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Mr Nicholson, 42, from Oxford, smiles after he emerges victorious from the court room. A court ruled that it was wrong for Mr. Nicholson's employer to fire him for his belief in global warming, as it was a philosophy afforded equal protections to religion. Mr. Nicholson refuses to fly for fear of carbon pollution.  (Source: Telegraph UK)
When it comes to climate change, just have a little faith!

In an unusual case in the United Kingdom, it has been ruled that climate change beliefs should be afforded the same legal protections as religious freedoms. The bizarre ruling sets a landmark legal precedent and could have broad implications both in Britain and abroad.

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 Blackberry.

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 the classroom. 

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 scientific evidence." 

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. 

In 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 such topics.

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By nuarbnellaffej on 11/4/2009 7:31:05 PM , Rating: 4
I think you mean a consensus among politicians.

By Arramol on 11/4/2009 7:57:22 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, scientists:

You'll either have to do some scrolling or hit Ctrl+F, but in the middle of the article, you'll find this: "While 84% of scientists say the earth is getting warmer because of human activity such as burning fossil fuels, just 49% of the public agrees."

And yes, I'm aware of the problems with arguing from consensus. I post this only as a response to the claim that there is no consensus, not as a misguided attempt at settling the entire dispute in a single sentence.

By Nfarce on 11/4/2009 8:09:25 PM , Rating: 3
Ah, but how many of those "scientists" are specialists in climatology and atmospheric science? Dunno about you, but I wouldn't take an ear nose & throat doctor's opinion on my chest pain.

Here's another link:

By chrisld on 11/4/2009 9:47:40 PM , Rating: 4
Something else in common too. There is no god and there is no Global warming, man made or otherwise. I don't know any decent scientist that believes in warming. Look at the data, it's like looking at the stock market chart, all over the place and saying whether it's going up or down. Too much scatter, no way to tell. The current theory, and it makes sense, is that the temperature follows sun activity. That's right, imagine that that big hot glowing thing is controlling our temperature. What a surprise.

By Nfarce on 11/4/2009 10:06:44 PM , Rating: 2
The current theory

And thereupon lay the crux of the issue. All of this GW or AGW nonsense is just that: a theory . Only a mindless idiot would support punishing productive and successful nations with higher taxes (given to some credible, non-corrupt entity like the UN), destroying companies, forcing people on what to drive, eat, and what to live in (let alone forcing them how to live), and last but certainly not least, supporting politicians that support all of the above solely based on theory .

By Nfarce on 11/4/2009 11:23:38 PM , Rating: 2
A theory like quantum theory or the theory of relativity?

We're not talking physics with so called man-induced global warming (AWG). But don't make fun of my phrase of "theory" here.

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

And funny, the more "research" is done, the more flaws are found. Case in point I posted elsewhere with a link - flawed tree ring counting. That, and things like placing temperature sensors to monitor temp patterns near air conditioning units.

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.

Actually that was me. It was based upon a post someone posted about thousands of "scientists" who all agreed that global warming caused by man was/is real, but didn't mention what the expertise of each "scientist" was. You tell me what a plate tectonic geologist knows about the sun's influence on atmospheric weather patterns any more than an ear, nose, & throat doctor knows how to read a 3D cardiology scan (my analogy was a cardiologist to an ear, nose, & throat doctor, oh Mr. attention master).

By nilepez on 11/5/2009 8:58:00 AM , Rating: 2
Most of the time, when I see surveys of scientists don't buy into GW, it's filled with people who aren't climate specialists.

In some cases, that doesn't matter, but in others it does. One of the most commonly quoted AGW people on the web was Michael Crichton. He's certainly not a climate researcher. He was just a former doctor and a writer.

There are researchers that are reputable on the AGW side, but most of the time, they're not the guys I see referenced.

Personally, I don't think this is religion, but I do think that for guys like the person involved in this suit, it is religion.

By UNHchabo on 11/5/2009 12:53:32 PM , Rating: 2
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.

