Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hats Off To Jonathon Kay: Against Denialism.

The conviction that global warming is some sort of giant intellectual fraud now has become a leading bullet point within mainstream North American conservatism; and so has come to bathe the whole movement in its increasingly crankish, conspiratorial glow.

Conservatives often pride themselves on their hard-headed approach to public-policy — in contradistinction to liberals, who generally are typecast as fuzzy-headed utopians. Yet when it comes to climate change, many conservatives I know will assign credibility to any stray piece of junk science that lands in their inbox … so long as it happens to support their own desired conclusion. (One conservative columnist I know formed her skeptical views on global warming based on testimonials she heard from novelist Michael Crichton.) The result is farcical: Impressionable conservatives who lack the numeracy skills to perform long division or balance their checkbooks feel entitled to spew elaborate proofs purporting to demonstrate how global warming is in fact caused by sunspots or flatulent farm animals.

Read it all. And while you're at it, read this.


Blogger The Plump said...

It is more than the echo chamber of the Internet that is at fault for the propagation of climate change denial.

It is worth looking at this book

The authors blog here


2:28 PM  
Blogger dmurrell said...

I am a big fan of Jonathan Kay -- a good, independent conservative thinker. And I agree with nearly all of the points in his column.

A couple of points of dissent, though:
1. In climate change policy, we must beware of unilateralism (a big thing with left-wing internationalists). If Canada adopts a strong climate change policy (with reduced GDP and higher carbon taxes) -- and China still builds a coal-fired electricity plant a week -- all of our policy is for naught. Much of the left remains non-critical of China and India;

2. Beware of anti-economic growth zealots (e.g.Maurice Strong, David Suzuki). Both are multi-millionaires, and could care less about ordinary citizens trying to scratch a living. The left-wing elites oppose economic growth -- and frame policies to limit growth, so long as they keep their own riches.

So meaningful climate change policy must involve all nations, and be such as to give ordinary people hope for an economic future.
David Murrell, Economics, UNB

2:39 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Hey, wait a minute. I'm a "left-wing internationalist," or at least I'd be content to plead guilty if I were so accused, and am no unilateralist. Agree with you about China wholeheartedly. To see the same amount of electricity extravagantly wasted in Guangzhou you'd have to go to Vegas. I think you're a bit harsh in point 2, but I get your complaint, and I agree with your last point completely.

7:23 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

Climate change policy does not need to adversely effect GDP, can be most effective if unilateral and an internationalist policy is going to fail anyways because it scapegoats China & India. Climate change policy - we're doing it wrong.

We are focusing on production caps and production costs, when effectively we have no control over production in China and India and Indonesia and Malaysia to do so will require an internationalist agreement. But this fails because any interational carbon price required to be beneficial to the planet will come at an acceptable cost to the rich world (us lot) but at an extremely high relative price for China and India...they won't do it. The currently proposed multilateralism is the West trying to get the developing world to pay for climate change, by imposing a highest marginal costs on countries with increasing industrial capacity.

However if we change our mindset from the production controls to consumption controls and from multilateral to unilateral action we can positively impact on climate change right now. Westerners do constitute most of the worlds consumer markets, from whence the ultimate demand for carbon pollution is derived. Taxing consumption at point of consumption is something we already do, we are good at it, and we do it without harming GDP.

5:46 PM  
Blogger EscapeVelocity said...


Writing people that are skeptical of your unsubstantiated apocalyptic doomsday scenario and respond to it, with reasoned argumentation and solid scientific data and criticism, off as conspiratorial cranks!


You unbelievers are damned, damned to Hell!

Implement my Socialist prescriptions or you will be damned! Repent! Repent!

6:23 PM  

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