Here's what George F. Will, the guy with the bow tie and the voice of Kermit's dad, wrote in last week's Newsweek:
"Are we sure the climate at this particular moment is exactly right, and that it must be preserved, no matter the cost?"
He then proceeded to suggest that we can't do anything about climate change because it would be too expensive, China burns coal anyway, ethanol takes a lot of corn and well, gosh, gee, too bad.
I would love to have seen his arguments against abolition ("Our southern economy depends on slavery, disruption would be devastating.") America's fight against Hitler ("We simply cannot afford to build tanks amid this depression.") or putting a man on the moon ("Journey to a cold distant rock? No thank you Mr. President!)
But isn't the whole idea of being a conservative that you want to conserve stuff? Like, you know, Florida. That might be worth conserving. Or any other large populated area that promises to be threatened by rising sea levels. Apparently, Mr. Will thinks otherwise.
After finally admitting that global warming is real - though not necessarily man-made, (despite the overwhelming opinion of those crazy whack-jobs otherwise known as the world's scientific community) - the new conservative party line is that we don't need to protect ourselves, because we can't do anything about it and after all, we will ultimately "adapt."
Okay, call me lazy, but I don't know how much adapting I'm really up for. And to answer Mr. Will directly, I actually think the climate is exactly right these days, close enough that we shouldn't screw around with it. Especially since I live in a little coastal city called New York. I'm not quite up for spending my sunset years pushing a wheelchair on some mass migration to the higher elevations of Pittsburgh.
But even if I wasn't such a lazy schlub, "adapting," has its natural limits. Look at Venus. While everyone is jumping up and down that Mars has water, we'd do well to look at the planet whose atmosphere is often described as being caused by an out of control greenhouse effect. Not a lot of adapting is going on there these days.
According to many estimates, including NASA scientist James Hansen, we have about ten years to change our behavior if we want to escape the more profound effects of climate change. And while it is true that - no matter what we do - warming will proceed for a period, perhaps as long as 50 years, we can stabilize it if we start taking radical action now.
But if we do what Mr. Will suggests, if we shrug and hem and haw, then what happens in the 51st year? And the 52nd?
We have to act now. Before we have triggered unimaginable consequences.
Of course, at 65 years old, Mr. Will promises to be long gone from the earth by the time climate change really starts to have its impact.
I was looking forward to seeing him in Pittsburgh.