You’re very right about the political nature of this issue. But the genesis of the dispute is, to me, telling. This is to me a classic example of the Right disliking and so opposing science that conflicts with its ideological and business-oriented constituencies.
The science has grown organically for a generation now, and the notion that political bias is its only supporting structure is to me the most utter conspiracy theory nonsense (see most of your rants about how it’s all a plot to enslave us). The “denier” movement has always and continues to be politically originated and supported. Its protests that the accepted scientific view is somehow equally tarnished (at least) by bias is a classic case of argumentative jiu jitsu – trying to turn the tables on an opponent in an effort to mask their own shortcomings.
The Right doesn’t like a lot of modern science, from evolution to studies on the non-efficacy of abstinence education to any number of environmental works (anything that suggests that unbridled commercial exploitation of the planet or any part thereof might not be a good thing), and on and on. The culmination of that trend, of course, was the muzzling of the government’s science agencies that began under Bush II.
I have a lot of questions about climate change – its severity, the planet’s potential ability to address it through natural processes, how best to combat it. In that sense, I agree with your statements that there’s a lot that’s not “settled’ about the area. But, by the same token, there’s a great deal that to any rational observer IS settled, as even your posts very significantly note – and that knowledge alone should give any rational observer pause.
We don’t know a lot about most branches of science, however hubristic our technology might make us. We don’t really understand a lot of the mechanisms of evolution, or quantum physics, or our own body’s chemical or biological processes. Should we then scrap those fields of knowledge because the science isn’t “settled”? If so, be prepared to give up your cell phone, microwave, and modern medicine, along with a whole lot of other things, because they’re all predicated on our current “incomplete” and “unsettled” science.
The deniers demand a standard they know is impossible – full encyclopedic knowledge, to the most minute detail – because it’s obviously unobtainable, and thus offers a position from which even the most obvious truth can be gained. It’s the same tactic the tobacco companies used for generations, holding studies linking smoking to various diseases to standards of individual certainty that are impossible to meet, and then dismissing their validity when they failed to meet such absurd and artificially imposed standards.
The “it’ll ruin the economy” argument also rings hollow. Briefly put, it’s crying wolf the same way the Right has cried wolf over any and every environmental proposal for the past fifty years. We live vastly safer, healthier, and happier lives today than our parents did in 1959 because of environmental laws and regulations that were all attacked at the time of their enactment as job and business killers (not to mention incipient government tyranny and destructive of the free market). Yet business has thrived over those same fifty years, and not withered. Indeed, whole new fields of entrepreneurship have arisen precisely because of the need to address those governmental environmental mandates (aka “government created jobs").
The “ruin the economy” meme also fails to notice the ruin our current system of energy production and use are daily wreaking on our nation and society. We daily poison ourselves and the planet, bankrupt ourselves by sending billions of dollars to oil producing countries who at best hold our values in polite disdain (when not funding the very terror machines that imperil us), and we cling to technologies that are daily becoming buggy whip obsolete. America grows best when it invests in the new and shucks off the old and outmoded. Henry Ford innovated, and became a giant. General motors over the past half century clung to old ideas about product and production, and look where that got them.
We have to change. We will anyway, it’s inevitable. The issue is will we be masters of that change or victims? Will we be leaders in developing new technologies that stop us from pumping millions of years worth of previously sequestered CO2 and other pollutants into the environment, and that will wean us from economically funding hostile governments around the world lucky enough to sit on top of patches of petroleum, or will we stay in their thrall. The latter, I suggest, is the real oppressive alternative, and the former alone offers us and our posterity true freedom.
They told me if I voted for Hillary Clinton the president would be emotional, impulsive, and unpredictable. They were right. I voted for Hillary Clinton and got a president that is emotional, impulsive, and unpredictable.