The title of this clip is Headed toward Middletown on through Valley Fire. It was filmed by a man escaping a particularly aggressive wildfire in Northern California at a place called Anderson Springs. Currently, California is experiencing one of the worst seasons of wildfires to date. These fires have only been fueled by the intense drought the region of California has undergone. Extreme weather and climate occurring in California, across this country, and also globally is directly related to the issue of climate change caused by global warming and other effects of our anthropocentric way of life.
Although the clip is frightening, putting aside my somewhat dramatic introduction- climate change as described by the United States Environmental Protection Agency is “any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time.” In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among other effects, that occur over several decades or longer.”
Global Warming is described as the recent and ongoing rise in global average temperature close to the Earth’s surface. It is caused mostly by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Global warming is causing climate patterns to change. However, global warming itself represents only one aspect of climate change.
After analyzing multiple sources, I’ve come to the conclusion that many question not whether the earth is warming, but whether we are increasing the rate at which the earth warms.
To bring things home, here in the United States in places like Alaska and as you just viewed California, we are experiencing very tangible effects of climate change. Alaska temperature sensors exhibit a 3 degree C increase over the past 30 years. That is four times the increase of most other locations.
Now we can focus on the pseudoscience. To begin doing so we should start with the questions…
Here I have some examples of individuals and companies who perpetuate or claim ideas that state climate change is either not real or not an issue that deserves attention and immediate action.
Quotes in the image below include:
“To my knowledge, nobody has uttered the term ‘global warming’ since 2009. It’s been completely refuted in most areas. … Those people who really believe that the world’s coming to an end because of global warming and that’s all due to manmade, anthropogenic gases, we call those people alarmists. … I really believe it’s the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”
“We’ve experienced climate change for a long time, highs and lows. We had the coldest winter ever last winter. There was a report out that the Great Lakes are six degrees below what they were a year ago. I don’t know that climate scientists can really predict where we’re headed.”
Recently it has been discovered that in the 1970s and 80s Exxon Mobil new about the dangers of fossil fuels and climate change before it became a public interest, and then continued to fund money into the fossil fuel industry and lobbying against climate change awareness and prevention.
So the final question is why?
Why do politicians, companies, and individuals continue to deny what scientists and experts have been attempting to mitigate and act on for years?
With the decline of environmental leadership in general and the rise of power in politicians that wouldn’t’ financially or politically benefit from acting to prevent climate change there has been a mobilization fueling the denial and skepticism of climate change and global warming.
“The organization of denial: Conservative think tanks and environmental skepticism”- a source I used for this research stated:
The US conservative movement began to see global environmentalism as a threat to US national sovereignty and economic power and became aggressively anti-environmental.
The term “echo chambers” traditionally refers to situations where people surround themselves with information they want to hear, and block out the rest.
Capitalism, Speciesm, Anthropocentrism, all these isms are reasons as to why climate change denial exists.
In conclusion, climate change denial is certainly a pseudoscience. Climate change in the form of global warming, is a sceintifically proven issue. The denial of climate change is a major issue in politics and many other institutions.
Below is an infographic depicting the thin line between our current global temperature and the one we will reach if we continue on the path we have set for ourselves as a human race.