Digby has had an embarrassing series of posts (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight) recently where she tries to figure out just what the dickens could possibly cause anyone to engage in climate change denialism. The usual complaints the liberals trot out against their traditional rival team, the Wingnuts, are once again trotted out, and as usual it's a hilarious bunch of narcissism. My favorite is probably the second one, where she approvingly quotes the reliably narrow Amanda Marcotte ("I think she nailed it") saying that it's all about pissing off liberals. Honestly. And I suppose, Digby, that you support gay marriage just to piss of conservatives? What a load of self-adoring nonsense.
Now, I am not by any means a climate change denialist. I'm pretty much 100% sure that anthropogenic climate change is going to severely wreak havoc on human (and other) society within my lifetime. Millions will die, many more millions will be displaced, starve, suffer, and eventually also die. It's going to be very, very bad. The science overwhelmingly indicates this.
However, the people who deny all this (and I'm talking about people, not creatures like politicians and businessmen), though they are wrong, have very good reason to think it's all a bunch of shit. Many of the most vocal climate change celebrities (as opposed to scientists; I'm talking now about creatures like Al Gore here) stand to profit immensely off of the systems they propose to combat this catastrophe--systems that deniers and intellectually honest advocates alike readily recognize are wholly inadequate. And really, what are any of us to make of Al Gore, who claims that this is the struggle of his life, but who was a member of the administration that neutered and neutered and neutered the Kyoto accords before they refused to sign them, essentially forcing a worthless (but expensive) treaty on the rest of the world? And this is one of the less shitty things he's been involved in. The whole "green" movement has been turned into another corporatist, consumerist, and potentially militaristic profit machine, just like everything else in this shithole of a world we've made for ourselves. It's about as good for our ecosystems as the "(red)" nonsense is for the AIDS-ridden nation of Africa (what do you mean, it's not all one country?), which is to say that it is at best no help, and probably worse than that.
Unfortunately, none of this means that climate change isn't happening. It is, and every single goddamn thing any of us does makes it worse. Trying to fight it on an individual level is like trying to buy anything from anyone without in some way supporting the military: it ain't gonna happen. Unfortunately, again, the individual level is all we have, because our only influential collective systems are government and corporations, and look at all the good they're doing.
Basically, the deniers fall victim to the false belief that the truth of the science is in some way dependent on the honesty of the celebrity messengers. Unfortunately, many of the liberal climate change believers (and "believers" they are, with all that that word implies) fall victim to exactly the same belief.