It’s awfully difficult to come up with a good reason to be a climate denier. It’s not as if there are some credible talking points lying around, waiting for conservatives to use.
But even when dealing with bad arguments, there’s something remarkable about listening to Fox News’ Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade trying to address the subject.
On Kilmeade’s radio show yesterday, Doocy argued that climate change may not be real (it is real), and even if global warming is happening (it’s happening), “nobody knows” the cause (climate scientists know the cause).
This led Kilmeade to reflect on a recent appearance he made in Jamestown, Virginia, where he learned that European settlers encountered heat in 1607.
“Do you realize as they landed at Jamestown it was record warm temperatures. They compounded the trouble the first British settlement would actually encounter. So, we still had hotter. In Jamestown – I believe that was before the car. […]“They didn’t start suing people. They didn’t say, ‘Let’s not bother the Indians. Let’s not even make a fire. Let’s not get guns until we solve this global warming crisis.”
I’ve listened to the audio a few times. He wasn’t kidding or trying to make climate deniers sound foolish. In fact, Kilmeade added, “I would say, if you really are Al Gore-ish and you want to make that your passion: wait until you get out of office. Because you have crisises [sic] – that’s plural, that’s the best I could do – crisises to attend to. It is almost treason for him to be focusing like this.”
“Him,” in this case, is President Obama. The guy who doesn’t know the plural word of “crisis” is comfortable arguing that presidential leadership on the climate crisis is “almost treason.”
This shouldn’t be necessary, but let’s go ahead and note, in the hopes that Kilmeade sees this, that because a group of people were hot in 1607 does not mean that climate change is discredited four centuries later. Those who accept that climate science is real are not suggesting that heat is a recent development. The reality-based community is well aware of the fact that summers are not new. People went outside and felt heat before carbon pollution risked a global catastrophe.
What climate scientists have explained, however, is that rising global temperatures are the result of greenhouses gases trapping heat in the atmosphere, creating a crisis for life on Earth.
Kilmeade thinks heat in Virginia in 1607 raises doubts about the science. Remember, this guy gets paid to co-host a national television program and a radio show on which he reflects on current events.
As for whether it’s “treason” for elected leaders to address a crisis that threatens the nation’s health, security, and economy, I’ll look forward to Republicans suing the president for doing his job.