Nature Climate Change published an article by Paul Bain titled Promoting pro-environmental action in climate change deniers. Both Bishop Hill and WUWT criticized the article for using the term ‘denier’ instead of the more neutral label ‘sceptic’. The word ‘denier’ is used 41 times in the paper.
Bishop Hill wrote to the editor of Nature Climate Change, writing (bold mine):
Dear Dr Howlett
I have written a blog post on the Bain et al paper you have recently published. I found it quite surprising that a reputable journal would publish an article that contained so much offensive language.
I was wondering if you would care to comment on your decision to publish the article in this form. Did the editorial team consider asking the authors to use less incendiary language? Do you view your journal as having a role in encouraging civilised debate? Do you have policies on offensive language?
Thanks for your attention.
Keith Kloor has a good summary of the sceptic/denier dilemma as well, showing that most commentators (like Revkin) prefer the more neutral term ‘sceptic’.
High profile journals like Nature and Nature Climate Change of course must set an example or as Bishop Hills puts it ‘encourage a civilised debate’. Unfortunately they have not done this in their own editorials. I found four editorials, two in Nature and two in Nature Climate Change, that used the term ‘denier’. Lees verder…