Friday, June 22, 2007

Someone Please Explain

Why is that the climate change issue is largely a partisan affair? I'm generalizing, but if you visit an aggregator like Progressive Bloggers, Blogging Dippers, Liblogs, the overwhelming majority of posters are sympathetic to the view that we need to take immediate action to a real problem. Visit a site like the Blogging Tories and you are sure to find someone debating whether or not the problem even exists, nevermind caused by humans? It amazes me that one's perception of a scientific question is largely based on political persuasion.

The same predicament exists in American politics, where almost every "denier" is a Republican. Is this a North American divide, because European political discourse doesn't show the same degree of disconnect?

If I write a post on the environment, almost universally any dissent is a Conservative supporter. Mars, solar cycles, flawed computer models, natural fluctuations, cattle, you name it, the alternative is presented. Blogging Tories write of "hysteria" amongst environmentists, much ado about nothing. Can someone please explain to me why this issue has produced such a chasm, based on partisanship? I don't get it.

16 comments:

bigcitylib said...

Grassroots Conservatives tend to have a reflexive fear of some of the government instruments you might need to combat climate change (carbon TAXES, and the like).

This is changing a little, in that now some in the Conservative elite are willing to swallow such things for this particular cause (think Andrew Coyne in Canada, or Mort Kondracke (in his column today) in the U.S.

Dana said...

It's a cliche to say that conservatives tend to be more invested in the idea of the universe being a static thing, created whole and complete, needing nothing more.

Still, cliches have a basis in some sort of truth and this one does too.

There's just something offensive to the conservative mindset about the notion that the activities of humanmankind could have any serious or longlasting effect whatever on creation.

That would be too close to an acknowledgement that the divine and the mortal both affect reality in similar ways.

Looked at on a cosmological scale human actions absolutely must be thought of as more or less impotent. Else the entire foundation of their worldview takes yet another hit and they're still recovering from Galileo and Copernicus.

Scott Tribe said...

Actually, I think its just intellectual dishonesty alot of conservatives have. The REAL reason they are opposed to doing anything on climate change is a) because to effectively fight it, you need government regulation and intervention, and b) conservatives don't like the fact that corporations and stockholders might realize less profit and less money out of it.

That attitude won't go over well with a majority of the population - corporate greed rarely does - and since particularly in Canada its a liberal society anyhow used to government intervention, they fall back on trying to call it junk science - in otherwards, why put forth regulations on us causing us to lose some of our profits over a myth?

Thats my view - its ideological in nature. Being the caretakers of the Earth is ok only if it doesnt interfere in our God-given right (according to them) to make money, and doesnt involve the poor capitalists being tyrannized by the yoke of government regulation.

Paladiea said...

I personally think it's because a lot of right wingers are idiots...

Steve V said...

Paladiea might be on to something ;)

Alison said...

They're like the butler who has welcomed so many people at the door of the big corporate house he has forgotten the big corporate house doesn't actually belong to him.

Paladiea : ;-)

Scott Tribe said...

LOL @ Paladiea

That's why I'm trying to get her to the Prog BLog get-together in TO. She'd be a hoot :)

Anonymous said...

The global warming/climate change crowd abandoned science in favour of fear mongering, so this supposedly 'green' movement only has traction with people who base their politics on suspicion and fear - and that would be left leaning liberal type people.

Anonymous said...

In my 40 years as an "idiot right winger," I have never refered to someone that had different views than my own like that...I guess each to his or her own....that will always be the difference between someone like you paladiea and myself.

This is why Steve, that someone like myself would ever want to explain, or would even want to try.

Paladiea said...

In my 40 years as an "idiot right winger," I have never refered to someone that had different views than my own like that...I guess each to his or her own....that will always be the difference between someone like you paladiea and myself.

I didn't call anyone specifically an idiot. I said that a lot of right wingers are idiots. If you want to classify yourself as an idiot, that's your own prerogative. Don't blame me for a label you're applying to yourself.

Steve V said...

"This is why Steve, that someone like myself would ever want to explain, or would even want to try."

Please don't bother, I've heard IT ALL before.

Dante said...

Scott Tribe's response was idiotic.

What a fool!

The reasons are much closer to bigcitylib than anything I read so far. I'll go a bit further. Those right of centre generally don't support any plan to transfer wealth. The left would gravitate to the cause because the solution is consistent with it's ideology.

Scott Tribe said...

Actually.. I don't think I was being foolish at all.. I've seen more then one conservative blogger in the US at least have the guts to admit that they dont like climate change plans because of the government intervention involved.. and because its seen as corporations and stockholders being "unfairly punished".

Up here, the conservative right can't quite couch it in those terms.. or else they'd be slaughtered at the polls.

Miles Lunn said...

The divide does seem to exists on this side of the Atlantic, although ironically in Europe it seems they are pretty united no matter what side of the spectrum they come from. Nicolas Sarkozsky and Angela Merkel are both considered conservatives in their country and both are strong supporters of the Kyoto Protocol, while the British Conservatives also support it. That too could be that almost all Europeans except some government intervention is necessary, it comes more down to whether there is too much now (as the right argues) or too little (as the left argues).

I should though note there are a few exceptions over here. Brian Mulroney is fully supportive of tackling global warming as is Governor Arnold Schwartznegger. However, they both still appear to be minorities in their respective parties. In fact I often wonder why they still remain in the parties they do as the parties they are in are considerably more right wing than when they joined.

Steve V said...

miles

There are many exceptions, John McCain and Preston Manning come to mind as well. My only point, if you are a "denier" you also tend to be a conservative partisan.

Miles Lunn said...

Steve V - I agree. I would also argue the deniers tend to be the more ideological conservatives versus pragmatic ones. Pragmatic ones generally support conservative principles, but will deviate when they clearly don't work. Ideological ones never deviate no matter how blatantly obvious the facts are. These are also the ones that still continue to support the Iraq War.