I hesitated about posting this story due to the divisive and heated rhetoric that has been appearing in comments on any post about climate change recently. Given the huge consequences at stake at Copenhagen, the last thing we need is more 'them and us' political mudslinging. But those stakes also demand that we understand what is going on in the political process—so the news that the European Union will be including in its delegation to Copenhagen a prominent climate 'skeptic' is important. The fact that that this skeptic is also a member of a far-right anti-immigration party, and has previously denied the holocaust, is also an important indicator of this man's credibility, or lack of it. News comes from The Guardian that Nick Griffin of the far-right British National Party will be representing the European Union as part of their delegation to the climate talks at Copenhagen. He will be the one 'skeptic' of the group—representing his stance that "Climate change is being used to impose an anti-human utopia as deadly as anything conceived by Stalin or Mao." The trouble is, for the skeptic camp, that this is a man who once described the gas chambers of Auschwitz as "a total lie."
It might be tempting for those of us who believe strongly in the scientific consensus that man made climate change is a huge threat, to use this news to equate all climate change denial with holocaust denial. But that would be both intellectually dishonest, counterproductive, not to mention disrespectful of the millions of victims of the Nazis. As I argued elsewhere, environmentalism needs to be inclusive if we are to get anywhere near to meeting the challenges we face. So painting disagreement over current scientific knowledge, however conclusive we believe it to be, as being equivalent to denying a historic fact of such awful significance will get us nowhere.
Nick Griffin's past of holocaust denial does not discredit the whole 'skeptic' agenda (I would argue that the vast majority of climate research does that well enough by itself), but it does discredit this particular skeptic. So lest folks elsewhere in the world see Mr Griffin speaking out on climate change 'conspiracies' as they watch the news on Copenhagen, and are tempted to view him as a brave lone voice speaking out for the truth—please consider what other 'truths' he has been pushing in the past.