from Holman Jenkins at The Wall Street Journal, Press Is the Enemy of Climate
Unfortunately the U.S. media have become a positive hindrance to public understanding. Consider that systemization of banality known as Axios. Last week it told its presumably politically engaged readership that the way to “be smart” about climate change is to understand that “In climate science, one side is the scientific consensus, and the other is a small but vocal faction of people trying to fight it.”
In other words, reduce everything to a binary question of believers vs. deniers, good guys vs. bad guys. Here’s the sad truth: This narrative is mostly an invention of journalists for their own convenience. It relieves them of having to understand a complicated subject.
I’m not trying to be funny. Over the past 15 or 20 years, the climate beat has been handed over to reporter-activists who’ve decided that climate science is impenetrable but at least nobody ever got fired for exaggerating the risks of climate change.
Their ignorant crisis-babble is why electorates everywhere now believe climate and prosperity are necessarily at odds. Every study, including the U.S. government’s latest, shows the opposite: Continued prosperity is essential to mitigating the risks of climate change.
The strength of a consensus can me measured by its tolerance for dissent. A consensus with strong factual support is not afraid of skeptics.
How much would you bet on the price of oil in 30 years? Or the price of corn or computer chips? Yet we are willing to make an enormously costly bet on the climate several decades out, which is subject to far more uncontrollable and unknowable elements? Why? Because we are playing with other people’s money. The cost of virtue signaling is zero.
When the bill is no longer restrained in elegant committee rooms, limousines, and private jets you get the response like the riots in Paris.