The case began when Tim Nicholson, former head of
sustainability at property firm Grainger PLC was laid off in July
2008 for his criticism of management on the basis of climate change
beliefs. Mr. Nicholson, who renovated his house to be greener and
refuses to fly by air, was upset that Rupert Dickinson, the firm's
chief executive, had an employee fly to him in Ireland to deliver his
When Mr. Nicholson began to gripe and express his
environmental sentiments, he was later dismissed. He took his former
employers to court, contending that the same laws that protect
religious freedoms protected his “philosophical belief about
climate change and the environment.”
His employers contended
that climate change was a scientific, not a religious or
philosophical belief, and thus not legally protected. Mr. Nicholson,
however, insisted that climate change was a philosophical belief as
“philosophy deals with matters that are not capable of scientific
proof.” His lawyer, Shah Qureshi, head of employment law at
Bindmans LLP, added that to not grant AGW beliefs the same
protections as religion would mean “that the more evidence there is
to support your views, the less likely it would be for you to enjoy
protection against discrimination.”
That theory was put to
the test in an unusual court case and in the end Mr. Nicholson
prevailed. Justice Michael Burton who delivered the ruling,
ironically had used the same logic to hand a victory to climate
skeptics over advocates of anthropogenic global warming theory
seeking to show
school children An Inconvenient Truth by Al
Gore. The court, which Justice Burton served on, ruled that
the move was a political, not a scientific work, and was unfit for
Mr Nicholson lauded the verdict,
stating, “I believe man-made climate change is the most important
issue of our time and nothing should stand in the way of diverting
this catastrophe. This philosophical belief that is based on
scientific evidence has now been given the same protection in law as
faith-based religious belief. Belief in man-made climate change is
not a new religion, it is a philosophical belief that reflects my
moral and ethical values and is underlined by the overwhelming
His employers have vowed to
appeal the decision. If it stands, however, it could have major legal
affects in Britain and beyond. Affording environmental beliefs the
same status as religion opens companies to suits from employees
complaining about lack of recycling facilities or offering low-carbon
travel. It also prevents employers from dismissing employees from
their environmental beliefs, even if they seem radical.
the U.S., similar protections exist for employment and
religion/philosophy. The laws are certainly worded differently, but
the British decision could embolden those seeking similar protections
in the U.S. At the end of the day, the ruling forces society to be
accept and cater to a variety of opinions on climate change and
environmentalism, while at the same time making it harder for
organizations, particularly government funded ones, to voice views on
quote: The current theory
quote: A theory like quantum theory or the theory of relativity?
quote: You seem opposed to the idea that we should change our behavior based on the evidence we do have. So according to you, if nobody did anymore climate research
quote: And to the guy that said you wouldn't listen to a throat doctor about a lung infection, that is easily the dumbest fucking analogy I've ever heard.
quote: A theory like quantum theory or the theory of relativity? Emphasizing the word theory doesn't make you any more right. A theory is something that has extensive evidence showing it to be true. It's just one step below a natural law. A hypothesis is something that may or may not be right.
quote: You need to look up the definition of a scientific theory as opposed to what the word means in the dictionary.
quote: You don't need to be a climatologist to perform good science. Good science only requires a good experiment and strict adherence to the Scientific Method.
quote: Imagine, if you can, the world as it would exist today if Gregor Mendel's research had been ignored all because he was a priest and not a trained scientist. He died in 1884 by the way, and his work was almost completely ignored until 1900. It would be a shame if we ignored good science in other fields all because someone doesn't have the right title.
quote: but its also foolish to throw away good science just because it wasn't performed by someone with 20 years experience as a climatologist.