Paul Krugman: 'If the Planet Is Doomed, It's the Republicans' Fault'

Paul Krugman is in a feisty, somewhat dark mood in Friday’s column. Anticipating that whatever is decided in Paris about climate change will likely be inadequate, he is ready to predict that the world may well be doomed:

And if we are, you know who will be responsible: the Republican Party.

O.K., I know the reaction of many readers: How partisan! How over the top! But what I said is, in fact, the obvious truth. And the inability of our news media, our pundits and our political establishment in general to face up to that truth is an important contributing factor to the danger we face.

He’s not wrong. Anyone who follows the presidential debate knows that “most of the contenders for the Republican presidential nomination are solidly in the anti-science camp.”

There is no parallel for the insanity of the denial of agreed-on science on the part of Republicans. Apparently mainstream politicians in the party subscribe to wild conspiracy theories, and the notion that all of science is somehow perpetrating a giant hoax on the American people. It’s nuts. There is no parallel even among conservative parties in other countries.

It’s true that conservative parties across the West tend to be less favorable to climate action than parties to their left. But in most countries — actually, everywhere except America and Australia — these parties nonetheless support measures to limit emissions. And U.S. Republicans are unique in refusing to accept that there is even a problem. Unfortunately, given the importance of the United States, the extremism of one party in one country has enormous global implications.

By rights, then, the 2016 election should be seen as a referendum on that extremism. But it probably won’t be reported that way. Which brings me to what you might call the problem of climate denial denial.

This is a condition that Krugman diagnoses even among moderate Repubicans, who will line up to support whoever is nominated, crazy extremist views or not, and who will continue to delude themselves that the party will one day talk modicum of sense again.

Dream on.

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