Sunday, March 23, 2014

Nick Cohen: The Climate Change Deniers Have Won

But wait--he thinks, all in all, that's a bad thing:
Climate change deniers are as committed. Their denial fits perfectly with their support for free market economics, opposition to state intervention and hatred of all those latte-slurping, quinoa-munching liberals, with their arrogant manners and dainty hybrid cars, who presume to tell honest men and women how to live. If they admitted they were wrong on climate change, they might have to admit that they were wrong on everything else and their whole political identity would unravel. 
The politicians know too well that beyond the corporations and the cultish fanatics in their grass roots lies the great mass of people, whose influence matters most. They accept at some level that manmade climate change is happening but don't want to think about it. 
I am no better than them. I could write about the environment every week. No editor would stop me. But the task feels as hopeless as arguing against growing old. Whatever you do or say, it is going to happen. How can you persuade countries to accept huge reductions in their living standards to limit (not stop) the rise in temperatures? How can you persuade the human race to put the future ahead of the present?
Well, maybe if the science was based on something other than flawed computer models that have been tweaked to produce an alarming result people would be willing to put up with the prescribed punishment, I mean remedy.

As for the idea that the quinoa-deploring "deniers" have won--try telling that to Mark Steyn, who's being sued for libel by one of the world's foremost scientific Chicken Littles (a man who is far more "committed" to his cause than any so-called denier).

BTW: quinoa--yum!

Update: A true believer in the climate science scare thinks the whole thing has become "political," but in a decidedly one-sided way:
One possible interpretation [as to why Republicans aren't on board with the "settled science"] is that Republicans are just plain worse than Democrats at absorbing and understanding science. That's absurd, and Democrats who reach that conclusion will only make this debate harder to resolve. 
Another possibility is that Republicans are being deceived, whether by their news outlets, their opinion leaders or their political representatives. That's a tempting conclusion, but it feels too limited. Sure, liberals and conservatives watch different television stations, but they're not living in different countries. The gaps picked up by Gallup suggest some deeper division. 
A third interpretation is that political preferences have leaked into the perception of fact. Republicans may conflate the existence of climate change with the need for more government. Rather than relax their objection to government, maybe it's easier to look for reasons to think that climate change isn't happening, or isn't serious. 
Maybe easing Republicans' resistance to the idea of climate change will require easing their resistance to the idea of government as an occasional force for good.
Maybe so. And maybe being able to see that the left has politicized the science for their own ends will require easing resistance to the idea that Republicans are invariably and inherently blind/wrong/wicked.

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