The Real Problem With Climate Change Denial: Science Aside

The scientific community has felt some unrest within the past few weeks due to some decisions made the White House. Don’t get me wrong, as a student studying science, I feel the need to appreciate climate change denial in a sense that it serves as motivation for us to gather more information and learn more about the planet we live on. However, there are downfalls beyond the fact that deniers present arguments that aren’t grounded in reliable, heavily researched data.

One of President Donald Trump’s appeals as a candidate in the past election was his reputation as a business man. America is still recovering from The Great Recession, and many citizens are relying on his skill to put our country back on track.

I might have a relatively limited knowledge of the business world compared to a college student earning their degree in something that teaches them about economics and company growth. Regardless, I think it’s universally agreed that progress comes from change with the future in mind.

You don’t have to be a geologist to know that Planet Earth doesn’t have an unlimited supply of oil and coal. It’s no mystery why these resources are eventually going to become more and more expensive, not just economically, but also expensive in terms of our carbon budget. (If you don’t know much about atmospheric chemistry, you can read about what a carbon budget is here.)

But again, science aside – even if every ounce of research about global warming is unreliable – depending on non-renewable resources is simply not sustainable. I’m sure it will boost economic activity in the short run, but that’s not the debate. There is, for all we know, an exponential number of people that are going to live on this planet after us, and it’s lazy and foolish to think that we’ll never need to change our ways.

Between all the waste we produce and all the resources we use and don’t replace, it’s pretty well understood that there’s going to be a lot of cleaning up done by the generations after us, and not enough people are conscious of that. It’s easy to make a mess if you’re not the one who has to clean it up. My mother taught me to leave a place cleaner than I found it, and my dad taught me that a successful career should be focused on “moving it down the line,” meaning I need to be productive for those who will live after me.

Success relies on progress. If you don’t keep moving forward, you’re going to fall behind. It’s a heavy but fallacious appeal to tradition when your campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again.” Why not make America greater than it was before?