Conservatives who acknowledge global warming is a critical issue of our time are calling out their colleagues to wake up to the issue, and some of them seem to be listening. Is global warming denial finally on its way out?
A handful of recent events make me feel like a big row of conservative dominoes might have started falling on the issue of global warming. Maybe I'm just being hopeful, but take a look at some recent news and changes in perspective amongst conservatives and former global warming "skeptics" and tell me what you think.
To start with, we've had a conservative columnist and a leading conservative economist (former advisor to George H.W. Bush), in the past month or so, telling their colleagues that it's time to wake up to global warming and our need for action (see: "Bad science: Global-warming deniers are a liability to the conservative cause" and "The power of cap-and-trade").
Global Warming Skeptics Changing Sides, or, At Least, Admitting Defeat
In addition to these forthright comments to conservatives by conservatives, some previous, high-ranking "global warming skeptics" in the media have recently come around to (or admitted) the fact that significant global warming caused by humans is happening.
Science editor of the Daily Mail, Michael Hanlon, announced last week that he is changing his stance on global warming due to recent events in Greenland and his trip to this country (which he now refers to as “Global Warming Ground Zero”). Hanlon wrote: "I have long been something of a climate-change sceptic, but my views in recent years have shifted. For me, the most convincing evidence that something worrying is going on lies right here in the Arctic" (emphasis added). Joss Garman of Left Foot Forward said Hanlon "could previously be seen as the UK’s most influential ‘sceptic’" and has a good story on this and other recent changes in conservative media as concerns global warming.
And, on the other side of the Atlantic, a little over a week ago, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers made a breakthrough statement on one key issue of global warming, finally admitting that global warming IS caused (at least partly) by humans. Covering this story in more depth, Brad Johnson of The Wonk Room wrote: “One of America’s most influential global warming skeptics, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers, has finally admitted that global warming is “caused by man.’”
Now, most recently, oil-funded Pat Michaels, “a scientist who now works for the Cato Institute, the libertarian think tank that strongly opposes caps to carbon dioxide,” and who has promoted global warming denial for decades, has acknowledged that addressing global warming is an issue of "political acceptability." In other words, there is no question that global warming is happening or that CO2 emissions from humans are an important part of it or that this is threatening humanity, not to mention countless endangered plant species and animal species. The issue of whether or not we address global warming is a political issue.
To me, it looks like a row of dominoes has just come tumbling down. Will it keep going?
Photo Credit: mafleen via flickr/CC license