Climate change is not just real, it’s obvious

Vox has posted this before, but it was updated recently with new clips to bring it to the present. It highlights the partisan shift regarding climate change in American politics, from acknowledging that climate change is real, to Republicans realizing the best (only?) way to actually fight climate change effectively from an economic perspective is a tax on greenhouse gas pollution, which of course would be very unpopular for their base (and the business interests funding their re-election campaigns).

It’s particularly galling to me when you hear the Republican politicians early in the ’16 year’ timeline making points that are good and true about what needs to be done, both with respect to acknowledging the outcomes of scientific research, and to the effects of climate change in general. This is skillfully juxtaposed with clips later in the video where those same people are reversing those previous opinions with industry talking points about the economic impacts of climate change in the coal industry, for example.

It’s very frustrating to see this all play out like this on a linear timeline, because the hypocrisy of politics in general is expertly laid bare by the editor, with no context or narration given other than sound bites. The conclusion this video presents is quite an obvious one to me, and I think I would be hard pressed to find somebody who wouldn’t agree.

It’s politically disastrous for a Republican to support the existence of climate change because it will require a tax increase on businesses in order to actually have an impact in the short term (before non-polluting alternative energy becomes more economically advantageous, which will happen in due course). So those politicians, almost exclusively old white dudes, I note, cling to their voters and the business interests supporting their re-election, rather than taking action to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

We, as humans, are not used to our actions having a global impact, and I think this is why it’s so hard for individual people to accept that something they are doing could ruin the planet and ‘habitat’ of millions of others, but that’s the reality of what’s happening here. Our biology and instincts haven’t caught up with the scale of our civilization, and empathy on a massive scale will be required in order for any real change to come about on this issue.

Climate, and the well-being of all humanity, should not be a partisan bargaining chip, and I just hope we won’t be too late to fix the problems being caused right now when presented with even more obvious symptoms of the problem. It’s worth bearing in mind this adage: “The Earth will survive humanity, but humans may not“.