“Betraying the Planet”

Paul Krugman has a terrific op. ed with that title in the today’s Times.  Here’s the gist:

Do you remember the days when Bush administration officials claimed that terrorism posed an “existential threat” to America, a threat in whose face normal rules no longer applied? That was hyperbole — but the existential threat from climate change is all too real.

Yet the deniers are choosing, willfully, to ignore that threat, placing future generations of Americans in grave danger, simply because it’s in their political interest to pretend that there’s nothing to worry about. If that’s not betrayal, I don’t know what is.

Krugman does say that he would respect no votes, no matter how wrong headed, if they were based on thought and a careful review of the evidence.  None of that was on display in the House among opponents:

Indeed, if there was a defining moment in Friday’s debate, it was the declaration by Representative Paul Broun of Georgia that climate change is nothing but a “hoax” that has been “perpetrated out of the scientific community.” I’d call this a crazy conspiracy theory, but doing so would actually be unfair to crazy conspiracy theorists. After all, to believe that global warming is a hoax you have to believe in a vast cabal consisting of thousands of scientists . . . .

Yet Mr. Broun’s declaration was met with applause.

Consider an analogy.  Medical scientists think that exercise is good for your heart.  I don’t like to exercise all that much.  So I decide that the medical community is engaged in a hoax.  Does that sound sensible?  Let’s take this analogy a little further.  Suppose that I look at a few reports about some of the studies, and I don’t find them convincing.  On the contrary, the few dissenting scientists seem to make more sense to me.  So I decide to cut back on my current exercise and spend even more time munching chips in front of the T.V.  Is that smart?