Introduction à la conférence de Naomi Oreskes

Petit mot d’accueil pour introduire la conférence de Naomi Oreskes le lundi 26 mars matin à l’auditoire Croix du Sud à Louvain La neuve, à l’occasion de la présentation de la traduction française de son livre « the merchands of doubt ».

Professor Oreskes, colleagues and students:

As President of the Laboratory for the Analysis of Organisational Communication in UCL, I take great pleasure in introducing Naomi Oreskes to this conference. Your book, Professor Oreskes, is a real contribution to our understanding of specific communication phenomena.

Lobbying on climate change is not limited to actions financed by Big Business: ideology and political views also play their part. Some of the loudest voices in campaigns of denial are

motivated by ideology, with politics similarly a major factor

Professor Oreskes’ book enriches our knowledge of the arguments and tactics of the climate sceptics. Research shows climate sceptics staking a claim to the moral high-ground as underdogs, a minority valiantly resisting the overweening menace – the octopus – of big international organisations and “official” science: a new David taking a stand against the evil Goliath.

Climate sceptics likewise present themselves as free agents, campaigning against what they

portray as the real lobby, that is official climate science.  They position themselves as the spokesmen of real “science”, standing against those who would foster alarmism as a means of furthering their careers and founding their laboratories.

Thus climate sceptics present themselves as the optimists, the people open to the future, in contrast to the doom and gloom of conventional climatologists.

As I bring my introduction to a close, I would address to you, Professor Oreskes, a real question:

Should we be willing to enter this debate with climate sceptics on their terms? The answer is not an easy one. On the one hand acceptance of dialogue risks legitimising their position; on the other hand refusal to take part reinforces their claims that they are the “victims” of censorship.

Thierry Libaert