Roy Spencer – a climate-scientist-cum-climate-denier who does not believe in anthropogenic climate change – says that people who label climate deniers "climate deniers" will "kill far more people than the Nazis ever did," and should be labeled, accordingly, "global warming Nazis." Because that all sounds pretty reasonable, right?
"They indirectly equate (1) the skeptics' view that global warming is not necessarily all manmade nor a serious problem, with (2) the denial that the Nazi's extermination of millions of Jews ever happened," wrote Spencer on his blog. "Too many of us for too long have ignored the repulsive, extremist nature of the comparison," he continues. "It's time to push back."
Push back how? By calling anyone who would call him a "global warming denier" a "global warming Nazi." His reasoning, he says, is simple and justified: Climate activists are, in his words, anti-capitalist fascists "willing to sacrifice millions of lives of poor people at the altar of radical environmentalism." He continues:
This authoritarianism tends to happen with an over-educated elite class…I have read that Nazi Germany had more PhDs per capita than any other country. I'm not against education, but it seems like some of the stupidest people are also the most educated.
...Considering the fact that these people are supporting policies that will kill far more people than the Nazis ever did — all in the name of what they consider to be a righteous cause — I think it is very appropriate.
Appropriateness/inappropriateness aside, and ignoring for the moment the notion that the term "climate denier" is in any way intended to be reminiscent of "Holocaust deniers" (for more discussion on that front, check out this post at Media Matters), consider that the description has actually been embraced by a number of people who publicly doubt the consensus on climate change. Via DeSmogBlog:
Take, for example, denier Dr Richard Lindzen, who when asked by a BBC journalist about which descriptive term he preferred, said: "I actually like 'denier.' That's closer than skeptic". (Six months before this interview, Lindzen had claimed the opposite, saying he was offended by the term.)It seems important in this context to point out that Dr Lindzen is Jewish.
Or there's also denier Steve Milloy, who told Popular Science that: "I'm happy to be a denier."
It's fairly evident, then, that Spencer's ire does not originate from a commonality of interest, or a unified position shared among climate skeptics, but rather a personal and vengeful place. If the rancorous tone that colors his blog post doesn't convince you of this, the identical opening and closing sentences that bookend his rant surely will: "Yeah," he bristles, "somebody pushed my button."
Who is this somebody, exactly? They are the "leaders" of the "global warming Nazis," whose "pseudo-scientific ramblings... have falsely warned of mass starvation, ecological collapse, agricultural collapse, overpopulation…all so that the masses would support their radical policies." So... scientists, yes? Your colleagues? It bears mentioning here that Spencer doesn't exactly spend his days rubbing shoulders with fringe lunatics; he's a Principle Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) on NASA's Earth-observing Aqua satellite. On one hand, this lends him credibility – and he's a favorite in conservative media circles for precisely this reason. But then what does he really think of think of his colleagues, the overwhelming majority of whom staunchly and vocally agree that evidence points unambiguously to the reality of anthropogenic global warming? Are the empirically informed opinions of his research partners and academic collaborators "pseudo-scientific ramblings?"