Stewart Brand, creator of the Whole Earth Catalog and overall remarkable guy, has a very perceptive opinion piece in the NY Times, detailing a taxonomy of four types of climate change viewpoints.  In a nice description, Brand notes that we seem to have in Copenhagen

a two-sided debate between alarmists and skeptics

but that in reality we have calamatists, denialists, warners, and skeptics, and that

calamatists and denialists are primarily political figures, with firm ideological loyalties, whereas the warners and skeptics are primarily scientists, guided by ever-changing evidence.

Unfortunately, the news media tends toward making matters appear solely in two-sided, extremist fashion. It’s easier for them to just show two sides in conflict, with a myopic view that this approach helps sell their product (while much of their product, newspapers and such, are going down the tubes).

Brand is correct, and it’s useful to understand where different people are coming from, and how different groups are appropriating, and misinterpreting, the views of others. Thus, Brand writes that the calamatists

quote the warners in apocalyptic terms, and they view denialists as deeply evil.


To the skeptics’ discomfort, their arguments are frequently quoted by the denialists.