It’s early May and the high temperature in Lakeland, Florida today will be 90 degrees. The weather has been like that for weeks. Summer is early this year. In California, I understand, there is a record drought. In the Midwest, this past winter has been a nightmare.
What does it take to convince the climate change deniers?
Former Vice President Al Gore (above) thinks Republican politicians are just pretending to be skeptical. He thinks they want to curry favor with billionaire campaign contributors like the Koch brothers.
Speaking at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics yesterday, Gore said Republicans like John McCain and Mitt Romney had acknowledged the dangers of climate change and even taken steps toward averting the threat but have now joined the chorus of naysayers on the right. He said:
I don’t think it’s particularly complicated why they have all cowed into abandoning that position. They will face primary opponents financed by the Koch Brothers, and others who are part of their group, if they even breathe the slightest breath of sympathy for the truth about climate science. It’s not really that complicated.
That’s probably true of McCain and Romney but I don’t think the Republican rank and file are faking it. They really believe scientists are engaged in a massive conspiracy to sell the climate-change bogeyman to a gullible world.
The motive? I’m not sure. Perhaps the scientists stand to gain some kind of financial reward from all this – research funding perhaps.
And the politicians who warn of an impending catastrophe? They’re in it for the votes, I guess.
Of course the idea of such a vast conspiracy is farfetched. Why would Al Gore. for example, dedicate his life and resources to sounding the alarm?
What would a billionaire like former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer have to gain from pledging $50 million of his own cash – and promising to raise $50 million more – to support “the generational challenge” of environmental protection?
But the far right doesn’t put much stock in evidence. They embrace farfetched conspiracy theories. I imagine these theories impress low-intellect voters who are convinced they’re being shafted but don’t quite know who is doing the shafting.
And I have to admit I do not want to believe the apocalypse is upon us. Looking out at our sunny lawn and the sparkling lake beyond, it’s tempting for me to dismiss the impending global warming crisis as something for future generations to worry about. I don’t want it to be a real and present danger.
Like Florida Senator Marco Rubio, I am no scientist, and I hate to think the scientists are right. It’s comforting to believe, as Rubio says he does, that human activity is not responsible for the drastic climate changes the world is witnessing. It would be nice if this were some natural phenomenon that will pass away with time.
But I know better. And I’m sure Rubio does, too.
For him to pretend otherwise is cynical humbug designed to lull America’s voters into a fool’s paradise.