While agnostic about the raging controversies of climate science, Scruton understands that the principal difficulty with the whole issue is that it was exalted above all other issues and “lifted . . . entirely clear of normal politics”; “the ordinary politics of compromise [was brought] to a sudden stop.” The main proposed solution — suppression of fossil fuels — evinces “a sense of dream-like unreality. Unreal targets, pursued in ignorance of the means to achieve them, and without any conception of how the attempt to do so will impinge on popular sentiment, on competing goals, and on the many other factors that wise government must consider, have dominated the remedies to climate change, both in the schemes of politicians and in the exhortations of activists.”
Scruton is not blind to the bad faith of the environmental Left, which sees global warming as a vehicle to extend broader control over human beings: “Great emergencies require top-down solutions. . . . For many people the curbing of human activity is the goal.” And “radical egalitarians are not satisfied with a policy that does not have a world-transforming character.” As such, therefore, environmentalists are ironically the chief obstacle to dealing with climate change, whatever its dimensions or causes: They will have to get over their innate hostility to the Industrial Revolution if answers to climate change (such as adaptation) are to work.