Category Archives: Intolerance

The ‘Panto Villain’ Narrative and Climate Change

A little while ago, there was coverage and publicity of Lucy Lawless and members of Greenpeace taking ‘direct action’:

Lucy Lawless and seven other Greenpeace activists today pleaded guilty over the occupation of an oil drilling ship in February in protest of planned oil drilling operations in the Arctic.

The New Zealand actor’s arrest and the subsequent court action received publicity from far afield, and was covered by global media giants including the BBC, ABC, Reuters, the Daily Mail and the Washington Post.

The huge media scrum outside Auckland District Court this morning also attested to the success of the protest.

It is just one example. It does not take much to find huge numbers of articles on ‘direct action’ by environmentalists. Many of these ‘direct actions’ involve breaking the law, and preventing people going about their perfectly lawful business. This is often wrapped up with the justification that the protestors are ‘saving the planet’. Reporting on such ‘direct action’ is often fawning.

I am not keen at all on ‘direct action’ that breaks the law. At least, not in countries in which there is freedom of speech and assembly, and where marches and other legal forms of protest are allowed. In such places, there are mechanisms for people to make their point, and to raise interest in their cause, and there is no need to break the law. Where these mechanisms are curtailed, this is a completely different story.

This brings me on to the latest news of Christopher Monckton, who has caused upset by having the temerity to push a button and talk at the Doha COP18 conference; the latest round of talks on establishing an international climate change agreement. This is his description of the incident:

I have been a bad boy. At the U.N. climate conference in Doha, I addressed a plenary session of national negotiating delegates though only accredited as an observer.

One just couldn’t resist. There they all were, earnestly outbidding each other to demand that the West should keep them in pampered luxury for the rest of their indolent lives, and all on the pretext of preventing global warming that has now become embarrassingly notorious for its long absence.

No one was allowed to give the alternative – and scientifically correct – viewpoint. The U.N.’s wall of silence was rigidly in place.

The microphone was just in front of me. All I had to do was press the button. I pressed it. The Chair recognized Myanmar (Burmese for Burma). I was on.

This is a video of the incident on Youtube:

As anyone who follows the debate on climate change knows, Christopher is firmly in the skeptic camp. Those who are skeptical are, just like the environmentalists, driven by concerns but the concerns are sometimes different. In the case of the environmentalists, the concern is often about saving ‘the planet’, albeit that they will also discuss the impacts of the climate on humans. It is often the case that the ’cause’ is abstract, and simply founded in a belief that humans are disease on the face of the planet. Or about the ‘good’ of ‘nature’.

In the case of skeptics, the concern is always human centred. I hope that I can speak for all, and am not being arrogant, when I say that everything I have read indicates that the skeptic position is driven by concerns that the policies of governments on climate change are economically damaging. It is a concern that is about human consequences. For example, when good agricultural land is turned over to provide material for bio-fuels, it is not being used for the growth of food. This means that the available supply of food in the world is diminished. With less supply of foods, it is basic economics to say that this will see increases in prices. Whilst this is not a problem for the richer people in the world, for those living on the margins, it is catastrophic. It can mean the difference between life and death.

And that is the point. In this one example, it is possible to see that the conversion of agriculture to foods is going to lead to the death of those living on the margins or, in many cases, malnutrition and disease. Other policies are less dramatic in their consequences. For example, the increase in the price of energy, even in rich world countries, resulting from mad schemes like wind energy, will see poorer people struggling to meet their bills, unable to keep their children and themselves warm in winter. For others, the increase in energy costs might see the loss of their livelihood, as their employer relocates in search of cheaper energy, where there is no policy to promote uneconomic energy. The consequences of policy to mitigate climate change have consequences; from death to destitution, to energy poverty to disease.

The environmentalists cloak their arguments in ‘righteousness’ and decry the skeptical camp as wicked. What they do not and will not accept is that there is a strong moral dimension in the skeptic camp. It simply does not fit their neat narrative, and their narrative dominates much of the discussion in the media. How noble to ‘save the planet’ echoes around the media. For those who seek to portray skeptics as wicked, this is a wake up call; we are driven by concern for the real consequences of the policies that you are promoting. Consequences that do harm to people.

