Posted by: climatewonk | February 11, 2008

I left the realm of global warming “skeptics”

after becoming convinced that they were not really skeptical about the science but about government intervention in the economy to limit GHGs. In other words, it wasn’t the science, stupid. It was an ideological commitment to libertarian values of laissez faire economics — free market economics, neo-liberalism, and all that rot. Their politics determined their response to the whole issue of global warming. It did not make them skeptics; it made them be deniers with a goal of discrediting the science in order to delay or prevent policy action.

The logical approach to a policy issue is to start from the science and move to whatever policy the science suggests is most feasible, based on an assessment of the risks and benefits of each possible action. In reality, people tend to move from their basic assumptions about the way the world works and view science through that lens. As a consequence, any science that disagrees with their world view will be an annoyance at best, heretical and to be denied at worst.

If you accept the concept of AGW and scientific evidence of global warming, you are forced to admit that it could be very dangerous and that if we can, humanity should do something to address it. BAU will not do, for BAU could lead to serious climate change and unknown consequences for human civilization. For neo-liberals and libertarians, government intervention — except to give tax breaks and make war – is a sin, an evil to be avoided. I think it is very difficult for neo-liberals or libertarians to come to terms with the facts about global warming and the need for mitigation.


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