George Will is 71 years old. He’s simply running out the clock.
Yes, he’s utterly and ridiculously wrong about climate change, but he’s been denying it for so long that his denial of it has become an essential part of his identity — how he perceives himself, how others perceive him, and how he perceives others’ perception of him. So this would not be an easy thing to correct.
He could try to correct it, but that would involve effort, education and embarrassment — embarrassment that a sagacious intellectual required the effort of education. But the greater obstacle may be that matter of identity. Correcting his position on climate change would require Will not just to admit that he’s been wrong about something important, but that he is someone who was capable of getting it wrong on something important. I don’t think he can handle that.
So he’s running out the clock. The evidence that climate change is real — that it cannot be denied by anyone with a shred of credibility — becomes more obvious every day, but may not be overwhelmingly undeniable for a few more decades. And in a few more decades, George Will won’t have to worry about that.
By, say, 2060, climate change will be so obvious and such a large part of life that those who spent the late 20th century and early 21st century denying it will look like fools. But our children will be too busy actually dealing with the mess we’ve left them to bother wasting much time singling out George Will for ridicule.
And he’ll be long dead by then, so it won’t bother him one way or the other.
So he’s just running out the clock.
That makes sense. Or, rather, that makes sense if your main concern is preserving your own delusional self-esteem and if you don’t give a rat’s ass about future generations.