by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The problem, however, is that Republicans rarely go beyond dismissive mockery in responding to climate alarmists. When then-president Donald Trump insisted global warming was a “hoax” or a concept “created by and for the Chinese,” he took this dismissive attitude too far. Though he later insisted that his comments were meant as jokes, it is clear that such rhetoric is hardly a serious response to an empirical, scientific claim about potentially worrying changes in Earth’s climate.
More concerning than the lack of seriousness in these remarks is the way such rhetoric plays into the hands of climate alarmists. The truth is that the available climate science gives serious reason to doubt, and even dispute, the claims of climate catastrophists and their allies in Washington. But when the best that Republicans can muster in defense of a more nuanced, realistic approach to understanding and responding to climate change is to refer to it as a “hoax,” they empower Democrats to publicly?—?and, quite frankly, credibly?—?accuse them of “denialism,” thereby establishing themselves as the undisputed “party of science.”
A better understanding of climate science is not merely worthwhile for improving policymaking, but for improving political strategy. If Republican leaders took the time to acquaint themselves with climate science, they would find that Democrats’ apocalyptic forecasts and radical policy proposals are largely and increasingly untethered from reality. From a purely tactical perspective, Republicans interested in fighting the Green New Deal and other extremist climate policies would be wise to cease ignoring environmental science and instead become its staunchest public advocates. …
… After having been dismissive of climate alarmism for years, it’s time for conservatives to recommit themselves to understanding the scientific basics and to arguing the compelling case for climate realism.