All we’ve got is each other.

Hands group

This is a follow on article to last week’s discussion of whether there should be some sort of umbrella organisation to represent skeptics of catastrophic global warming. I’m in favour of it and outlined my reasons in the piece. Anthony Watts referenced it when announcing the result of the poll, I think to kick off some more discussion of the idea in the light of the vote.

First off, let’s remind ourselves of the original question – “Is it time for an “official” climate skeptics organization, one that produces a policy statement, issues press releases, and provides educational guidance?

There’s nothing there about being some sort of controlling organisation. If such a grouping does indeed come about, everyone is free to give it their support or ignore it completely. If all the power, money and influence ranged against us hardy band of skeptics couldn’t exert any control over us, then I don’t see our own organisation being any more successful with any such bizarre move.

Various objections have been raised and I’ll like to run through some of them quickly. It’d serve as central target to be attacked – yes, but we’re always under attack anyway and it would be useful PR. Global warming alarmism is already dying a slow death – true but killing it off sooner reduces the chances of it growing yet another Hydra’s head. Our current guerrilla strategy is working and therefore obviates the need for any unifying organisation – no, that approach, effective though it’s been in the past, has serious limitations going forward into the endgame. We’d need lots of money – not sure about lots but anyway, we simply divert funds from our bulging guerrilla war chests into it.

It’s perhaps my rude boy nature but the deep reservations I have about the whole thing are the darker ones nobody else seems to have thought of, or perhaps didn’t want to break ranks and articulate. If it’s to be nothing more than an ego trip for the leading figures of the skeptic blogosphere or worst of all, laying the foundations of a cult of personality, then it’s a big no thank you.

I’m sure those in favour of the idea will have their own ideas about its structure, governance, financing and what objectives it should commit itself to. After what I’d expect to be some spirited discussion but a bit of give and take, I’m confident we can settle those questions to most people’s satisfaction.

What I’d like to do here is offer some overall thoughts which might inform those discussions.

They are the imperatives I believe we should use to design any organisation around. You may agree with them or not but bear in mind that we can only realistically work with the assets to hand on any such project. We don’t have an excesses of assets, but the ones we do have tend to support the imperatives I’m thinking we have to take into consideration.

The most important one is that we need to attract as many bodies in it as we can get. If it only attracts a handful of participants or is limited to “suitably qualified” people, whatever that means, it simply won’t have the critical mass nor the legitimacy to offer a representative voice of climate skepticism. To that end, we can’t be too rigid in defining either its membership criteria or higher objectives and dare I say it with such an open approach, we might even attract some folk of a luke warmist persuasion into the fold. I see no harm in such plurality of opinion, just as long as the central scepticism about catastrophic global warming is maintained by the organisation.

It must not align itself politically. The climate debate is too often framed in terms of people’s political leanings but what’s often forgotten is the original environmental movement was apolitical, and that was one of the reasons it was so successful. It unified people of diverse viewpoints under the common objective of not trashing nature. To achieve that end, your personal politics were irrelevant. I know too many people of a leftward leaning who strongly disapprove of climate alarmism and hold their tongue, and too many people of a rightward persuasion hesitant to voice any criticism of it. We have to identify and agree that common ground. Not an easy task but certainly doable.

What seems like a long time ago, I characterised the skeptic opposition to alarmism as being essentially guerrilla warfare. All around the world are scattered bloggers, commenters and activists resisting things like windmills being forced on their community. That is a great strength which rather than abandoning it to build an overly complex hierarchical structure, we can find ways to leverage into the new organisation, make it an integral part of the thing. The imperative is to work with the assets we already have to hand. We’ll need each other and our skills even more, and I can think of several ways that can be done.

For instance, setting up an online resource pool of people asking for help or volunteering their services, utilises that huge diversity of skills, talent and experience.

If we had pool contributors prepared to translate a few leading articles into their second language, we can almost certainly widen our readership. Not everyone speaks English but for instance 1.2 billion people speak varieties of Chinese, a country noted for its hostility to climate alarmism. A quarter of the readers here come from outside the English-speaking world. I could probably do two blogs a week if a volunteer with the appropriate expertise could take some of the technical research load off me. Does someone out there want to know how to organise a local campaign? Leave a message in the resource pool and watch the help flood in. You’re a web designer or programmer with some free time you want to donate? We could certainly use your expertise.

