Last week, President Barack Obama was in China, negotiating with the Chinese on how much the U.S. and China should decrease carbon emissions. The concern, of course, is how greenhouse gases are adding to global warming.
I am always surprised at how people—generally, people who are not scientists—can down play global warming. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tx, for example, doesn’t think the data supports the existence of global warming. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Ok, believes global warming is a hoax. He wrote a book, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future and doesn’t think it’s possible for man to change the environment: “My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”
I’m surprised Inhofe thinks so little about man’s ability. Let’s take a look at what human beings are capable of doing. But for concerted conservation efforts, we nearly exterminated the bison and wolf in America. We have fouled the waters. Anybody remember the Cuyahoga River catching fire in 1973? Have you ever seen land that has been strip mined? I have. It looks like the Moon. How about all the ground we’ve contaminated? That’s why we have EPA Superfund sites. If we can do all this, why aren’t we capable of polluting the air enough to warm the Earth?
I think it a good practice to listen to scientists. How about the folks at NASA? They seem like a trustworthy and smart lot. They’re smart enough to have put a man on the moon. They say we have a problem and that evidence of global warming is compelling. What do Cruz and Inhofe know that the NASA scientists don’t know?
Of course, science may be too complicated for some people. (Having taken physics for poets in college, I should know.) Why not look at photographs for proof? Take a look at the photographs taken by a friend of mine just a few weeks back in China. Do you see The Great Wall? Doesn’t look so great, does it? Pollution hampers your view. What causes that pollution? All those coal fired power plants.
It is only because we have managed industry in the U.S. that we don’t have what China has. Years back, however, we did. Ask anybody who lived in industrial cities like Pittsburgh when it was full of steel mills. I remember. You could see and smell the air. Still, the U.S. and everyone else needs to do more.
Saying that climate change doesn’t exist is easy. When you deny its existence, you don’t have to do anything. You have the (false) luxury of maintaining the status quo. Saying no is the easy way out, which is probably why politicians like to deny climate change.
Accepting that climate change is real creates problems. It means you have to explain to your constituents that the status quo is no long suitable. It means you have to change your behavior or, at least, be willing to change. Human beings don’t like change, and we certainly don’t want to change our standard of living. But scientists are telling us we’re racing toward a cliff.
I understand that jobs are at stake. I don’t take lightly how the livelihood of coal miners and others are at risk as we try to control emissions, but I have to think we’re smarter than having to choose between jobs and a healthy Earth. The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but the longer the naysayers keep fighting the idea of change, the longer and harder it will be to find ways to accommodate both livelihoods and good health.
Saying no to science gets us nowhere.
Jack D’Aurora writes for considerthisbyjd.com
To subscribe to this blog, use the subscribe box at http://www.considerthisbyjd.com.