Don’t worry. We’re not going to get into a scientific debate about whether or not the polar bears are dying because Americans eat too many cows. We’re not going to whip out statistics debunking the 97% “consensus” by scientists (though this oft-repeated statistic is a complete manipulation of the numbers by inference rather than facts, but that’s another story). We’re not even going to point out that it gets cold in winter and hot in the summer.
Much of the gap between average climate-change-believing Americans and standard global warming skeptics can be bridged. The two extremes will almost certainly never see eye-to-eye, but closer to the middle we should be able to find nearly common ground. All it takes is some clarification of an agreeable stance that seems to fall contrary to the leftist treehugger agenda but in reality yields the same basic conclusion.
This isn’t just for liberals to gain an understanding, though. It’s for conservatives as well. We help to perpetuate the narrative from both politicians and the media that we’re not just deniers but that we’re in denial. That’s simply not the case when both sides have an understanding of the discerning and thoughtful conservatives’ perspective.
Of note here is that hardcore climate change deniers may view this perspective as selling out. They can certainly pull out more scientific facts on the matter than I could. On the other hand, liberals can do the same thing in the opposite direction. The studies available today are so politicized that the numbers have been tortured. As someone famous once claimed, if you torture the numbers long enough, you can make them say whatever you want.
Instead, we’re going to take this from a perspective of common sense, logic, and a basic understanding of how things work. Here are four incorrect assumptions both sides of the aisle often make about climate change.
“Conservatives think the climate isn’t changing”
While it’s true that some skeptics believe the climate isn’t changing at all, others of us are well aware that the climate is changing. Our beef is with two assumptions that liberals often make: that man is changing the climate with our actions and that man can solve the problem with different actions.
Whether it’s just cyclical, random, or truly man-made is a question that has not definitively been answered yet. Most honest scientists – the ones who do not base their expert opinion based upon political ideologies – will tell you that man possibly accounts for most, some, or none of the factors that are in play for the climate to change. Those who say that it’s almost completely man-made are either saying so for political reasons or because it’s the premise they’re trying to prove.
The reality is that nobody knows for sure why the climate has been weird for a while. It could be climate change. It could be that in this super-connected world we are more exposed to the effects of climate change. It could be fluctuations with the sun or the moon. It could be activity within the earth’s core. The list of possible reasons for climate change is huge.
“Skeptics are anti-science”
This is my favorite misconception because it’s the exact opposite of the truth. We’re very much in favor of science. We simply want more of it. There has never been an exhaustive exploration of climate change that wasn’t influenced by governments or personal ideology.
Liberals do a disservice to the world when they spread the false idea that this is “settled science.” It’s not even close to being settled (sorry Al Gore). There is so much more to learn, but liberals want to bypass exploratory science and go straight after corrective science. Unfortunately, that’s begging the question. It’s a logical fallacy that states “we know climate change is man made because man’s activities caused the climate to change.”
In essence, it’s the liberals who are stifling scientific study into the issue by skipping the first step of definitively identifying the root cause. Scientists have allowed decisions to be made from a political perspective instead of pursuing the proper scientific research to prove or disprove man’s involvement with the phenomenon.
“We don’t want to help the environment”
I recycle. I use solar power. I pick up trash when I see it laying on the ground. Unfortunately, my skepticism about the man-made nature of climate change instantly disqualifies me from being an environmentally conscientious American citizen in the eyes of most liberals.
There are more pressing environmental concerns that need to be addressed immediately. Drinking water, for example, is scarce in many parts of the world. This, too, should be considered an environmental issue. I’ve donated to and helped spread the word about fresh water programs, but since I didn’t sign the Greenpeace pledge on my way out of Whole Foods, leftists think I hate the environment.
Many conservatives believe in practical applications to help the environment. Opposing climate regulations and mandates about climate change shouldn’t brand us as unhelpful just because we don’t believe it’s man-made..
“We love our fossil fuels too much”
Those who work for oil companies might love fossil fuels. The coal industry loves fossil fuels. Most of us, even conservatives, don’t “love” fossil fuels. We use them because they help us solve problems. If a better “green” solution comes along that either makes energy cheaper, more abundant, or both, I’d be the first person to call for a shift in energy policy. In the meantime, we need oil, coal, and natural gas.
It’s not anti-conservative for me to pick up trash that I see on the ground. It’s also not anti-liberal to want clearer answers about climate change before buying a Chevy Volt. The sooner we wipe away the labels and focus on the issues, the faster we’ll be able to learn how to best address them.