The Wonk Room continues coverage of the United Nations Climate Change Conference from Copenhagen.
Reading more like a transcript of Glenn Beck episodes than a business broadsheet, Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal has jumped on the crazed right-wing bandwagon of comparing climate scientists to fascists. In The Totalities of Copenhagen, deputy editorial page editor Bret Stephens claims that the “intellectual methods” of “global warming true believers” and “closet Stalinists” are “instructively similar,” citing “revolutionary fervor,” “a disgust with democratic practices,” “utopianism,” “anti-humanism,” “intolerance,” “grandiosity,” “indifference to evidence,” and “monocausalism”:
Monocausalism: For the anti-Semite, the problems of the world can invariably be ascribed to the Jews; for the Communist, to the capitalists. And as the list above suggests, global warming has become the fill-in-the-blank explanation for whatever happens to be the problem.
I don’t doubt that among the tens of thousands of climate activists in Copenhagen right now — nearly all of whom are working together to find common cause in the global community, and overcome hatred, fear, and complacency with a message of empowerment and hope — there is an anti-Semite, an anti-Communist, even a few anti-capitalists. And climate campaigners often do compress the very real and interlocked issues that comprise the broad question of sustainability — resource extraction, greenhouse gas emission, deforestation, etc. — under the rubric of “global warming.” (Though I can’t say I’ve ever met someone who believes the increase in global warming pollution is the only cause of all the world’s problems, the way some feel about President Obama.)
That said, Stephens’ conflation of concern about climate change with totalitarian anti-Semitism is a disgusting assault on reason, with no place in civil society.
He is doing nothing more than projecting his own grandiosity, intolerance, and indifference to evidence onto others, all for the needless defense of continued oil profits.
Stephens also wrote:
Via the American Geophysical Union’s Climate Science Q&A for Copenhagen, Dr. David S. Stevenson, an atmospheric modeller at the University of Edinburgh responds:
In short, Mr. Stephens is missing something here, and it is called a scientific understanding of the climate system – namely the requirement of climatologists to look at multiple year (typically 30) averages before drawing conclusions.