The term “global warming denier” is so offensive because it seeks to attach skepticism about the warming and/or its supposed Draconian solutions with denying the Holocaust and being “anti science.” But that kind of disparagement doesn’t work except among those who are so steeped in their own juices they can’t see—or don’t care—that their bullying convinces no one.
In contrast, the term global warming hysteria is not so personally pejorative. Rather, it seeks to point out that some warming activists have become so overwrought that they are willing to create “cures” that are worse than the disease. It’s a splash of cold water on the face that says, “Get a grip, man! Get a grip.”
I bring this up because this blog has poked at global warming hysteria—not evidence that the earth has warmed some in the last 100 years—which I have always acknowledged. And now a very prominent skeptic of GWH has pointed out this difference in a good column published in the WSJ. From “U-Turn on Warming? Hardly,” by Bjorn Lomborg (subscription may be required to link):
First, a little background. Ever since 2001, when I published “The Skeptical Environmentalist”a book in which I argued that the world’s environmental problems were getting betterI’ve been wrongly accused of being a global warming denier. The fact that I’ve always asserted the reality of man-made climate change never seemed to make an impression on my critics. What mattered was that I had the temerity to question two key tenets of the received wisdom about global warming: I was skeptical of the idea that we were facing the apocalypse, and I didn’t accept that the only solution was to mandate drastic cuts in carbon emissions.
That’s the way it is with heresythere is no middle ground. Either you believe global warming is the worst problem mankind has ever faced and that cutting carbon is the only solution, or you are an antiscientific ignoramus who probably thinks the Earth is flat.
Precisely! By treating global warming like a religion, instead of a complicated science and public policy conundrum, the hysterics have forced an all or nothing approach that has caused their cause to collapse in the public policy arena. And, some have become distinctly anti human, exhibiting totalitarian tendencies, which is what first engaged my interest here, because I think they are very dangerous.
I suppose I should take some comfort in the fact that I’ve been accused of being both a denier and a warmist. But the polarized nature of the global warming debate is no laughing matter. Limiting the debate to only two valid positionsfor or againstmakes a constructive discussion impossible. If we truly want to make progress on climate change, we must acknowledge a middle wayone that recognizes that while we do need to deal with the reality of global warming, solutions based on worst-case scenarios will actually do more harm than good.
The smart middle path means making green energy so cheap everyone wants it. There’s nothing confusing about it.
Now that’s a position from which positive engagement can be entered.