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Global warming deniers what do you do?

The world is getting warmer, the climate is changing, ice caps are melting, ecosystems are being destroyed, and many species are becoming extinct. Hundreds of thousands of reports are being churned out by scientists from all levels of society providing evidence and facts supporting global warming as a direct result of human activity. These reports lay out statistics, facts, measurements, proposed mechanisms, and physical evidence of the world changing around us. However, no matter how much evidence is being churned out there are always some who believe otherwise and that global warming is a hoax or one big gigantic farce or conspiracy theory.

To be frank, what are these people smoking? They include prominent business men (Donald Trump), rock star (Ted Nugent) and even United States Senators. (MNN, 2014) How are they refuting these facts or published scientific facts? What other possible evidence could they provide to refute the occurrence of man made global warming. Well basically there isn’t any other scientific data left to refute what is currently out there. More than 97% of climatologists agree that climate change is caused by human activity and the other 3% are arguing over what exactly is causing global warming. (Cook, 2013) There have been many rebuttals to statements and claims climate change denialists that are worth a read. For example, here (http://www.policymic.com/articles/84887/bill-nye-responds-to-7-real-arguments-made-by-climate-change-deniers) by our favourite TV scientist Bill Nye and here (http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php).

If the science is sound and in agreement with one another, what possible reason or motivation would a denialist have? To begin with, there are BILLIONS and perhaps TRILLIONS (of dollars that is) of reasons why they would want to deny climate change. For example, the production and use of fossil fuels is perhaps the largest contributor to CO­2 emissions in the world and the industry behind it easily earns $100 billion dollars annually. That is a whole lot of money to be gained from denying global warming or lose by admitting to global warming. Also unfortunately we are living in a consumerist market where the need to upgrade every year to the latest and greatest “stuff” increases the demand on the manufacturing industry which also contributes heavily to CO2 and pollutant emissions. If it is all about money, what would happen if we were able to magically take out the economic side of things and provide greater incentives or rewards to go “green”? Would there still be denialists? Maybe there will be fewer denialists if any at all… (just a thought).

An interesting point was brought up during our HSCI 902 class, that the rate of those that didn’t believe in global warming were actually growing and a Gallup pole (http://www.gallup.com/poll/167972/steady-blame-humans-global-warming.aspx) conducted showed some surprising results as well. They found that the trend  ~57% of individuals in the United States believe global warming was due to human causes. What was most surprising was that the rate of college graduates believing global warming was due to human activities actually decreased where in non-college graduates stayed steady. Also perhaps unsurprising was Democrats and Republicans believe in opposing trends and independents actually siding more closely with Republicans. How are we supposed to curb this trend and turn the deniers into believers? In our class some brought up education, some mentioned speaking respectfully and voicing our opinions but not overstepping our expertise boundaries. However I find that hard to do when the facts are clearly out there and even belief in the college educated population in the United States is waning and skepticism is growing. So I find it hard sometimes to logically and respectfully provide a rebuttal to illogical thoughts. The other side would be to introduce legislation towards “green” practices altogether and forgo logical discussion but would still be difficult considering deniers are the other half of those making the legislation.

References

Mother Nature Network. http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/climate-weather/photos/7-surprising-global-warming-deniers.

PolicyMic. http://www.policymic.com/articles/84887/bill-nye-responds-to-7-real-arguments-made-by-climate-change-deniers.

Skeptical Science. http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php.

Cook et al. Environmental Research Letters. Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. 2013

Gallup Politics. http://www.gallup.com/poll/167972/steady-blame-humans-global-warming.aspx.