Despite Al Gore and friends' best hopes, not everyone on the left is running around proclaiming catastrophe when it comes to global warming. One such liberal is Alexander Cockburn who is uneasy about just how close alarmist global warming rhetoric seems to be to a religion:
In a couple of hundred years, historians
will be comparing the frenzies over our supposed human contribution
to global warming to the tumults at the latter end of the tenth
century as the Christian millennium approached. Then, as now,
the doomsters identified human sinfulness as the propulsive factor
in the planet's rapid downward slide.
Then as now, a buoyant market
throve on fear. The Roman Catholic Church was a bank whose capital
was secured by the infinite mercy of Christ, Mary and the Saints,
and so the Pope could sell indulgences, like checks. The sinners
established a line of credit against bad behavior and could go
on sinning. Today a world market in "carbon credits"
is in formation. Those whose "carbon footprint" is
small can sell their surplus carbon credits to others, less virtuous
The modern trade is as fantastical
as the medieval one. There is still zero empirical evidence
that anthropogenic production of CO2 is making any measurable
contribution to the world's present warming trend. The greenhouse
fearmongers rely entirely on unverified, crudely oversimplified
computer models to finger mankind's sinful contribution. Devoid
of any sustaining scientific basis, carbon trafficking is powered
by guilt, credulity, cynicism and greed, just like the old indulgences,
though at least the latter produced beautiful monuments. By the
sixteenth century, long after the world had sailed safely through
the end of the first millennium, Pope Leo X financed the reconstruction
of St. Peter's Basilica by offering a "plenary" indulgence,
guaranteed to release a soul from purgatory.
Cockburn spends some additional time on the science behind it all in the rest of the article. Read it for a user-friendly look.
Hat tip: Matthew Yglesias, who really ought to know better than thinking all global warming skeptics are funded by omnipresent "Big Oil."