Climate Change: an environmental problem, or a political one?


We all know about climate change. You know, it’s why the Earth’s surface temperature is going up. Which really isn’t good for all of us living on Earth.

I used to think that the climate change discussion was primarily science-based. That is, I thought scientists and other people in the scientific community were the main people pushing for and against climate change. But recently I’ve been reading the news a lot more, and guess what? Generally, I don’t find scientists arguing with each other about climate change. (At least not on the news, anyway.)

It’s the politicians.

Why politicians are arguing about something that isn’t their forte beats me. (Actually, they argue about lots of things that aren’t their forte.) I mean, the last time politicians were so interested in science was during the Space Race. That was a while ago. But now, especially in the United States, people for and against climate change are waging a battle of epic proportions, a battle that could even affect who their next president is.

Climate change is the single greatest threat facing our planet. — Bernie Sanders campaign website

Obviously, there are some politicians who think that climate change is a big deal. And it is, whether or not you believe in climate change. Because either you believe that the Earth is warming significantly and humans aren’t doing enough to stop it, or there are millions of people harping about nothing.

But to cut the rest of the world some slack, my research led me to the conclusion that most of the debate over climate change is happening in the United States. I don’t know why. Maybe they like to argue a lot. Maybe it’s because of their two-party system. (That is, whenever one party talks about some issue, it’s the other party’s role to refute it, deny it or ignore it.) But honestly, things weren’t so bad while the politicians kept their ridiculous ideas and agendas to themselves.

But then their thoughts on climate change (or someone’s thoughts, anyway) leaked back into the scientific community.

It’s very reasonable that the recent trouble in Paris is a result of climate change. There is a water shortage in Syria, this is fact-based. Small and medium farmers have abandoned their farms because there’s not enough water, not enough rainfall. And especially the young people who have not grown up there, have not had their whole lives invested in living off the land, the young people have gone to the big cities looking for work. There’s not enough work for everybody, so the disaffected youths, as we say, the young people who don’t believe in the system, believe the system’s failed, don’t believe in the economy are more easily engaged and more easily recruited by terrorist organisations, and then they end up part way around the world in Paris shooting people. — Bill Nye the Science Guy

I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but I think some people in the scientific community have gone bonkers. Firstly, none of the attackers appeared to be Syrian (one of them had a Syrian passport, but it was suspected to have been stolen). Five of them were French nationals, two were Belgian, and two were Iraqi. I’m quite sure that a water shortage in Syria would not have affected them too much.

What I’m trying to say is that what began as an actual concern for the state of our planet was kidnapped by politicians and mutated into some ugly beast. And to make matters worse, the scientists decided to join the political argument. Now I really can’t tell what is actually science and what’s just political rhetoric.

I think that protecting the environment is important. But I also think that politics has blown climate change out of proportion. Yes, we can probably link rising temperatures to climate change, but linking terrorism to climate change is just stupid. Climate change might be bad, but making it the ultimate bogeyman by attaching random things to it isn’t going to make more people worried about it.

For me, Bill Nye’s linking of climate change to terrorism just made me more skeptical on whether scientists actually know what’s going on.

So here’s the question: should we even bother about climate change, then?

I think we should. But I don’t think we should go crazy about it. Yes, it’s important, but I think that some of the information has been exaggerated by politicians and scientists. We need to have sharp eyes to discern what’s fact and what’s fiction in the debate.

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