Climate change and its impact on the world have become one of the most debatable topics in recent years. One student, writing an essay legitimizing climate change, went to an online forum saying they needed help understanding the denier’s point of view. Here’s how commenters responded.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
1: Trust No One
Right off the bat, an astute observer provided a few categories that typical climate change naysayers fall into and why. They said many people distrust the government, and to them, “anything the government says is likely to be a lie with a hidden agenda.”
2: Science Fiction
Continuing with their list, the same person says climate change non-believers think the science is unsettled and that “rising GHG [greenhouse gases] by itself is hard to prove that it will cause significant global warming.” They also add a rare take: religious devotees believe God gave us fossil fuels to use as we please, “so we shouldn’t question.”
3: Bigger Things in Mind
To one person, the most common reason to oppose climate change is that humans don’t have the bandwidth to add another existential worry. People think, “I need to provide my family with food, shelter, and medicine right now.” Everything else is irrelevant.
4: Not My Problem
Another student working on a similar project said people’s apathy towards climate change is a significant contributing factor. “People think that everyone else does it, so ‘what difference would I make?'” Whether one intends to or not, they also say the consequence of living a comfortable life means contributing to the climate problem.
5: Cause And Effect
“I think it’s rare that a person doesn’t believe in climate change,” someone added. They said the controversy lies in whether it’s primarily human-driven or not. “Past that, it’s over whether it’s as bad as scientists say. That’s how I see it.”
6: Media Wars
One person points to media propaganda for shifting people’s opinions on climate change. “You can explore how the media has failed to appropriately report on the severity of climate change and who (e.g., companies profiting from oil and gas) might benefit from that.”
7: Only in America
A climate change believer who used to live in Asia believes the world needs to blame climate change on Western ideals. “In the tropics, there are practically no seasons, and temperatures are constant throughout the year,” they said. “It’s tough to deny when you can feel the temperature unambiguously going higher with every passing decade.”
8: Escaping the Blame
One person has close friends who worked in the oil and gas industry and says if they admitted that it’s real, they would also accept responsibility for it. “That’s a devastating revelation. And so, they live in denial to avoid admitting they destroyed the planet.”
9: It’s Complicated
We established climate change was real decades ago, one person says. The problem now is rich people control the narrative at all power levels. “Rich people don’t want change, and they have the resources to fight for the status quo. There is psychology, economics, politics, health, and many other subjects all intertwined in the answer.”
10: Ordinary People
“To believe climate change is real is a lot to consider for the average person,” an environmentalist comments. “You gotta remember, a lot of people won’t even consider the ramifications of something as easy to avoid as littering. It’s not laziness; it’s just raw basehood and simplicity. The average person ironically falls well below our ‘average’ expectations.”
11: Change From Within
Others agree that disbelief is not as rooted in maliciousness as ignorance. “It is solely driven by personal convenience and not data. It would mean change, which the person doesn’t want.”
12: In News We Trust
“Most people simply trust whatever their news source is,” one person said. “With media so divided (and so eager to falsify facts), people are just toeing their respective narratives with corporations lobbying governments to prevent people realizing the truth.”
13: Take It From Me
One climate denier offered up their own opinion for the original poster. “In fairness, I do not believe climate change is real and that human activity is the cause of it,” they said. “We have to get away from saying we believe in climate change. There are mountains of evidence to support it’s a fact.”
14: Not Enough Data
A skeptical commenter says they have difficulty believing we have enough data to prove it. “We have only been observing weather patterns for 150 years, maybe longer. This is a timescale too small to understand the larger fluctuations the earth goes through naturally. How much of the current data is correlation vs causation?”
15: Diminishing Quality
One person offered a point for the student’s rebuttal, saying without fossil fuels, we would have to sacrifice the incredibly high quality of life it’s powered by. “I believe that eliminating all fossil fuels will have far worse consequences to humanity than anything global warming can cause.”
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