Tuesday, December 07, 2010

There's no denying it: they're the only ones denying it

Just for the record, when the nonpartisan National Academy of Sciences last reviewed the data this spring, it concluded: "A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems." Not only William Hague but such other prominent European conservatives as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have embraced that widespread scientific conviction and supported vigorous action.

Indeed, it is difficult to identify another major political party in any democracy as thoroughly dismissive of climate science as is the GOP here. Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, says that although other parties may contain pockets of climate skepticism, there is "no party-wide view like this anywhere in the world that I am aware of."

It will be difficult for the world to move meaningfully against climate disruption if the United States does not. And it will be almost impossible for the U.S. to act if one party not only rejects the most common solution proposed for the problem (cap-and-trade) but repudiates even the idea that there is a problem to be solved. The GOP's stiffening rejection of climate science sets the stage for much heated argument but little action as the world inexorably warms -- and the dangers that Hague identified creep closer.

-- Ronald Brownstein, via Sean Carroll, whose post is also well worth reading.



Mad Dan Eccles said...

You might like to check out the "Liberal" Party of Australia, who killed carbon-pricing legislation here. (Liberal, in Australian politics, means wingnut.)

The party's current leader is on record as saying that climate change is "crap".

Brendan said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Dan.

From a quick look at their official web site and these Google results, I would say that while it seems reasonable to say they're not one's favorite party when it comes to responding to climate change, they don't seem to be united in denying AGW is real.

By "current leader," are you speaking of Tony Judd? This is the first result I saw when Googling liberal party of australia climate change is crap. In context, again, it doesn't sound like the same sort of outright denialism displayed by the Republican members of Congress and their media cronies. (Which is not to say that the rest of that page makes him seem like a political ally of mine, of course.)

I do admit I know nothing about it past that, so please feel free to point me to further references. In the meantime, I'll just say that I think it is possible to reasonably disagree about the best approaches to climate change mitigation. I wish we could have that debate in this country, instead of the one we do have, where the loudest faction will not even acknowledge a problem exists.