Answering Your Climate Questions – by Bret Stephens (New York Times – May 1, 2017)

My first column, “Climate of Complete Certainty,” was published last week, and drew more than 1,800 comments on the column and on Facebook. I’m answering some of them here, edited lightly for length and clarity.

Len Sherman: You rightfully questioned the ideological rigidity of progressives who sanctimoniously dismiss ANY legitimate questioning of climate change research. But what of the blatant ignorance professed by a president who dog whistles about a hoax perpetrated by Chinese leaders? Or a sizable faction of evangelical voters who reject science as a matter of religious principle?

At the end of the day, based on the scientific evidence I’ve seen, weighed against the credibility of opposing counterarguments, with Pascal’s Wager thrown in as a tiebreaker, the need and urgency for righteous behavior is a no-brainer.

Hi Len,

There’s no need to convince me on your first two points. Our 45th president is a man who seems to regard rumor as fact, opinion as evidence, wishes as truth — and truth as whatever he can get away with. Hence the conspiracy theories about his predecessor’s birthplace, the lies about the size of his Inauguration Day crowds, and so on. As for your reference to some evangelical voters, it’s astonishing that so many in this country seem not to have gotten past the Scopes trial.

And, lest there be any remaining doubts: I subscribe to the theory of evolution, I vaccinate my kids, I don’t smoke because it causes cancer, the earth is not flat, and the world is warming.

Now to your second paragraph: The human race is forced to confront multiple environmental threats with limited economic resources. We have to make hard choices about how we assess the threats and how we allocate the resources — knowing all the time that information is imperfect and economic and environmental conditions are subject to change over time.

For the rest of this column, click here: