Thursday, February 22, 2024

Let’s Win the Climate Change Debate

What if climate change is real?

What price will everyday Americans pay if Republicans continue to deny it’s happening?

Before you hit the back button, hear me out.

The left peddles the notion that any change in climate patterns must be anthropogenic (human caused). We know this playbook. They discover an issue with a shred of truth and tie it to a false solution that expands their power, reduces our freedom and generally makes life more miserable.

Unfortunately, too many times in the past we have turned our back on legitimate issues because it was inconvenient, which ultimately left us at the mercy of the progressive’s bad policies. Their long-term goal of establishing an authoritarian government is primarily based on the adoption of restrictive climate change laws that would strip Americans of their fundamental right of self-determination.

We just don’t have the luxury of sitting out this debate.

 Ask a conservative about their views on climate change, and you’ll typically get an eye roll, outright denial or blank stare. Yet, according to an Axios poll, 71% of Americans believe climate change is real, and a majority say it’s caused entirely or mostly by human activity. We’re clearly losing the argument, but conservative policy makers have offered no meaningful solutions, which gives the opposition ownership of the issue. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy recently unveiled the “Commitment to America,” which outlines Republican priorities moving forward. Regrettably, climate change isn’t even mentioned.

The Climate is Always Changing

For the sake of argument, let’s assume the climate is actually changing. It’s certainly not unprecedented. The earth has experienced four ice ages over the past 500,000 years. The Little Ice Age in the sixteenth century lasted a few hundred years and cooled the earth by almost two degrees. Obviously, none of these past events were caused by human activity, so it’s entirely possible, if not probable, we’re experiencing a climate-related event completely unrelated to burning fossil fuels and other human activities.

However, if we refuse to acknowledge the reality of a changing climate, we allow the left to win the issue uncontested. Populist Republicans who choose to ignore the problem do so at their own peril. How can we deny there is an ongoing drought in California, or that Lake Mead is drying up? The earth’s surface temperature has apparently risen by 1.5 degrees in the 21st century, which is confirmed by major cities that are routinely recording record high temperatures. The cost of food has risen dramatically in part because of drought in many regions of the world.

There is still a great deal of ambiguity in the “settled science” that needs to be fleshed out. It’s entirely possible, if not probable, that our climate is changing primarily due to increased sunspots, solar flares, dormant volcanos, changes in the earth’s rotation, changes in tidal patterns and a myriad of other plausible theories. Some scientists believe the heating dome effect is more attributable to water vapor in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, but the irony is water vapor can’t even be measured accurately. How can we tell what factors are influencing climate change when there is no way to quantify the impact of a likely source?

A Solutions Based Approach

Instead of giving up our freedoms based on inconclusive evidence, maybe we should focus our time, money and resources on developing policies that address the effects of climate change, at least until the actual science can be precisely quantified. Even if human activity is indisputably proven to be the cause, perhaps we determine the burden of the draconian measures the left proposes are too severe, and it would be more beneficial to focus on improving lives by mitigating the damage.

Building another desalination facility like the Carlsbad plant near San Diego, which provides seven percent of San Diego county’s fresh water, would cost about $250 million. Six plants costing just $1.5 billion could provide half of the city’s fresh water needs and help significantly reduce the burden on the Colorado River. How many California farms could be saved, thus lowering the cost of food? How much reflective asphalt coating, which reduces road surface temperatures by up to 12 degrees in Phoenix, could be purchased for a billion dollars? How many shade trees could be planted? How much low-e glass could be installed? How much insulation could be added?

Look at the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis fact sheet for Biden’s original Build Back Better Act. In it, the House allocated at least $142 billion for projects directly related to reducing human caused emissions. However, if they are wrong, and climate change is a natural phenomenon, we will have squandered a tremendous opportunity to minimize the impact of climate change and improve countless lives.

 We Can’t Lose This Issue

A variety of reputable scientific institutions all confirm global temperatures have been rising steadily this century. Instead of a head in the sand approach, developing strategies and creating climate-related technologies that help improve lives is the key to winning the argument. Yet, one thing is clear: if we continue to deny and ignore climate change, we’ll be left at the mercy of the left’s psychotic policies that have become increasingly radical, costly and devastating to the lives of ordinary Americans.