Saturday, August 22, 2015

Fiorina: the next line of defense of climate denialism

The recent Republican entrant to the US presidential race gave an interview on Yahoo where she spoke about several issues, including climate change. It is an extremely interesting clip to understand what we could call a "moderate" position in the Republican field. Ms. Fiorina's statements on climate change are in this clip and are summarized in text form on Vox, with the title "everything she said was wrong." I think it is worse than that.

Ms. Fiorina is expressing what may well be the next line of defense of climate denialism. She does not flatly deny climate change, as many of her colleagues do, even though she states that it is a minor problem in comparison to others, such as terrorism. But, yes, she admits that it is a problem. So, what should be done about it? Here, Ms. Fiorina puts forward a series of lies and half truths to push for the idea that we wouldn't/shouldn't/can't/ do anything except hoping to be saved by some uspecified "innovations". Why? Because, you know, coal is too important for us, and even if we fight it, China won't. And, without coal, the economy can't work; don't you see how many jobs are being lost because of these silly environmental regulations? It is much better to work at making coal cleaner, isn't it? Besides, renewables don't work because, you know, wind turbines kill birds, they are ugly, and solar plants need a lot of water, etc...

I think that with this interview we have a glimpse of the future of the debate on climate change. As the evidence becomes undeniable, deniers will shift back to admitting that, yes, it exists and even that it may be human caused. But they will propose to do nothing about it because it is impossible/too expensive/will cause jobs to be lost, etc....  And we'll be back to square one: we'll keep doing nothing, for one reason or another.

So, the fight is still long and hard. And I am afraid that if we don't change our strategy, we are not going to win it.


Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)