The right’s climate denial is awful. When they acknowledge climate, it’s even worse.
The problem isn’t just denying evidence, it’s only having crappy tools in your toolbox.
The town of Lytton in British Columbia Canada effectively ceased to exist this week. The heat dome driving up temperatures to an extraordinary level, the sort of thing climate scientists have been accurately predicting for decades, led them to break Canada’s all time heat record three days in a row: 46.1ºC (115º F) on Sunday, then 47.9ºC (118º F) Monday, and then 49.6ºC (121º F) on Tuesday. On Wednesday, an intense wildfire ripped rapidly through the town, obliterating most of the buildings. Climate scientists warned us that was coming, too. It’s not hard to understand. Higher heat evaporates moisture, drying forests into tinder ripe for conflagration, while it also adds to fire intensity. The whole town is pretty much gone, wiped off the map. The survivors are hardly the first climate refugees, nor will they be the last. There will be many more stories like this to come.
Just over three months earlier, the Conservative party of Canada held its annual convention, at which members vote on various policies. One such proposed policy would have simply stated that the party believes that climate change is real and that they are willing to act. Their new leader, Erin O’Toole, gave a speech to the delegates imploring them to understand that ignoring the reality of climate change would cost them the opportunity to court moderate voters in the next election. The delegates voted it down anyway. In 2021, the party not only wasn’t ready to imagine leadership on the topic, it still wasn’t ready to acknowledge that the problem even exists.
To people who have been advocating for climate action for literal decades, this is exasperating and disheartening, but not at all surprising. It has, after all, been a norm in right wing circles to deny this painfully obvious reality for so long. You can’t mention the topic at all on social media without invoking an immediate barrage of belligerent insults to your intelligence. Granted, the number of people outright denying the fact of climate change is dwindling as they grow increasingly aware how absurd it looks, although the vehemence of those remaining cranks up…