I’m not actually interested in changing the minds of climate skeptics.
If they’re stubborn enough that the work of NASA, 32 national academies of science, the IPCC, the World Meterological Society, and every other professional scientific organization on the planet can’t change their minds, the chance of a mere student like me having any influence on them isn’t really worth the time.
What I’m worried about is the average person.
The average person, reading the newspaper, who sees dozens of editorials every year that claim climate change is nonexistent/natural/a hoax. Editorials written by scientists who, in the extreme minority, have a hard time publishing anything peer-reviewed, so they spend their time with the media instead. Scientists who seem credible until you read up a little on their background.
I worry that the average person will get the impression that the existence of anthropogenic climate change is still under scientific debate. I worry that they’ll think the two sides are equal. I worry that, having little to no background in climate science, they’ll buy claims like “temperature drives carbon dioxide, not the other way around” or “the data is skewed by the urban heat island effect” or “global warming is caused by the sun”.
I worry that this discrepancy in the media will begin to change the public opinion. I worry that, eventually, the majority of people will begin to disregard climate change. I worry that this majority will use their voting power to suppress any climate change legislation. I worry that we’ll never be able to act against this problem because most people don’t think it’s a problem at all.
And the consequences of not acting against this problem are so dire that I can’t even let myself worry about them.
I’m not jumping on any kind of green bandwagon. I’m not trying to control people with government taxes and regulation. As far as I know, I’m not part of a global scientific conspiracy.
I’m just worried about my future, and the future of the people I love.