Sustainable Living & Sustainable Lifestyle

What To Say To Climate Change Deniers

What To Say To Climate Change Deniers

The first thing to realize about any debate over climate change is that it’s not usually about science. It’s about politics.

As with many issues in the country, facts have been set aside for certain people about climate change. They “believe what they believe.” Take, for example, the often-cited argument that not all scientists agree on climate change.

What To Say To Climate Change Deniers

Here is the truth: About 97 percent of scientists agree that manmade activities are contributing to global warming and climate change. You can read about it here. Finding 97 percent of people who will agree on anything is impressive.

So much for that argument. Here are some other areas to consider when you find yourself in the unfortunate position of dealing with a climate change denier.

Avoid Climate Change Data Battles

Climate change is not like a baseball game. It does not proceed orderly from one moment to the next, building to a final conclusion (game over). Scientists have said over and over that the planet’s ecosystem is very complex. The changes to the climate are happening slowly. So, yes, a denier might point out that some years were not as hot as others. That doesn’t matter. Don’t get caught up debating over why 2008 wasn’t that much hotter than 1998.

That’s akin to arguing about an entire baseball game by focusing just on the statistics from the bottom of the third inning.

Don’t Accept Scapegoats

Some deniers will point to natural causes for global warming such as slight changes in Earth’s orbit. They almost certainly will blame the solar cycle, which does cause moderate changes in temperature about every decade. But that’s in the stratosphere primarily, not on the surface of the planet.

Don’t let them off the hook. The main culprit in climate change is carbon dioxide, and mankind is putting out greenhouse gases at an alarming rate. Rather than arguing, direct them to this graphic based on information from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA.

If they don’t trust NASA, it’s probably time to walk away.

Explain the Causes

If a denier is still hanging in there with you, it’s time to explain why there are more greenhouse gases, which trap sunlight as well as infrared radiation from the Earth itself. Part of the explanation for the increase is simple math and the Industrial Revolution. There are more people on the planet than ever before. That means more cars, more power plants and more airplanes in the sky. All of that adds up to more greenhouse gases and a warmer Earth.

How Bad Is It?

If they still want to say all of this is somehow caused by nature (in the face of all logic), then direct them to research from Goddard that shows the amount of carbon dioxide in the air increased rapidly when humans started burning coal. The research shows carbon dioxide constituted about 285 parts per million of the atmosphere in 1850. By 2011, it was 391. In 2016, it reached 402 parts per million.

No natural causes, according to a vast majority of scientists, can lead to that dramatic a change in such a relatively short period of time.

As stated above, it’s good to keep in mind that this is often really about politics. And it’s also good to remember that to retain your sanity, sometimes it’s best to simply walk away from a person to whom facts are meaningless.


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