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The 'Two Sides' of the Climate Debate

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Bad Actors and their enablers have been pushing a particular spin on the climate debate: it has "two sides," the denialists and the alarmists. What can wise people above it all in the center do but roll their eyes at the grubbiness of it all?

I'd like to introduce you to one side of the debate:

Only 13 percent of congressional Republicans say they believe that human activity is causing global warming, compared to 95 percent of congressional Democrats. Moreover, the number of Republicans who believe in human-induced global warming has actually dropped since April 2006, when the number was 23 percent.

OK, there are the denialists: 87% of the Republicans in Congress.

Now, where are those alarmists? As the "other side" of the debate, we could expect about 87% of congressional Democrats to answer to that description, right?

But we survey the Democrats and find a patchwork of apathy and equivocation. We find endless hearings and tepid cap-and-trade proposals. Only two bills -- Waxman's Safe Climate Act in the House, Sanders' Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act in the Senate -- even pretend to target the 80% emissions reductions by 2050 scientists say will be needed to avoid irreparable damage. Suffice to say, those bills -- the closest thing on offer to alarmism -- are not supported by 87% of Congressional Democrats.

So if the alarmists are not in Congress, where are they? Where's this other side we always hear about? Al Gore? James Hansen? The director of Day After Tomorrow? That one college kid at that one rally that one time?

Even accepting what is absurd -- that these so-called alarmists commit an error equivalent to denying anthropogenic climate change altogether -- how can this motley Band of the Shrill be said to balance a debate against 87% of Republicans in Congress?

Perhaps the fact that one of America's two political parties is led almost entirely by ignoramuses poses a somewhat larger barrier to commonsense climate policy than, say, the indelicacy of Al Gore's remarks on hurricanes.