Monday, January 03, 2005


Conservatives on Climate Change: The sophist lies down with the moron.

Conservatives, such as those at John Cole’s site, frequently express forthright views on ‘climate change’ and those who contend that it has been caused by human activity.

Here is a summary of the kind of arguments I’ve heard from right wing commentators on the subject. Threads of all except the first are reflected in JC’s comments section:

1) Creationism: God’s in charge. He put(s) the oil in the ground*. Scientists are out to trick you. Why else would they have got together with MSM to lie about so many aspects of science? We don’t need to do anything**.

2) Enviro-commie conspiracy: We don’t need to do anything. Except hate liberals.

3) Epistemological scepticism: We can’t know what’s happening. We don’t need to do anything
4) Climate change is natural: We can’t do anything. Sorry Bangladesh.

5) Ok, yeah, maybe: But how the hell are you going to put this genie back in the bottle, you moron? Capitalism will address it. We don’t need to do anything, although beachfront property in the Himalayas looks like a good investment.

Like Rush & co, I’m not a scientist. I can’t make a detailed response*** to all these hypotheses. However, I can see that they are mutually contradictory. If they were genuinely held, they would make strange bedfellows.

Anyone who held to 4 (eg, “the sun’s getting hotter”.) would be inclined to regard 3 as dangerous nonsense. Post-modern liberal nonsense I should imagine.

In my previous post, ‘Laugh With Rush..’, I explained how Limbaugh and his ilk talk shit about climate change, but not why. Obviously, Rush is not beating down the walls of academia with decades of theo/epistemo/metero/helio-logical research. He doesn’t care about climate change. He’s not looking at the arguments on their merits and it doesn’t much matter whether any of them are true.

His purpose is to ensure that 1-5 all remain serene on the bus together and, more widely, to ensure that the public’s capacity to absord stupidity and ignorance is at its maximum extent: No enemies on the right. A fair enough tactic in politics maybe, but we must be careful to distinguish it from a debate on climate change.

*A view recommended by Rush; with and without the brackets.
**Except hate gays. That’s important.
***1 and 3 deny the validity of science. 2 is nuts. 4 is possible, but, with regard to recent changes, the weight of informed opinion seems to lie heavily against it. 5 is a question of degree: Of course we can’t stop it tomorrow, but the suggestion that we can’t mitigate or accelerate is counterintuitive. If the scale runs from ‘OK’ to ‘bad’; why can’t it run from bad to very bad, and all points beyond?

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