Christopher Hitchens, noted iconoclast, skeptic, scourge of Mother Theresa and harsh critic of the left, passed away yesterday, of a pneumonia that was a complication of esophageal cancer. He was 62.
Christopher Hitchens was a highly intelligent guy, although his anti-religious writing, which is probably the thing he was most known for, for me had a harsh, intolerant lilt to it. On foreign policy, he was far to the right, with a predictably anti-Islamic slant. I was curious if he had anything to say on the subject of climate change.
He does not appear to have written on the subject, but he did address it in a video in 2007 (h/t Daily Kos), when he got it, somewhat to my surprise, pretty much exactly right:
The argument about global warming is not whether there is any warming but whether or not and to what extent human activity is responsible for it. My line on that is that we should act as if it is, for this reason, which I borrowed from Jonathan Schell's book on the nuclear question, The Fate of the Earth: We don't have another planet on which to run the experiment. Just as we don't have a right to run an experiment to run an experiment in nuclear exchange on this planet, we have no right to run an experiment in warming it either. So if it turned out to be that there was no severe global warming threat or that it wasn't man-made, then all we would have done would be make a mistake in analysis - which we could correct from. But if it turned out that there was and we didn't do anything about it, then it would be too late to do anything at all. And that would lead to disaster.