Here’s what makes me suspicious of the politics of climate denialists.
Whether or not you believe the evidence turned out by that part of the scientific community that is convinced climate change is taking place, there is a compelling logic behind following the precautionary approach.
For our purposes here, I’ll define “the precautionary approach” according to the terms used in Principle 15 of the 1992 Rio Declaration, i.e., “when there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.” [emphasis mine]
Think of it this way. Even if climate change is not taking place, or if whatever change that is taking place is entirely unrelated to human activity, does it not make sense to take better care of the planet, burn fewer dead dinosaurs, and live a more sustainable life, particularly when those measures do not impose an undue burden on individuals or the government?
This approach is neither liberal nor radical. It is rooted in the values that many of us cherish and that we have inherited from the generations that have come before us: frugality, manifested by an aversion to needless waste; an abiding respect for the land rooted in our agrarian heritage; and an aversion to becoming dependent on foreign nations, our government, or big business.
The appropriate Republican approach to climate change is, therefore, neither outright acceptance nor denial, but precautionary wisdom.