To deny climate change in 2015 puts any thinking person in a distinct minority in this country.
According to a Pew Research poll published this time last year, 67% of adults believe that our atmosphere has been warming in recent years. That comes out to 84% of Democrats and 46% of Republicans.
So when last year veteran Washington-Post columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote a skeptical column about global warming, his viciousness could not be overlooked. He didn't just question the White House for for taking action to reduce the harms of climate change. He tore apart the very concept of taking action, as utter folly.
First he claimed -- in so many words -- that the climate wasn't warming.
"Global temperatures have been flat for 16 years — a curious time [for the White House] to unveil a grand, hugely costly, socially disruptive anti-warming program."
This is the the familiar claim of climate change skeptics that warming has paused or stopped since the super-hot El Nino year of l997-l998. This ignores a 130-year trend of global warming, but nevermind.
What's happening lately?
Yep. You can see. We hit an all-time high. How then does Krauthammer respond?
Well, in today's column, Krauthammer calls for a substantial gas tax of a $1 per gallon, to be rebated to taxpayers. Note that he would not put any of the tax windfall towards infrastructure, even though experts argue that the federal gas tax as it works today isn't even able to keep up with the damage to roads and bridges caused by traffic. Nor would he apply any sort of income test to the rebate.
But six months ago? He would have done nothing -- nothing but call Barack Obama a "flat-earther."
It’s flat-earthers like Obama who refuse to acknowledge the problematic nature of contradictory data. It’s flat-earthers like Obama who cite a recent Alaskan heat wave — a freak event in one place at one time — as presumptive evidence of planetary climate change. It’s flat-earthers like Obama who cite perennial phenomena such as droughts as cosmic retribution for environmental sinfulness."
Now, on the day when we learned definitively that last year will prove to be the hottest year in recorded history, Charles Krauthammer calls for a gas tax, in part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"[this will] lower consumption [which] reduces pollution and greenhouse gases. The reduction of traditional pollutants, though relatively minor, is an undeniable gain. And even for global warming skeptics, there’s no reason not to welcome a benign measure that induces prudential reductions in CO2 emissions."
So action has gone from "folly" to "prudential" in six months flat!
Yet Krauthammer still indicates he's a skeptic.
Bizarre. Climate change skepticism must be getting down to the bitter-enders, if even they now start to agree something should be done about it.