A Nobel laureate says people who question climate dogma deserve to be “punished in the afterlife.”
Paul Krugman has been employed as a columnist by the New York Times since 1999. Additionally, he works as an economics professor at Princeton University and is the author of numerous books, some of which have been bestsellers. In 2008, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics.
In other words, Krugman is smart, accomplished, well-connected, and handsomely paid for what he does (the Nobel alone earned him $1.4 million). He’s a star, with access to an enormous megaphone.
So what does this prince among men do with that megaphone? Today he wrote a blog post that contained the following:
You can deny global warming (and may you be punished in the afterlife for doing so – this kind of denial for petty personal or political reasons is an almost inconceivable sin). But can anyone deny that more drivers means more traffic congestion?
Krugman is singing the praises of public transit and condemning the use of private automobiles. When he talks about people “denying global warming” he’s being imprecise, he’s using shorthand.
We all know that the world has gradually warmed since the Little Ice Age came to an end in the mid-1800s. That’s not what Krugman means. He’s talking about climate skeptics, people who remain unconvinced that human-produced greenhouse gases are causing dramatic and harmful climate change.
Among those people is the eminent physicist Freeman Dyson, who taught at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study for more than four decades. A few years ago, the New York Times published an 8,000-word profile of Dyson. It reported that other scientists consider him to be almost in a class of his own, he’s so brilliant and so widely admired.
What does Dyson think of our current global warming obsession? He says things such as:
When I listen to the public debates about climate change, I am impressed by the enormous gaps in our knowledge, the sparseness of our observations and the superficiality of our theories. [source]
In a 2007 interview, Dyson made the following remarks:
Climate change is part of the normal order of things, and we know it was happening before humans came.
Just because you see pictures of glaciers falling into the ocean doesn’t mean anything bad is happening. This is something that happens all the time. It’s part of the natural cycle of things.
The idea that global warming is the most important problem facing the world is total nonsense and is doing a lot of harm. It distracts people’s attention from much more serious problems.
Dyson is a scientist, respected by other scientists. His expertise is closely connected to the climate question. Krugman, on the other hand, is an economist who can claim little direct knowledge of climate science.
Yet according to Krugman, anyone who has reservations about climate dogma cannot possibly be informed, sincere, or thoughtful. They don’t have good reasons for thinking the way they do. Rather, they are petty. They are motivated by personal considerations. They have a political agenda.
Such people, moreover, are committing an almost inconceivable sin for which Krugman hopes they will be punished in the afterlife.
Anyone who deviates from my religious beliefs deserves to burn in hell.
This is the climate debate in the 21st century. This is the quality of analysis exhibited by a Nobel laureate.