The more you think about it, a pool of diverse expertise that we can all dip into, is a tremendous communal asset, but that’s an obvious example. We’re the lads and lassies comfortable thinking outside the box. There are many more ways of enabling the guerrillas to emerge out of the jungle at their own pace and after a few successes working together, seeing the advantages and buying into the thing.

It has to have an international flavour if it wants to attract the largest number of people. There are already some national organisations like the GWPF, and while they do a good job, an organisation based in London hardly looks relevant to someone in Brazil wanting to start something local. Initially it should be based on the web with a good spread of material that was not all aimed at one country, but there’s nothing to prevent it having offices in a few years.

If it grows, the day will come when we have to send a representative to a climate meeting abroad. Having a local member put them up and show them around would cut down on the overheads considerably. Imagine having Chris Monckton as a houseguest for a few days.

The skeptic blogosphere is habitually reactive to moves by alarmists, so unless the organisation is proactive to some degree, it’d be difficult to not see it as nothing more than a tarted up blog. There are many effective things it could do. At a low-level for instance when a person is being victimised in academia or their workplace for expressing sceptical opinions, we should publicise their story, if not give them a platform to tell it themselves. If we can’t protect our own members from eco-thuggery, what’d be the point of a central organisation?

We can run larger and very cost-effective campaigns by coordinating with the independent blogs, which will always be there. For instance, the increase in fuel poverty is rising up the political agenda across the developed world. Why not pick a week to campaign on that issue, with the independent bloggers simultaneously doing specials on that same topic in their own countries? I’m sure such an initiative would receive support and help from those various charities contending with the issue around the world. Because of an apolitical stance, it’d be easier to build mutually useful relationships with those outside organisations, who could make use of our technical expertise.

The branding and level at which materials are pitched will have to be considered carefully if we expect to attract a big readership outside the skeptic purview. If it isn’t intended for a larger audience than just the skeptic blogosphere, then you’d have to ask the question what was the supposed gain in forming it. For instance, we might be comfortable talking about PDOs, NIPCC, CRU and Maunder Minima (rather than minimums) but it’d just be gobbledegook to the average person, who’s never even heard of climategate. Yes, we need the technical detail but not on the first tier of pages on the main site.

Putting together a new umbrella group would take patience, cooperation, a willingness to compromise and a lot of hard work. Not everyone will be interested in participating for a variety of reasons. Fine, let’s go into it accepting in advance that we’ll lose some people and respecting their decision. I for one look forward to the opportunity to contribute in whatever capacity I can.

There would inevitably be vigorous discussions on the exact shape and aims of such an organisation, but what is essential is to agree the common ground, keep the focus on it and then put a huge effort into building a large and inclusive community of helping hands to build something the common person can not only relate to, but use. It won’t work any other way.

At the moment this is nothing more than a poll, which might become a proposal and then the hard work would begin.

There’s a dismal phrase we’ve all have heard so many times – “someone should do something about it.” We all know it’s a cop-out, a recognised cue, a verbal preface to a whinge which means the person saying it is really too lazy or apathetic to do anything about it themselves, because as everyone knows we’re all powerless against “them”, whoever the dreaded them is. Resistance is futile, let someone else do the work.

Irrespective of whether it might turn out to be a great success or a crash and burn experience, I’ve already made my choice but decision time has arrived for my fellow skeptics. Keep repeating that tired phrase above or become one of those someones prepared to take the risk of doing something about it.

All we’ve got is each other.

©Pointman

Related articles by Pointman:

Get real, get organised and finish it.

Some thoughts about policy for the aftermath of the climate wars.

Results of the poll at WUWT.

Click for a list of other articles.

 

 

Comments
21 Responses to “All we’ve got is each other.”
  1. stan stendera says:

    You are swaying me from undecided to in favor of such an organization. Since I would call myself a “lone wolf”, that is quite a change.

  2. Don’t we already have NIPCC, SEPP and the Heartland Institute? We should settle on one and back it.

  3. PKuster says:

    Although we’ve primarily gone after the wind industry, it had it’s genesis in the AGW scam. We’ve done numerous posts regarding the crumbling AGW religion.
    We’ve always advocated even in Ontario, Can. for a united front when going after the objective. There just seems to be too many egos out there. However, at Quixotes Last Stand we like to operate under the premise of a sign on R Reagans desk he had in the White House;

    “There is no limit to what you can accomplish
    if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

    We’re here to offer whatever we can.

