Leftside - A Polarized Public
It’s time to stop politicizing ‘global warming’ and start listening to the experts
(page 1 of 2)
Let’s face it: When it comes to the subject of global warming—or climate change, to use the more recently preferred term—we’re caught in a polar vortex. I’m not talking about the streak of extreme cold we had this winter. I’m talking about the nature of the debate itself. On one side, are people who claim, as the Natural Resources Defense Council does, that “climate change is the single biggest environmental and humanitarian crisis of our time.” On the other side, are people like Rush Limbaugh who claim that it’s a “hoax”—a leftwing conspiracy to destroy capitalism once and for all.
This is but one manifestation of a society that is increasingly polarized on all sorts of social and political issues, of course, from tax policies to gay rights. The difference is, many of the other subjects that pit the left against the right are matters that anyone can fairly weigh in on.
Climate change is a different matter entirely—a subject of such scientific complexity that most lay people cannot begin to comprehend it. And yet, people without any scientific credentials whatsoever have no qualms about staking out a position with passionate conviction.
As one commentator on Fox News put it recently after bashing the “hoax”: “I think [concern] over global warming is going to die this year, given the cold weather we’ve had this weekend.”
Before I continue, let me say two things: First, I am not a scientist. Second, this guy’s a moron.
I may not be a scientist, but I know a little bit about how science works: To argue that a spate of cold weather disproves global warming is about as scientific as saying, concern over cigarette smoking is baloney because my grandfather smoked for 60 years and never got cancer.
So what are we, as average citizens, to make of this issue?
The best thing we can do as far as I’m concerned is consider what actual scientists have to say on the matter.
Here’s what NASA has to say: “Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.” (climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus.)
The web site goes on to provide a partial list of these organizations, along with links to their published statements and a selection of related resources.
Call me an “environmental wacko” if you will, but I’m inclined to believe that NASA’s credibility on scientific issues carries a tad more weight than Rush Limbaugh’s or the opinions of countless other naysayers.
Some other naysayers, of course, acknowledge that climate change is occurring but argue that it’s just a natural cycle.
NASA acknowledges that this cycle has occurred.