I recently published a personal manifesto on the controversial question—a.k.a. adult pillow fight—of global warming/climate change. The weather used to be a safe topic of conversation, avoiding politics and religion, but now epitomizes the type of divisive political question that scuttles family reunions. Critics of “Big Climate Alarmism,” and I am one, compare it point for point with religious dogma. In reply, advocates of the view that CO2 generated by man’s activities is heating up the Earth’s atmosphere, with potentially calamitous consequences, assert that anyone who fails to see the Big Truth is like those wackos who deny that the WWII Nazi-extermination-camp Holocaust ever occurred. Who would have thought that discussing the weather conditions of not tomorrow but in 2050 could end lifelong friendships?
I am not going to debate global warming/climate change, here. I have another agenda.
In the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, which at present demands our breathless attention to personal health issues, Clinton’s email servers, Trump’s admiration of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, Trump’s Obama “birther” obsession, and Clinton’s supposed deceptions, there nevertheless are remarkably—even startlingly—clear differences between the candidates that bear upon the future of the Great Republic and the world.
One example is the candidates’ positions on global warming/climate change. True, through the angry noise of the campaign, amplified in the echo chambers of the media, I barely discern any substantive issue. And yet, five minutes of Googling reveals a stark and (yes!) well-articulated, black-and-white difference between the candidates.
Yes, something is at stake when the chattering classes, including our candidates for president in 2016, have a difference of opinion over “Big Climate Alarmism.”
What characterizes Hillary Clinton is pride in what the Obama administration has accomplished in the McKibben “war of the worlds” scenario. Her position is that more must done, building on these policies, and must be done urgently.
Donald Trump is a “global warming denier.” To me, that begins to sound like an honorable designation. He seems to understand in an easy, commonsensical way that the climate changes; he understands that theories of climate change evolve; and he understands that one live scenario—advanced by solar scientists, now in disrepute for contradicting Big Climate alarmism—is that we face a coming ice age. And that to devote all resources on the basis of a national emergency to mothballing fossil fuel energy, and to erecting a worldwide structure of wind and solar power, would leave humanity utterly naked and unprepared for a new ice age Victims of the fatally wrong decision for humankind, promoted by the scientists it had come to trust, who really only wanted to be accepted by their peers and make a good living.
But Trump does not buy either scenario. He says, as quoted, “Let’s see.” But, for now, he says, do not make the American economy and jobs hostage to weather forecasting 50 or 100 years into the future.
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So the big question, will they even mention climate at all tonight?