Global warming “denialism” is becoming a tribal marker for Republicanism

You read that right. And tribal markers are always signs that the mind is being switch off, all over the right so to speak.

From the Associated Press (my emphases):

Tucked between treatises on algae and prehistoric turquoise beads, the study on page 460 of a long-ago issue of the U.S. journal Science drew little attention. … But the headline on the 1975 report was bold: “Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?” And this article that coined the term may have marked the last time a mention of “global warming” didn’t set off an instant outcry of angry denial.

In the paper, Columbia University geoscientist Wally Broecker calculated how much carbon dioxide would accumulate in the atmosphere in the coming 35 years, and how temperatures consequently would rise. His numbers have proven almost dead-on correct. Meanwhile, other powerful evidence poured in over those decades, showing the “greenhouse effect” is real and is happening. And yet resistance to the idea among many in the U.S. appears to have hardened.

What’s going on? The writer explains:

[Economist-ethicist Clive Hamilton] and others who track what they call “denialism” find that its nature is changing in America, last redoubt of climate naysayers. It has taken on a more partisan, ideological tone. Polls find a widening Republican-Democratic gap on climate. Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry even accuses climate scientists of lying for money. Global warming looms as a debatable question in yet another U.S. election campaign. … Broecker has observed this deepening of the desire to disbelieve.

Did you catch that? America is Eco-Stupid’s last fortress.

The author correctly identifies the cause of this change, and it’s not just psychological:

[W]hen [NASA climatologist James] Hansen was called back to testify [before a U.S. Senate committee] in 1989, the White House of President George H.W. Bush edited this government scientist’s remarks to water down his conclusions, and Hansen declined to appear.

That was the year U.S. oil and coal interests formed the Global Climate Coalition to combat efforts to shift economies away from their products. Britain’s Royal Society and other researchers later determined that oil giant Exxon disbursed millions of dollars annually to think tanks and a handful of supposed experts to sow doubt about the facts.

The writer makes it clear the physics is incontrovertible. (Space and the U.S. Congress do not allow me to quote that section, but please do read for yourself.)

We’re clearly living amidst a deadly combination — looming death of our species; a billionaire-financed ad and PR campaign to let the damage continue; and a tribal group of angry Teabags, led by their anti-environmental noses. Said the paper’s author, Clive Hamilton in an interview:

“Climate denial has been incorporated in the broader movement of right-wing populism,” he said, a movement that has “a visceral loathing of environmentalism.”

It’s like that recent Georgia execution of Troy Davis, a kind of childish in-your-face, “hippies can’t stop me” defiance by Southern whites.

In this case it’s “hippies can’t stop us” from Wile E. Coyote Teabags, as they angrily saw at the planetary tree limb supporting their grand kids’ lives.

Way to go, gramps.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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