The vice-chairman of General Motors, Bob Lutz, recently told a group of journalists that global warming is “a crock of shit.”
Needless to say, the blogosphere is up in arms. Why so much outrage? Lutz followed his statement by discussing plans for hybrid cars, a regret that GM allowed Toyota to corner the market with the Prius, and a push for GM’s own hybrid, the Volt. So why does anyone care what an executive at a car company thinks about a scientific debate?
The answer is that the global warming debate has long since left the realm of science. Scientists tend to produce tedious reports, full of charts, graphs, and long words. It’s so much easier to listen to Al Gore- a politician with no expertise to make him a credible source. Or, if you’re of the other camp, listen to Bob Lutz- who at least has the honesty to admit, “Having said that, my opinion doesn’t matter.”
Both sides of the global warming debate have pushed the issue from a scientific inquiry to a matter of faith. The critics of Bob Lutz are not angry that he is siding with one group of scientists over another. They are angry because he has broken the faith. Everyone loses when an undecided question of fact is co-opted by mysticism. The nature and causes of climate change are a valid topic for inquiry, but that inquiry is perverted and prevented by a movement that treats it as beyond question.