One huge lie permeates the so-called “debate” concerning global climate change: that it is a political issue. This is a lie manufactured by those who have a major economic interest in maintaining the status quo in energy production, namely oil producers and major energy companies.
Let’s start with some clarification: “global warming” isn’t what scientists are worried about, and there is absolutely no debate over whether the climate is changing. The science goes on to say that human activities are a primary cause of climate change, and this is what climate change deniers repudiate. As a part of this denial, and in order to make their stance seem more reasonable, deniers have created the illusion that human-caused climate change is still up for debate in the scientific community. They frame the debate in a political light, and make it seem as if climate scientists who argue that humans are the main driver of climate change are part of a “liberal establishment.”
This could not be further from the truth: scientists are almost entirely united on this topic. An oft-cited statistic is that 97 percent of scientists support the idea that humans are causing global climate change. This claim has its basis in a number of surveys of scientists and has, of late, been strongly denied by climate change deniers.
A quick Google search of “97% of climate scientists” will lead you to a number of articles denying a scientific consensus on the topic. They all cite scientific papers which do attack the consensus, but only in one light: the perceived danger of human-caused climate change.
It is true that some climate scientists have reservations that human-caused climate change is a major threat; what isn’t true is that these scientists reject humans as a major cause. Doubtlessly my opponent will try to cite these articles, which are transparent attempts to sow misinformation among the general populace.
In contradiction to these attempts, a survey by John Cook and Naomi Oreskes published on April 13 demonstrated that, “[t]he consensus that humans are causing recent global warming is shared by 90%–100% of publishing climate scientists.”
The study also shows that surveys and papers denying the consensus examine scientists with less expertise in climate science, and that support for human-caused climate correlates positively with climate science expertise. This is just the latest piece of evidence that, amongst experts, consensus is strong that humans are a significant cause of climate change.
So why do people deny climate change? The answer is simple: powerful corporations have invested billions of dollars to combat science which would reduce their profits. The facts are there to support my assertion. In September of 1982 scientists for Exxon wrote, “[O]ver the past several years a clear scientific consensus has emerged regarding the expected climatic effects of increased atmospheric CO2. The consensus is that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from its pre-industrial revolution value would result in an average global temperature rise of (3.0 ± 1.5)℃.”
In 2015 alone, oil and gas companies invested around $130 million lobbying Congress. Political Action Committees and think-tanks are another primary vehicle that oil companies use to spread misinformation.
How can one trust deniers of human-caused climate change when they are funded by those who would benefit most from the science being wrong?
A key principle of science is that investigators should be as unbiased as possible. Research programs funded by various government organizations all support humans causing climate change, only those funded by oil companies don’t.
If you had to choose between the recommendation of a dentist whose only income was his clients and one who was sponsored by toothpaste companies, wouldn’t you choose the one who is independent?
The same holds true for climate change: between experts funded by the public and non-experts funded by oil companies, shouldn’t you trust the former?