Do those opposing climate action even know where the high ground is?
I think it's fair to say that a measure of how morally bankrupt your position is on an issue is related to how much you have to lie to rally public support for your position. (No, I'm not talking about that other issue currently dominating the news. I'm talking about climate change legislation.) Over the weekend, I read a story that related how even more fake letters opposing the climate change bill have been unearthed.
The basic story is this: A lobbying firm, hired by corporate interests opposed to passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, generated letters, which were mailed to congressional reps, supposedly from Average Joes and Janes telling how the legislation would adversely affect their lives. Average Joes just trying to make a buck. Except the letters weren't from Average Joes. The letters were created by fat cat lobbyists pretending to be Average Joes. Fat cat lobbyists representing corporations who don't want to see the U.S. address climate change in any meaningful way.
The fact is, opposition to meaningful action on climate change has ALWAYS depended on not just willful ignorance, but also on the intentional and sleazy spreading of misinformation. The entities generating the misinformation are hoping it will get picked up by the willfully ignorant. The willfully ignorant then run with it as if it were gospel truth, giving legs to the lie.
Let's review: When scientists (and one well known politician) first started sounding the alarm on climate change, they were laughed at as Chicken Littles. A certain oil company known for thin hulled tankers spent a lot of money funding anyone who would say it's all a bunch of nonsense.
Fast forward a couple of years. Ok, maybe the climate is changing. Fine. But it's ridiculous to claim humans are causing it. Anyone who says so is a fool. After all, the earth has always cooled and warmed. (Not this much this quickly, but why quibble?) A certain oil company (known for stonewalling on reparations for wrecking a pristine Alaskan coastline) once again spent a lot of money funding anyone who would talk about "natural" over "manmade" causes.
Fast forward again: Well, sure, climate change is real. Did we ever say otherwise? We don't remember. And um, ok, it looks like humans are causing it after all. But we can't afford to do anything about it. By this time the oil company (known for dragging a case through the courts while Alaskans languished), has decided it's bad PR to fund deniers.
Whether the oil company's hand is in the current lobbying effort (I didn't check), there are plenty others crawling out from under rocks and stepping up to the plate to fund anyone willing to talk about the urgent need to not do anything at all. And, if they can't find actual people willing to talk about it, to make them up.
Now, it's possible that the proposed legislation isn't the perfect solution. From the perspective of many, in fact, it is not nearly enough. But if you have to generate fake grassroots letters in opposition, it's a good bet that you lack coherent arguments as to why the legislation is such a bad idea. In fact, it's a good bet that you don't so much care about the truth... which, in the case of oily corporations and their paid lobbyists spending money to oppose meaningful climate change action, has always been the case.