Ian Tuttle explores for National Review Online left-of-center activists’ concerns about the planet’s future.

Worried about “the crucial issue of global warming” (or, as [Philip] Plait calls it, “reality”)? A Republican victory at the polls, Plait warned, would mean “put[ting] a cohort of science-deniers into positions of authority over the very science they want to trample.” Come January, “Ted Cruz (R., Texas) could be chairman of the committee on science and space.” Your vote, Plait wrote gravely, “quite literally affects the future of humanity.”

The “politics of fear” were for yesteryear. This is the politics of “the end of the world as you know it” — or, in the case of global warming, the plain old end of the world.

People have, of course, been predicting the End of Times since the Beginning of Times, and prophets of apocalypse are in plentiful supply on both ends of the political spectrum. Conservatives, too, have seen visions and dreamed dreams, particularly with regard to the current administration. But it would be denying actual reality (not Plait’s facsimile) not to acknowledge that forecasting doom is a particular recreation of the Left — and, with the rise of global warming, a recreation that has attained a particular vehemence. …

… Global warming ups the ante. Maybe you are not interested in the availability of birth control in Colorado. But you can’t be uninterested in global warming, because, like it or not, global warming is interested in you — and in literally everyone else. Global warming is not about political agendas; it’s about science, and science brooks no counterargument.

But scientific knowledge per se has no political agenda; liberals do. And long before the science was settled, the Left saw in global warming a source of fear that it could commandeer for its political purposes — ensuring, in the process, that the “science” of global warming became the handmaid of liberal policy, not, as liberals claim, vice versa. The consequences for political and intellectual discourse, and for the independence required for scientific progress, have been predictably grim.

That liberals’ global-warming zealotry has more to do with politics than with principle, Alex Berezow noted in his response to Plait at RealClearScience. Democrats had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and a sweeping House majority quite recently, he observes, but they used those numbers to do precisely nothing about climate change. When the House forwarded a cap-and-trade bill to the Senate in the summer of 2009, Harry Reid let it die without ever calling a vote. “Why is Phil Plait blaming Republicans, but not Democrats?” Berezow asks. “Well, you can answer that question.”