Sunday, September 13, 2015

AGW Denial = Hitler

Godwin's law in action at the NYT.
   I deny neither climate change (nee global warming) nor our partial responsibility for it. But I do worry about hyperbole escalation. By which I mean: climatologists say some stuff, conservatives dogmatically deny it, climatologists and liberals push back with greater expressions of certainty and direr predictions, etc. (Something like this seemed to me to happen between evolutionary biologists and creationists for awhile...though without any dire predictions in play. My sympathy's all with biology there...but damn I've heard biologists make some amazingly dogmatic claims about even the fine details of evolutionary theory...) Me, I just tag along with the scientific consensus without really believing it nor disbelieving it. I doubt that 90% of climate scientists are wrong...but the closer science gets to passionate politics, the more it's like to be influenced by it. Put a gun to my head and force me to bet, and I bet that AGW is real, but less terrible than predicted. I don't believe that, but I suspect it. But, then, I've always been an environmentalist, and many of the changes that follow from acceptance of AGW are the kinds of changes I'm inclined costs of trying to mitigate warming don't bother me as much as they'd bother non-environmentalists.

   Then there's this Times piece... AGW wouldn't just be a disaster, it'd be genocide... That is: not just homicide, but murder... How's that for upping the moral and rhetorical ante?

   I'll say as a footnote that I'm unhappy about liberals'* double standard with respect to AGW and overpopulation--related problems. The mantra I see over and over again from liberals and the illiberal left is: overpopulation is a pseudoproblem. It's going to fix itself. And if it doesn't, we'll come up with a technological solution. After all, "we always have." Over the past five or so years, added to this has been: and concern about overpopulation is racist, ergo if you are concerned about it, you are a racist. (This because, apparently, most population growth is expected outside the white West. Ergo only racism could possible motivate such concerns. A patently insane argument, yet in keeping with the neo- PC principle that anyone who disagrees with them about anything is racist.) With respect to AGW, though, action is needed now and if you deny that, you you're a Nazi, it looks like.  So with respect to one disastrous possibility, being concerned about it at all is impermissible/politically incorrect/racist. With respect to the other, maximum concern, even unto the point of panic is morally/politically obligatory/the only way to avoid being the worst kind of racist in all of history. I'm not saying that the two problems are necessarily on par in all important ways--e.g. it looks like global population is likely to peak and start to decline sooner than we used to think--but they are insufficiently different to warrant such disparate treatment.
   OTOH, conservatives seem to think that any degree of concern about either is least they're consistent?

* By which I mean: a bunch of liberals and lefties I run into on the internet...


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