Here's an example my physics teacher used regarding scientific theory:

Before Newton, the prevailing theory was that gravity was a force that pulled downwards at a certain rate (9.8m/s^2). Then Newton came along and gave a better explanation; gravity is the force between two objects, which changes based on mass and distance. If you're on the Earth's surface, the old calculations still work, so Newton just brought the theory into a larger scope.

Years later Einstein came along, and found that Newton was wrong; you need to take speed into account as well. However, if you're going less than 10% the speed of light, Newton's formula still works just fine.

A theory is the best available explanation we have at the time for the way the universe works. Even if a part of the theory is wrong, that doesn't make the whole thing invalid. Gravity still pulls straight down at 9.8m/s^2 if you're on the Earth's surface.

By Bryf50 on 11/4/2009 10:25:01 PM , Rating: 2
While I do agree with you sort off. You need to look up the definition of a scientific theory as opposed to what the word means in the dictionary.

By Nfarce on 11/4/2009 11:43:51 PM , Rating: 2
You need to look up the definition of a scientific theory as opposed to what the word means in the dictionary.

Okay, pick your poison ( fact : the earth has warmed - and cooled - throughout history. We at least know THAT much):

Main Entry: the·o·ry

Pronunciation: \'the-?-re, 'thir-e\

Function: noun

Inflected Form(s): plural the·o·ries

Etymology: Late Latin theoria, from Greek theoria, from theorein

1: the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another

2: abstract thought : speculation

3: the general or abstract principles of a body of fact , a science, or an art <music theory>

4a: a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action <her method is based on the theory that all children want to learn>

4b: an ideal or hypothetical set of facts , principles, or circumstances —often used in the phrase in theory <in theory, we have always advocated freedom for all>

5: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena <the wave theory of light>

6a: a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation

6b: an unproved assumption : conjecture

6c: a body of theorems presenting a concise systematic view of a subject <theory of equations>


By callmeroy on 11/5/2009 2:54:50 PM , Rating: 2
There is none of either unless you believe in them.

That's kind of the whole point to "belief".....putz.

By CollegeTechGuy on 11/6/2009 9:47:22 AM , Rating: 2
While I think you are going to receive criticism from claiming there is no God, I do believe you are correct about "Global Warming".

There is scientific proof that the Earth's temperature varies based off Sun activity. Mainly Sun-Spots, the more there are, the more radiation there is put out from the sun. In turn, increasing our temperature, and vice-versa when there are fewer Sun-Spots. All this happens on an 11 year cycle, and has been documented for several decades.

By AEvangel on 11/5/2009 12:30:29 PM , Rating: 3
Then why has it gotten cooler over the last 10yrs?

An really when you think about it I would rather have global warming then the alternative global cooling. Cause last I checked if the Polar Ice Caps melted you would have a rise in sea levels billions would be displaced and would have to move but they would live. Were as if you had a Global cooling like we did just 20k years ago where half North America was covered in Glaciers, most of Humanity would die.

I mean seriously this a Religion not a SOUND scientific Theory.

By nuarbnellaffej on 11/4/2009 8:22:31 PM , Rating: 2
I'd say with the amount of government money going into climate research, there is certainly going to be distortions and biases. And as the poster above noted, that article only specifies "scientists", I'd like to know how many of those actually specialize in climatology.

By Boze on 11/5/2009 7:02:17 AM , Rating: 2
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.

I get so sick of people in the media, politicians, and general fools trying to debunk a study based on someone's credentials. An 11-year old girl named Emily Rosa had her research on Therapeutic Touch published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, all because it was good, simple, science.

Now I know something as massively complex and varied as the environment can't always be tackled with simplistic research, but its also foolish to throw away good science just because it wasn't performed by someone with 20 years experience as a climatologist.

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.

By vanka on 11/5/2009 11:57:48 AM , Rating: 3
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.

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.

