Dale Courtney’s climate science denial argument (His View, July
10 ) said nothing new. It just repeated the myths that skepticalscience.com (SkS) has already categorized, ranked, and debunked. Indeed Mr. Courtney’s argument phrasing was so similar to the standard myth scripts that I was easily able to identify the corresponding myth numbers on the SkS website.
For instance, the opinion piece opened with SkS climate myth
No. 1, “climate has changed before,” before going on to “climate models are unreliable” (No. 66), and “there was unexplained cooling around 1950” (No. 49). Yet despite using a wide variety of climate myths, e.g., Nos. 168, 35, 69, 64, 135, 119, 44, 3, 27, and 38, these were all essentially the same in being both old and false.
This absence of new arguments is a problem, not because it yields boring, shop-worn, and stale opinion pieces, but because it suggests there has been no intellectual growth amongst contrarians ever since the original myth scripts were circulated. However, this is not actually the case because there have been some dramatic reversals and Mr. Courtney’s reference to a 2018 Wall Street Journal article is instructive here because it shows just how much has changed even since last year.
For example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce used to deny climate science but has now changed its tune perhaps due to overwhelming business, climate, and scientific realities, but almost certainly not due to an ideological change of heart.
It appears that a sea-change is happening within the denier tribe and this is great news. The need for climate stabilization presents formidable challenges so all available skill sets will be needed, including those of former deniers who might play an essential critical role helping ensure that limited resources are properly targeted. Let’s hope future opinion pieces focus on fresh, constructive, and fact-based climate analysis.