Climate change, or global warming, is one of the most contentious topics of the decade. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence, a growing number of parties deny the facts and impacts of climate change, creating a major obstacle in efforts to fight this global challenge. These denialists vary in their motivations, strategies, and sources of influence.
One party that denies global warming is the fossil fuel industry. Fueling their denial are personal interests, misguided skepticism, and financial considerations. While these sources of doubt are understandable, the scientific consensus is clear: scientific models of climate change projections show that the Earth is warming, and human activities are the primary cause. By blocking action on climate change, the fossil fuel industry hopes to ensure the future of their profits and power.
Additionally, some corporations have engaged in deliberate obfuscation of the truth, leading to outright denial. Through various methods of misinformation, such as by relying upon false experts or manufacturing doubt, these corporations have caused confusion and misunderstanding. An example of such a climate-denying organization is the Heartland Institute, whose campaign has been backed by corporate funding from industries such as fossil fuel and tobacco.
In addition to companies and organizations, certain individuals also deny global warming. Many of these individuals are politicians, policy makers, and other public figures. These individuals often deny climate change out of an ideological position, such as an emphasis on individual freedoms over collective welfare, or a belief in smaller government. Such policies make it difficult to enact comprehensive policy solutions, leading to further inaction and climate denial.
Despite the motivations behind denial, the consequences of climate change are undeniable. If we fail to act, even small increases in global temperatures will threaten the livability of parts of the planet, putting millions of people at risk from flooding, drought and other natural disasters. Women, children, and those living in poverty are particularly vulnerable, as climate change exacerbates existing inequalities.
The fight against climate change cannot be won by the few. With a cohesive effort from all parties, we can work together by taking action on climate change and combating climate denial, before it is too late. Such an effort should focus on collective acceptance of the scientific consensus, and efforts to correct misinformation where it has been placed.
Ultimately, science tells us that global warming is real, and that humans are largely responsible. We must adopt a collective action to both promote the facts and fight the denialists. Investing in renewable energy sources, advancing public education, and implementing international agreements, are but a few of the many sensible steps we can take.