There's the climate change science, settled long ago. And there's the political debate, stalled in the 1970s because special interests want it that way.
Against an utterly unprincipled and untruthful status quo, those who believe climate change needs an urgent response silence their own voices in the name of sensitivity and civility.
What nonsense: the only right time to make a political statement is when it will have the greatest political impact.
The only reason there's a “good manners” brigade trying to tell you “don't say this now” is: they know it. They know that the best time to talk about catastrophic weather, and emphasise its connection to climate change, is when the electorate has a shining example right in front of it.
Talking about cold abstracts to someone wondering about the best way to spend his Super-Cheap-Autos voucher while watching the Bathurst 1000 will get nowhere. When the same person is looking at a dirty orange-black Sydney sky and wondering if grandmother's nursing home is okay – that's when they're paying attention. That's when they'll think “gee, maybe this climate change is a bit of a bugger, eh?”
That's when ordinary people are receptive to the political message.
That's what motivates the urge to silence. It's not about respect or feelings, it's about chilling the debate. There's a moment when a sale can be made, when a mind can be changed, and the deniers don't want that to happen. They don't want the climate change sale to be made: every success is a disaster to them.
What's sad is that the Left – however you define it – has assimilated the university debating society good-form-rules, and is easily cowed by the suggestion of bad manners or bad form.
As if the Heartland Institute or the IPA or the CIS or Menzies House think about manners and form while they prime their sockpuppets and roll out the astroturf. As if screaming “lord” Monckton, WhattsUpWithThat or Joanna Nova play by manners and form. As if “climate change is mostly crap” is a statement according with manners and form.
The Left is playing soccer in the climate change debate, while the right carries the ball and plays the contact sport.
It's time to abandon the idea that just because one side of the political debate is working with science, it needs to follow peer-review and good manners in the political battle.
If there's a win to be had, seize it.
If there are balls to kick, kick them.
If there's an eye open in front of you, stick your thumb in it.
Anything less is yielding ground to liars who won't accord the slightest respect to those they defeat.