A Chinese Hoax: Why Ignoring Climate Change Is Bad For Everyone

A Chinese Hoax: Why Ignoring Climate Change Is Bad For Everyone

We need to stop pretending that the discussion around climate change is a discussion. It’s not. It’s a small percentage of people with vested interests shouting nonsense.

The President-elect has made his stance clear. He says there is no evidence for climate change and even if there was, action on it would be too bad for the economy even to consider. We have to get out of the Paris Accord pronto.

Both these notions are lies- as is much of what Donald Trump has said about climate change.

When Donald Trump tells a crowd in Fresno, California that there “is no drought,” he’s not discussing, he’s lying. When he tweets that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive”, he has no proof. When he intends to appoint Myron Ebell, a man who thinks climate change is a hoax and political scheme, to head the Environmental Protection Agency, he is saying to the world that he doesn’t give a fuck about the future.

Now, before you scroll immediately to the bottom of this page to leave a comment about how I’m a puppet or that there is legitimate disagreement about climate change, please adjust your tinfoil hat and read on. I’d like to think my case is compelling.

FIRST: CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL

According to NASA (you know, the independent agency not controlled by a member of the government?) 97% of peer reviewed academic studies agree that “Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.” (not coincidentally, about the same number that agrees that the progress of biological life is evolutionary.) Contrast that with the 86% who believe vaccinations have no link to autism, or the 88% who believe genetically modified crops are safe to consume. That’s right- more scientists think that vaccines cause autism than believe that climate change is not caused by humans.

And there is a pretty good reason for that overwhelming consensus. For starters, in all of measurable history, levels of atmospheric carbon have never exceeded 300 ppm, but in that last 100 years, they have risen beyond 400 ppm according to NASA. It is proven that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes an increase in global average temperature.

It’s not like this warming is hard to see: in the past century melting polar ice, and thermal expansion has caused the sea level to rise by 17 cm, with the rate of rising doubling in the last 20 years. The ocean would only have to rise a further 43 cm to submerge most cities on the Eastern coast of the US. Global temperatures have risen by almost a degree, which may not sound like much, but is more than enough to disrupt the stability of polar ice and ecosystems. You can look at a truly terrifying representation of the temperature rise here. The after effects of this increase are things like tropical storms, ocean acidification, shrinking glaciers and melting snow cover on mountain ranges.

It’s happening folks, and choosing not to see it a bit like sitting a burning house and saying the furnace is just on the fritz.

SECOND: IGNORING IT IS BAD FOR BUSINESS (I’m looking at you, Republicans)

A study published in Nature found that unchecked global warming would reduce household income by 23% by 2100. Too far in the future? A report by Citigroup found that minimizing a temperature rise to 2.7 degrees could save global markets $50 trillion in lost productivity.

Then there is the loss in agricultural production to consider. As the world seeks to feed almost 8 billion people and the United States’ agriculture represents a $330 billion market (that’s just in direct sales, not counting the thousands of companies that rely on that agricultural output) a changing climate threatens crop safety. In California, the drought which Mr. Trump denied cost the state over $2 billion in production and 21,000 jobs.

But it’s not all doom and gloom – global investment in renewable energy was up to $329 billion last year, with countries like Canada seeing the green sector jobs outpace fossil fuels for the first time in history. Yep Canada, a country that two years ago had an administration which actively denied the effects of climate change has turned around to profit from investment in green energy.

THIRD: CHINA IS ON BOARD

I don’t think this argument is terribly compelling, but I have to mention it. This whole climate change hoax apparently perpetrated by China is having some unintended victims: namely, China.

In September, China ratified the Paris Accord, vowing to cut their carbon emissions by 60% over the next fifteen years. So, if China is doing this to cripple American enterprise, then it looks like they’re willing to cripple themselves in the process.

Except, of course, China doesn’t see it that way. Ranping Song, a climate action manager at the World Resources Institute, said,  “[The old development] model is no longer working and, just out of its own economic interests, China is looking for new ways to spur the economy.” Those crafty Chinese.

CONCLUSION: WHAT THE HELL ARE WE WAITING FOR?

If, after reading all of this, you still have your doubts, I encourage you to read more. Try this excellent resource put out by the New York Times to help us normal folks understand what is happening to the planet. And if you’re still not convinced, dig deeper and read the NASA reports and the peer-reviewed studies. The evidence is there. It’s compelling. And a future where we do something about it is not only better for the planet- it’s better for the bottom line.

But if you still think this is all a hoax, I would invite you to do what all good conspiracy theorists should and follow the money. Look at the employment history of people like Myron Ebell, a director a the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an organization which took millions from oil giants like Exxon Mobil. Look at the places decrying climate change and ask yourself: is it more likely that 97% of scientist are making shit up or that 3% of scientists get a lot of money to say things that aren’t true?

I’ll leave the discussion to you.