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How to Think About Climate Change

May 18, 2014
Plain English Version


Climate-Change-And-PovertyLet us say the people who do not believe that the climate is changing for the worse are correct.

We would spend billions of dollars on improving our water systems, cutting down on pollution, reducing our use of fossil fuels and making our country more environmentally friendly. At the same time we would be creating jobs and improving the economy. Those people would call that a big waste of money.

Let’s say the people who do not believe that the climate is changing are wrong.

We do not spend the billions mentioned above. Our climate is changing for the worse. Our country is profoundly damaged. Our health and our quality of life are terribly diminished. Our economy is in tatters. Those people would say the market will solve the problem.

The choice is obvious.

The evidence of climate change is overwhelming. It is already threatening our national security. Conflicts over water are taking place in Africa and the Middle East. Sea levels are already rising in coastal areas in India and Bangladesh.

The West Antarctica ice sheet has begun to fall apart. “It has passed the point of no return,” a scientist said. This could cause the ocean to rise four feet.

Conditions in the United States will continue to change. The Southwest has and will continue to experience extreme drought. Wildfires such as those in California will become more frequent and cover larger areas. Violent storms such as Hurricane Sandy will damage coastal areas. Alaskan ice glaciers will keep melting.

There is only one reason why many of the nation’s leaders refuse to face the future. It is self-interest. They cave in to a small minority of voters whose opposition threatens their jobs. These voters believe people like President Obama dream up climate change.

Skeptics like to think they are tough-minded. But what they are really doing is endangering the nation.

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