I came across a book called Climate Change Scepticism: A transnational ecocritical analysis, by Greg Garrard, Axel Goodbody, George Handley, and Stéphanie Posthumus. The reason I found it interesting is that it includes a chapter on Climate Scepticism in the UK. I did, however, also find it rather an odd analysis.
The chapter about the UK included quite a lot of history, going back to the late 1800s, and included discussions of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. The discussion of more recent climate scepticism focused on Jeremy Clarkson and James Delingpole, who purvey hyperbolic satire with a recognisably British cultural pedigree. It mentions Nigel Lawson and Matt Ridley, but without mentioning the Global Warming Policy Foundation. The Global Warming Policy Foundation does get mentioned in the next chapter, which seems to suggest that it’s based on the United States. It discusses a number of people I’ve never heard of, which seems odd given that I’ve spent a number of years discussing this topic myself (maybe I’m ill-informed). There’s no mention of Andrew Montford, despite him having written quite an influential book.
However, maybe what I found most strange was the choice of language, especially given that the book is written by scholars of literature and culture. The introduction has a section on why the term denier is inflammatory because of its association with the Holocaust. It even says
Popular Technology’s website (for some reason) has collected a whole webpage of journalists and environmentalists drawing on the analogy in different ways and asks why the Jewish Anti-Defamation League has not objected
Maybe I misunderstand the inclusion of for some reason, but it seems to suggest that this is an odd inclusion for Popular Technology’s website. I don’t see why. Popular Technology is a website run by someone who promotes all sorts of contrarian narratives. It also includes various pages that expose information about other people who comment publicly about climate change. It’s the site that finally outed me, when I was still writing pseudonymously. I don’t know if there was a stage when Popular Technology was a more credible site than it is now, but I’ve only ever known it as a website that disputes anthropogenic global warming (AGW).
Because the authors of the book seem to object to the use of denier, they use climate sceptic when referring to those who either dispute AGW itself, or dispute its importance. The problem, though, is that they then use warmist, or alarmist, when referring to those who do not dispute AGW. Essentially, they use quite a positive term to describe those who are dismissive of AGW, while using rather pejorative terms to describe those who are not. Whether intentional, or not, they end up seeming sympathetic to climate “sceptics” and rather critical of those who are not “sceptical” of climate science. This rather brings into question their claim that they’re reading climate scepticism agnostically.
I wasn’t quite sure how to end this, so I started reading the book’s Conclusion. This seems to confirm that the authors have at least some sympathy for climate “sceptics”. It doesn’t quite buy into some of the standard “sceptic” narratives, but it certainly seems to think they have some merit, or are worth considering. Overall, I’m not entirely sure of the point of the book. They seem to suggest that they’ve modelled some kind of depolarization. I’m not entirely sure how, but maybe they’re suggesting that the overall narrative should aim to be more inclusive, and should avoid saying things that make climate “sceptics” seem excluded. My own view is that it would be better if climate “sceptics” stopped promoting nonsensical narratives, but maybe that’s just me.