On Sunday the 21st of September the world witnessed one of the largest mass demonstrations ever. The march against climate change took place in many cities around the world. Most notably, in New York, the crowds reached over three hundred thousand people.
Now, we all know that climate change will not be solved as a global crisis overnight. But the marches certainly prove that there is support from the general public to try and solve it. As always in this debate, there is a dark undercurrent hindering progress – climate scepticism.
One can, of course, understand the appeal of scepticism. No one wants climate change to be real and if we just pretend that it doesn’t exist or that we can’t do anything about it, then we can certainly feel better about how obviously little is being done. And yet, the excuses of fear and ignorance cannot hold for all sceptics, many of whom are clearly well informed people.
It is obvious why a scientist working for a fossil fuel company would be sceptical – in a way they are paid to be so. The question is, why are there so many journalists and commentators with apparently nothing to gain from being biased and who clearly do not give the evidence for human-caused climate change a fair hearing?
Now some may accuse me of not giving the arguments against anthropogenic global warming, but in a way these are not arguments. The fact that climate change is not 100% proven is not evidence that it is not correct; that is just the nature of the scientific method, in which nothing can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. The important thing to note is that less than 1% of peer reviewed climate science research papers show evidence against climate change. Often when sceptics are presented with this statistic, however, they usually accuse the scientific community of having a ‘hive mind’ or being ‘ideological’.
Could it be, however, that it is actually sceptics that are the most ideological? If there is any issue in the world that requires international co-operation between governments, it is climate change. It cannot be by chance that so many climate sceptics with no obvious vested interest seem to be those who also wish the world more nationalistic; they do not like the EU or the UN. They want to go back to a golden age of the sovereign state, in which international aims did not hinder the economic progress of individual countries. They seem to see all green activists as ‘watermelons’ who use climate change as a front to destroy capitalism and ergo enforce socialism on the world. But if capitalism is destroying the planet surely it must change. This is not being ideological, simply practical.
So the next time you hear a climate sceptic going on, consider if they fit this criteria. It is no surprise to me that the party of the little Englanders is also a party of sceptics. No one wants climate change to be true but we have to face up to it and not give in to those driven by ulterior motives and unhelpful ideologies. We must act fast to stop the catastrophic consequences of climate change and we cannot let such ridiculous beliefs hamper that process.