And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a form of treason — treason against the planet.
I've committed treason against the planet, because I'm one o' them there "deniers". Now, I'd love to sit down with Paul (may I call him Paul?), hand him a fine beverage and a cigar, and explore the concept of applying the label "denial" to the process of simply not acknowledging things that aren't there. For instance am I a 'Salma Hayek in my bedroom' denier because there's no evidence that Ms. Hayek's ever been in there before and so I'm quite comfortable with assuming she's still not? Or am I just logical? Maybe I'd even have some fun drawing the easy parallels between anthropogenic global warming folks and rabidly zealous prosleytizing religious folks.
I think I'd enjoy that a great deal.
But as fun as that would be, I'd probably want to spend some time talking about this section:
The fact is that the planet is changing faster than even pessimists expected: ice caps are shrinking, arid zones spreading, at a terrifying rate. And according to a number of recent studies, catastrophe — a rise in temperature so large as to be almost unthinkable — can no longer be considered a mere possibility. It is, instead, the most likely outcome if we continue along our present course.
Well, the above may be facts to Paul Krugman, but they aren't to anyone else. All the data anyone cares to examine (ice, atmospheric temps, oceanic temps, surface temps, etc.) show that things are cooler now than 10 years ago, and coupled with/driven by an historically-inactive Sun, are likely to continue to trend in that direction for the near future. But Paul's abominable grasp of science aside, let's look at the language he's chosen:
I assume that if I used those same words to describe the unread, un-shared with the public like Obama promised everything would be Cap & Trade bill that was passed last week, Paul, or someone of his ilk, would accuse me of hyperbole, panic, and fearmongering. Never mind that a step closer to a command economy scares the holy bejebus out of me a helluva lot more than desertification or storm surges.
Further in he drabbles on, and closes with:
Do you remember the days when Bush administration officials claimed that terrorism posed an “existential threat” to America, a threat in whose face normal rules no longer applied? That was hyperbole — but the existential threat from climate change is all too real.
Yet the deniers are choosing, willfully, to ignore that threat, placing future generations of Americans in grave danger, simply because it’s in their political interest to pretend that there’s nothing to worry about. If that’s not betrayal, I don’t know what is.
Since he brought a strawman to the fight I will too, and I'd close my hypothetical discussion with Paul by stating that I could remind him what betrayal really is, and so could Walter and Gwendolyn Myers. Now, I harldy ever read Paul's work because it's pretty stupid stuff, so maybe he's already written on this, but I'd ask him if the Cuban spy couple were on the same level of betrayal, by actually passing sensitive state secrets to an enemy of the nation for decades, as I am; a guy who is confident that this planet's climate is driven, in the medium run, overwhelmingly by the star around which we orbit, and who sees no strong evidence to the contrary.
So does he really want to throw words around like "denier", "betrayal", and "treason"? Is he going to make me wear a red "C" on my breast to call attention to my lack of interest in his beliefs about Carbon?