Bret Stephens is a good writer and a bright conservative mind. From the paranoid demagoguery that has taken over the American right, to the threats facing democracy around the world, to American foreign policy, and more, he had valuable things to say about many topics on the Wall Street Journal editorial page. What he is not, however, is an authority on global warming or climate change.
So it is strange that such a talented columnist decided to write about climate change in his first column in his new role with The New York Times. While he didn’t dispute that climate change is happening, he did question whether scientists and reporters asserting it is happening, with what he characterized as “total certainty,” undermines their case.
The left-wing responded just as expected: Joe Romm, environmental obsessive of ThinkProgress/Climate Progress, and the very publicly activist climate scientist Michael Mann both said the Times never should have hired him, and Mann called for people to unsubscribe. Conservative predictably responded that the left is anti-free speech and doesn’t want a debate.
Both sides should spare us the unhinged hyperbole. Of course no one should unsubscribe from the Times just because of one columnist writing one column.
But at the same time, open debate about Stephens’ views—and those of anyone else—should be encouraged. The right says they want a debate. Let’s have one.