Environment

The Warping of the Climate Debate

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorFeb 7, 2010 3:30 PM

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Andrew Sullivan notes that Drudge is doing his part to amplify the climate change naysayer echo machine. This is certainly true, but the op-ed that Drudge links to is much more nuanced than its headline: "The Great Global Warming Collapse." If all you did was glance at that headline, here's the part you wouldn't know about:

None of this is to say that global warming isn't real, or that human activity doesn't play a role, or that the IPCC is entirely wrong, or that measures to curb greenhouse-gas emissions aren't valid. But the strategy pursued by activists (including scientists who have crossed the line into advocacy) has turned out to be fatally flawed.

Actually, the fatal flaw in the op-ed is that the writer conflates the spate of recent climate science controversies with ill-chosen tactics (such as fear-mongering) by the political wing of the climate movement. A much more interesting, perceptive take on how the complexity of the climate debate is deliberately warped--by the skeptic side-- can be read here. And there's a few spot-on digs at sanctimonious Greens for good measure. Part of me feels like this drama is a political replay of Clinton's Monica/impeachment circus--the global warming version, without the sex. But the dynamics are similar: Some climate scientists, blinded by hubris, have given their antagonists potent ammunition. The antagonists, in turn, are overplaying their hand, just like congressional Republicans did with the Clinton impeachment proceedings. The public isn't stupid. It recognizes when both sides overplay their hands.

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