The Washington Post
has decided to pollute itself with a ragingly unhinged rant against climate action by Republican political hack Ed Rogers
. It's a case study of right-wing climate change denialism, and maybe much more:
“The Prudent Rationals” would be comprised of those whose attitudes comport with something like the following: They are generally respectful of the scientific community and are eager to listen to mainstream scientists and researchers. They want to hear from legitimate experts who acknowledge the variables, the uncertainties and, importantly, the mistakes and errors of climate science so far. This group could support a prudent plan to produce measurable benefits, but only if the plan were truly global in scope and the cost seemed to be proportional to the outcome. The “Prudent Rationals” believe it is reasonable to accept that there are consequences for continually pumping gases into the atmosphere. And it seems right that one generation should leave the planet better than they found it for the next generation. But we need to be realistic about technical science and political science. If we can’t act globally to limit these gases, we should be focusing on local pollution, not on plans that unilaterally wreck our economy and impoverish millions – if not billions – for nothing.
First of all, when someone takes the time to self-identify as a "Prudent Rational," you can be pretty sure that they're trying to create an artificial bias in their favor, a self-created appeal to authority that has nothing to do with the strength of their arguments. The final sentence is the real tell. Rogers pretends to suggest a course of action while actually attempting to poison the well against taking any action. Which plans would wreck our economy and impoverish millions? The most comprehensive analysis ever attempted
of the economic impacts of climate change concluded
, in 2006:
Unabated climate change could cost the world at least 5% of GDP each year; if more dramatic predictions come to pass, the cost could be more than 20% of GDP.
Please read below the fold for more on this story.
Shifting the world onto a low-carbon path could eventually benefit the economy by $2.5 trillion a year.
And a year ago, the lead author of that analysis warned
Looking back, I underestimated the risks. The planet and the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected, and emissions are rising pretty strongly. Some of the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought then.
And Rogers continues with his ostensibly prudent ostensible rationality:
The “alarmists” and the “deniers” aren’t really the problem.
No, the problem is people like Rogers who dishonestly label those who pay attention to the scientists "alarmists," and attempt to create a false equivalency with the anti-science deniers.
The problem is that many reasonable voters find it hard to know whom to believe.
Unless they pay attention to the scientists
. This isn't about politics, it's about science. The reason people find it hard to know what to believe is because of the dangerous
disinformation and misinformation about climate consistently spewed
in traditional media
sources such as the Washington Post
They are turned off by the hypocrisy of Al Gore and the Learjet liberals, the money-grabbing tactics of the third-world-victim industry and the members of the traditional American left who want to raise everyone’s power bill to enforce a lifestyle they find acceptable, all in exchange for nothing.
If you consider such consequences as hundreds of millions of climate refugees, the extinction of 15-40 percent of all species, the loss of 5-20 percent of global GDP, and the worst market failure ever to be nothing. If you consider what the head of the U.S. Pacific Fleet calls the biggest long-term security threat in the region to be nothing. If you consider threats to the global food supply and water supply and sanitation to be nothing. But once again, Rogers reveals himself with gratuitous swipes at his perceived political enemies, Al Gore and "Learjet liberals." Once again, Rogers is changing the subject from the science to his seething political disdain.
You don’t have to buy into the suspiciously precise claim by the Democrats that “there is a 97 percent consensus among scientific experts that humans are causing global warming” blah blah blah to believe there is sufficient cause for the world to take prudent collective action in an effort to avoid pollution-induced problems.
Suspiciously precise only to someone with a political agenda that has nothing to do with the actual science. That 97 percent consensus doesn't come from Democrats or politics, it comes from a detailed analysis of 11 944 climate abstracts from 1991–2011 matching the topics "global climate change" or "global warming
," including invited input from the authors of the studies.
Rogers continues in the same vein, transparently lashing out politically while ignoring the science. His point isn't to be rational or prudent, it is to change the terms of climate change denial. He pretends to acknowledge that there is a problem, while ignoring and blithely dismissing the science, focusing his real emotional energy on his petty political hatreds. The bottom line is that he advocates doing nothing. It would be clever if it weren't so obvious.