Internet’s impact on global warming

The internet is having an impact on the public perception – and confidence – of the “settled” science of anthropogenic global warming, according to a report in The Australian.

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What we are witnessing, in defiance of officialdom, government propaganda and the bulk of funded researchers in the field, is the collapse of a scientific paradigm. This is something that has never happened before. Politically speaking, it’s a game-changer with the potential to overturn the normative assumptions commentators rely on. Not least of these is the idea that Australian voters will always give newly elected federal governments a second term.

In the latest edition of The Spectator, Matt Ridley, a veteran science journalist, offers an explanation for how the consensus came unstuck. "Despite 20 years of being told they were not just factually but morally wrong, of being compared to Holocaust deniers, of being told they deserved to be tried for crimes against humanity, of being avoided at parties, climate sceptics seem to be growing in number and confidence by the day. What is the difference?

"In a word, the internet. The `climate consensus’ may hold the establishment — the universities, the media, big business, government — but it is losing the jungles of the web. After all, getting research grants, doing pieces to camera and advising boards takes time. The very ostracism the sceptics suffered has left them free to do their digging untroubled by grant applications and invitations to Stockholm."

Part of Ridley’s argument is that it’s distinguished scientists in retirement, who have no fear of faculty censure or funding bodies and have nothing to lose, who have led the internet revolt. In Australia, that body includes Garth Paltridge, the author of The Climate Caper, and William Kininmonth, author of Climate Change: A Natural Hazard. As well as publishing books and journal articles, both have an internet presence.

For more, go to The Australian article, World Wide Web of Doubt.

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