There was a time when the offensive term “climate change denier” referred to those who directly disputed the existence of global warming. Now, the term is affixed to anyone who doesn’t promote the radical policy demands of climate alarmists.
Left-wing climate website DeSmog Blog criticized The New York Times on April 25, for hiring “a climate science denier.” The person they labeled a “denier,” was Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Bret Stephens, formerly of The Wall Street Journal. Two days DeSmog praised several climate scientists who canceled Times’ subscriptions in protest.
“Stephens’s coronation produced a fiery revolt among readers and left-leaning critics,” The Times said in its response to critics. “It’s hard to tease apart objections to Stephens’s work from objections to hiring any conservative at all.”
A valid point since Stephens doesn’t deny climate change, at least according to the definition of the word deny. But climate alarmists liberally apply the pejorative term “denier” to anyone who opposes or questions their demands — and their attacks on Stephens was proof.
Stephens clarified in a recent Vox interview he doesn’t dispute whether the climate has warmed, or that man was involved.
“The best scientific evidence suggests temperatures are rising, and the best scientific evidence suggests man-made anthropogenic carbon emissions have some substantial thing to do with that,” Stephens said on April 26.
Stephens has questioned “uncertainties about forecasting the future.” Namely, whether warming will continue or if it cause the apocalyptic results climate alarmists fear. He also said that while trying to mitigate climate change was “sensible,” economic costs must be taken into account.
To DeSmog Blog and others, asking hard questions about how to deal with climate change amounts to “denial” — a loaded and offensive term which deliberately conjures up the idea of Holocaust denial.
Carnegie Institute for Science professor Ken Caldeira was one of the first to cancel his Times subscription, according to DeSmog Blog. Caldeira was distressed that The Times would employ someone with such a “wanton disregard for the truth.”
DeSmog also cited a petition urging “The New York Times to rescind its offer to Bret Stephens and in his place hire a columnist committed to advancing his political position without using lies to support his argument.” As of April 28, the petition had 25,634 signatures.
ThinkProgress, a liberal blog run by Center for American Progress (CAP), also attacked The Times for hiring Stephens and calling him an “extreme climate science denier.” CAP has been funded by many liberals including George Soros and the Sandler Foundation.
DeSmog has been funded by the Grantham Foundation, the Marisla Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Wallace Global Fund.
The reaction from climate alarmists was so strong and outrageous, The New York Times responded, “The Stephens episode touches the third rail of a debate surfacing as The Times looks to include a wider range of views, not just on the Opinion pages but in its news columns. It raises the question of whether readers want rules around who should be heard and how. And it raises the even larger issue of whether The Times should be a paper for all of America or whether it’s already been claimed by one side.”