Whilst the media and environmental movement cloaks direct action in the clothes of morality, they are unable to give credit to Christopher Monckton for doing the same. The point is this; the whole environmentalist movement seeks to turn their views into a simple black and white morality play. They want you to believe that they are the players with the white hats on, and we, the skeptics, are the people wearing the black hats. However, our aim is to prevent and reverse climate change policies. We do so, not out of wickedness, but out of concern for the real harm that ‘green’ anti-climate change policies do. The views of the green movement are best summed up by an article in the Guardian, in which Christopher Monckton is described as a ‘climate panto villain’.

And that is the story, the narrative, that is pushed forwards. We, the guys in the white hats, face down the ‘panto villains’. The problem with the narrative is that is simply a lie. In order to be a villain, you must act out of malice, with bad intent. It is quite the opposite of motives of the skeptical camp, who act out of concern and compassion. We do so in the absence of government grants, of government funded conferences to sunny climes, of prestige in the press. Indeed, vilification is often the reward of skepticism, along with damage to careers, and being treated as ‘panto villains’.

In light of this, environmentalists may wish to ask where the real nobility lies.

But they will not. They are blind to the possibility.

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The Impact of Climategate II

There has been a lot of talk of that Climategate 2 has had less impact than the original climate gate. My own contribution to the revelations was to reveal the horrendous story in which the ‘team’ sought to have a journal editor sacked for allowing the publication of an article that disagreed with their views. It was a clear case of an attempt to corrupt peer reviewed science. As such, I was pleased to find an open letter in the Wall Street Journal, which is written by scientists concerned at the nature and tenor of the debate on climate change. This is the discussion of the sacking.

Although the number of publicly dissenting scientists is growing, many young scientists furtively say that while they also have serious doubts about the global-warming message, they are afraid to speak up for fear of not being promoted—or worse. They have good reason to worry. In 2003, Dr. Chris de Freitas, the editor of the journal Climate Research, dared to publish a peer-reviewed article with the politically incorrect (but factually correct) conclusion that the recent warming is not unusual in the context of climate changes over the past thousand years. The international warming establishment quickly mounted a determined campaign to have Dr. de Freitas removed from his editorial job and fired from his university position. Fortunately, Dr. de Freitas was able to keep his university job.

It is indeed very sad that association with positions  contrary to some people might be met with this kind of behaviour. However, the letter also covers some other points worth mentioning. For example:

A candidate for public office in any contemporary democracy may have to consider what, if anything, to do about “global warming.” Candidates should understand that the oft-repeated claim that nearly all scientists demand that something dramatic be done to stop global warming is not true. In fact, a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.

In September, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever, a supporter of President Obama in the last election, publicly resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) with a letter that begins: “I did not renew [my membership] because I cannot live with the [APS policy] statement: ‘The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.’ In the APS it is OK to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?”

I remember reading the Ivar Giaever open letter, and should really have posted/commented upon it. I have also read about other shenanigans in which some have tried to manufacture the consensus through manipulation of statistics for support for climate alarmism (sorry, no reference to hand).

My guess is that, without the fear of career damage, the quest for grants, the dubious ‘consensus’ would look even more threadbare than it already is. For example, many years ago I heard a BBC Radio 4 interview* in which an anthropologist was researching the impact of climate change on hunter gatherers in Scandinavia. The interviewer was interested in climate change, but it was very clear that all the anthropologist wanted to do was discuss the interesting facets of the culture of the people under study. No doubt, the addition of climate change in his application for a research grant was useful.

Perhaps one day it will be possible for climate science to return to ‘normal science’ (I am aware that this is a problematic phrase, but seeking to stop contrary views is not ‘normal’ science in any reasonable interpretation). It certainly seems that the right questions are now being asked. In some ways, this may be of benefit to the wider realm of science; as anyone who is involved in critical positions on any subject will tell you, the effort of getting critiques of established thinking is always a challenge. I can only hope that, in addition to all of the negative aspects of climate science, there is a possibility that it will, in the end, raise some fundamental questions and encourage a more open approach to science.

In the meantime, sadly, the climate debate will be restricted by an oppressive system that seeks to stifle any contrary views. To be more positive, this may be on the road to change…..

*I am sorry to have two items unreferenced. For the 2nd example, it really was a long, long time ago…..

