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Re: Conservatives and Climate Change

I want to thank Peter Wehner for his gracious remarks about my response to his pieces about climate change and the responsibility of conservatives to take a constructive approach to the issue. There is, as he said, much we agree upon, and I continue to be impressed by Peter’s seriousness of purpose and his desire to conduct this discussion on a high plane where hysteria and neo-religious rhetoric about global warming are out of place.

However, I also want to briefly respond to two of his points.

The first is to say he’s right that skeptical conservatives need not respond to global warming zealots with the same level of vituperation they have been subjected to by the other side. I should not have implied that responding in kind to unreasoning attacks was justifiable. There is no need for those who do not subscribe to the catechism of environmental extremists to sink to their level when it comes to trying to anathematize their foes.

Second, I want to note, as Peter has done, that though most scientists seem to think that a) there is no doubt about both the nature of the threat of climate change; b) the responsibility of humans for the problem; and c) the need for us to adopt stringent measures in response, many respected members of the scientific community still do not subscribe to these views. One such, Richard Lindzen, an atmospheric physicist and the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has published extensively on the issue. His persuasive writings (one of which can be found here), along with others who share his views, have given skeptics an informed leg to stand on with respect to the controversy.

I will leave it to Professor Lindzen and his colleagues to argue about the science. But so long as that debate is ongoing, it is likely that many of us who perceive the bias behind many environmental extremists and can foresee no practical result from the damaging and draconian measures they propose to avert the alleged danger, will continue to be skeptical about the issue.


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