The Climate Change Debate, One Side Denies the Science, the Other Denies the Cost of Change

One of the problems in the climate change debate is that many environmentalists liberally apply the denier label to the climate science skeptics while they themselves deny that the economics of actually living a 'sustainable' lifestyle would mean ending the entitled lives they now enjoy. Many environmentalists have no trouble using the ostrich approach while driving their Prius to the mall to buy a designer composter.

Naomi Klein said the same thing in her article 'Capitalism vs. the Climate'. In it Klein says, "The [climate science] deniers did not decide that climate change is a left-wing conspiracy by uncovering some covert socialist plot. They arrived at this analysis by taking a hard look at what it would take to lower global emissions as drastically and as rapidly as climate science demands." and, "...if we are not on a radically different energy path by the end of this decade, we are in for a world of pain. But when it comes to the real-world consequences of those scientific findings, specifically the kind of deep changes required not just to our energy consumption but to the underlying logic of our economic system the crowd gathered at the Marriott Hotel [for the Heartland Institute Convention] may be in considerably less denial than a lot of professional environmentalists."

The inconvenient truth is that all the recycling, buying of green products and markets in pollution trading won't make a dent in the ecological crisis our over-consumption has already created. For all us in the 1st world to truly live within a sustainable footprint we'd have to live 3rd world lifestyles. When Heartlanders or evangelical Christian philosophers call environmentalists 'evil', when they see environmental groups as "one of the greatest threats to society and the church today", it’s not because they're stupid or paranoid, it’s because they're paying attention.

A book published by the evangelical Alliance Church called 'Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion not Death' even portrays environmental groups as "one of the greatest threats to society and the church today." One passage reads that, "The Green Dragon must die... [There] is no excuse to become befuddled by the noxious Green odors and doctrines emanating from the foul beast..God is sovereign over creation and therefore humans can do no permanent damage..."

The inconvenient truth is that this crisis is caused by over-consumption and can't be solved by improving the efficiency of capitalism but by reducing the amount of material stuff we produce and consume. The evangelicals' use of the 'Green Dragon' is an apt metaphor because, like other dragons, the 'green' one is an imaginary concoction built on a combination of the force of our fears and the lies we tell ourselves to justify our self-interests.