Global warming alarmists have an unshakable faith that man-made carbon emissions will produce a hotter climate causing multiple natural disasters. Their insistence that we can be absolutely certain this will come to pass is based not on science -- which is never fully settled, witness the recent experiments that may undermine Einstein's theory of relativity -- but on something very much like religious faith.
All the trappings of religion are there. Original sin: Mankind is responsible for these prophesied disasters, especially those slobs who live on suburban cul-de-sacs and drive their SUVs to strip malls and tacky chain restaurants.
The need for atonement and repentance: We must impose a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system that will increase the cost of everything and stunt economic growth.
Ritual, from the annual Earth Day to weekly recycling.
Indulgences, like those Martin Luther railed against: private jet fliers like Al Gore and sitcom heiress Laurie David can buy carbon offsets to compensate for their carbon-emitting sins.
Corporate elitists, like General Electric's Jeff Immelt, profess to share this faith, just as cynical Venetian merchants and prim Victorian bankers gave lip service to the religious enthusiasms of their days. Bad for business not too. And if you're clever, you can figure out how to make money off it.
Believers in this religion have flocked to conferences in Rio de Janeiro, Kyoto and Copenhagen, just as Catholic bishops flocked to councils in Constance, Ferrara and Trent, to codify dogma and set new rules.