Environment

Why conservatives should care about climate change

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Factory pipe polluting air, environmental problems

Image: Shutterstock/Tatiana Grozetskaya

If you’re reading this because you consider yourself a conservative…thank you. Thanks for taking the time to hear me out. I’m not asking you to blindly accept the argument for climate change or even to believe that it’s caused by humans. I’m asking you to consider my argument about why you should care.

I believe that part of the reason so many Americans are dismissive of the idea of the severity of the problem of climate change is that they feel like the establishment media is forcing it down their throat and it inspires a kind of knee-jerk opposition. Many Americans trust the media so little that hearing them say “climate change is real” sounds like just another buzzword being pushed onto them by dishonest liberal elites.

Here’s the thing, though: What if it is real?

If it’s real then in the next few decades, the ocean levels will rise, swamping cities like Miami and New York under the Atlantic ocean, not to mention the coasts of Central and South America. Millions of refugees, both from down south and from the coasts of our own country will stream into the heartland gradually but in ever greater numbers as their homes sink beneath the waves and their countries’ economies collapse.

If you believe immigration is a problem now, I promise that melting ice caps would make it much worse.

One of the most common arguments against anti-climate change measures is that it would hurt the economy to put regulations on big business. But it might surprise you to learn that some of the organizations most dedicated to raising awareness on the issue are large corporations.

So why would they do that if regulation would hurt their profits more than climate change?

Well according to a recent Citigroup (one of the largest investment banks in the world) report, if the temperature were to rise by just three degrees Celsius, it would lower global GDP by $50 trillion.

In fact, the only industries that really benefit from not fighting climate change are fossil fuel companies, which is why they have secretly funneled billions into promoting the idea that climate change is a myth. It’s why they contribute millions to the campaigns of candidates who say the same thing.

It’s estimated that if the temperature increases by the amount it is expected to in the next hundred years, average income will be 23% lower than it would if the temperature did not increase. Combined with the rising cost of food, a hotter Earth will mean the average American will feel significantly poorer than they do now.

So the question here is: Is the Earth getting hotter?

Yes.

And listen:

Whether or not the Earth is getting hotter is not something that can be biased. It is measured by comparing the temperatures recorded around the globe. And according to NASA, the past ten years have been the hottest in recorded history.

The Earth is the hottest it’s been since humans started measuring temperatures. That’s a basic fact. And it is backed up by every respectable climate measuring organization. The only reason to not believe things are getting hotter is if you think that nearly every mainstream source of information, including a largely non-political organization like NASA, is engaged in a huge conspiracy to lie about the numbers they are recording.

And if you believe that, you are welcome to just step outside with a thermometer and record the data yourself.

So, if we know the Earth is getting hotter, next comes the inevitable question: Is it because of people?

Well, think about carbon dioxide for a moment. We know that carbon dioxide is capable of keeping heat closer to the surface instead of allowing it to dissipate through the atmosphere like it would otherwise. We also know that the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have increased by a huge margin since the 1950s.

So we know that carbon in the atmosphere makes things hotter, and we know that burning fossil fuel produces carbon. So, human activity is making things hotter, even if you don’t believe it’s the main cause of global warming.

The only argument to make is that natural causes are more important in making the Earth hotter than what humans are doing. But the science just doesn’t support that.

But if you reject that idea, or you have your own set of facts at hand that argues that humans aren’t the main cause of global warming, take a second to hear my counter argument: So what?

Why does that mean we should sit back and do nothing other than resign ourselves to a warming Earth? We already went over what makes climate change so dangerous. Shouldn’t we try to avoid that if there is anything at all we can do to stop it?

But we can do something to slow down the progress of climate change, if even just a little bit. And when it comes to climate change, a little bit of difference is huge.

The Paris Agreement was a deal worked out last year to limit climate change to two degrees celsius, which would help avoid the worst impacts of climate change by simply limiting the amount of greenhouse gasses we emit. It’s an important step forward in making sure that we leave our children a planet where 1 in 6 of all animal species aren’t extinct from climate change. And it’s an agreement that President Elect Trump has promised to withdraw from because he doesn’t believe in climate change.

The Environment isn’t a liberal issue. Famous Republican Teddy Roosevelt founded the first national parks to protect some of America’s most beautiful natural areas from big business. You can be a conservative and worry about what is going to happen to the planet. You can demand that Republican candidates put your children’s interests ahead of their corporate backers.

And I think you should. It would mean a lot coming from you.

Wyatt is a writer and your friend. You can follow him on Twitter @WyattRedd.