On Friday, Greenwire published a very interesting interview with Jerry Taylor, every climate advocate’s favorite Libertarian. The interview chronicles Taylor’s journey from climate skeptic to climate believer. For those of you who don’t know his story, Taylor left the Cato Institute to found the Niskanen Center, where he works on promoting Libertarian solutions to climate change.
I’ve seen stories about Taylor before and Greenwire’s piece is an excellent interview (and thanks to Greenwire for taking this out from behind its pay wall and making it available for free!). The real reason I’m posting about it, though, is that it got me thinking. Taylor is not the only climate skeptic who’s become a believer – but one sure does not see many stories about climate believers becoming skeptics.
One might wonder why that is, though I confess that the answer seems obvious to me. Reading the Taylor interview, which does go through his conversion in detail, brought home the point that, if one has an open mind, the conversion process can only run one way.
Climate skeptics like to talk as though they are scientific heroes, fighting today’s dogma until some paradigm shift reveals to the world that they were right all along. However, in the world of scientific revolutions, the revolutionaries pile decade of evidence upon decade of evidence before the new paradigm overwhelms the old. Sorry, but that’s not the case here. Climate skeptics seem to me to be much more like those who point to gaps in the fossil record and somehow create an entire edifice that they think undermines evolution.
We’re still waiting for the intelligent design paradigm shift and we’re going to be waiting a long time for the climate skeptic paradigm shift. In the meantime, believers of all stripes should welcome Jerry Taylor. We need all kinds of smart people advocating for all kinds of solutions to climate change. Let’s hope he brings more Libertarian believers to the fight.