The invented debate of global warming

Many still believe that global warming is concern advanced by environmentalists.

The concept of global warming is nothing new, but many in this country still believe there are two reasonable sides to this issue. One side believes that global warming – or “climate change” as they prefer it – is a naturally-occurring phenomenon. Fluctuations in the Earth’s temperature have happened since the Middle Ages and these changes eventually correct themselves, so there’s little cause for alarm. The other side believes that human activities such as burning fossil fuels have contributed to the documented rise in temperature.

Beyond semantics, the divide between these two sides couldn’t be greater. One side is supported by science, the other by profit. As the crisis of global warming became particularly salient in the late ’90s, companies that stood to lose from government action sought to diffuse the consensus found in the scientific community. Think tanks and politicians supported by generous energy companies’ donations, touted scientific reports underwritten by, for instance, the American Petroleum Institute. Under this façade of legitimacy, they furthered the idea that not only is “climate change” natural, but very little scientific evidence proves otherwise.

What sounds like a flawless strategy to them and a transparent strategy to us, was indeed flawless. A Pew Research Center survey conducted this summer found that 41 percent of Americans believe human activity is causing global warming, 21 percent believe that warming is natural and 20 percent believe that no solid evidence exists to prove global warming. By inventing a debate when none existed, they successfully marginalized authentic science, leading nearly half of the country to believe that global warming is a concern advanced by hippies and fringe environmentalists.

Now, only after the argument to curb global warming has been articulated in dollar figures, people are starting to listen. A report authored by Sir Nicholas Stern, the head of Britain’s Government Economic Service and former chief economist of the World Bank, contends that if we do nothing about global warming, it could cost between 5 and 20 percent of world gross domestic product versus the 1 percent it would cost if we stabilize emissions.

It all adds up to something we’ve known for sometime now: Global warming is real, and international action is necessary.