Among the world’s wacky conspiracy theories – the Elders of Zion, the Illuminati, trutherism, birtherism, perpetual-motion machines suppressed by Big Oil, the fossil record as an evolutionist hoax – global-warming denialism stands out for the sheer vastness of the conspiracy it imagines, involving thousands or tens of thousands of scientists.
The people who say that global warming is not a big deal are wrong, or at least they don’t understand the nature of uncertainty, increasing marginal costs, and positive feedback. But their position isn’t transparently crazy.
The same is true, with some qualifications, of those who deny that a substantial share of the warming is anthropogenic. There have been, after all, major climate swings for largely-unknown reasons, and it’s at least not crazy to ask the question how much of the recent temperature change might come from something other than GHG emissions.
And of course it could be rational to oppose any given proposal to control global warming, though not, in my view, to oppose doing anything about it at all.
But denying, or even doubting, that global mean temperature has been increasing puts you in flat-earth territory.
But you’d be in that territory along with 26% of your fellow citizens, a number that has doubled over the past three years.
Curiously, that’s about the same as the proportion that identify as Republicans.
Well done, wingnuts!