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Climate Tribalism on Display

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorFebruary 18, 2012 3:13 AM


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Several weeks ago, I wrote that the climate discourse was "trapped in a negative feedback loop." The two extremes on the spectrum, I said, reinforced each other via their "separate echo chambers." A strong characteristic of this dynamic, which many have lamented (and just as many have dismissed) is tribalism. The reaction to the Heartland disclosures/leak/theft/fabrication is thus far utterly tribal, at least judging by the comment threads in the climate blogosphere. This face-off between the tribes produces a caricature of the two sides that one commenter at Bad Astronomy has captured well:

I don't want to speculate on specific right or left wing agenda's, my point is that currently climate science gets hi jacked by both the right or the left. It is as if atmospheric dynamics are somehow directly linked (teleconnected one might say) to the political persuation of the particular debater. We see it all the time"¦"¦ "what you question CAGW? you must be some sort of right wing creationist nutjob in the pay of BIG OIL!" or "What you believe all that global warming guff? you must be some sort of tree hugging, crystalgazing, unemployed leftie!!" The actual arguments (good and bad) get lost in the political/social/religious sterotyping. You see it here all the time ( have even done it myself 

 on occasion) and you see it on just about every climate blog.


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