Let’s get this out of the way…
I don’t believe in Anthropogenic Climate Change (or just Climate Change).
It shouldn’t be. The reason I don’t believe in Climate Change is because I don’t need to believe in a scientific theory. Actually, no one needs to believe in a scientific theory. Just look at the meaning of believe:
To have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so (from Dictionary.com).
I accept the scientific theory of Climate Change, and why shouldn’t I? It’s one of the most supported (by observations, measurements and experiments) scientific theories out there. To not accept it would not only be counter-intuitive, but also counter-survival, and just plain primitive.
Let examine the rationale for not accepting the theory of Climate Change. Okay, I was teasing, there isn’t any rationale for this. The overwhelming majority of people who don’t accept the theory don’t understand the theory. That’s okay, but most of the people who DO accept the theory don’t understand it either. And just saying “as mankind puts more CO2 into the atmosphere, the temperature rises”, isn’t understanding it anymore than saying “plate tectonics causes earthquakes”.
But it’s okay to not understand the theory. There are MANY, MANY things that we accept, despite the fact we don’t understand it. And there are also MANY things we ALL accept (well, all but a tiny minority), despite the fact that most of us don’t understand it. Just a few of these are:
- Why the sky is blue
- The planets’ rotation about the sun (and the rotation of the moon around its planet)
- Newton’s Laws of Motion
- Thermodynamics (trust me, you live by this, even if you don’t remember learning it)
- Gravity (especially Dr. Ben Carson)
So, there are all of these theories that we accept and live by, even though we don’t understand them. So why should Climate Change be any different?
When I first started this blog, I was under the assumption that I was going to focus primarily on ways to communicate with skeptics and deniers, and persuade them on the validity of Climate Change science. I have come to the realization that this is a fool’s errand.
But do not abandon all hope! If instead of persuading skeptics and deniers as to the validity of the science, perhaps a common ground could be found that would allow us to make a more significant dent in carbon emissions – and perhaps even reverse them.
One might ask, “How can you find common ground, when your opinions are diametrically opposed?” Good question, One!
The answer is simply expressed, even if the details are far, far more complicated. You look for common ground on related issues that meet the needs of both parties.
An example: When Maryland State Delegate Heather Mizeur wanted to expand family planning services to cover low-income women, she approached the most conservative delegate (which admittedly in Maryland is probably equivalent to a moderate in other states), and asked him if he would agree to co-sponsor a bill that would eliminate as many 3,000 abortions per year. Well, that got his attention, and he listened as she presented her ideas on how expanding family planning to women at or below 200% of the poverty level could avert as many as 8,000 unintended pregnancies a year, not only reducing the number of abortions but saving as much as $40 million a year from the general fund that would otherwise have been spent on Medicaid expenses. He was convinced, and co-sponsored the bill – which basically assured it’s passage. In the interest of fairness, I should say that the conservative delegate was Michael Smigiel. And far from just covering “family planning,” the Family Planning Works Act, which was signed into law in May of 2011, “makes Medicaid-funded birth control, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, cancer screenings, and other essential services accessible to an additional 33,000 low- and moderate-income women in the state.”
So, rather than wasting time on persuasion, I think it’s time to try Mutually Assured Construction.
In future posts, I want to cover some ideas on this, talk about talking about Climate Change in general, cover some of the basics of the science, explore some controversial ideas (Fracking anyone?), and other related topics.