But if you watched the debate on Friday, you didn't see people who've thought hard about a crucial issue, and are trying to do the right thing. What you saw, instead, were people who show no sign of being interested in the truth. They don't like the political and policy implications of climate change, so they've decided not to believe in it — and they'll grab any argument, no matter how disreputable, that feeds their denial.Because the overwhelming - and still increasing - scientific evidence demonstrates that climate change presents a "clear and present danger to our way of life, perhaps even to civilization itself," he calls the denial of climate change "irresponsible and immoral."
In an aside (and as an economist), he further bolsters his case with this zinger:
Given this contempt for hard science, I’m almost reluctant to mention the deniers’ dishonesty on matters economic. But in addition to rejecting climate science, the opponents of the climate bill made a point of misrepresenting the results of studies of the bill’s economic impact, which all suggest that the cost will be relatively low.(Further info on the economic misrepresentation he mentions here and here.)
In the US-China climate debate, although there is still a lot to be settled, at the very least it seems that the top leadership of both nations agree on the core science of what is causing climate change and where we need to be - in terms of global emission reductions - by what date.
On this point, earlier this month, I was encouraged by what Todd Stern, the US' top climate negotiator, had to say when speaking at the Center for American Progress:
Q: I wonder if you might comment, in talking to Chinese officials, do you feel you're speaking on the basis of the same science?(Transcript here). Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the US' own legislature.
MR. STERN: ...I have not had a sense that [the Chinese] are in some completely different place with respect to what the underlying science is...in terms of the overall kind of dynamics – where we're going, where need to go – I don't think it's a dramatically different assessment.