Over the past few weeks I’ve been in a little debate over Climate Change and it has come to me that most folks have no idea what is really going on. By this I mean, in the debate and just what they are doing. So I thought to take some time and lay it all out. To help with this I have drawn a simple decision tree.
As you can see the first question is “Does Climate Change Exists?” Is it really happening or not. This is what we most often here as what the debate is about, the “Climate Change Deniers”. Their position is quite simple, Climate change is not happening, therefor we need do nothing. The major problem with this position is that it flies in the face of the great majority, last reported at 97% of climatologists do hold that Climate Change exits. (They also hold that humans are a causal factor.) To hold that Climate Change does not exist means these people find themselves arguing science with little or no scientific training. More often than not they end up just looking foolish or worse. This just maybe why the also seem to be angry. I submit that their real problem is they don’t realize that what they really want is not to do anything about Climate Change because they don’t like any of the proposed actions to deal with Climate Change.
As you can see from the chart there are several paths to doing nothing even if you accept that Climate Change is real. I shan’t go into any of the points in the argument(s) at this time as they are both long and complex in most cases. The next question is “Should we do anything?” As you can see answering NO gets you right to “Do Nothing”. The simplest argument for saying NO to this question is that Climate Change is important and/or significant. If you answer YES to this question we move on to the next question “Can we do anything?”
Once again, if you answer NO you end right back to Do Nothing. This is one of the questions we need to be talking about very seriously and while some of us are way to many of us are caught up talking about the earlier questions. It maybe that in the end there is nothing we can do to have any effect on Climate Change, but this is not something I believe. So if we answer YES to “Can we do anything?” we move on to “Can we have any effect?”
While this question looks a lot like the previous question it is not the same. Before we were asking if anything thing can be done, and here were are asking if what we can do will have any positive effect on Climate Change or not. If we answer NO then we get to move on to the question “Can we have any mitigating actions?” An if we answer YES we go on to “Will it be totally effective?”
In all these cases we have moved on to what we need to do about Climate Change. You will notice we have yet to start on the issue of “Should we do anything about Climate Change?” I shall leave this question for another time.