Mazzuca: Climate change is becoming a blaring alarm no one pays attention to (column)
July 11, 2018
Editor's note: Find a cited version of this column at http://www.vaildaily.com.
Perhaps the most absurd statement ever made on the subject of climate change is Nancy Pelosi's famously disingenuous remark: "The science is settled." Every true scientist on the planet understands that science is never settled, and it's patently absurd to support the notion that any science is impervious to challenge.
The most unfortunate aspect of the "settled" argument is that it has distorted and even precluded much-needed public policy debate on issues such as energy sources, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment.
The matter is far from clear-cut. Both natural and man-made factors enter into the equation, i.e. the burning of fossil fuels, the effects of the perturbations in Earth's orbit, increasing amounts of animal agriculture, solar activity, deforestation, volcanic eruptions, changes in ocean currents etc.
A recent piece in the Wall Street Journal argues that climate change is no longer pre-eminent policy, a statement with merit vis-a-vis a recent United Nations report that revealed many Paris Agreement climate accord signatories are failing to live up to their stated goals to reduce global warming.
Actions always speak louder than words, and the majority of these signatories are now backing away from what they said they would do. And with less than three years before they must submit their revised pledges for keeping within the accord, the report has underscored their inability to keep to their original promises.
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One would have to live under a rock not to accept the fact the climate is changing; nonetheless, the topic has lost much of its cache. According to PEW Research, climate change doesn't even rank among the top 10 voter concerns in the United States, and it's not unreasonable to postulate this may be the result of the social-justice-identity politics of the left.
We need look no further than the text of the Paris Agreement itself to understand why the subject of climate change is in free-fall in the minds of American voters. To wit: This "nonbinding" pact declares that climate action must include concern for "gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity" as well as "the importance for some of the concept of 'climate justice.'"
Even more ridiculous were the words of Dr. Sarah Myhre, a climate activist and a leading voice in the field of climate science, who in a recent address to the American Geophysical Union, said, "climate change couldn't fully be addressed without also grappling with the misogyny and social injustice that have perpetuated the problem for decades."
The problem isn't that the left is crying wolf; rather, the problem is they've conflated unrelated issues to their own detriment. Was it really necessary to piggyback social issues such as gender equality, intergenerational equity and misogyny with the environment?
For years, the left has done its best to imbrue the subject with all manner of liberal orthodoxy, and they may have shot themselves in the foot by doing so. As a pundit recently joked, the subject of climate change is becoming a blaring car alarm no one pays any attention.
This outcome was predictable, and that is most unfortunate because a changing climate is reason for concern to everyone — left and right. If I were a scientist and climate was my field of study, then I would be absolutely outraged at how the left has politicized the issue and narrowed the range of acceptable responses.
To cite just one example of the left's politicization, green philanthropic giving between 2011 and 2016 was devoted almost entirely to mobilizing public opinion in opposition of the fossil fuel industry. Meanwhile, not a single grant went to promoting nuclear energy, one of the cleanest energy forms on the planet. Hardly an honest attempt at looking for meaningful solutions.
The subject of climate change deserves open and honest discussion in the public square, but both sides of the debate must make their arguments on the basis of science, not ideology. Unfortunately, by injecting their liberal, progressive agenda into the matter, climate activists have reached too far and may have permanently damaged their own cause.
Quote of the day: "Everything is funny as long as it's happening to somebody else" — Will Rogers.
Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes occasionally for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.