Are climate change deniers like creationists?
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The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that the world's largest business lobby is pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to hold a public hearing to defend its endangerment finding, which determined that greenhouse gases are pollutants that pose a threat to public health and welfare and can therefore be regulated by the EPA under the Clean Air Act.
The Times describes what the Chamber has in mind:
Chamber officials say it would be "the Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century" -- complete with witnesses, cross-examinations and a judge who would rule, essentially, on whether humans are warming the planet to dangerous effect.
"It would be evolution versus creationism," said William Kovacs, the chamber's senior vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs. "It would be the science of climate change on trial."
In a press release, the advocacy group Republicans for Environmental Protection bristled at the Chamber's apparent swipe at creationists, and what the group called "a cynical attempt to pit science against religion."
"The Scopes trial is a false comparison. Regardless of what one believes about the earth's origins, the facts about the global carbon cycle do not change. Excess carbon is stored away in coal and oil deposits. By burning large quantities of coal and oil, we release that excess carbon back into the atmosphere, upsetting the natural balance," said David Jenkins, the group's vice president for government and political affairs. "The chamber's efforts are both imprudent and impious."
Earlier this year, Mr. Jenkins penned an article titled "God’s Climate Plan" [PDF], which argues that Christians should be concerned about climate change.
If the Chamber is indeed taking a shot at creationism, they're probably alienating many core supporters. According to a 2008 Gallup poll, some 60 percent of Republicans believe that humans were created "as is" within the last 10,000 years, compared with 38 percent of Democrats. This belief is soundly refuted by the overwhelming empirical evidence that shows that humans evolved over millions of years.
But if you flip the Chamber's analogy – comparing pundits who reject the science of climate change to those who reject the science of evolution – the comparison becomes decidedly apt.