Stuck Between Climate Doom and Denial

Roger Pielke, Jr. in The New Atlantis:

In a recent interview in New York Times Magazine, energy expert and polymath Vaclav Smil found himself being pressured by his interviewer to acknowledge that climate change was either a catastrophe or not a problem. The famously cantankerous Smil bristled at the framing: “I cannot tell you that we don’t have a problem because we do have a problem. But I cannot tell you it’s the end of the world by next Monday because it is not the end of the world by next Monday. What’s the point of you pressing me to belong to one of these groups?”

For well over a decade, the American debate over climate change has largely been a battle between two extremes: those who view climate change apocalyptically, and those castigated as deniers of climate science. In institutions of science and in the mainstream media, we see the celebration of the catastrophists and the denigration of the deniers. Predictably, the categories map neatly onto the extremes of left-versus-right politics.

More here.