Say, Does Being Optimistic On Climate Change Make You Pro-Trump?

A little bit of amusing clima-fluff, but, one that hits the mark

Does Optimism on Climate Change Make You Pro-Trump?
Apocalypse Never, a book by iconoclastic environmentalist Michael Shellenberger, triggers polarized responses

My views on climate change—and, more generally, on humanity’s future—have never been stable. Depending on what I’m reading, and perhaps shifts in my neural weather, I ricochet between optimism and dread.

Last spring I was feeling pretty glum about, well, everything when iconoclastic environmental activist Michael Shellenberger sent me a prepublication copy of his book Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All.

Before I weigh in on the book, some background. Shellenberger is a controversial figure. For years, he has urged his fellow greens to adopt a more optimistic outlook, which he insists is more conducive to activism than fear. His influential 2007 book Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility, co-written with his fellow activist Ted Nordhaus, accused environmentalists of being hostile to science, technology and economic progress. (snip)

We need economic and technological development to overcome climate change and other environmental threats, Shellenberger and Nordhaus insisted. People are unlikely to care about polar bears, they pointed out, when they’re worried about feeding their children. Shellenberger and Nordhaus also faulted the environmental movement for being reluctant to acknowledge its successes, as if doing so will foster complacency.

The book annoyed some greens, but I liked its can-do spirit, and I thought my students would too. So, in 2008 I invited Shellenberger and Nordhaus to speak at my school, Stevens Institute of Technology, and I gave them a $5,000 prize that I created, the Green Book Award. (I also gave the award to biologist Edward Wilson, oceanographer Sylvia Earle and climatologist James Hansen before my funding ran out.)

Literally, this is something that many Warmists have argued, that there needs to be less gloom and doom and more positivity. Of course, this is a cult, so, few listen. Furthermore, Shellenberger, like some other Warmists, pushes the use of nuclear energy heavily, which most Warmists are against.

The polarized reactions to Shellenberger remind me of those to John Ioannidis, the Stanford epidemiologist who has warned that our reaction to COVID-19 might be overblown. People judge the claims of Shellenberger and Ioannidis based less on their actual merits than on their perceived political implications. Optimism, whether toward the pandemic or global warming, is viewed as a conservative, pro-Trump position. Now more than ever, political polarization makes it hard to have a rational argument about scientific issues.

It is generally very true, eh? Warmists, and Leftists overall, tend to be miserable people who are all about doom and gloom. They love telling us we’re DOOOOOOMED, right? Unless we tax the hell out of Other People and restrict their lives, freedom, choice, businesses, etc.

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One Response to “Say, Does Being Optimistic On Climate Change Make You Pro-Trump?”

  1. […] the little bit about whether being optimistic on the climate makes you pro-Trump? Well, let’s go to the UK […]

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