April 5, 2010

Climate Change Is a Scientific Reality, Not a Political Debate

An open letter from Frances Beinecke, of StopGlobalWarming.org, calls out the people who are out rallying against clean and sustainable energy because they somehow think that clean air and water is somehow a political debate and not a scientific one (or really, a matter of basic human rights). Quite honestly, the fact of the matter is that the mountain of evidence for climate change – and the fact that the so-called “climategate” scientists have all been absolved of their so-called doubt (proving the controversy was more political than scientific anyway) – has been largely ignored by the people who would rather stick their heads in the sand and ignore the real changes in the world around us is getting to the point where their ignorance is starting to threaten all of us.

Even otherwise progressive groups like minority groups in Washington are taking aim at clean energy and climate legislation because they fear for the economic impact on their communities. To aside to this for a moment, I completely understand and empathize with the black community and the latino community; anything that will put a strain on the economy will hit minorities disproportionally, but this kind of short-sightedness is what’s caused progressive movements for racial equality and opportunity to stall in the past. Unfortunately it’s the old guard of civil rights leaders who are more interested in their personal position than the best interests of the community that resist these kinds of efforts and then whip up their followers into a frenzy with fears of massive job losses and economic tragedy – rather than embrace the promise of the future, educate our children in new technologies and industries, send them off to be engineers and scientists instead of businessmen and women, in order to be ready for a changing world – we’re stuck clinging to the past, and to old ideas.

What was true in the black community then is true in the latino community now – as much as our respective minority communities rail against progress in America, we thus seal the coffins of our own social placement. When the rest of the world leaves us behind and the privileged minority in America is the only group with the wealth to keep up with it, we’ll still be left behind because we insisted on not adapting as opposed to staying ahead of the curve, where we really ought to aim.

And to people who seem to think this is a political debate, where opinion can be flung about as fact? Beinecke has a message for them:

Saying the Earth is flat doesn’t make it so. Nor does ignoring climate change make it go away. Still, we haven’t heard the last of the deniers. Now that clean energy and climate legislation is moving through the Senate and has the backing of the White House, we will likely hear more talk of “hoaxes” and “cons.” The fossil fuel industry, which has the most to gain by delaying climate action, is eager to amplify these false claims.

But next time you hear them, email, call, or write to the journalist or politician and demand to know where they get their facts from. If their standards are higher than the IPCC’s then they should be happy to share their evidence.

And when you want to get the truth behind the counterfeit theories, visit this great Union of Concerned Scientists’ Fact Checker site, where real climate scientists assess questions through the lens of science not politics.

But back to point; energy and climate are scientific realities that we need to acknowledge. Instead of clinging to an antiquated way of life, we need to collectively acknowledge that our current fuel sources and energy sources are unsustainable and work to forge new industrial paths that will help us live in tune with the world around us instead of in contrast with it. I, like a number of people who are both minorities and scientists as well as pundits, believe this is not only possible, but necessary for our collective survival.

[ Climate Change Is a Scientific Reality, Not a Political Debate ]
Source: StopGlobalWarming.org

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