It’s time to admit that as a society we’ve failed. Politicians have no fear of breaking with 97 percent of climate scientists who agree climate change is real and the result of human activities.
“I am a global warming denier. I don’t deny that,” Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) said in a speech on Monday.
Coburn, who is a medical doctor, went on to say that Earth is headed for a “mini-ice age.”
This represents a complete failure of American society in general to make the fear of sounding stupid about climate change greater than the urge to pander to the Republican base. Because it’s not like shame hasn’t been used as an effective tactic to confront other science deniers.
Vaccine paranoia is, rightly, seen as something stupid cranks engage in at a cost to public health. Climate skeptics are owed the same.
— sethdmichaels (@sethdmichaels) August 27, 2013
But when it comes to vaccinations, science and pharmaceutical companies are on the same side. The truth is there are billions of dollars that feed denial like Coburn’s. The urge to continue the amazing profits of industries that benefit from carbon pollution rewards deniers with both financial and moral support.
Bill McKibben — the eminent climate change activist and founder of 350.org — explained the financial motivation for perpetuating denial and paralysis in confronting the climate crisis in a stirring sermon at New York City’s Riverside Church in late April.
“The fossil fuel industry is the 1 percent of the 1 percent, the richest enterprise in human history,” he said. “Exxon made more money last year than any company in the history of money. There are far more eminent theologians than me in this room, but it is my belief anyway that these companies have more money than God.”
An offshoot of McKibben’s group 350 Action has decided that they’ll never compete when it comes to money. So they’ve decided to step up the campaign of shame by proposing that extreme storms be named after deniers like Coburn, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). And they’re petitioning the World Meteorological Organization to adopt this change.