Opinion: global warming should not be a debate

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By Shawn Edelstein, Staff Writer

Donald Trump withdrew the United States of America from the Paris Climate Agreement because he believed “it was a terrible deal for the US.” In 2015, Trump tweeted, “It’s really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!” Jim Inhofe, a Republican senator from Oklahoma, is quoted as saying that climate change is the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” There are countless other examples of politicians, usually Republicans, downplaying the significance of or flat out denying global climate change. Despite the fact that scientists are certain that climate change exists, these politicians will not change their positions. Therefore, it is clear that politicians denying climate change are simply doing so to advance their own political agenda, allowing greed to put the entire world at risk.

Based on overwhelming scientific evidence, the argument that climate change does not exist holds no merit. In 2016, a paper titled “Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming,” was written by the authors of seven studies attempting to measure the consensus of scientists on global warming. Each of the seven studies had a consensus above 90%, and the cumulative consensus the researchers agreed on was 97%. Furthermore, they came to the conclusion that, as expertise increased among those surveyed, so did consensus that global warming does indeed exist. Despite this, skeptical politicians are questioning the authority of many scientists who have worked nearly their entire lives painstakingly researching global climate change. These politicians blatantly ignore the evidence, and stubbornly defend a position that is more of a conspiracy theory than a hypothesis.

Obviously, there are ulterior motives, and the evidence suggests that most of these politicians are motivated by one thing: greed. They intentionally put humanity at risk by continuously denying the obvious, because admitting that global warming is a problem would cost them money, voters, and would counteract their political agenda.

For instance, in recent years the coal mining industry has been struggling. During his campaign, Donald Trump promised to “put our miners back to work.” In general, the coal mining industry has been a major supporter of the Republican Party. The only problem with this is that strides taken to counteract climate change often stifle the coal industry. Switching to renewable energy sources would mean the abandonment of coal, and regulations reducing carbon emissions also make coal mining more difficult. Therefore, it is in the best interest of Republicans to stop any legislation working to fight climate change, because not doing so would risk losing the support of the coal industry. This would mean the loss of voters, and the loss of money. Denying global warming gives many other political benefits to republicans including the support of religious voters and economic safety, but the evidence is clear. Republicans have turned the safety of our planet and of mankind into a partisan issue, simply to make money and advance their political agenda.

This is unacceptable. Politicians lie to the faces of millions of Americans, telling them that they are going to do what’s best for them, and that they care about their safety. Yet they ignore the greatest threat to the American peoples’ safety for personal gain. Lawmakers are supposed to act with the best interests of their people in mind, especially in a democracy. Yet they hope that they’ll be dead by the time climate change begins to destroy humanity so they don’t have to deal with the consequences of their selfish actions. This needs to end, before global warming does enough damage that these politicians finally realize they were wrong. Lawmakers from all parties must come together to combat global warming, to prove that they truly do care about the safety of generations to come.

As high school students, we are part of the next generation. Decades from now, if global climate change is allowed to continue down the path it is on, we may very well be alive to experience the worst of it. As we look outside, we see how far mankind has come. We enjoy the lives we live today, with bustling cities and remarkable technology, thanks to years of development, work, and progress. Climate change has the power to take it all away from us, as coastal flooding, rising temperatures, and many other factors can easily wipe out life on this planet, albeit over the course of hundreds of years. If this climate change continues, we will look back years from now and see how insignificant our political disputes seem compared to what’s to come. As we fight amongst ourselves over taxes and jobs, we fail to see that we are our greatest allies, all working together towards the advancement of mankind. Some things are greater than politics, and if we don’t realize that now, it will be our downfall.