I received an alarming email this week from "Organizing for Action," (OFA) the White House-sanctioned project that "advocates for the agenda of U.S. President Barack Obama."
In two weeks, Obama and thousands of other well-paid functionaries will descend on Paris - many in carbon- spewing private jets - "to tackle climate change, while we still can."
The problem, as OFA sees it, is that "climate change deniers are trying to spoil this big moment." The problem, as I see it, is the official use of the words "denier." For all the anxiety about "hurtful language" today, one would hope that the president would reject a word whose provenance is so undeniably mean.
Linda Pentz Gunter, a journalist and professional alarmist, takes credit for introducing the term in 2004. At the time she was talking about climate skeptics with a colleague when she "began to think about their similarity to Holocaust deniers." She argued for the use of "denier," and today, she boasts, "it's in the lexicon."
Rabbi Dennis Prager, who knows something about the Holocaust, has called the denier smear "one of the largest campaigns of vilification of decent people in history."
As Prager explained, one earns the "denier" label not just by questioning whether the climate is changing or that man caused the change but by doubting the scope of the projected catastrophe.
There is excellent reason to doubt that scope. Since about 1998, global temperatures have defied computer models, an argument conceded by all responsible observers. "Over the past 15 years," admitted the climate change-friendly Economist in 2013, "air temperatures at the Earth's surface have been flat."
This "pause," as it is euphemistically known, forced a change in the alarmist lexicon. As late as 2007, "global warming" was the operative phrase for the crisis. By 2009, however, it became "climate change." Incredibly, no one in authority has explained the reason for the semantic shift or even acknowledged there was one.
In an all-too-typical 2009 article in the Christian Science Monitor - "Why are they calling it 'climate change' now?" -Eoin O'Carroll refused to answer the question posed in his title and attacked those who dared to ask it. These were the same people, he implied, who insisted temperatures had been "falling" since 1998, a claim no serious critic has made.
Having dashed the "completely bogus" claims of his denialist straw man, O'Carroll spent endless paragraphs showing that scientists had used the term "climate change" in one context or another for a century of more. This was all beside the point.
Some time between 2007 and 2009 activists consciously changed the brand name of the crisis du jour from "global warming" to "climate change." Although admitting that environmentalists were "canny about messaging," O'Carroll never even dropped a hint as to why they had changed their message.
Unfortunately, Obama and his people are no more forthcoming than even shrill alarmists. "We also know that the climate is warming faster than anybody anticipated five or 10 years ago," said the president two years ago, a claim he has repeated on numerous occasions.
That is simply not true. Nor is OFA's claim that "climate change denial in America is at an all-time low." No, it is the opposite of true, but then again, truth is the inevitable first casualty of war. And when one is losing that war, it is time to roll out the propaganda, hurtful language and all.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessary represent those of Headlines and Global News.
JACK CASHILL: An independent writer and producer, Jack Cashill has written 11 books since 2000, nine of which have been featured on C-SPAN's "Book TV." He has also produced a score of documentaries for regional PBS and national cable channels. Jack has written for Fortune, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Weekly Standard. He has a Ph.D. from Purdue University in American studies.