Climate change should not be a political issue

Eduardo Alvarez/ Opinion Director

The threat of climate change is only being addressed on the basis of electoral politics, and it’s wrong.

The scientific consensus is overwhelming. Humans are offsetting the Earth’s climate.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a liberal, conservative, climate alarmist or outright denier. This will affect you.

It’s hard to think of a problem as all-encompassing; but what should be bringing together our collective brainpower has become one of our greatest sources of political division.

On the one hand, mainstream conservatives in the United States profess blind denial towards any assertion of climate change; and they’ve done so for reasons purely ideological.

They say the left wants to limit their economic freedom and that academia is in cahoots with them. I can hear the echoes of the numberless FOX News pundits: “they’ve manipulated the stats, the climate has always changed.”

And in Trump-era populism, concrete international solutions such as the Paris Accords are being associated with a limitation on national sovereignty a-la-Brexit.

The left, on their part, have made the mistake of using climate change as an excuse to attack conservatives. Instead of emphasizing the universality of the damage to come, they’ve sunk themselves in a rhetoric of class warfare.

The rich corporations versus the poor, the white man versus the minority.

Tackling the problem this way is just as bad as denying it, because it demonizes the climate change denier more than climate change itself, and creates division.

The reason for all of this is clear: electoral politics. Nothing guarantees votes like crushing a tree-hugging hippie or a meat-eating redneck.

What we should understand, as those whose actions will be decisive to whether or not we overcome this threat, is that we won’t accomplish anything without the full cooperation of all of our brightest minds.

So we shouldn’t be trying to defeat anyone; electorally, ideologically, or otherwise. Rather, we should be trying to bring them to the fold of a global effort.

You’re not likely to believe any data that you think comes from a brainwashed alarmist, so stop calling them that.

And a climate change denier won’t want to listen to the evidence if you’re calling them an ignoramus all the while.

One of the wonderful things about objective truth is that it speaks for itself. So if we simply quiet our rants for a moment and look at the data dispassionately, I have no doubt that all the answers will come rushing towards us; regardless of political sympathies.

“The Numbers Mason, what do they mean?!”

We should unite immediately.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Photo retrieved from FIU flickr

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