Politicizing Climate Change
We all lose by keeping climate change political.
By Shea Swenson
The effects of climate change are more dire and occurring sooner than scientists had previously expected, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released early last month.
The report was the work of 91 scientists from over 40 different countries. The IPCC report states that “climate related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security and economic growth are projected to increase” as global temperature does.
In reaction to the report, Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that he had not yet read it. “I want to look who drew it, you know—which groups drew it,” Trump said.
His comments are reflective of how deeply politicized climate change has become in the United States.
Understanding and belief about climate change more often than not run along party lines. According to a study on the public’s views of global warming, liberals and Democrats are more likely to report beliefs that align with the scientific consensus about global warming than conservatives and Republicans.
The politicization of climate change in the United States has resulted in an unproductive back and forth of politicians pushing through and rolling back environmental policies.
Being stuck in a political stalemate when it comes to climate policy is helpful to no one.
To center the dialogue about climate change around who has caused it and whether or not to believe is to take away valuable time that should be used in addressing the very real ways that climate change is impacting lives now at local and individual levels.
The effects of climate change will worsen inequalities that are already very real in America. As with many other social issues, climate change will affect the poor first and the hardest. The report found that these vulnerable communities have a disproportionately higher likelihood of experiencing the adverse consequences of climate change, and poverty and disadvantages will only increase as the temperature does.
This means that the more time we let politics stand in the way of serious climate change solutions, the more real people will lose their homes, livelihoods, and even lives.
As our country argues about who caused climate change, people will continue to be displaced, and the world will continue to be degraded.
The longer we wait to seriously and intentionally address the very personal impact climate change will have on everyone, the less we will be able to do to mitigate it.
It is well beyond time to put the politics aside. If we keep framing climate change as a political battle, we all lose.