  4. A.D. Everard says:

    I’m with you. I voted no in the poll for a whole handful of reasons, but here, with your words, I can see the strength of such an organization. Perhaps we can be Bluepeace (to save the world from Greenpeace). Joshing aside, an international, apolitical movement of the sort you describe is exactly what’s needed.

    There are a lot of disappointed environmentalists, of the original honest sort, who found themselves shafted and who still care passionately about the world. That said, their earlier experiences might leave them shy to join another organization claiming to right the wrongs, but we won’t know until we try.

    I am sick of and angry with all things Green. A lot of people are, whether they are in the climate debate or not. It will take time to build, but I should imagine that a great many people all around the world would be excited about adding their voice to a group that hits back with logic, sensible action and a public voice. A voice actually for the people.

  5. Politicians need to be the real target. Their class enables all the enviro scamming and support their fellow travellers in the bureaucracies and journalism.

  6. Truthseeker says:

    Pointman,

    While you make a number of valid points, an organisation means structure and structure means politics (internal variety). Regardless of the original intentions, it will become a personality battle and even when we are not being political (external variety) there are serious scientific divides among those that are against the alarmism. Anthony Watts treatment of Tallbloke, his censorship of all “Slayer” comments, Dr Roy Spencer’s listing of “incorrect” skeptical arguments and his challenging and then not engaging alternate scientific viewpoints are just some of the examples of the dogmatic behaviour on those supposedly on our “side” of the alarmist argument. If we are not going to be political and we are not going to be scientific, then what are we going to be?

    I think that this fight has to be fought on many fronts and trying to unify such a disparate group is going to end in tears. Currently the IPCC is saying one thing and we are saying many things. To those distrustful of authority, many small voices are more persuasive than one big one.

  7. Jonathan G says:

    I’m very much up for this and look forward to dismantling windmills in the dead of night, and / or other such deeds of derring do. I may have got carried away with the ideas above but you get the idea . . .

  8. durango12 says:

    I remain skeptical🙂. Perhaps it would help if I had a clearer idea of:
    1. What would such an organization actually do?
    2. How would we know if it is being successful?
    Something less than a business plan but more concrete than the concepts being discussed here would help a lot IMO.

  9. ossqss says:

    My first thought would be to abandon the skeptical moniker and substitute realist instead.

    The focus of any organization of this nature would be to separate the propaganda from the real and proven science and expose it on both accounts. Too many such manufactured science items have set policy for too long. Just look at the impact the hockey stick had in such and the ultimate shredding of the hockey stick in the end once exposed through analysis.

    How much money have false or half truth scientific papers cost the planet with worthless initiatives to counter a non-existent problem? Think about that.

    It is not just about CO2 in the end. It is about the political movement behind it and it has many faces that impact everyone on this planet, everyday.

    I believe you will find the organizational storm of realists coming soon via high impact verified science that shreds the propaganda to bits. Sharing data and code is key. Think of those scientists who refuse to share data or code, even via the FOIA process, what are they hiding.

    Once the avalanche starts, those who have been jailed by employment or grants will be set free to speak the truth. I would bet that many of them cannot wait until that day arrives and they can come clean.

    “If you always tell the truth, you never have to remember what you said” my grandmother 1981

    • Blackswan says:

      I agree – the word ‘sceptical’ has never described our response to CAGW as it denotes ‘dubious’, ‘doubtful’, ‘having reservations’ and it certainly doesn’t allow for our utter rejection of the Carpetbaggers Scam. ‘Realist’ is a more likely tag – reality equates with truth and that’s what we’re all seeking.

  10. Blackswan says:

    Pointman,

    While I agree that a global organisation would provide a rallying point for citizens everywhere to act locally to aid our cause, my concerns are about the sheer practicalities of developing such a group in a legal and cohesive manner. I can only speak about the situation in Australia and others would have to decide how such an organisation could be viable in their jurisdictions.

    For example, in any such community organisation, the directors/office-bearers are jointly and severally liable in any legal action against the group. To avoid this we have the option to Incorporate the association, thus absolving the principals of personal liability which then resides with the group’s Public Officer (PO) who becomes the legal and public ‘face’ of the Inc. Association. To apply to the government for incorporation the PO must submit a Constitution which details the aims and purposes of the group. Who would draw up such a document?

    There is little doubt that in our litigious society we’d find ourselves slapped with all sorts of injunctions and legal actions if the Carpetbaggers felt their gold mine was threatened.

