Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Climate Change & Violent Fantasies

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According to a newspaper columnist, people like me should have my opinions “forcibly tattooed” on my body. I should be forced to buy low-lying property, and be lashed to a pole near an Australian beach in the year 2040. If the sea level has risen beyond the height of my mouth, he has already anticipated my “painful, thrashing death.” [backup link here]

Had these opinions not been published in The Sidney Morning Herald, a mainstream newspaper, I’d be less concerned. But they were. Which got me to wondering: Just when did it become acceptable to pen violent fantasies about people with whom you disagree? When did it become OK to talk – luridly and out loud – about their death?

How do the views in that column differ from those expressed in the 10:10 campaign’s No Pressure video released last October? In that instance, innocent people – including school children – were violently murdered after demonstrating insufficient enthusiasm for reducing their carbon footprint. High-profile organizations such as the UK postal service and Sony had partnered with the group that produced the video.

click for the Royal Mail's 10:10 webpage

Now it’s being suggested in a major newspaper that violent retribution is an appropriate response to those who oppose a carbon tax. Never mind that there are several perfectly sensible reasons for Australians to be hostile toward such a measure:

  • The Australian Prime Minister explicitly promised not to introduce a carbon tax prior to last summer’s election. She therefore has no mandate to do so now.
  • There is no evidence such a tax will effect the climate in any manner whatsoever.
  • There is good reason to believe such a tax will lead to job losses in the manufacturing sector as well as the coal industry.
  • There are no guarantees that measures taken to insulate the poorest members of society from this tax won’t be withdrawn later. This is an era of budget cuts, after all.
  • Smart people can be found on all sides of the climate change debate. Which means the science is far from settled.
  • The world has been taking climate change advice from an organization that has systematically misled us about who writes its reports and what evidence those reports rely on. This organization is riven with conflict-of-interest, doesn’t follow its own rules, and is comprised of activists and activist scientists who can’t be counted on to provide an objective, disinterested opinion (see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here).

In columnist Richard Glover’s macabre imagination “climate-deniers” are oh-so-frustrating. He goes on to admit that certain green activists are as well. In his words, some of them are zealots who bully people. But notice that he doesn’t suggest forcibly tattooing any of them. Nor does he suggest that painful, thrashing death would be a just reward if their opinions turn out to be mistaken.

Like many others who advance the climate change party line, Glover waxes poetic about children, grandchildren, and setting a good example.

Call me old-fashioned, but I think setting a good example starts with civilized, respectful debate that doesn’t involve wishing death on your opponents.

Call me silly, but I think a vibrant intellectual environment is as important as a healthy natural one.

If we leave behind a planet on which obscure tropical toads have been saved yet free speech and intellectual freedom have gone extinct our grandchildren won’t thank us.


Steve Milloy, over at, is offering $500 to the winner in a denier-tattoo contest


For those new to this blog, I personally don’t deny that climate changes. The climate system is dynamic. Like everything else on this planet, it is constantly in a state of flux. Nor do I dispute the possibility that human activity might effect climate (in my view these effects are more likely to be regional rather than global in nature).

I do, however, remain unconvinced that there is compelling evidence to conclude that human activity is responsible for triggering dangerous climate change. I am especially concerned that the United Nations process that investigates such matters falls well short of its advertising.


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