In small but interesting ways, the conflict over climate change is similar to the Springbok tour of 1981: the country was divided then like a cleanly cut apple, but few people now put their hand up to say they were pro-tour. That's because it's clear which way the cards fell.
Like those who argued for sporting contacts with South Africa, there will be no climate change deniers in the future. They will vanish like dinosaurs, dodos and Morris dancers.
Unlike those who contemporaneously argued for the Tour, who did actually have something to hang their hat on – that being that sport should exist outside of politics – climate change denialists are howling in the wind.
Based on all of the information available to us, there is no sound argument against the existence of anthropogenic climate change, only ignorance of the scientific consensus and an arrogance to argue against it – often by people armed only with an elementary education and an internet connection.
When you have highly educated scientists amassed on one side, it's prudent to stick with their assessment of matters relating to science. If you want to understand how to be a complete twonk, seek notes from those peddling the other side. But for science, definitely stick with the scientists.
Resistance to scientific understandings is hardly new. Galileo was locked up by the Church for pointing out that the earth rotated around the sun. Given there is even now a very small but dedicated group of flat earthers, poor old Galileo must be rotating in his grave. And when incredible beliefs like that can be entertained by people, we shouldn't be surprised that climate denial, too, has an audience. And yet it moves.
In the future when current arguments are examined, only the side with rigour will stand up.
Academic publications undertaken by highly qualified people – with years or training - are subject to the peer review process, where researchers from relevant fields are asked to scrutinise the paper's methods, results, and everything in between. It's no walk in the park, either. Even good papers can come back with pages of notes, and if those notes aren't addressed, the paper won't be published. The process often takes months.
The problem with information uploaded to the internet is not just that it bypasses these hurdles and can therefore be utter rubbish, it can be utterly convincing. Being fooled by charlatans is nothing to be ashamed of, in an age awash with information, it's sometimes difficult to tell the credible from the credible-sounding.
Jarrod Gilbert: It's the cricket winter of our discontent
Jarrod Gilbert: Meaningful measure of crime appearing at last
For this reason, having the facts of climate change taught in schools is important. Radio shock jocks who are concerned that children are only being told one side ought also ask why the other side of round earth theory is not taught, or that the moon landings were filmed in a desert in Utah.
It's entirely appropriate and important to engage in how climate change is taught and some of the specifics, but anybody arguing against climate change as a phenomenon, or as some sort of radical conspiracy theory, will without question find themselves increasingly embarrassed and eventually on the wrong side of history.
The last time I wrote about climate change, I received as much hate mail as I'd ever received from a column. But with massive publicity given to Greta Thunberg, Australia on fire, and the increasing voice given to science by responsible journalists, I suspect I'll receive less this time. I wonder if the quiet and important retreat of the bombastic misinformers has begun.
But if you're still fighting this, pick up your computer, turn Caps Lock on and send me some hate - so long as you're not expecting a polite reply. Unless you're a Morris dancer, because that was a pretty cheap gag.