How many times has the thought “I wish I could take that back” crossed our minds? Well we may have to watch our tongues more carefully in the future with laws that legalize the prosecution of climate-change dissenters just around the corner.
The notorious Senate Bill 1161, better known as the California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act of 2016, died June 2 when the California Senate failed to take it up before the deadline.
The bill features an alarming (sound familiar?) list of evidences of global warming and outlays the means to prosecute “entities that have deceived, confused, or misled the public on the risks of climate change or financially supported activities that have deceived, confused, or misled the public on those risks.”
And of course, the misleading going on here refers to climate “deniers” (really skeptical scientists—skepticism being the hallmark of science) speaking out about their doubts. The bill clearly delineates its stance on the issue, stating that:
[t]here is broad scientific consensus that anthropogenic global warming is occurring and changing the world’s climate patterns, and that the primary cause is the emission of greenhouse gases from the production and combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas.
This really boils down to a matter of free speech, and it is remarkable how boldly this measure was taken and that it came so close to being implemented. The indicated targets would be fossil fuel companies, think tanks, non-profits, and others, but could easily extend to individuals that pose a threat to the ‘consensus’ being preached so religiously.
What this bill means in essence is that the legal system and those currently at the helm would have a much more powerful tool for bringing suit against climate change skeptics. Because after all, when an ideology is backed by law it assumes legitimacy even though it is the grossest perversion of justice.