The debate on global warming has long stirred up discussions and disagreements around the world, as people raise questions and express different views on whether or not they care about the effects of climate change. There are a variety of factors that determine whether or not people do care—from personal experiences, beliefs, and understandings of facts and science to political, social, and economic constraints.
It’s hard to deny that global warming is a real phenomena which affects life in a myriad of ways. According to a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the global mean surface temperature has risen by 0.85°C between 1880 and 2012 and it is projected to culminate at even further heights as the years go on. This rise in temperatures affects the global climate as well as climate features such as ocean circulation, melting of arctic and glacier ice, sea level rise, emergence of extreme weather conditions and droughts, and alteration of ecosystems and biodiversity. It’s not difficult to understand why governments, companies, businesses, and everyday citizens care about global warming as it brings negative consequences that can have serious long-term damaging effects.
The risks brought about by global warming, however, are not equally impactful for everyone. Individuals who are privileged enough to have financial resources, access to positive environmental conditions, and the opportunity to live in prosperous and safe societies won’t be as affected, whereas those same benefits do not exist for many low- and middle-income countries and individuals, where global warming has a significantly harder-hitting effect.
This could be part of the reason as to why climate change does not worry a large portion of the people it affects and why many people don’t understand the implications of the science and facts surrounding climate change.
A 2017 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center concluded that ignorance of basic scientific facts remains a problem. The research found that while awareness of climate change is high, a significant amount of people expressed ignorance and confusion in regards to the basic scientific facts that are often used to explain why global warming is happening. This shows that people have a hard time accepting the effects of climate change due to the lack of knowledge and uncertainty they feel.
Meanwhile, other people base their opinion on global warming on personal beliefs or socio-political factors. The effects of global warming can potentially harm economic development which is why some opponents are against policies that discourage the burning of fossil fuels. Other opponents of the cause simply believe that global warming is not real or that it is just a natural process. Regardless of the source, there are many who feel that tougher government regulations and policies are not necessary in order to confront climate change and that people do not need to worry about global warming in the first place.
Additionally, global warming can also be an expensive problem to confront. Most solutions to reversing climate change are costly and require extensive research and commitment from policymakers, corporations, governments, and everyday citizens. This adds to the reluctance of people to care about global warming’s effects since most individuals are more concerned with immediate matters such as their job, their family, and their finances.
When it comes to global warming, there is no simple answer as to whether or not people care. Some clearly do and some clearly don’t. It’s up to everyone to educate themselves on the facts and realities of global warming and it’s up to policy makers, governments, businesses, and citizens to take action and create awareness in order to create meaningful and lasting changes.