Our Last 100 Years? Climate Change and Partisan Denial.

“In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!”

This tweet was Donald Trump’s reaction to the news that it’s going to be a cold New Year’s Day out East.

Climate refers to atmospheric action over a long period of time, while weather describes what’s to be happening in the near future. The climate can be thought of as the sum of long periods of weather. The climate is the forest; the weather is the trees.

The percentage of Americans unaware of this is dangerously high already and growing.

In 2016, Stephen Hawking made a dire prediction. In 1000 years or less, the human race would not survive. Epidemics, rogue AI, and various other factors would combine to make the planet unfit for human life.

Many of us, knowing the brilliance of Hawking’s mind, read those words and shivered. They were, after all, surrounded by the rest of the news.

But here we are at the end of 2017, and Hawking has come up with some new numbers!

Thanks to modern-day health care, 100 years is nearly a lifetime, but in May, Hawking proposed that this is how long humans have left on Earth.

Where’d the other 900 go? In a word? Trump. You read the tweet.

In July, Hawking told the BBC that humanity is at a “tipping point”. If we don’t desist from the course we’ve been on, global warming will become so bad that Earth will “become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees Celsius, and raining sulfuric acid.”

But a week of cold temperatures was enough for our president to call for more global warming.

Nor was this said in jest. Trump used the frigid East Coast weather as an opportunity to boast of what a good decision he’d made, in withdrawing from the Paris Accord earlier this year.

Hawking predicted that humanity’s natural greed would impede us from being able to properly address this problem.

According to Hawking, Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of this deal might turn out to be the final step towards the drastic climate problems scientists have been warning us about.

Trump’s history of climate change denial highlights a number of problems our society is currently solving.

A presidential administration hostile to climate science is a disaster. It is certain to deepen the already endemic scepticism on the topic existant in American political life.

Scientific reality has not escaped the distorting influence of political polarization in the United States.

Scepticism of man-made climate change within the GOP has been a worsening problem over the course of the last decade.

Like it or not, fossil-fuel corporations relative to the government have a gigantic power and influence over the conduct of the rest of us because they’re the ones who own so much of the information we see. They pay a lot of money to keep this issue frozen in political polarity.

As for Trump himself, his record of making stupid remarks about climate change goes back years. In 2015, he tweeted out something nearly identical to the nonsense he spit out today. As soon as he selected Scott Pruitt to run his Environmental Protection Agency, we could already guess at the rest.

Not long before taking office, Pruitt co-wrote an article claiming that scientists “disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”

Trump’s choice to run the Energy Department, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, claimed “the science is not settled” on climate change.

His pick to lead the Interior Department, Republican Representative Ryan Zinke of Montana, said that global warming is “not proven science.”

Most Americans know that climate change is real. According to a poll done by Yale, six out of ten Americans consider themselves worried about it.

However, this is where we encounter the crux of the problem; in fact, of all problems dealing with why change in America comes so hard and slow. We are not getting our information from the same sources anymore.

Conservative media and political mouthpieces such as the Koch– funded Tea Party have created a toxic environment for healthy discourse. It’s important to remember that there is no such thing as an “alt-fact”. There’s only errors, blunders, and lies.

If they can succeed in helping people to forget this, they can blur the lines of truthful news and spread cynicism like a plague. What better way to turn a good country into a lousy mess?

Back to our subject, the same Yale poll, Climate Change in the American Mind, finds that although people are indeed legitimately concerned about global warming, if you include a partisan watchword in the question, people start answering through a different frame.

They give the answer that matches their political affiliation, even if they may harbour doubts about it.

For instance, on the question of whether scientists near-unanimously agree that human industrial activity is causing global warming, there is vast partisan disagreement.

Lest there be any doubt on this issue, they do; nearly every study finds unanimity on this issue among scientists.

But only 13 percent of Republicans are aware that is the case, as compared to 55 percent of Democrats.

Climate science scepticism within the GOP has intensified greatly since 2016. Trump’s administration has made every effort to combat anti-global warming efforts as an expensive waste of time.

His withdrawal from the Paris Accord has now increased the odds of a species-ending disaster to the point where Stephen Hawking, for one, has lost all hope.

Trump has made a habit of airing his climate scepticism on Twitter. He has snidely tweeted on the topic of “climate change” or “global warming” more than 100 times since 2011. But it’s more alarming now by far. He’s the President these days.

Some people are bound to follow him, no matter how hard we fight against normalizing his administration. It’s that same recalcitrant third of our populace who says they’d support Trump over Jesus. 

There’s been something in the air these last few years. Instinctively, everyone seems to know that the species is at a crossroads and coming closer and closer to being forced down one path or the other.

We have all made decisions we regret; we have all burned bridges before. There is no walking backwards in time. We learn from these things, we move forward, and we try to help others learn from our mistakes. But when speaking of a geological extinction event, one has to realize there won’t be any more moving forward.

Add your voice to ours, with measured conviction, and help to save the world. Donald Trump’s moronic attempts at levity notwithstanding, it really is that serious. Somehow, we have got to find a way to spread the word. Or the days of saying things like Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays are going to be coming to an end, real soon.

Image result for when the last tree is cut
Why Climate Change Matters

Come join in our Great Talk!