Well, it's pretty clear what you call those in complete denial about the muderous human induced climate change coming the world's way, denialists. And on the other hand the denialists have a word for those who believe the IPCC, warmists, which, though kind of mealy mouthed and weak, is what they like. No arguing with taste.
As Eli has pointed out the Idiot Tracker nailed the self styled "lukewarmers", the it ain't gonna be bad crowd, the group that Eli calls the luckwarmers, for their dreams to come true would require a great deal of getting lucky.
Here's the problem. Lukewarmism doesn't get its adherents where they want to go – because even if we accept at face value their claims, the world would still require intense efforts to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases in order to stave off disaster. . .But there is another group which claims to accept the IPCC consensus on climate change but always finds reasons to do nothing, or next to nothing about it, often because they say there is something else that is more important, which, of course, they also do nothing about other than try and use it as a club against those who think we should be doing something about climate change. The hallmark of these types, like Bjorn Lomborg, just to name one, is to loudly proclaim that those who see the dangers of climate change and want to do something about it, care nothing for the Poors, especially the African Poors these days. Of course, in the end the Breakthrough Institute types and other Lomborg's of the world take the money for themselves and do nothing for the Poors.
However, when you begin to argue that not only does science have climate sensitivity wrong but also emissions and maybe impacts to boot – well, you're going to have a hard time explaining why thousands of scientists have made not one but a series of mistakes, all supposedly exaggerating the dangers of global warming. Go down that road, and pretty soon you're right back in the tinfoil-hat camp lukewarmist rhetoric was supposed to deliver you from. If you allege not one but a whole series of gigantic mistakes by huge numbers of investigators, all tending to undermine a scientific conclusion (only rapid reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases can prevent a substantial risk of planetary disaster) to which you are avowedly hostile, the simplest conclusion is not that you are a genius and the rest of the scientific community are fools; it is that you are a partisan and you are attacking science with implications contrary to your political goals.
Recently, Nature published a jerimand by one of these, an Oliver Geden, saying that we must be honest, 2 C is blown, no way no how to hold the line. Richard Tol weighed in with
Geden’s point is simple. In private, there is a consensus (>97%) among climate policy analysts that the 2K target is impossible. In public, the same people pretend that it can be met. Perhaps it is time to reclaim our academic freedom and present our research findings, however unpalatable.and, indeed this is not so far from Eli's observation that policy makers in the US Government see 3 C as the new 2C.
How to deal with this in the public discussion is no simple matter. Eli's approach has been to point out the rhetorical nature of the full Lomborg, to challenge anybunny who takes up that cudgel to actually do something to help the poor, rather than just talk about it. Since most of the luckwarmers and denialists are from the far right and oppose government money to help anyone but themselves, this has a certain success.
Paul Price in the comments at ATTP deals with the issue in another way
Oliver Geden is firmly in the Pielke/Hulme/Breakthrough Institute ‘climate mitigation-action delayer’ camp as his previous publications and citations amply demonstrate – just as this latest one does. Several times on Twitter, as with the BTI, I have tried to get Geden to answer the question: if not 2ºC then what temperature and related carbon budget limit target would he prefer? He always dodges while claiming to be objective and pragmatic, which is entirely evasionary. If he is suggesting a different path then he should tell us what he is suggesting and why that is better.Price has solved the problem of how to characterize the Lomborg/Pielke/Hulme/Breakthrough Institute types, they are Evasionists and the question to ask them is what level of climate change would bestir them to action.
Yes, let’s admit that limiting to 2ºC is already very difficult but that does not mean that the pragmatic policy is to give up on 2ºC. It should mean that the alarm is ringing very loudly to say that the ‘honest brokering’ of policy advisors like Geden has entirely failed to move policy in the direction of actually achieving the emission cuts necessary. This latest article is just another attempt to evade the culpability of ‘advisors’ like himself for this ongoing policy failure. Shooting the messenger, he wants to blame climate scientists for pointing out inconvenient truths: so much for his integrity as a policy advisor. It’s hard to see Geden’s article as anything more than another prolonged effort to keep reality from intruding on his own political preferences for climate inaction.
Rather than giving up on 2ºC as a target limit we should be redoubling (trebling, ten-folding) efforts to achieve the related, future, capped global carbon budget. It may well be that this requires negative emissions (as well as massive social change) and it may well be that we don’t achieve them, but with very strong policies aiming at 2ºC we might still miss and hit 2.5ºC. Whatever your politics that’s bad but it’s a hell of a lot better than Geden’s argument, which still pretends it is pragmatic to go on until we actually hit walls at 3ºC, or 4ºC, or now if you live in Kiribati with the sea already coming in. This version of ‘pragmatism’ (aka Pielke Jr’s rusty ‘law’) is just excuse-making for continuing to do little or nothing even in the teeth of the evidence.
Concentrating on the difficulties in policy is not smart or pragmatic if it just avoids stating the realities of the extraordinary global climate risk that our actions right now directly affect. We may desire to avoid driving into a brick wall but that does actually require a policy that involves *not* steering directly toward it and accelerating. Geden clearly finds the emission projections presented by climate science as “sometimes unwelcome — perspectives to the global climate-policy discourse”. It is mitigation action evaders masquerading as honest brokers who need to wake up to physical reality if they are to finally show some integrity as climate policy advisors. It would be great if they could wake up and help hit the brakes before we all run out of road.