Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
There should be spaces in our communities where climate skeptics can speak freely. A group in Norway is an excellent example.
After departing the Warsaw climate summit, I visited Oslo at the invitation of Klimarealistene. This climate skeptic group has translated my IPCC exposé, The Delinquent Teenager, into Norwegian and published it in paperback there.
Klimarealistene hosted, organized, and publicized an event in which I was the guest speaker. In the neighbourhood of 100 people attended – including a politician or two, a couple of journalists, and an individual linked to that country’s Academy of Sciences.
This is an extremely active skeptic group. One of the secrets to their success appears to be the fact that they sell annual memberships. This provides them with a modest budget that permits them to organize events such as mine.
The group also holds a regular “Climate Pizza” gathering at an Oslo restaurant on the last Wednesday of every month. Such gatherings are, no doubt, a powerful antidote to the isolation many climate skeptics feel.
(I am one of those people who makes up my own mind. Whether my opinion accords with the majority view has never been of much importance to me. But being a heretic takes a toll, whether we choose to notice it or not.)
I am almost always asked, during the question and answer period that follows one of my talks, what people can do to counteract the tremendous weight of public opinion aligned against climate skeptics. Governments, universities, the media, business groups, popular culture – how does one challenge that mountain of conventional climate wisdom?
My answer always feels feeble, partly because I consider it my job to describe the current situation – to document, for example, the shortcomings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change process. Solutions are another matter, one in which I have no expertise.
Norway’s climate skeptic group – Klimarealistene – may be an excellent model to emulate. There should be spaces in our communities, in our everyday lives, where skeptics can speak freely. Those spaces won’t appear of their own accord. They need to be created.
The remarkable gentleman who translated my entire book into Norwegian is a retired engineer named Knut Bakke. He is closer to 90 years old than 80. Yet on his own time, and for no pay, he undertook and completed that task.
Individual effort can – and does – change the world.