Disappointment with Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan is an economist and businessman, with a very high public profile in New Zealand, and who has waded into the climate change debate. It was just over two years ago that I saw a tour made by Gareth  and his wife, in which they discussed climate change.  He had asked for two groups of scientists to provide arguments; one from the alarmist side, and one from the skeptic side. In his presentation, although he lent towards the ‘warmist’ side of the argument, overall he tried (or so it seemed) to take a balanced view. Again, if memory serves me well, he also included some anecdotes about his own experience of climate change in his travels, which was not such a positive approach. Notwithstanding this niggle, although disagreeing, I was generally impressed that he was willing to countenance the opposing arguments (admittedly, it is a little sad when this becomes impressive).

Since watching the tour presentation, I did not follow Gareth’s views on climate change, assuming that he would retain the moderate and (apparently) open-minded stance that I originally saw. However, in browsing the NZ Herald (for a different reason) I stumbled on an article by Gareth, and hence the title of the post:

Yesterday, we looked at how the race for resources is heating up in the Antarctic. That’s not the only thing getting hotter. In our 2009 book Poles Apart, written with John McCrystal, we surveyed the evidence for global warming. The balance of evidence points to warming as a result of burning fossil fuels.

To our far south lies Antarctica, a laboratory made in heaven for the study of climate change. The relatively untouched, icy environment is perfect for researching how the climate has changed in the past, as well as measuring the pace of change now under way. Nowhere on Earth is as sensitive to climate change as the polar regions.

Climate change deniers have enjoyed pointing out that, unlike the Arctic, Antarctica has not warmed much overall. Average temperatures across the continent haven’t really budged as yet, and in some areas like our own Ross Sea the extent of sea ice is actually increasing.

There it is; the expression ‘climate change deniers’! With this expression any semblance of balance or open mind is flung out of the window. His tour was accompanied by a book, which I will confess that I didn’t read. I took his position from the presentation he gave and, as I said it appeared balanced. I rooted around a little, and found an article from when his book was released, and it is interesting to see what he had to say at that time:

Gareth Morgan is alarmed at the level of vitriol being lobbed at him over his new climate change book. He says both sides are prone to losing their objectivity but this emotional outpouring shows exactly why it’s important to open up this discussion right now.

“We say in the book that the subject just gets peoples danders up and sure enough I’m getting it in the neck, again, from both sides,” says an exasperated Morgan.

“Still, at least when you’re getting it from both sides, you know you’re being balanced.

“Furious emails and blogs started coming through before the book was even out so I have no idea what they were basing their anger on. The alarmists are outraged because we, as lay people, have even deigned to wade into the debate. Aren’t we cheeky?

“You should see what’s on the blogs and the emails we’ve been getting. I’ve even lost a couple of KiwiSaver clients because they’re so brassed off with me. What’s that about? Where are their heads you may well ask. The emails to the TVNZ Sunday programme in response to their story were apparently toxic.

So here you have it; a claim of balance, claims that the debate is toxic, claims that he stands above such behaviour, and yet the use of the expression climate change denier. It doesn’t add up, does it? I am unaware of any serious skeptical argument that ever denies that the climate changes, but nevertheless this is how Gareth portrays the views of skeptics; it is an ugly term linked to holocaust denial and is fundamentally inaccurate and malicious.

The sad part is that, provided people keep open minds, and look at the evidence, and make their best judgement, it is easy to take the person as acting in good faith, and at least accept their point of view. However, when a person trots out expressions like climate change denier, it is only possible to conclude that they have no interest in seeing the other side of the argument, and that they have replaced reason with rhetoric, and debate with ad hominem attack. As such, I must sadly conclude that one of the people I viewed as one of the good guys in the debate, is sadly a disappointment.

New Zealand Herald, No Integrity, Brian Rudman, No Integrity

Note: Apologies. The blog service is removing the paragraphs from this post for reasons unknown. I will try republishing later, to see if the error disappears.

