It’s not news if I tell you that the 3% of scientists who deny Anthropogenic Climate Change are over-represented in the media. I try not to get involved in climate change, it’s not really my area, but over the last few weeks I have had the definite sense that deniers are growing in their blinkered rabidity. This might in part be down to recent frequenting of social media and Below The Line comments sections (not generally the place for sensible debate, I know), but the agenda does appear as though it is being pushed in a more virulent fashion.
And this is why I think it’s time we started to ‘empty-chair’ these fools (yes, I am also unsure about the use of ‘empty-chair’ as a verb). By engaging them in debate we only lend credence to their nonsense views. Previously I’d have argued this would give them free reign to spout their ridiculous views unchallenged and that the best antidote to their claptrap is to expose it to the cold light of day. But we keep shooting it down on every conceivable media platform and they keep being invited back. Is this because of a desire to provide ‘balance’? (I’m sure someone, somewhere has done the maths on denier/real scientist representation in the media and I’ll make a leap that it is not in a 97:3 ratio). More likely it’s because it makes for good entertainment. Nothing reassures us more than watching someone we suspect is a great deal cleverer than we are become flustered and angry on national television because they’ve been confronted by someone who is quite happy to argue that up is down.
In the same way that we don’t engage in debates about the health benefits of smoking, heliocentrism or holocaust denial in the national media, it’s time we stopped debating climate change. By debating it, we only convince the public that a debate exists.