The world continues to globalize, particularly information. One of the results of this is that when we hear news of global warming we confront not just our role in pollution, but our place as global citizens with all the implications.
This is heavy stuff. By analogy, software often must be recompiled to handle new data sources. The worldview, similarly, must be reworked. It requires a reintegration of the umwelt (Wikipedia: “Umwelt”)—the mental environment. It is the sort of psychological upheaval that requires a remooring in the new, emerging culture, but it’s occurring to broad swaths of man on a random, ongoing basis.
Major changes are challenging, and doubly so when the people are in denial. Job losses, relationship turmoil, financial ruin. Sudden awareness of being a member of not just your community, state, or country, but part of a broader order that includes people who don’t watch football.
While Republicans may have other, prurient interests in denying climate change, those may coincide with an aversion to this reintegration. The conservative mind is generally uncomfortable with the foreign (which is recognizable in the right’s zeal for war—the attack on and taming of the foreign). With each report of islands being subsumed by the tide, of glacial melt, of flooding and drought, all in places unpronouncable and unknown to their tongues, the conservative mind is reminded that the world exists beyond its borders and beyond its control.
Like global warming, globalization has real consequences that denial will make worse. Indeed, in many ways they will be one crisis of one cause. And at this late date, both are inevitable, but the harms can be mitigated. But not with current leadership. There are Republicans who have left office who suggest carbon pricing of one form or another. The Republican bloc rejects that, as they reject programs to protect workers from globalization while allowing it to occur.
By carefully using globalization, greater autonomy on some issues can be sent to the local level while strengthening the rights of the universal declaration. Energy consumption and production can be balanced and carbon pollution reduced and eliminated. But it takes the desire to see done, which serving Republicans lack as a bloc.
But change will come. Younger Republicans know climate change is a real threat. Educated Republicans know that global trading is not going away, and that it is a net-positive. The question remains, will change come soon enough?
The 2018 midterms are in about seven weeks.