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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Why Republicans Don't Take Global Warming Seriously -- Because Al Gore Does

What's the deal with republicans and global warming? A National Journal poll of 'congressional insiders' -- 10 senate dems, 10 senate republicans, 48 house dems, and 45 house republicans -- found that only 13% of republicans believed that human activity was causing global warming.

This represented a drop from 23% a year earlier. And what happened between the two polls?

Union of Concerned Scientists:

After assessing decades of climate data recorded everywhere from the depths of the oceans to tens of miles above Earth's surface, leading scientists from around the world have reported major advances in our understanding of climate change. Released in February 2007 - six years after the prior assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - the IPCC Fourth Assessment Reports Working Group I Summary for Policymakers synthesizes current scientific understanding of global warming and projects future climate change using the most comprehensive set of well-established global climate models.

The IPCC report is widely considered the final word on climate change. In June of 2006, the National Academy of Sciences released a report stating:

In particular, the numerous indications that recent warmth is unprecedented for at least the last 400 years and potentially the last several millennia, in combination with estimates of external climate forcing variations over the same period, supports the conclusion that human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming.

And, in response to this new evidence from the scientific community, belief in human caused warming dropped 10%. There's a reason why the GOP is the creationist's party of choice. These are people who think that reality requires their consent. That not only do you get to choose what you'll believe, but that you get to choose what's true.

I came across an op-ed in the L.A. Times by Jonathan Chait that sums this up beautifully:

Your typical conservative has little interest in the issue. Of course, neither does the average nonconservative. But we nonconservatives tend to defer to mainstream scientific wisdom. Conservatives defer to a tiny handful of renegade scientists who reject the overwhelming professional consensus.

National Review magazine, with its popular website, is a perfect example. It has a blog dedicated to casting doubt on global warming, or solutions to global warming, or anybody who advocates a solution. Its title is "Planet Gore." The psychology at work here is pretty clear: Your average conservative may not know anything about climate science, but conservatives do know they hate Al Gore. So, hold up Gore as a hate figure and conservatives will let that dictate their thinking on the issue.

It's not reason, it's not logic, it's a deliberate contrariness best suited to a three year old. It's the idea that there's a group of people out there who are always wrong about everything. Al Gore couldn't possibly be right about climate change, because that would mean that the world just got one hell of a lot more complicated. That being a reactionary isn't good enough to deal with reality and you can't define truth by what your opponents believe.

Human caused global warming can't be true because Al Gore believes it. Tell these people that Gore's a born again christian and watch their heads explode. It will not compute.

The National Review's prize dope, Jonah Goldberg, puts it this way:

...[If global warming were like] an asteroid barreling toward earth, we wouldn’t be talking about changing our lifestyles, nor would we be preaching about reducing, reusing and recycling. We would be building giant wicked-cool lasers and bomb-carrying spaceships to go out and destroy the thing.

When the solution to a problem involves spending a boatload of money to blow the living hell out of something, conservatives are all for it. But when the solution is actually easier than that -- just changing the way we do things -- then that solution is completely impossible, unworkable, and crazy. This passes for a logical argument among the right.

Unfortunately, it's not good enough to satisfy reality.


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1 comment:

Jack said...

I'd say you've hit the nail on the head. As an example of verification of what you've written, and quoted from others, go to a site I've been posting the science of global warming on for about 4 months, and see what the "conservatives" have had to say. It's I go by Jack in OH