Excellent point, many people tend to forget that the fathers of most major branches of science were not trained in those branches. I agree that in general "good science" only requires that the researcher(s) faithfully follow the scientific method; but the interpretation of the collected data requires someone who can understand what the data is saying and can formulate a testable hypothesis based on it. With the current trend of scientific research going more in depth in an ever narrower area of expertise, the person who is most qualified/capable of doing this is usually a specialist in that field.

Your example of Gregor Mendel is an excellent example of this. Mendel pioneered the science of genetics with his experiments on pea plants. The greatest barrier to the acceptance of Mendel's theory/conclusion was that neither Mendel nor anyone else at that time were able to grasp how his work with the genetic inheritance of a single physical trait in pea plants applied to the genetic inheritance of all traits in all organisms. Mendel himself believed that his conclusions applied only to certain categories of species or traits. It was not until much later after more specialized research in this area that his research was validated.

but its also foolish to throw away good science just because it wasn't performed by someone with 20 years experience as a climatologist.

This is where things get interesting; how many of the scientists that have jumped on the "New Ice Age" (70's)/"Global Warming" (90's)/"Climate Change" (2000's) bandwagons based on sound research that they performed? How many of them even took the time to at least glance over the research papers (not even asking them to conduct their own research in this area) supporting "Climate Change" to make sure the figures are correct and the conclusions are supported by the data? How much of the "consensus" is based on an organic chemist specializing in alcohols taking the word of an astrophysicist specializing in red dwarfs who took the word of an paleoanthropologist specializing in the study of Australopithecus africanus who had a roommate in college that was studying to be a meteorologist? Should I then trust what they have to say on the subject?

Much of the "consensus" on "Climate Change" in the scientific community is based on individual scientists believing their to be a "consensus" and jumping on the bandwagon. I understand no one is capable of reading every single research paper that is published, but if you're endorsing something that has such far reaching social and economic consequences - you'd better have done your homework. The fact that the scientific community encourages vigorous debate in something as inconsequential to society at large as the rate of mutations in mitochondrial DNA yet debate over anthropogenic climate change is stifled with claims of "consensus" and those who would engage in it are ridiculed, censored, and denied research grants. This leads me to believe that the so called "consensus" is nothing but political and that those in power have a vested interest in not having their "theory" challenged.

By kattanna on 11/5/2009 1:22:21 PM , Rating: 2
very nice post.

one thing it seems that many forget, like you have pointed out, is that in the 70's there was a global consensus of scientists that we were headed for another ice age with global cooling. funny, that didnt happen.

now we hear the same thing with global warming.. which is now climate change. and really now, who can argue that the climate isnt changing, it has since the planet has had one.

but the one thing that is constant is that there is the, in my opinion, false belief WE can actually overpower the earths natural systems enough to effect change. in effect make earths weather system a static non changing thing.

tell me that that is not the height of folly.

By HueyD on 11/5/2009 9:12:28 AM , Rating: 3
How about several thousand actual scientists....

By hr824 on 11/5/2009 10:08:20 AM , Rating: 1
Ahhh climate reports by The Heartland Institute who's board members include an Exxon executive may not be unbiased I'm thinking.

By HueyD on 11/5/2009 12:22:35 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I suppose one Exxon executive outweighs the signatures of the several thousand scientists that signed the report.

And I'm sure Al Gore has nothing to benefit by Carbon emissions legislation being passed....rrrriiigghhtt

By hr824 on 11/5/2009 1:54:34 PM , Rating: 2
You go ahead and look up The Heartland Group and see who funds and runs it and come back here and tell me that anything that comes out of there is unbiased.

Assuming that I trust Al gore because I distrust The Heartland Group is expected but wrong.

By Ristogod on 11/5/2009 9:33:32 AM , Rating: 4
Correct. The idea that man is causing global warming through production of green house gases is a political driven agenda.

The actual truth is that not as many scientists actually believe the causes to be man made as many reports would like to indicate. Those figures saying so are politically coerced and manipulated.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA
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