The Denial is the Hoax

The Denial is the Hoax


When I woke up last Wednesday after the election, I immediately thought about how the new congressional leadership would effect the environment. That process was scary in itself, yet it needed to be done because if you don't embrace reality you cannot progress. Reality check: the new congress will see men and women chairing or joining important committees to whom the whole idea of climate change is anathema. 

They have an agenda to boycott, divest and sanction (BDS) the EPA. They even want to roll back the more perfunctory environmental achievements of the Obama administration. One Senator in particular, James Inhofe from Oklahoma, is poised to become the new Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee … taking it over from Senator Barbra Boxer. Inhofe warrants particular concern because of statements he has made in his book The Greatest Hoax. Listening to Mr. Inhofe and reading excerpts of his book I kept shifting from chagrin to anxiety.

But then I remembered two things:

  1. Professor Leonard Jefferies who once said, “Don’t get mad, get glad…don’t scared, get prepared” and
  2. Naomi Klein who wrote in her book, This Changes Everything: "…that is what is behind the abrupt rise in climate change denial among hardcore conservatives: they have come to understand that as soon as they admit that climate change is real, they will lose the central ideological battle of our time –whether we need to plan and manage our societies to reflect our goals and values, or whether that task can be left to the magic of the market."

I agree that conservatives like Inhofe may actually believe that the science of climate change is real. But to acknowledge that science and the climate disruption it implicates requires a dogmatic shift from hyper-capitalism to, at least, some form of Natural Capitalism.

John F. Kennedy once remarked, “There’s something immoral about abandoning your own judgment.” Yet this is exactly what the incoming “climate deniers” (I think at this point it is appropriate to include quotations for that term moving forward) are doing. They are abandoning their judgment to protect an economic system that threatens our planet’s survival, because they reject the solutions necessary to curb climate disruption. And, by highlighting the true reason why the “climate deniers” reject climate disruption we can now conclude that the true hoax is in the denial itself.

What’s even worse is when people like Inhofe invoke religion and faith to de-legitimize climate disruption and bolster their science-fiction positions. As if being a person of faith automatically compels you to reject science and, in this case, reason. Inhofe has even gone as far as to say that climate change is the work of God. Tell that to my new friends at Interfaith Power & Light who Environmental Action just partnered with to urge Gina McCarthy and the EPA to implement methane emission standards. We cannot allow Inhofe and others to own the message as standard bearers for all people of faith; especially when a growing number realize that climate disruption is neither close to cleanliness nor Godliness.

We must prepare ourselves for the tough fight ahead, and this will mean developing new tactics in organizing, communicating and increasing the size of our movement. Together, we can develop a robust and effective strategy that allows us to take on Inhofe and the “deniers” and expose their denial for what it really is, a desperate hoax in a last ditch effort to protect hyper-capitalism and unsustainable levels of consumption.