So it seems to be today with "climate change". I use the quotes because we all know the climate is always changing. But we know "climate change" is just the new label for "global warming" - a label introduced when "global warming" began to feel less urgent.
And of course "global warming" goes in quotes too, because it was an abbreviation for "global warming caused by man".
So when you are asked if you accept "climate change" (think of the Inquisition asking if you believe in God), you are really being asked if you believe in global warming caused by man. If you say Yes, you have sold the pass, if you say No you are mocked and cast into outer darkness.
Strangely, it's not working. Janan Ganesh notes in the Financial Times that the percentage of voters who rank the environment as an important issue has fallen to low single figures.
Who can blame them? The GWPF has picked up this record of English summer temperatures since 1660.
In the 354 years since the series started, there have been 177 summers that were warmer than this year, and the average summer temperature since 1659 has actually been warmer, at 15.3C.Sure, you can see rises in temperature between about 1950 and 2006. But the trend hasn't been sustained, and in any case it doesn't look exceptional in the longer term.
What need for a theory of exceptional global warming if there isn't any?
Why make ourselves poorer to try to slow down something which doesn't seem to be happening anyway?