Bjorn Lomborg is an internationally recognized and much published environmentalist. He even believes that AGW is a factor in climate change. Recently he wrote an article that was critical of President Obama’s inaugural “three horsemen of the climate apocalypse” listed as the "devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms". The astute reader knows that there have been no such increases in fires, droughts, and storms with which the Left likes to decorate its calls for greater government control of everything under the sun.
And Lomborg does a fine job of again summarizing the data on all this. But that is not what I want to talk about. The vagaries of the climate change data and its in/correct interpretations have been argued for years by qualified scientists and technically savvy bloggers (locally by Russ Steele and Anthony Watts). What I want to reprise is how substantive reports on issues – here about the misinformation spewed by AGW True Believers – are treated in today’s polarized public debate.
Lomborg’s assertion concludes, “Fear-mongering exaggeration about effects of global warming distracts us from finding affordable and effective energy alternatives.” As an AGW skeptic I wholeheartedly agree with that. Unfortunately, fear-mongering is the only stock in trade that the Left has for making its collectivist policies palatable to the general public, even if it means outright misrepresentation of the record. But more important, it is the asymmetry of how the debate is conducted that makes the fear-mongering stick.
This circling of the same barn, with the same type of responses from the Left, is technically known as begging the question. In such a go around, for whatever the issue may be, the Right then busily goes back to the drawing board, digs up more data, cranks up another compelling analysis of that, and presents its case. And again, the Left’s response is the same old same old.
But the Left’s response has an advantage with the rank and file audience – it requires no deeper understanding of the numbers, processes, and logic that sustains the skeptic’s case. Specifically, understanding the Left’s response requires a skill set first developed in kindergarten, and then honed in the primary grades. The result is what we have in Washington today as recently epitomized by SecState Clinton’s “What does it matter?” Easily three out of four Americans would accept that counter charge because they could not give the correct answer to Clinton's question which successfully parried the inquiry about how our government prepared for and responded to the attack on our Benghazi consulate. And so goes the larger debate for the benefit of the sheeple.