It has been 382 years since Galileo was forced to recant his view that the earth revolved around the sun, and yet there is still a persistent rejection of science in popular culture. It was Galileo himself that said, “By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox.” The beauty of the scientific method is that it is nonpartisan. There is no bias in science but towards the truth.
This is why it is upsetting that many political leaders deny the existence of climate change despite clear evidence, despite sound reasoning, despite dire consequences. NASA and NOAA, the two biggest leaders in science in America, released a report released a report in July stating that the first half of 2016 was the hottest year globally on record. It is true that the earth has gone through many warming periods in its lifetime. The issue is the abnormal rate at which it is warming. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, largely due to human activities, is at unprecedented 400 ppm. 97% of climate scientists recognize that the climate trends over the last century are the consequence of human activities.
Ocean acidification destabilizes an already fragile ocean ecosystem. Increased ocean levels and stronger hurricanes place some of the world’s poorest countries at risk. Besides the many environmental and societal risks to ignoring climate change, there is financial ones as well. According to the International Panel on Climate Change, "the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time."
The politicians among those denying the existence of climate change include Ted Cruz who said, “If you look at satellite data for the last 18 years, there’s been zero recorded warming. The satellite says it ain’t happening.” 18 years is not a sufficient time table for climate change, nor is it actually supported by the data. John Kasich said “We don’t want to destroy people’s jobs, based on some theory that is not proven.” This is the incorrect use of the word theory in a scientific context and, once again, manmade climate change is generally agreed upon the world’s experts. Of the 278 republicans in Congress, only 8 have not made statements denying and/or challenging its existence.
The only way to eliminate ignorance is to educate the public, so they can elect knowledgeable officials and become ones themselves. As President of the United States, you will have the public’s attention to educate on these topics. Also as the leader of the Executive Branch, you can push Obama’s plan to act on the Paris Agreement, enact the Clean Power Plan, and continue to provide aid to the global climate fund. As a privileged country in the world, and one that is often seen as one of the world’s greatest leaders, it is our responsibility to set a precedent of conscious legislature. Legislature supported by scientific evidence, not bias or corporate sponsorship.
This is not the time to promote or tolerate willful ignorance, for there was once a time when many refused to believe that the Earth revolved around the sun.
And yet it moves.
My Very Best,