Calling climate change a ‘theory’ doesn’t make me Donald Trump – John McLellan

A young climage change protester took John McLellan to task in our Letters page. Picture: Getty
A young climage change protester took John McLellan to task in our Letters page. Picture: Getty
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I was impressed by the letter from Broughton High school pupil Josie Law published in the Evening News this week, taking me to task about my article about the climate change protest. I certainly would not, as she suggested I might, argue that she or any other articulate 14-year-old has no valid political opinions.

The column questioned the wisdom of politicians encouraging students to skip classes to go on a demo, but didn’t actually go into any opinions I might have about global warming – although I’m not about to disagree with Nasa figures showing the global temperature rising about 1C since 1880 – or have any quibble with the need to curb plastic use.

But my crime was in what I thought was an uncontentious phrase: “Whether you agree with climate change theory or not ...” because the reference to “theory” apparently inferred the beliefs of campaigners such as Youth Strike 4 Climate Change are anything but the absolute truth. It will probably compound the felony by using the word beliefs.

With the encouragement of a Green councillor, in piled Twitter warriors to condemn me as a denier, the now time-honoured fashion to frame me as a Nazi-sympathiser who thinks the Holocaust is a myth. One somewhat excitable character called me “Edinburgh’s Trump”. Whatever.

I’m a bit of a fundamentalist when it comes to freedom of speech and they are entitled to their views but we are in dangerous territory when even the word “theory” is enough to be strung up on the eco-gallows with environmentally friendly piano wire.