You now have two choices with local weatherman Cliff Mass. One, you can continue to play his games, which go on and on and on without going anywhere; or, two, you can simply conclude that he is on the side of climate denial. The editorial board of the Seattle Times is on this side. And so is the whole Republican Party and its predictable leader. But what's important to keep in mind at all times (the light in the media fog), is that climate denial is not about denying (and therefore improving) the facts. This is just an expression of something else, namely the blocking or preventing or delaying of any kind of political action that might diminish the power or threatens the survival of a section of the energy sector whose profits (private) entirely depend on the liberation of carbon from fossils into the atmosphere (public).

Support The Stranger

Climate denial is an expression of one of the many modes or attributes of the absolute. With this Spinozist schema—which, in my reformulation, describes the attributes as either cultural or natural—we can see that conatus ( "effort; endeavor; impulse, inclination, tendency; undertaking; striving") of each mode within a sector of the economy has different expressions. In the case of profit-driven carbon liberation, it is the fantasy of clean coal, the murder of a prominent Saudi Arabian journalist, and Cliff Mass's emphasis on scientific uncertainty.

There really is nothing else to be said about Cliff Mass. He represents an expression of the mode that strives when fossil fuels are burned in a world directed by the bad infinity that compels the endless multiplication of culturally codified units of account (money making more money) as its defining relationship with nature, the absolute. The expressions of this mode are numerous because human social power (which surges from the absolute) is determined by the culture of units of account (monetary wealth). There is not much of a mystery here. All that's needed is access to Wikipedia to see that seven of the top 10 corporations in the world have carbon liberation at their core.

History here has flatly refused to move forward in the manner much celebrated by entrepreneurs. There has been no Schumpeterian creative destruction, a capitalist (supposedly practical) motor of history that recalls Hegel's mystical "ruse," which, in turn, recalls Adam Smith's sober "invisible hand." In the age of global warming, these prove to have very limited to no explanatory power. Instead, we find—on the web, in major political institutions in the West and developing capitalist nations, even at major universities in the apparently progressive Pacific Northwest—rampant climate denial that has nothing as its essence (or state of being—ontology) than the blocking of any kind of future that is not consistent with the continuation (conatus) of the bad infinity that's represented by the units of account ever-concentrating in the leading global energy corporations.