Change Denial Denial, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times
Future historians — if there are any future historians — will almost surely say that the most important thing happening in the world during December 2015 was the climate talks in Paris. True, nothing agreed to in Paris will be enough, by itself, to solve the problem of global warming. But the talks could mark a turning point.Then again, they might not; we may be doomed. And if we are, you know who will be responsible: the Republican Party. … And the inability of our news media, our pundits and our political establishment in general to face up to that truth is an important contributing factor to the danger we face. Anyone who follows U.S. political debates on the environment knows that Republican politicians overwhelmingly oppose any action to limit emissions of greenhouse gases… And most of the contenders for the Republican presidential nomination are solidly in the anti-science camp.
And climate-denial orthodoxy doesn’t just say that the scientific consensus is wrong. Senior Republican members of Congress routinely indulge in wild conspiracy theories… And they do all they can to harass and intimidate individual scientists. It’s also something with no counterpart abroad. It’s true that conservative parties across the West tend to be less favorable to climate action than parties to their left. But in most countries — actually, everywhere except America and Australia — these parties nonetheless support measures to limit emissions. And U.S. Republicans are unique in refusing to accept that there is even a problem. Unfortunately, given the importance of the United States, the extremism of one party in one country has enormous global implications.
Everything we know about the process that brought Republicans to this point says that this is pure fantasy. But it’s a fantasy that will cloud public perception.More important, probably, is the denial inherent in the conventions of political journalism, which say that you must always portray the parties as symmetric — that any report on extreme positions taken by one side must be framed in a way that makes it sound as if both sides do it. But I hope I’m wrong, and I’d urge everyone outside the climate-denial bubble to frankly acknowledge the awesome, terrifying reality. We’re looking at a party that has turned its back on science at a time when doing so puts the very future of civilization at risk. That’s the truth, and it needs to be faced head-on.