James Hansen recently lamented the fact that skeptics seem to be winning the battle over the warmist orthodoxy. When considering why this is the case, we immediately point to the growing holes in the theory as well as the climategate scandal, which have helped sway public opinion. While these are important, they would be irrelevant were there not an effective means to disseminate this information. This forum of communication would be the internet. Ironically, we are using Al Gore’s invention against him.
One need look no further to find evidence of skeptic domination of the internet than the results of this years Bloggies. Skeptics blogs that either won a category or were nominated included Jo Nova, Australian Climate Madness, Watts Up With That, Tallbloke’s Talkshop and Climate Audit, with The Reference Frame being a previous winner. It’s an arena where the warmists have simply been left behind, with Real Climate and Skeptical Science overwhelmed by the phenomenon of WUWT. It is blogs like these that make up what is otherwise a substantial media deficit for skeptics, with the mainstream media in most parts of the western world reluctant to consider a non-alarmist, unexciting point of view.
It was the issue of climategate in particular that the internet was of critical importance. While most media outlets refused to touch the story, hoping it would blow over, bloggers like Anthony Watts, James Delingpole and Andrew Bolt had exposed the shady goings-on at the CRU. Actually, late 2009 was rather important for internet-based skeptics in two ways. The other was a video of Lord Monckton explaining to a Minnesota think tank the contents of a draft Copenhagen agreement that went viral. Both events, which reached a broad audience through the magic of the internet, were of the utmost importance in determining the failure of the Copenhagen summit.
The internet is perhaps the only true frontier of freedom of expression remaining, and it is one that has enabled the average person to air their opinions. Anyone with a computer and a limited understanding of the worldwide web can start their own blog and participate in this free exchange of information. As the scare slowly dies down, it will become increasingly obvious how important the internet has been.
However, as has become prevalent and insidious throughout human history, the political class refuse to leave well enough alone. They can’t stand a part of our lives which does not fall under their control. And so, this inevitable consequence of power resulted in attempts to control the internet, and free speech more generally. In Australia, this has culminated in the Finkelstein inquiry, where we find ourselves facing the prospect of the thought police. Climate change skepticism has been identified as a key catalyst for this impending imposition. Similarly, the SOPA bill had the potential to censor the internet and damage the spread of climate realism. The reliance we’ve had on the digital world has been underscored by Senator Inhofe, who only after recognising this possibility, voted against SOPA.
The internet represents the most free form of communication known to man, and has been critical in skeptics getting their message across. There are forces which seek to upset this freedom. We must resist them, lest we lose the final place where our most sacred right remains fully intact.