April 30, 2019 – Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with someone who denies climate change? Here are 5 responses to climate change deniers:
1) The science is undeniable. Scientists have concluded that the Earth’s temperature has been steadily climbing since the late 19th century, just when humans started emitting large amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere. And it’s intensifying. 18 of the 19 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001.
And, no. Just because it snows doesn’t mean climate change isn’t occurring.
You can see the consequences of extreme weather all around us. Wildfires. Hurricanes. Droughts.
2) Tackling climate change is good for the economy. Clean energy creates more jobs than natural gas or coal, with 3 times as many Americans already employed in clean energy as in fossil fuels. These jobs also tend to pay more. States like California that have invested heavily in clean energy have grown their economies, while reducing carbon pollution.
3) Other countries are charging ahead with clean energy, leaving America in the coal dust. Germany plans to close its remaining coal plants by 2038. China is moving ahead with clean energy and has pledged to invest hundreds of billions more, far outpacing the United States. Even Saudi Arabia is now investing in renewable energy.
4) We can’t afford not to address climate change. The devastation brought on by climate change will cause the U.S. economy to shrink, according to scientific estimates. The losses are projected to be more than double those of the Great Recession.
5) Oil companies have known for decades that carbon pollution threatens the planet, but have sought to block action addressing the crisis. They have poured billions into political donations and misinformation campaigns to protect their profits and block clean air laws.
At this point, anyone who denies climate change is either willfully ignorant or complicit in protecting fossil fuel profits over the safety and security of our children and grandchildren.
Robert B. Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock”, “The Work of Nations,” and”Beyond Outrage,” and, his most recent, “The Common Good,” which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, “Inequality For All.” He’s co-creator of the Netflix original documentary “Saving Capitalism,” which is streaming now. www.robertreich.org