I want whatever David Roberts at Grist is smoking.
In his latest why-don’t-you-fools-get-it post, Roberts takes aim at his own “climate hawk coalition,” for…um…trying
a new approach that backgrounds climate change and refocuses the discussion on innovation, energy security, and economic competitiveness.
Now why would they do that? The old (business as usual) approach–Climate doom! Civilization is toast! Game over!–seemed to be working fine, right?
Well, just you never mind, because the point is, as Roberts has previously intoned, you can’t save the world if it’s not going to be expressly done on behalf of climate change. Absent that, he now argues, the “new approach” that seeks to bypass the messy, divisive politics of global warming “cannot work”:
At least it cannot work if we hope to avoid terrible consequences. Why not? It’s simple: If there is to be any hope of avoiding civilization-threatening climate disruption, the U.S. and other nations must act immediately and aggressively on an unprecedented scale. That means moving to emergency footing. War footing. “Hitler is on the march and our survival is at stake” footing. That simply won’t be possible unless a critical mass of people are on board. It’s not the kind of thing you can sneak in incrementally.
Okay, that clarifies things. Just one teensy question, if I may: How immediately is immediately? Because if it’s not next week, or even next year, some people might actually give up hope, or start to wonder if there’s still time to avert climate catastrophe. Then what do you say to them?
At the Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media, I ask:
Are climate skeptics less important and less influential than they “” and their counterparts in the climate-concerned community “” would have us believe?
A reader wonders if there are two different breeds of climate skeptic–the political/ideological variant in the U.S.–where the climate debate resembles a caged match, and the more rational-minded species in Europe:
From what I gather, there really are people in the U.S who don’t believe in the greenhouse concept or the radiative properties of Co2, or that doubling the amount of carbon dioxide would have some effect on the temperature of the atmosphere. Maybe now the over-use of the term “˜denier’ makes more sense”¦
I know this doesn’t apply to everybody, but I think sceptics in Europe are sceptical about the predictions of catastrophic rises, consequences, or the cost-effectiveness of mitigation. I.e. they are extremely sensible people
In other words, are American climate skeptics bat-shit crazy, and their European cousins the sane ones?
And extreme discomfort with the issue, judging by this story:
In an effort to survey Republicans on climate change, National Journal reporters reached out to every GOP senator and representative. Over the course of several weeks, reporters either attempted to interview lawmakers in person, or called or e-mailed their offices.
Most of them “rebuffed repeated inquiries,” according to the piece:
Some flatly refused to answer questions when approached in person, and their offices declined to respond to repeated phone calls and e-mail requests. “It’s not a conversation senators feel comfortable having,” a Republican staffer said.
Several aides initially said that their bosses would be happy to take part in interviews or answer written questions””only to follow up later with clipped refusals.
Meanwhile, there’s this nugget, which suggests the Tea Party stranglehold is loosening, just a little:
Despite the rhetoric on the campaign trail, a quiet but significant number of prominent Republican politicians and strategists accept the science of climate change and fear that rejecting it could not only tar the party as “antiscience” but also drive away the independent voters who are key to winning general elections. “There’s a pretty good-sized chunk of the Republican caucus that believes that global warming is happening, and it’s caused at least in part by mankind,” said Mike McKenna, a strategist with close ties to the GOP’s leadership. “You can tell these guys are uncomfortable when you start to talk about science.”
Would that be science in general, or just climate science?
Here are the questions NJ asked the Republican members of Congress: Do you think climate change is causing the Earth to become warmer? How much, if any, of global climate change do you think is attributable to human activity? What is the government’s most appropriate response to the issue of climate change?
In the end, 65 GOP lawmakers””40 House members and 25 senators across the ideological spectrum agreed to respond.
So what do numbers like that tell you?