deniers,” according to WND.
— Sean Long is Staff Writer at the Media Research Center. Follow Sean Long on Twitter.