Liberal Biases, Too, May Block Progress on Climate Change via The New York Times

By Eduardo Porter

Are liberals impairing our ability to combat climate change?

That may sound like a strange question, particularly to readers of The New York Times. Today conservatives are the ones decidedly blocking any effort by the United States to curb its emissions of greenhouse gases.

And yet even as progressive environmentalists wring their hands at the G.O.P.’s climate change denial, there are biases on the left that stray just as far from the scientific consensus.

“The left is turning anti-science,” Marc Andreessen, the creator of Netscape who as a venture capitalist has become one of the most prominent thinkers of Silicon Valley, told me not long ago.
Ted Cruz’s argument that climate change is a hoax to justify a government takeover of the world is absurd. But Bernie Sanders’s argument that “toxic waste byproducts of nuclear plants are not worth the risks of the technology’s benefit” might also be damaging.

He was reflecting broadly about science and technology. His concerns ranged from liberals’ fear of genetically modified organisms to their mistrust of technology’s displacement of workers in some industries. “San Francisco is an interesting case,” he noted. “The left has become reactionary.”

Still, liberal biases may be most dangerous in the context of climate change, the most significant scientific and technological challenge of our time. For starters, they stand against the only technology with an established track record of generating electricity at scale while emitting virtually no greenhouse gases: nuclear power.

“When science is aligned with big corporations the left immediately, intuitively perceives the technology as not benefiting the greater good but only benefiting the corporation,” said Matthew Nisbet, an expert on the communication of science at Northeastern University.

So when assessing the risks of different technological options, the left finds the risk of nuclear energy looming the highest, regardless of contrary evidence.

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2 Responses to Liberal Biases, Too, May Block Progress on Climate Change via The New York Times

  1. norma field says:

    Exasperatingly shallow article failing to consider, on the one hand, the practical burdens entailed in producing sufficient numbers of nuclear power plants expeditiously to make a difference and, on the other hand, and the enormity of the ongoing calamity of Chernobyl and Fukushima, to point only to the most recent egregious examples.

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