Global Warming Opposition is the New Religious Right

Today I received a email forward from my Uncle John that contained an anti-global warming press release from Sen. James Inhofe's Environment and Public Works committee. Inhofe, of course, is one of the Senate's chief skeptics that human actions are contributing to negative climate change. So as a parting shot from his committee chair, he released the rather screedish report, "A Skeptic's Guide to Debunking Global Warming Alarmism." It's a good title, but it also explains a lot about how the global warming opposition defines itself. Just like the Religious Right of the 1990s, their identity is shaped by the people they dislike. Here's how I responded to my uncle:

Dear Uncle John,
What you sent over is a press release written by Sen. Inhofe's committee staff, so it's obviously very biased towards his perspective.
I think most scientists agree that there are hiccups in the theories that try to explain global warming, and that skeptics shouldn't be muzzled. Science, after all, thrives on a healthy debate and discussion. It is the most self-correcting profession that exists (far better than politicians). But I'm afraid Sen. Inhofe is trying to make a round Earth appear flat. The vast majority of scientists who work in climate change fields, probably over 95%, believe that humans are contributing to global warming and that it's a problem. And when Sen. Inhofe holds a comprehensive hearing on global warming, 75% of the scientific experts he invites are skeptics about the human race's role in increasing global warming. That's like opening a French restaurant and hiring 5 Scottish chefs and a Maitre'De from Quebec--not very representative of reality.
I am not sure why so many conservatives have an ingrown fear of global warming. I can understand why oil and coal companies don't like people to talk about it--their profits are directly correlated to rising carbon dioxide levels. But I'm noticing an increasing anti-global warming gut reaction from conservative news sites and pundits that seems to exist for the simple reason that people like Al Gore and Leo DeCaprio are on the opposing side.
It reminds me of the knee-jerk rhetoric that once roiled the debates over prayer in school and creationism. Conservative christians clung to those cultural issues because they helped them define who they were in opposition to--mainly so-called secular humanists and atheists. But when one examined the basis of the religious right's main arguments (ie. school violence, abortion, and Satanism have increased because kids no longer pray before homeroom) -- they were plainly ridiculous and non-sensical.
When Sen. Inhofe decided to focus his last hearing on the "media conspiracy" promoting global warming, he showed that
climate change skeptics, who lack any scientific weight or consensus, seek to define themselves by those they are against. It's the same silly smokescreen as Pat Robertson complaining about how Madalyn Murray O'Hair drove God from the public schools back in 1962. And I think it is an endgame ploy of a side that lacks the standing to make an argument.


Hoping to find James Kim

If you've ever watched a CNET.com video review of an MP3 player, you've probably seen James Kim. He's the senior editor in charge of the popular digital media department, and his upbeat informative videos are a great way to compare and contrast an iPod with a Sanyo or a Samsung. Now we are waiting to see if James Kim will survive an unbelieveable ordeal that started as a simple family roadtrip.
Kim and his family, his wife Kati and two young daughters, have been missing since late November somewhere on the road between San Francisco and Seattle. On Monday afternoon searchers using helicopters found Kati and the two kids by their car, but James is still missing, having ventured into the snowy wilderness to seek rescue 2 days ago. News reports say that James kept his family's spirits up by making their plight seem like a camping adventure, even as he burned the tires on their station wagon to keep them warm. Soon we'll know if the efforts he took to safeguard his family have also protected him.