It’s a funny and perhaps an old fashioned word. Integrity. This is what dictionary.com provides as a definition:

adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
The dictionary definition describes what I believe is at the heart of the New Zealand ethos. Integrity is a word which, I believe, is strongly associated with the best of New Zealand culture. It is therefore a concern that both the New Zealand Herald, and their columnist Brian Rudman appear to lack in this admirable New Zealand characteristic.
On the 13April, I wrote a post, with an open letter at the end. I pointed out that Brian Rudman had written a rude and unpleasant opinion piece about the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (NZCSC), but that time had proved the NZCSC to be correct. I suggested that, considering the unpleasant language used in the opinion piece (e.g. calling NZCSC ‘flat earthers’), an apology was appropriate. On the day of the post, I made a comment on Brian Rudman’s latest opinion, but it was not published. I also sent a message using the Herald’s contact the news desk function, expressing my concern with Brian Rudman’s opinion piece. There was no response, and no response to a further message on on 20th April. I will inform the newspaper of this post, and will again offer to publish their response.
Why does this matter? It seems that the New Zealand Herald portrays itself as a newspaper with New Zealand values. However, in portraying itself as such, it should act with the integrity that is so closely associated with New Zealand. I do not know whether Brian Rudman has been informed of the messages were sent, but it seems unlikely that he would not be informed. I can therefore also question his integrity, and again, will publish any comment that he wishes to make. The newspaper, and Brian Rudman, were responsible for publishing an opinion piece that was rude, and also wrong. This is why the New Zealand Herald and Brian Rudman have no integrity:
  1. Adherence to moral and ethical principles; it seems that moral principles should include a desire to tell the truth. I sent a message in which I pointed out that the opinion piece mis-characterised the NZCSC. In the post I linked to, I explained how he had mis-characterised NZCSC. It seems that a moral course of action would be to retract the rude comments that were written about NZCSC, and to tell the truth that they were, indeed correct.
  2. Soundness of moral character; it seems that soundness of moral character would include admitting that you have been wrong, and seeking to rectify the wrong that you have done others once you are aware of it. They have been made aware of the wrong, but have chosen to do nothing.
  3. Honesty: honesty is a big word. It is about seeking truth, portraying the truth, acting on the truth. When Brian Rudman portrayed NZCSC as he did, he portrayed them in a way which had nothing to do with the truth. He appears equally uninterested in the truth now. The New Zealand Herald is the same. No interest in the truth.

The opinion piece itself was a pathetic ad hominem attack. If you wish to see why the piece was so wrong, see here. The opinion piece dealt with no substantive issues, but instead resorted to name calling. Why engage in serious debate, when you can opine without dealing with any issue of substance? Just call those you disagree with rude names, and label it ‘an opinion’. This is not an opinion that is deserving of any respect, but is behaviour that would be better left in the playground.

I sought to engage with both Brian Rudman and the New Zealand Herald. I sought to prompt them to act with integrity. Instead of ‘fronting up’, another good New Zealand characteristic, they chose to pretend that there was nothing at issue. However, there is something at issue, and that is the integrity of the newspaper, and the integrity of their columnist Brian Rudman.
I had heard that many in the media wer hostile to anyone, and anything, that might discomfort the thesis of anthropogenic global warming. The question I contemplated was whether, when confronted with their own error, they might ‘front up’, and actually act to rectify the error. It seems that both Brian Rudman and the New Zealand Herald are uninterested in correcting their errors. It seems that they have no interest in fairness or honesty.
I can only conclude that both the New Zealand Herald and Brian Rudman have no integrity whatsoever. The question is this; if the New Zealand Herald will not even engage with a person seeking to help them rectify an error, should you trust this newspaper? I believe that the answer should be ‘no’.

Brian Rudman – Will he apologise? An Open Letter

I will start this post with a quote from Brian Rudman, a columnist on the New Zealand Herald. It dates back a while, to August 2010, and this is what he had to say:

The flat-earthers from the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition are off to the High Court to try to persuade a judge to invalidate the country’s official temperature record compiled and collected by the Government-owned National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.

As devout deniers of man-made global warming, the coalition claims the only way Niwa can claim a warming trend of 1C over the past century is by cooking the books. [emphasis added]

The same article goes on to offer scathing, sarcastic, and rather unpleasant commentary on the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.This is another example of his discourse from the same article:

The image of the flat-earthers in court making fools of themselves, trying to prove that if you travel to the horizon you’ll fall off into oblivion, is rather appealing. But court proceedings are ruinously expensive, and while the mystery money-bags funding the coalition – Act Party supporters are mentioned – may be able to afford it, taxpayers cannot.

