Something unusual happened on Morning Joe, Tuesday. A conservative got the opportunity to fight back against the accepted liberal assumptions, encouraging “skepticism" about a new governmental global warming report that makes projections over the next 100 years. At one point, right-leaning author and Commentary editor Noah Rothman told the MSNBC hosts that “hysteria has never done anything to solve this crisis.”
Morning Joe anchor Willie Geist began the panel discussion by addressing Rothman:
So, Noah, there are climate change deniers, but then there are people I think whom President Trump is giving voice to there, conservatives who say: “I don’t believe it’s as man-made as some of these scientists say. I don’t believe we should overhaul our economy and change our country completely based on climate change.”
Is that a fair assessment of where conservatives are on climate change?
Rothman agreed but added: “There’s also sort of a finer distinction, but one that is necessary, too, which is that a projection of specific impacts is something that we should look on with skepticism because it has been proven in the past that these projections of very specific impacts failed to meet expectation.”
Geist responded that “the temperatures are rising and sea levels are rising is not disputable at this point. Your question is whether the long-term projections can be taken as gospel.”
“Correct,” the guest replied before including “the impacts that we are going to take in order to prevent the catastrophic effects.”
Rothman then noted that 10 years ago, executives in the automobile industry made a “bad bet” on “rising oil prices, a straight-line projection into the future.”
“It turned out that making small cars did not appeal to a market in which gas prices were lowered as a result of innovation,” he stated. “Betting against human intervention is a bad bet.”
At that point, liberal panelist Mike Barnicle joined the discussion by stating: “I would submit that that’s a pretty big gamble to take” before asking Rothman if he has any children or grandchildren:
Are you willing to gamble on their future?
Because they’re going to be either paying the bill for our fault for not dealing with this or they’re going to be living lives that are nowhere near the quality of life that we have.
“I very much respect that response,” Rothman answered, “and it is one that we can’t dismiss because it is powerful and resonant, ... but it is nevertheless a response that could also produce hysteria, and hysteria has never done anything to solve this crisis.”
“Alternatively, it could produce government policy that tries to address this issue,” BBC World News America anchor Katty Kay said before asserting that the “overwhelming trajectory of the scientific evidence all points to the same thing, which is that the globe is warming, and that it is majority man-made.”
“We base policy on projections all the time outside of climate,” Daily Beast politics editor Sam Stein then stated. “We do projections on military stuff, on health-care costs, on economic matters all the time. And we base policy around that, so it’s not abnormal to do something like that.”
In addition, “we have a government that can respond to mini-crises with incredible speed. For instance, we have people at the border right now, a couple thousand migrants who rushed the border.”
“We sent troops down there; we’ve created a whole entire policy around this because we feel it’s an acute problem that we have to deal with right now," Stein continued.
Rothman replied: “I don’t think anybody is saying that we should not base policy on projections. The problem of carbon emissions, which is a problem, is being addressed not through regulatory measures but through private-sector enterprise and demand.”
Geist then concluded the panel on what he considered a hopeful note by claiming that issues regarding climate change are now “resonating with young voters.”