    Then there’s consideration of being registered as a not-for-profit organisation; would membership or affiliation fees and donations be tax deductible? – a major consideration for corporate sponsorship etc and all must be approved by government bureaucracies. Then there are advertising considerations. Apart from the high cost involved, we have Advertising Regulators who must approve what is published or screened, and that’s before finding an MSM publisher or broadcaster who would risk all their current Green revenue stream.

    If such an Inc. Association wished to hold a rally or march, an application must be made to police and civic authorities and the first item to be considered is Public Liability Insurance. The premiums for such multi-million dollar insurance are extremely high.

    Bottom line is – anything such an organisation does will cost money and lots of it, so somebody has to manage it, bank it, spend it and have accounts audited for Taxation Office declarations etc.

    The Carpetbagger NGOs such as Greenpeace and the WWF have had decades to streamline and perfect their multi-billion dollar scams – everything from commercial product endorsement to schoolchildren selling cookies to aid the cause, and while we’d love to rally to a Realist Organisation of our own, when it comes to the nitty gritty of actually running it, who would put their hands up to take on an unpaid full-time job?

    While our recently elected government vowed to disband our Climate Change departments and bureaucracies and all Renewable Subsidies, it seems our previous Socialist/Marxist Labor/Green government has tied the country into contractual obligations for DECADES into the future that can’t be reneged upon or dissolved without incurring multi Billion-dollar penalties.

    Having a practical frame of mind puts me in ‘wet blanket’ territory, but I think a continued guerilla campaign is the only viable option unless someone can think of a way around my concerns.

    • Truthseeker says:

      Excellent points Blackswan! After the idealism of those that like this idea of us realists “banding together” and “speaking with one voice”, comes the practicality of the actual requirements such an organisation must abide by. What we have done works because there is no structure.

      Change a winning game at your own peril.

    • durango12 says:

      In the US, it would not be granted tax exempt status. The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) would not permit it.

  11. OK, Pointman. If it’s apolitical, is constructed to review science (with no preconceived view on what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’) and functions on a practical basis as a co-ordinating exchange for resources, I’m in.
    You see the power of words? Very well done.

  12. Pointman says:

    There’s lots of stuff I don’t know, but nobody else does either. What I very definitely do know is working together we can make magic things.

    P

  13. Pointman says:

    For a friend, on the occasion of their birthday.

    .

    Cyber space sprawls high and deep, chaos rules and little abides,

    Its mountains towering and clean, its troughs full of sly creatures unseen.

    We glide above it silently, like ghostly cranes under a petrified moon,

    And yet leave gossamer trails across the divides.

    .

    We see each other from afar, and circling in, alight upon a peak.

    From there, we watch the valley floor and speak,

    Of anything and everything and nothing much at all,

    Perched above the busy madness and far beyond its thrall.

    .

    We laugh and jest, and oft exchange our own dark music.

    The shriek an eagle made as it soared up defiantly into the very face of God,

    And the dried twig snap of a heart, breaking alone in the wilderness.

    These things, and much between, we’ve seen.

    .

    And yet through all, we need no peak to meet.

    However distant, we are each others abiding rock.

    Friendship, I care not what Christ or the Gods portend,

    Will always be ours in the end.

    .

    Perhaps I haven’t said it, but make the time to say it now.

    Thank you for being such a friend.

    .

    Pointman

  14. “All we have got is each other”. I like that statement because it presupposes that we are communicating/interacting on equal terms, in contrast to us, characterised as “subjects” , when dealing and interacting with local, regional or national governments. In view of the current question to organise or not to organise, I favour the former as I stated earlier on this Blog. Then the question arises how to organise? Valid points in my view have been raised against formal forms of organisations based on drawbacks as structures, legal issues, hierarchies; in other words we should not repeat the well known mistakes of organisations, certainly not with organisations with a mission. As “we” I believe are mainly interested in facts and opinions based on such facts we could (re-)package the knowledge (not the taxidriver based London sitcom of yesteryears) on the Internet, our preferred medium, in a site tentatively called: REALPEDIA. A number of current and well visited climate blogs have resource pages. Such resource pages could form a first base for Realpedia with little political motivated editorial interventions, as the current tender of the mentioned resource pages may form a first editorial group. As dealing with Government propaganda in the form of “The science is settled”, outreach to the educational system would be essential and not an anomaly is our learning youth are hooked to wikipedia based (re-)sources.

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  2. […] discussion of climate sceptics getting together and getting organised, See WUWT, Bishop Hill and Pointman. The arguments in favour (presented by Pointman and Geoff Chambers) are that a coordinated effort […]



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