Want to understand why climate deniers refuse to believe climate change is happening despite a nearly perfect consensus amongst climate scientists that it is?
Want to know why “climategate” got so much attention despite there being no good reason for it?
Want to read one of the best commentaries on the global warming denier movement out there (written by a conservative)?
I highly recommend reading all of Jonathan Kay’s recent article, “Bad science: Global-warming deniers are a liability to the conservative cause,” in the National Post
The article nails these topics as well as possibly anything I’ve read or heard.
If you want a taster, here are some good quotes from it:
“Impressionable conservatives who lack the numeracy skills to perform long division or balance their checkbooks feel entitled to spew elaborate proofs purporting to demonstrate how global warming is in fact caused by sunspots or flatulent farm animals. Or they will go on at great length about how ‘climategate’ has exposed the whole global-warming phenomenon as a charade — despite the fact that a subsequent investigation exculpated research investigators from the charge that they had suppressed temperature data. (In fact, ‘climategate’ was overhyped from the beginning, since the scientific community always had other historical temperature data sets at its disposal — that maintained by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, most notably — entirely independent of the Climactic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, where the controversy emerged.)”
“…too many of us treat science as subjective — something we customize to reduce cognitive dissonance between what we think and how we live.
In the case of global warming, this dissonance is especially traumatic for many conservatives, because they have based their whole worldview on the idea that unfettered capitalism — and the asphalt-paved, gas-guzzling consumer culture it has spawned — is synonymous with both personal fulfillment and human advancement. The global-warming hypothesis challenges that fundamental dogma, perhaps fatally.”
“Rants and slogans may help conservatives deal with the emotional problem of cognitive dissonance. But they aren’t the building blocks of a serious ideological movement. And the impulse toward denialism must be fought if conservatism is to prosper in a century when environmental issues will assume an ever greater profile on this increasingly hot, parched, crowded planet. Otherwise, the movement will come to be defined — and discredited — by its noisiest cranks and conspiracists.”
The whole piece is extremely well-written and worth a full read. I highly recommend it.
Photo Credit: davesag via flickr