Climate Change Skeptics
People like package deals. When you are a part of a community, it's nice to be able to adopt all of that community's attitudes and values. So if your group of people is anti-abortion and anti-Obama, and they also turn out to dispute climate change, well, let's join in that, too.
That is one theory as to why many Orthodox Jews are dismissive of global warming. Jonathan Rosenblum knocks it here, here, and here (where he accuses others of not being empiricists!) and R. Avi Shafran expresses skepticism here and here (where he quotes Michael Crichton?! I loved Jurassic Park, but I would hardly cite Crichton as an authority).
Another possibility is that it may be part of a general attitude of skepticism towards science. With evolution being the hottest topic in science for religious people, and the overwhelming consensus of scientists being in favor of it, it is natural that anti-evolutionists would feel a need to attack the scientific edifice in any way that they can.
A third possibility is that it has to do with the same mistaken theological worldview that led Sefer HaChinnuch, Malbim and others to deny the possibility that species go extinct. One trusts that God is taking good care of the world, and that we don't need to take responsibility (cf. R. Shafran writing about natural catastrophes being prevented by "Divine Guidance.")
What I don't believe is that this dismissiveness is the result of clear, rational assessment of the evidence and of the scientific consensus. As demonstrated with evolution, these people do not have shining records with such things. And just compare Rosenblum's presentation of surveys of scientific opinion with that presented on Wikipedia. In any case, the majority of scientists clearly believe in global warming, and I seem to recall Charedim being very into the idea of following the majority, or even being yotzei according to all views - not dismissing the majority in favor of the minority.
Whatever the cause of their antipathy towards climate change (I would like to hear readers' suggestions), the recent scandal over severely inappropriate behavior by some climate scientists is bound to have been greeted with glee, and we can probably expect an article to appear on Cross-Currents soon.
Personally, I am far from an expert on climate change. But I do know how to determine the majority opinion of experts, and I see no reason to dispute them any more here than with the age of the universe. I can't see a secular (or any other) bias that would account for their conclusions, while I can certainly see the flaws with the anti-global warming crowd. In addition, it makes perfect sense to me that the amount of chemicals we put into the atmosphere would change it! With regard to the scandal of climategate, this looks to me to be the same as Piltdown Man or Haeckel's embryos: utterly shameful, but it doesn't mean that the overall model is false. One has to look at the context in which the emails were written, and in general to look at the overall picture.
I think that it would be wise to remember the words of the Midrash:
“Look at the work of God, for who can rectify that which he has damaged” (Ecclesiastes 7:13) – At the time when God created Adam, He took him around the trees of the Garden of Eden, and He said to him, “Look at My works, how beautiful and praiseworthy they are! Everything that I created, I created for you; take care that you do not damage and destroy My world, for if you damage it, there is no one to repair it afterwards!” (Midrash Koheles Rabbah 7:19)