You’ve written a truly excellent analysis explaining why it’s so difficult to have a rational discussion of the climate issue. Both sides have partisans who lock into extreme positions based on neo-tribal identities.
That certainly explains part of what is going on. But underneath that ostensible reality is another: that the Climate Change Movement is a popular front for various Radical Left organizations. From this perspective, Climate Change Believers come in three distinct varieties. One is doing their darndest to scream the sky is falling as a pretext to justify their political agendas. The second variety consists of those who have been genuinely scared and can’t understand why everyone else isn’t running to do what the first group of supposed believers is saying needs to be done. The third is the raft of international organizations, think tanks, foundations, NGOs, and corporate image departments who know a good gravy train when they see it. I call them the Manipulators, the Duped, and the Exploiters.
The Climate Change Manipulators dramatically overstate the Science. They insist everyone must believe whatever they say. They castigate their opponents as unscientific rubes and Climate Change Deniers. To be sure, there are some people who are Deniers and who actually are unscientific rubes, but many are not. Opponents of the Climate Change Movement are more often scientifically-literate people who don’t find the jumble of end-of-world hysteria dressed up in a lab coat all that persuasive.
With its dogmatic insistence on belief and imminent doomsday, the Climate Change Movement is often more religious than scientific. What is the creed being pushed by the priests of the Climate Change Movement? I break it down to the following elements.
- Earth’s climate is dramatically heating up and that is largely due to the anthropogenic release of carbon dioxide.
- Left unchecked the CO2 emissions will cause the world as we know it to end in 12 years. We will be drowned. Large coastal cities and populated low-lying countries will be flooded. We will be hit with frequent mega-storms. We will starve. Vast farmlands will be scorched into desert. The seas will turn acidic and the fish will die.
- Release of CO2 must be reduced to fractions of the current level if we are to have any hope of saving human civilization.
- Science insists we support the Paris Climate accords as the only way to achieve CO2 reduction and save our planet.
- Moderating and reducing CO2 release will stop climate change.
- CO2 is a pollutant.
- Socialism is needed to impose higher gas taxes, to ban flying, to stop the burning of fossil fuels, to force huge increases in production of earth friendly renewable power, to rebuild cities, to discourage Americans from having children, and a raft of other measures necessary to ensure our children have a world to live in. Opposition to these policies is to deny Science. Science shows capitalism and market solutions will never work to solve the problem.
There is much in that list that goes beyond real science. I am not a Denier, but what I believe is true is at odds in several places with the doctrines of the Climate Change Movement:
- The Scientific consensus is that the climate has always been changing for over 4 billion years. Continual Climate Stability is not a supportable scientific theory.
- The Scientific community has strong evidence there was an ice age that ended a bit over 10,000 years ago. During that period you could walk from Siberia to Alaska and from England to Denmark. Then over a relatively short time the mean temperature rose, glaciers melted, and sea level rose 50 meters. CO2 did not change much over that time. Climate has changed considerably for reasons having nothing to do with CO2.
- Science does not support or oppose the Paris accords.
- CO2 is not a pollutant. Our plant friends breathe it.
- The Paris accords are a bad deal for the United States and have little chance of being effective in reducing CO2. China and India get to build more new coal-fired power plants than the US now has. The US gets to give billions of loosely monitored cash to third world countries to help them cope with climate change. Most likely it will stoke corruption, influence-peddling, arms-dealing, endless NGO conferences, and minuscule actual climate control.
- The world as we know it will change a bit in 12 years, but it is unlikely to come to an end, at least not due to climate change.
- Human beings could adapt to changing climate in a host of ways including moving back from hurricane prone coasts, building more mobile structures in flood zones, building flood resistant structures on platforms, relying more on aquaculture, developing a more water-borne society (Venice), building levees as and dikes (Holland), and other similar measures.
- A strategy of sensible adaptation to climate change coupled with a mix of non-disruptive CO2 reduction, CO2 storage, and CO2 absorption measures is best.
- We do not need to impose meatless Fridays, to ban cars, to ground all planes, or build boondoggle uneconomic power supply systems or any of the other ridiculous measures in order to survive and prosper.
- Socialism could be judged separately as a set of ideas for structuring our economy, but there is no reason non-coercive market based approaches implemented within a mixed capitalist economy would not be more effective at getting us to a world better suited to the climate that will exist in 2120 and beyond.
I agree the partisans are pretty much capture-the-flag tribalists who don’t think the issue through well enough. My point is that extreme unscientific views exist on both sides. One side does not have a monopoly on truth. In particular, the Climate Change Movement is motivated in part by unscientific thinking, manipulative agendas, and careerist exploitation.