Sat. Jul 20th, 2019

Climate Change – A Noble Cause Corrupted

3 min read

Photo by Agustín Lautaro on Unsplash

Climate change is arguably the most contentious debate of our lifetime; some people dismiss it as a complete hoax whereas others completely embrace it. There is no doubt that a scientific consensus exists on the issue of climate change but there is also some data that has not yet been explored and there are investigations that need to be done that hasn’t been done so maybe it’s not as bad as we originally thought because there are other contributing factors. We know the temperature is rising but what percentage of that is from carbon dioxide and what percentage of that is from changes in local measurement environment? The ability to attribute this appropriately is this still an open question. Another pressing question is the reliability of the models used to predict the Earth’s future under global warming; computer models are merely a guess at what will happen in the future but even that guess is at best arguably poor. Is it reasonable to think we can predict the global climate in 100 years?

A major concern with the climate change debate is that there are a lot of people with political motivations invested, which unfortunately corrupts the noble cause. Global warming has become essentially a business in its own right; there is a lot of money involved and there is the tendency to want to keep this going. Part of doing this is through scare tactics by proponents of the issue because they know that most people do not respond well to fear and so they oversell to implement a sense of urgency when in reality this is a much slower problem that will unfold over a substantially longer period of time.

Political affiliation is one of the strongest correlates with individual uncertainty about climate change, not scientific knowledge. Majority of people are unable to interpret and validate the opinions of the scientific society which causes an increase in skepticism towards climate change. People rely on ideological preferences, personal experience and values instead of scientific fact to set the parameters for understanding the technical aspects of the climate debate; it has become yet another pawn in the so-called culture wars. People everywhere employ ideological filters that reflect their identity, worldview, and belief systems. These filters are strongly influenced by group values, and generally, endorse the position that most directly reinforces the connection people have with others in their referent group. Acceptance of climate change is seen as being aligned with liberal views consistent with other cultural issues such as abortion, gun control, health care, and evolution thus if you take this stance, you are reinforcing your own bias and sense of self. The only way to progress past this bias is to continuously challenge our own notions and rethink our ethics to keep pace with the intellectual and scientific demands of the climate change debate.

The issue of global warming is an existential challenge to the contemporary world; one that should concern primarily carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases, and climate modeling but instead it has been reduced to partisan divide. Furthermore, the approach to a sensible debate about climate change should not be championed by a radical child or similar doom-mongering minds. Instead of celebrating panic and outrage over global warming, politicians should internalize that fear and turn it into something substantial. When did we go from deferring to experts in the matter to deferring to someone who has not finished school? The climate change debate is a mature matter which warrants mature voices and we would do a lot better by avoiding these radical eco-warriors that only help infantilize the political debate around the subject.

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