A harsh assessment? Yes, but it has to be said. The time has come to call a card by its name.
Of all the problems we face in the world today, climate change has to top the list. It’s global, it’s impending, and it’s irreversible, but there are steps we could take to mitigate the harm, if we start now, and we start on a large scale.
That’s what the Paris Accord was about: a coordinated, international effort to lower the emission of greenhouse gases which are the primary cause of global warming. Despite broadscale scientific support, Trump backed out of the Paris Accord. For whose benefit?
In Joseph J. Romm’s book “Language Intelligence” the author made a couple of simple yet astonishing observations that I could not stop thinking about. First, he said that “scientists don’t keep repeating things that they know” which is why scientists don’t issue a new argument or explanation for climate change every other day. Second, Romm wrote that “If facts alone were sufficient to persuade people, then experts in science would rule the world. But facts are not, and scientists do not.”
That second statement is so depressingly true that it’s hard not to question society as a whole.
Climate-change deniers are usually not scientists, and if they are, they’re not very good scientists. More often than not, they’re retired old cranks so starved for attention they’re willing to say and do almost anything. To make matters worse, they’re usually compromised in the same way that medical doctors were compromised regarding tobacco back in the 1950’s: they were bought off.
Climate-change deniers rely heavily on the rhetorical device of repetition, which is why every other day we read some new, absurd, nonscientific opinion regarding what they like to call “Climate-change alarmism.” Even though around 97% of all climate-change scientists have agreed on peer-reviewed studies regarding the nature and causes of climate change, there are still about 3% who hold out and cherry-pick the data in order to stir up controversy.
And yes, almost every one of these so-called skeptics is receiving money, money from people and industries who consider any action against climate change, any attempt to reduce emissions, to be a threat to their finances. We are literally in a situation where our society is allowing a handful of wealthy, powerful people to put their profits above the welfare and maintenance of our very planet, and its future.
By keeping the controversy alive, they make it appear as if climate change is still a questionable, unfounded theory and that both sides are posing equally compelling arguments. That’s malarkey. Based on the data, there is no debate.
If we take a moment to chronicle the climate-change denier’s arguments, it looks something like this:
“There’s no proof of climate change.”
“Okay, there’s proof, but humans had nothing to do with it; the climate has always changed.”
“Sure, humans probably caused climate change, but it’s not all that bad.”
And finally “Anthropomorphic climate change is real, of course, but any attempt to stop it won’t matter. It will only hinder our economy and cost us jobs.”
This is criminal. There’s no other word for it. This is an act of fraud on a massive scale.
The only reason the deniers are shooting off their mouths is because they know that nothing they say can be held against them. It’s just their opinion, their innocent “skepticism” verses a mountain of evidence to the contrary. And if their efforts negatively effect life as we know it, so what?
The problem is that their denialist patter is being presented to the world as a valid counter-point, which it is not. If one respected scientist appears on a program to explain climate change, there is almost always some lunatic-fringe fraud sitting across from him spouting falsehoods, and I’m sad to say that many people just can’t tell the difference.
Under President Trump, the White House removed any mention of climate change from its website, and encouraged the EPA to follow suit. That says a lot. It says that Trump is willing to ignore scientific reality in order to serve vested, business interests. He’s lying by omission.
If Trump is willing to lie to us about something that 19 prestigious scientific academies around the world have agreed upon, then he’ll probably lie to us about anything. Think about it.
Maybe it’s time scientists did rule the world. At least they show their work.