The trouble with this commentary, aside from the ugly tone of the commentary (which is of itself inappropriate for a serious newspaper) is that, when confronted with the court case, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) backed down, and abruptly decided that their temperature was not an official temperature record after all. The New Zealand Climate Conversation Group tells the story succinctly and I will quote it at some length (note, there is a link in the text that takes you to NIWA’s statement of defence in case you doubt the back down):

For the last ten years, visitors to NIWA’s official website have been greeted by a graph of the “seven-station series” (7SS), under the bold heading “New Zealand Temperature Record”. The graph covers the period from 1853 to the present, and is adorned by a prominent trend-line sloping sharply upwards. Accompanying text informs the world that “New Zealand has experienced a warming trend of approximately 0.9°C over the past 100 years.”

The 7SS has been updated and used in every monthly issue of NIWA’s “Climate Digest” since January 1993. Its 0.9°C (sometimes 1.0°C) of warming has appeared in the Australia/NZ Chapter of the IPCC’s 2001 and 2007 Assessment Reports. It has been offered as sworn evidence in countless tribunals and judicial enquiries, and provides the historical base for all of NIWA’s reports to both Central and Local Governments on climate science issues and future projections.

NIWA has a printed promotional brochure describing its climate activities, which commences with the iconic 7SS graph. No piece of climate lore is more familiar to the public, and it is better known than NIWA’s logo.

But now, para 7(a) of NIWA’s Statement of Defence states that “there is no ‘official’ or formal New Zealand Temperature Record”.

In para 8(b) it says the NZTR is not a public record for the purposes of the Public Records Act, using the exemption of “special collections” defined (in para 4(b)) as non-public records used for “research purposes”.

In para 4, NIWA denies it has any obligation to use the best available data or best scientific techniques, while conceding that it has statutory duties to pursue excellence and to perform its functions efficiently and effectively.

It turns out that the 7SS had seen temperature adjustments, which were identified by the so called ‘flat earthers’ and ‘fools’ and the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (NZCSC), and NZCSC fought a long and protracted battle to find out exactly why the adjustments were made. The nature of the battle to discover the nature of the adjustments is a particular concern, as it seems reasonable that any adjustments to the temperature record should have been fully documented and justified.

However, the reason for the obstruction of NZCSC from finding the source and justification of the temperature record becomes apparent when the source and nature of the adjustments were revealed. This from Quadrant Online:

Referring to the NIWA web page, one finds that this major warming trend is the product of a single study involving only 7 temperature stations – out of the 238 stations which currently report to NIWA. In response to a request under the Official information Act, NIWA has disclosed that this study was undertaken as part of a student’s thesis some 30 years ago.

NIWA has no record of how the NSS came to be in their computers. The only reasonable inference is that the student himself, one Jim Salinger, must have added it when he became NIWA’s Principal Scientist many years later.

As it is, the thesis is unobtainable, and the calculations that were made to create the adjustments are lost (the dog ate my homework?). The original thesis did not result in a peer reviewed article, so has not been subjected to the scrutiny of the academic journal system (such as it is). In short, a temperature record was given credence by NIWA, despite the fact that there was no justification that could be provided in support of the adjustments that were made. It is therefore no surprise that they were reluctant to explain the source and justification for the adjustments, as there was no justification that they could provide. This is not good science, it is just assertion.

So it is that I return to the start of this post, which is the use of terms like ‘flat earther’ by Brian Rudman when describing NZCSC. It seems that, at the very least, NZCSC have done science a great service. A temperature record entirely lacking in any justification, used as a basis for policy, and described as an ‘official temperature record’ by Brian Rudman himself, has been abandoned. It was abandoned because there was no scientific justification for the record. As such, I am posting this open letter to Brian Rudman:

Open Letter to Brian Rudman

Dear Brian,

As a columnist for the New Zealand Herald, one of New Zealand’s leading media and news outlets, you have influence on the views of your readers. If this was not the case, then why have columnists at all?

The point is that, with such a position, there is surely a responsibility, and that responsibility is to provide views that inform readers. I have copied above some of the statements you made about the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (NZCSC) in an August 2010 opinion piece. When you describe an organisation as ‘flat earthers’ you are implying that they are in denial of science. However, the 7SS that was the subject of the NZCSC critique and court action has been found to have had no scientific merit by any reasonable standards. It can not be verified, can not be explained, can not be subject to replication, can not be used in any part of normal scientific enquiry.

