Even if we ignore casualty, climate change is real. Polar ice caps are melting; species are becoming extinct; and the pH of the oceans is falling. As it is, the scientific consensus, at least embodied in the the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and among other research entities, is that human activities quite likely cause climate change. (According to NASA's reading of the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report, the probability that human activities over the last 250 years have warmed our planet exceeds 90%.)
AAAS president Nina Fedoroff also made an interesting point: "Belief systems, especially when tinged with fear, are not easily dispersed with facts." The implication here is that people who reject science may reject it further as climate science presents them with scary facts. And the simple truth is that we should have fear - not paralyzing fear but healthy, natural fear. For instance, an upcoming article by Pierre Rampal, a researcher at the Department of Earth, Atmosphere, and Planetary Sciences at MIT, suggests that the IPCC estimates, which are themselves provocative, are actually too conservative.
Enter Santorum. I hesitate to single him out from other candidates but his recent statements are quite relevant. The former Senator and Republic presidential candidate recently in eastern Ohio said that "I refer to global warming as not climate science but political science." Another quote implied that President Obama maintains a "world view that elevates the earth above man." Elsewhere he has said: this "idea that man is here to serve the earth, as opposed to husband its resources and be good stewards of the earth - I think that is a phony ideal." Ignoring his use of language, he overlooks a) the idea that humans might have a mutually beneficial relationship with the earth and, more importantly, b) we aren't 'husbanding' earth resources.
If Santorum had any scientific training, he might step back and ask himself a few questions: Is man (or woman) above the earth? How can we be greater than that which makes us - at least on a physical level? Could it be that the very attitude that we are greater than the Earth is why we are in such trouble. These are not trivial questions; and I don't pretend to have definitive answers. But I wonder if Santorum has the ability to handle them with substance.
I believe in God. And I even believe that evil is probably getting stronger in the world (as is ignorance).* However, I also believe in science; and I know decisively that climate change and other environmental issues could soon define the 21st century just as science and technology defined the 20th century. Furthermore, I don't necessarily believe we need to look to administrative and state solutions to climate change as much as innovation-based and market solutions. It is also worth noting that just as people seem to ignore climate science, many ignore the evolving scientific knowledge of macroeconomics and financial economics when it comes to setting policy - a subject I will leave for another day.
Post Script: One of the concepts I do advocate with the option3 project is ability to look beyond rationality. There are many reasons why one might do this. I'll leave that subject for another day except to share this link, which sheds light on one set of conditions where rationality can break down.
* Post Script (November 2013): If evil is getting stronger so is its antithesis.