Just a quick follow-up to the previous post…
After the East Anglia flare-up, Paul Krugman was right to ask what fuels the rage behind climate denialism. Anyone who has perused any popular web site on environmental and climate issues will be struck both by the numbers and the utter vehemence of the denialist community. Looking at their own web sites is even more disconcerting (I won’t draw your attention to them; they’re easy enough to find).
One of the things that fuels this is, of course, that it’s well funded by the fossil fuel lobby (we’ve known that for years). Another is simply the organic totality of the American right, the evangelical-capitalist resonance machine, for whom climate change has become a hinge issue, just as abortion and gay marriage have been for some years now. Krugman puts it down to anti-intellectualism and “mommy party” politics — “Real men punish evildoers; they don’t adjust their lifestyles to protect the planet” — which sounds a little like George Lakoff’s argument about red staters’ “strict father” politics versus blue staters’ “nurturant mother” (which he later changed to “nurturant parent”) politics, an oversimplification that captures something, but misses more.
Identity, however, is clearly an important piece of it (as the Identity Campaigning blog knows), which is why global ecopolitics is now at least as much a matter of communication, image production, and cultural activism as it is of science or policy formulation.