Up Denial Without a Paddle: Post-Irma Climate Denial Nutbags Part 2

September 12, 2017

Post-Irma: Conservative commentator flails wildly to maintain the tribal identity from which her income derives.

If you find yourself saying “…I’m not a climate denier, but…” – You’re probably a climate denier.

This has been going on for 40 years. Deniers, increasingly aware they are boxed in, are unable to walk back decades of willful ignorance. Not-so hilarious hilarity ensues.


It is difficult to appreciate, from up close and with so much else going on, just how deeply and ceaselessly bizarre US climate politics has become. Limbaugh is a good case study, but he’s not the only one. Several bits of recent news — for instance, Trump’s nomination of a climate denier with no science credentials to lead NASA — serve to illustrate the same point. American climate politics have gone from frustrating and weird to … parody? Farce? Reductio ad absurdum? It’s difficult to know the right term. But it ain’t healthy.

The two consistent trends of the era of climate politics

Though it’s somewhat arbitrary, I date the era of US climate politics back to June 1988, when NASA climate scientist James Hansen testified to Congress about climate change. Scientists had known about the greenhouse effect for a long while, but that is the moment when the subject entered US politics in earnest.

First, the science of climate change has grown more confident. Models and techniques have grown more sophisticated even as the field’s core findings have undergone unprecedented, multi-layered, international review and re-review (and re-re-review). Public communication of the basic scientific findings has never been better; there has never been more informed media coverage. The truth about climate change has never been more well-supported or more accessible.

Second, the US conservative movement has become increasingly tribal, insular, and disconnected from the institutions and norms that bind American democracy together. As part of that process, it has rejected climate change and the need to address it.

5 Responses to “Up Denial Without a Paddle: Post-Irma Climate Denial Nutbags Part 2”

  1. J4Zonian Says:

    The whole first video is a chaotic mess of missed opportunities, impatience, overly mansplained misunderstanding and ineffective combating of ignorance, BUT, worth it for this from Adam Gopnik:

    ”The basis of scientific inquiry is asking questions. The result of scientific inquiry is to having answers. [Climate catastrophe] is a subject on which we now have answers. What is true is that from 1970 on, you’ve had a growing cycle of more and more severe hurricanes, and science… not only made that prediction, they have a mechanism; they have a way of explaining why that is the case.”

    Among the conservative’s many mistakes: misinterpreted (or disinterpreted) ”more and more severe” [hurricanes] as ”more and more hurricanes”. Thus had an excuse to bring in the cherry picked stats on 12 years of hurricanes in the US from the Koch-Exxon-ALEC et al campaign of denying delayalism. So a straw person fallacy led to a cherry picking fallacy, neither of which was sufficiently clearly corrected.

    Maher needs to know when to shut up and let intelligent and eloquent people speak without being interrupted. It’s a complex and nuanced subject that most anti-intellectual people in the US are never going to understand* and having 3 people talk at the same time is, oddly enough, not going to help.

    *(like the difference between climate change causing storms and worsening storms; like the difference between more and more severe and more and more storms; like the difference between 12 years of blah blah and 12 (cherry picked) years in which there were many, many storms that didn’t happen to qualify on the one aspect on which storms are classified (wind speed) and didn’t happen to make landfall in the US.


    If Maher and other people who sort of understand the truth are going to keep having such stupid debates (and they will, for ratings) they have to start doing them better. Even if it’s not as popular with the moron set as Geraldo-Springer style free-for-alls.

  2. indy222 Says:

    I don’t think Maher is anywhere near the level of confident climate knowledge necessary to be doing such – as I watch him, I get more and more annoyed with his persona. Colbert is clearly far more intelligent and in his more engaging way, a far more courageous and uncompromising warrior.

  3. Bob Doublin Says:

    Who is the idiot in the middle?

    • dumboldguy Says:

      The idiot in the middle is Sarah Elizabeth Cupp (who is now married but apparently doesn’t use her husband’s name). The info below will show why she is just another science-ignorant conservative gasbag who had no business commenting on science or climate change. Why Maher would even have her on the show is a mystery.

      “Cupp was born in Carlsbad, California.[1][2] During some of her younger and teenage years, she lived in Andover, Massachusetts and attended the Academy of Notre Dame.[3] From age 6 until her late teens, she studied ballet.[4] While attending ballet school, she battled eating disorders, suffering a relapse during her college years.[5] In 2000, Cupp graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History. While attending Cornell, she worked for The Cornell Daily Sun. In 2010, she earned a Master of Arts from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University with a concentration in Religious Studies.[6]?”

  4. climatedoc Says:

    Once Cupp started dominating the conversation, shouting over Gopnick, uncontrollable by Bill, I turned it off in favor of watching the latest episode of “Hunt for the Unabomber.” It’s a great docudrama with no shouting.

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