Perhaps you were unaware of the problems underlying the 7SS at the time of your commentary? This may explain some of the rather insulting terms that you used. However, had you taken the trouble to visit the NZCSC website, read their publication on their concerns about the 7SS, you could have found that they had substantive reasons for their concerns, and these reasons were firmly rooted in legitimate concerns about the science behind the 7SS. Your failure to attend to this basic fact checking is a matter of concern. As I have said, you publish in an influential national media outlet. You are not, as I am, a humble blogger, but an influential national figure.

As such, in this open letter, I would ask that you provide an apology to the NZCSC. It seems that your characterisation of them as ‘flat earthers’ and ‘fools’ was entirely lacking in justification. I am sure that you are a reasonable person, and will see the merit in an apology, and that you will be more open minded about the work of NZCSC in the future.

For the record, I am not a part of NZCSC, or connected in any way, and I am not funded by any party or organisation for writing this blog. I am just a concerned private individual who blogs on a subject that interests me.

I look forward to your reply, and will be pleased to reproduce any reply in full on the blog, but would also hope that you will have the decency to publish your apology in your next column.

Kind Regards,

Mark, blogger at New Zealand Climate Change

Bullying into Belief

My first post is on a rather unusual subject. It is an expression of the way in which climate change has come to be framed, in particular by climate change zealots.

I’m afraid that what I am going to post here is somewhat ugly. It is the experience of a young Australian high school student, who has made the error of heresy in a class on Society and History. I will let the student in question tell the story, by quoting from a section of  his blog post:

For the third lesson the PowerPoint was brought out again with even more questionable statements claiming that putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is causing: an increase in temperature by one degree; a rise in sea levels; more bush fires; more droughts; more animals to become extinct; malaria to become more widespread (so much so that it would spread to the Northern Territory); the Arctic Ocean to be ice-free by 2050; the extinction of the polar bear; and, my personal favourite, “China and Indonesia will be too hot to grow rice.”  My reaction was to cry out, “What?”  The teacher simply told me to be quiet then went on with what she was saying whilst the rest of the class glared at me—accept for a select few whom I have been able to convince that global warming is fake.

There is much more. The young blogger is alarmed at the way in which the entire subject is framed, and feels that dissent is not considered acceptable. His teacher? She will brook no alternative view. The science is settled, there is a consensus, and what does this boy know anyway? It sounds very much like the young student is being bullied into submission. Except he is not submitting, but determined to stick to what he believes is the truth.

No doubt, those that defend the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis will point to arguments about intelligent design as defence of the teacher. However, much of what the teacher was teaching was nonsense, even if taking the (questionable) view of AGW from the IPCC, the holy grail of AGW theory. The comments at the bottom of the post tell that story, so I will not elaborate here. The point is that, in all but the most extreme beliefs about AGW, there is absolutely no foundation to much of what the teacher is saying. Nevertheless, this is what is being taught.

How did we get to a point where a teacher might bully a student in a class? Perhaps, if the teacher had at least taken the mainstream of the AGW hypothesis, there might possibly have been some very limited justification for this approach, but I would still struggle to accept it in any form.  However, the teacher’s version of AGW seemed to be the worst kind of junk climate science, the variety peddled by Al Gore. Whatever your position on climate change, do you think this is acceptable?

As for the sneering class mates. What can we make of this? I am rather worried that this might be the case. What has the education system done to these children so that they feel that such intolerance on this particular subject is acceptable?

There is much to concern us in this story. Whatever your view of AGW, if you look at what the teacher is teaching, she is in no position to be critical of the student. But, I am sure she will get away with it. She clearly has no understanding of mainstream climate science, but still feels entitled to try to belittle a young student who questions the AGW thesis.

The young student’s position does seem to have struck a chord however, as can be seen in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper:

I’ve had some good news on the climate war front which I’m looking forward to telling you about next week. Till then, I invite you to join me in a toast to an Australian schoolboy named Alfred S who stood up to the vilification of his teachers and class mates by refusing to bow down and worship ManBearPig. (H/T Bishop Hill)

The good news in this story is that the student has been deluged with goodwill, and this can be found in the comments. I only hope that the story has a happy ending, and that standing up does not cost the student dearly. Perhaps it is a sign of the times that I worry for the student for taking this stand.