Climate Denial on the Right and the Left

Climate change denial has several forms. Some are not as easy to recognize as Donald Trump’s. With the Donald, denial is obvious and even overt. “It’s just a Chinese hoax!” is, if not an exact quote, at least a very accurate paraphrase. Whether the other Republicans all blame the Chinese or not, many of them say they do not “believe in” climate change, or at least do not believe that it is caused by the actions of mankind.

There’s also a form that does not outright deny climate change, but ends up with exactly the same policy prescriptions as outright deniers. A good example of this is Rex Tillerson, current Chair of Exxon-Mobil and possibly the next United States Secretary of State. At the 2015 shareholder’s meeting, he explained his take on climate. He said that he did not think the results of climate models were sufficiently reliable for policy making and, in any case, his view is that technical and engineering solutions will be found to overcome all impacts, as has been the case in the past. In other words, with simple faith in scientific progress for the future, we can simply ignore climate change in the present. It’s not direct denial, it’s indirect. We can study the subject, but there’s no need to come to any conclusion or take any action based on that study. Continue reading

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Next-level Understanding of Climate Change

I’m always on the lookout for really good articles that can tell us something new about climate change, and especially those that contain useful ideas on what to do about it. Bret Victor has recently published just such an article, “What Can a Technologist Do about Climate Change?

It’s really long, as articles published on the internet go, and very elegantly formatted. This means it won’t do you much good to look at it on a phone, because the screen is too small to read the charts, notes and other illustrations that accompany the text. It’s meant to be seen on a laptop or larger screen and, even if you have to go to a library for that, it’s worth the effort. Continue reading