Should climate change be up for debate? | The Tylt
Despite overwhelming scientific consensus, only 48 percent of Americans believe human activity is responsible for climate change. Politicians at the highest levels of government, as well as the average American, either doubt the effects of climate change or think it's an outright hoax. Scientists and environmental activists are urging for immediate action on climate change—otherwise they warn it may be too late. Should we still be debating climate change? ⛈
Should climate change be up for debate?
According to a survey in the journal Environmental Research Letters, 92 percent of biophysical scientists believe climate change is real and humans are responsible for it. This is contrasted by the population at large, where only 48 percent of Americans believe climate change is caused by humans, 31percent believe nature is responsible, and a full 20 percent believe there is no evidence for climate change.
Climate change activist Bill McKibben says the time for talk is over. Society has spent the past few decades talking about climate change, and it has gotten us nowhere. In fact, it's only sown doubt into a discussion that's largely settled in the scientific community. There's no more time for debate because we must take action against climate change immediately. Otherwise we may not have a habitable planet on which to have these debates.
For years, our leaders chose to ignore the warnings of our best scientists and top military strategists. Global warming, they told us, was beginning a stealth campaign that would lay waste to vast stretches of the planet, uprooting and killing millions of innocent civilians. But instead of paying heed and taking obvious precautions, we chose to strengthen the enemy with our endless combustion; a billion explosions of a billion pistons inside a billion cylinders have fueled a global threat as lethal as the mushroom-shaped nuclear explosions we long feared. Carbon and methane now represent the deadliest enemy of all time, the first force fully capable of harrying, scattering, and impoverishing our entire civilization.
Instead of spending time talking about climate change McKibben says the U.S., along with the rest of the world, must mobilize and fight a war on climate change. According to the majority of scientists, the international community is on track to wreck the planet. Climate change deniers are right; they say climate scientists have been getting their forecasts wrong—things are happening faster and worse than expected. It's time to take action.
What would that “far more stringent effort” require? For years now, climate scientists and leading economists have called for treating climate change with the same resolve we brought to bear on Germany and Japan in the last world war. In July, the Democratic Party issued a platform that called for a World War II–type national mobilization to save civilization from the “catastrophic consequences” of a “global climate emergency.” In fact, Hillary Clinton’s negotiators agreed to plans for an urgent summit “in the first hundred days of the next administration” where the president will convene “the world’s best engineers, climate scientists, policy experts, activists, and indigenous communities to chart a course to solve the climate crisis.”
The truth is we don't talk enough about climate change. While the scientific community has reached a consensus, it's clear that the American people haven't. Many on the other side of the debate find climate change denial abhorrent, but that still leaves the fact that 31 percent of Americans think climate change is caused by nature and 20 percent think it's not real at all.
Without healthy debate, 50 percent of Americans will continue to deny climate change and oppose taking the action necessary. Environmental Protection Agency director Scott Pruitt says we need debate because the American people haven't decided what they want to do.
"Science tells us the climate is changing and human activity in some matter impacts that change," Pruitt said. "The ability to measure and pursue the degree and the extent of that impact and what to do about it are subject to continuing debate and dialogue."
Even Ikea thinks the time for talk is over.
Debate on taxes, health care, foreign policy doesn't preclude action. No issue requires 100% consensus, except climate change, apparently— Rebecca Leber (@rebleber) March 29, 2017