Okay, maybe I've exaggerated a little. Actually we eat the children of progressives for breakfast.
All kidding aside, the claims that conservatives care nothing for the environment are specious, made to inflame the faithful. The second claim that conservatives are global warming deniers is also a canard. I know many conservatives have concerns about global warming (me included). But our concerns deal with the actual causes of global warming, not what the so-called consensus tells us it is.
Conservatives want to make sure that we take the right actions, spend money in the proper places and on the right goals. It makes no sense to spend billions, if not trillions of dollars on efforts that will do little to solve the problems global warming might cause.
Even if the climate is changing, is there anything we can do about it? No one is sure. Lowering emissions may indeed slow down or even eliminate excess global warming. Then again, it may not have any effect at all.
And here is where politics insinuates itself into the debate to the detriment of science as well as the debate itself. Scientists argue whether the Greenland glaciers are growing or shrinking, whether the Antarctic ice cap is melting, whether the cyclical nature of sunspots are to blame for the increase in temperature, even whether polar bears are at risk of becoming extinct or not. But it is politicians and advocates who argue about climate change “solutions” and charge their opponents with being mindless fanatics or anti-science zealots depending on whose ox is being gored.
Where does that leave rational, thoughtful science enthusiasts like you and me who may not have the technical acumen to judge the efficacy of scientific arguments but who try and follow the debate anyway?
On the outside looking in, I’m afraid.
And that's one of the biggest problems with the debates. Though there is some scientific debate still ongoing, it is overshadowed by politics. It is the politics that may end up determining the course of action, if any, that we will take. And because the decision will likely be political and not based on science, it will most likely be wrong. Far too often when politics gets involved in serious scientific discourse, the science becomes lost in the noise of politicians hearing themselves speak about things they know little about.
And here is where you will find the most bizarre collection of anti-globalists, anti-capitalists, “sustainable growth” nuts, and population control fanatics allying themselves with Third World kleptocrats in order to soak the west with “carbon offsets” and other gimmicks without reducing emissions by one single molecule. This was the now defunct Kyoto agreement, the first attempt by this motley coalition to radically alter western industrialized civilization.
At least on the other side of the political coin with the most organized efforts to debunk global warming there is the rationality of promoting an anti-warming agenda based largely on economic interests. Lost profits may not be a very noble reason to oppose efforts to reduce emissions but at least it has logic so sorely lacking on the other side.
This then is the political atmosphere in which charge and counter charge is hurled back and forth, with the global warming cadres spewing nonsense about comparing skeptics with “Nazis” while the skeptics accuse climate change advocates of being Luddites.
Again, at that point polite discourse is impossible and political ideologies take over. The science is lost in the meaningless noise of two or more camps arguing like a bunch of kids on a playground. The purpose of the debate is shoved to the background and the contest becomes one of “who can scream the loudest?”
I thought the idea was to determine the truth about global warming – is it caused by human activity, or is it part of a natural cycle? Or is it a little bit of both? Conservatives are generally skeptical about anthropogenic global warming, want more proof rather than some flawed studies, incomplete data, or outright fabrications. We aren't ignoring global warming. But we aren't willing to swallow the malarkey being peddled by those claiming It's-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans. There are too many unanswered questions to say definitively one way or the other.