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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 daInvincibleGama on 11/4/2009 10:24:39 PM , Rating: 0
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.

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, we could justifiably bury your head in the sand and pretend everything's OK.

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.


By Nfarce on 11/4/2009 11:23:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
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.

http://www.physorg.com/news11710.html

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


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.

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.


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
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.


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.


"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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