Climate change deniers claim they’re censored. What hypocrites
Anthony Watts, sceptic and scourge of climate change science, has used copyright laws to censor an opponent
Most were the work of the Bush administration. In 2007 the Union of Concerned Scientists collated 435 instances of political interference in the work of climate researchers in the US.
Scientists working for the government were pressured by officials to remove the words “climate change” and “global warming” from their publications; their reports were edited to change the meaning of their findings, others never saw the light of day. Scientists at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the US Fish and Wildlife Service were forbidden to speak to the media; James Hansen at Nasa was told by public relations officials that there would be “dire consequences” if he continued to call for big cuts in greenhouse gases.
Philip Cooney, a senior White House aide who previously worked at the American Petroleum Institute, admitted to Congress that he had made hundreds of changes to government reports about climate change on behalf of the Bush government.
Among other changes, he had struck out evidence that glaciers were retreating and inserted phrases suggesting that there was serious scientific doubt about global warming. In the UK, both Viscount Monckton and Martin Durkin, the director of Channel 4’s The Great Global Warming Swindle, have threatened to sue people who have criticised the claims they’ve made about the science.
Where, on the other hand, is a single verifiable instance of a climate denier being silenced by the authorities? They have yet to produce one. But it suits them to cry wolf. They love to imagine that they are important enough to censor. The claim chimes with their paranoid invocation of a great conspiracy – involving most of the world’s scientists, most of the world’s governments, most of the world’s media and a few hundred million others – to suppress the truth about global warming.
Now we have another marvellous instance of this hypocrisy. Anthony Watts spends much of his time maligning climate scientists and environmentalists on his blog Wattsupwiththat. But while he can dole it out, he can’t take it. As Kevin Grandia of desmogblog shows, Watts has just used US copyright laws to take down a YouTube video which exposes his claims. Grandia has since reposted the video (see above) so you can see for yourself what all the fuss is about.
It is not clear how his copyright was infringed by the video, but the US laws have been widely used by other people to block material that they don’t like. Websites are obliged to remove any video which is subject to a takedown request, and they can put it back up only if they win an appeal. I charge Watts with the accusation he unjustly levels at other people: this looks to me like an attempt to silence his critics.