The Politics of Climate Change
Over at the Powerline blog, Steven Hayward has an interesting post about some of his experiences with the climate change movement. You see, he was invited to a climate change meeting in Denver some time back held by former Senator Tim Wirth. Wirth took off after the first day due to other concerns (I like Hayward’s quip about how the meeting was now “Wirthless” myself), but there was still plenty of fodder that later became this post.
What was particularly alarming to me was this quote Hayward attributes to Wirth today:
The mirthless Wirth comes back to mind with this news story about how Wirth thinks the climate campaign needs to “undertake an aggressive program to go after those who are among the deniers, who are putting out these mistruths, and really call them for what they’re doing and make a battle out of it. They’ve had pretty much of a free ride so far, and that time has got to stop.”
The easiest way for Wirth to end the “free ride” would be to debate climate skeptics. Okay, so how about a high profile debate, which I am sure a major network would broadcast, especially if it included the human car alarm former Vice President Al Gore. Back in 1993, Vice President Gore went on CNN’s Larry King show to debate Ross Perot over the NAFTA Treaty. It was Gore’s finest moment. Maybe his only fine moment. So why, with an issue he says is the most important in the history of the universe, and with both an Oscar and Nobel Prize in his hip pocket, does he steadfastly refuse to debate anyone? Back in 2007, Lord Christopher Monckton, Margaret Thatcher’s science adviser back in the 1980s, challenged Gore to a public debate. Monckton took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post with display ads so that Gore couldn’t say he didn’t get the message. And the offer is still open. (And I see the eminently Wirthy worthy Anthony Watts is keen to join the party.)
Gore, Wirth, and the climate campaigners always refuse debate because they say all such forums “legitimize” the skeptics over a matter that is fully settled, don’t you know. (We’ll pass over for now the thoroughly risible attempt to equate climate skeptics with Holocaust deniers.) Of course, the real reason they won’t debate is that they know they will lose. Monckton last year won a formal debate on climate change at the prestigious Oxford Union, and the “skeptics” position has also carried the vote in the Intelligence Squared debate series at NYU. Not exactly audiences of red state, Fox News-watching yokels, those.
They won’t debate climate change skeptics, but they want to silence them? Beating them in the court of public opinion is the only just way to “silence” anyone. The other option is to use laws to squash free speech. Could that be their heart’s desire?
I have a problem with any group who simply argue “we’re right and you’re an idiot if you disagree” and won’t listen to why someone disagrees. For me, I find that evidence of climate change in the past before there were SUV’s and coal powered electric plants as evidence that maybe, just maybe, humans aren’t the cause of all of this. The idea that I need to be silenced because I look at that and wonder if maybe we’re being a little arrogant in our alarmism bothers me. A lot.
Hayward relays another Wirth quote that should be kept in mind during climate change debates. He quotes “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing–in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.” Right. Because abusing science, what skeptics are being accused of, is fine as long as “the right people” are doing it.