In the Climate Change Arena, No One Triumphs

I’ve been spending far too much time over at The Intersection, where participants are scuffling over the politics of climate change as if it were a football game.

That is the blog of Chris Mooney, author of
The Republican War on Science
(link takes you to my review).

For a couple of months, a provocateur has been questioning the political agendas of serious scientists, accusing them of being, essentially, left-wing stooges.

After participating in the argument for a while, I have finally realized that most of us were acting as if we were playing a contact sport, trash talking and seizing on every small advantage to defeat those people on the other side.

It took me too long to figure out that such a game is, at best, nonsense, and at worst a dangerous waste of time and intelligence.

We are all going to have to live in a changing world together. No one wins if the gloomiest scenarios are correct. Our task is to figure out what is happening to the climate and what we can do to respond to the changes and mitigate the problems. The issue is far bigger than any political group or nation.

To develop policies, we need to look at the big picture as well as the underlying details. We need to focus on facts and analysis, and understand the limitations of our knowledge. Whatever we do may have profound effects on our children and grandchildren in the coming century.

I first went to the Intersection for the same reason people turn on C-SPAN. I was hoping to see good science, well-reasoned political analysis, and a reasonable discussion of climate change and political scenarios.

Instead, it has turned into ESPN, where people are shouting for their favorite team. I just posted an appeal to ignore the provocateur and get back to the important business at hand. I hope most of the participants agree with me.

Perhaps I am naive to think that we still can come together to change the world for the better. But if we don’t, everybody loses together.

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