Timothy Geigner offers what sounds sensible:
“Climate change is the better term, of course, and the majority of the scientific community firmly believes that there is such a thing as man-made climate change. From there, we could have a discussion about how profound the effects of climate change are, whether they’re actually better or worse, what other contributing factors might be in play in impacting climate, and all the rest, and those would be worthy conversations to have. What we shouldn’t do is try to use the law to silence dissenting opinions, particularly if those opinions come in the form of scientific research.”
But then he goes on to describe how the threat of a lawsuit removed a peer reviewed paper from a journal. See Chilling Effects: Climate Change Deniers Have Scientific Paper Disappeared.
“In other words, a study that was judged by peers to be scientifically sound, has been disappeared over the murky threats of possible legal action. Let that sink in for a moment: science is undone because some people didn’t like it.”
What is completely missing from his reality is the fact that it the climate alarmists who are using lawsuits to squash the debate, not the “deniers” that he impugns. This delusion can also be seen when he asserts:
“Look, if you’re a climate change denier, that’s cool. I don’t agree with you, but feel free to write up your own research, publish any compelling information you can come up with, and all the rest. Consensus is never something I’ve been much interested in; I’d rather have multiple ideas to choose from and study. And, hey, if you think we never landed on the moon, Hitler was actually fighting the lizard-people now running world government, and 9/11 was all a holographic light-show designed to allow George Bush to fulfill his childhood dream of landing on an aircraft carrier in a flightsuit, have at it. I want you to let me know you believe in that stuff, because that’s how I’ll know to keep my future children away from you.”
The simple fact of using the term “denier” for his straw man illustrates the dishonesty. There may be a few fanatics who do deny that the climate changes and that humans have some impact on climate, but they don’t drive the debate. That debate is between alarmists and skeptics. Geigner would indeed get his desire for a reasonable discussion if he could cease and desist with creating straw men, with the ad hominem, and with the misperceptions that he illustrates in his essay. It is those he impugns that seek to “have a discussion about how profound the effects of climate change are, whether they’re actually better or worse, what other contributing factors might be in play in impacting climate” and are unable to do so because they encounter lawsuits, insults, invective, censure, and worse.
UPDATE: for the perspective from the other side, see My complaint letter regarding the Lewandowsky affair by Anthony Watts on his blog. From other entries on the blog, it sounds like he is the one being accused of a lawsuit such as noted by Geigner. The contrast between what Watts offers and Geigner is something to consider carefully as well.