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Raven Rusk

on 26 August 2014

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Transcript of Environment

Climate Science as Culture War
Belief & Skepticism
News Articles
Political & Social Effects on the Population
Political Effects
Social Effects
“We must acknowledge that the debate over climate change, like almost all environmental issues, is a debate over culture, worldviews, and ideology.”
In American Society today, there are three main points of view on climate change. One, climate change is real, and it is our fault so we must do something about it. Two, climate change isn't real, instead it is a conspiracy made up by people and corporations who want more money. Three, climate change could be real, but it isn't someting that I should worry about because it isn't going to affect my life.
“This tendency is driven by an innate desire to maintain a consistency in beliefs by giving greater weight to evidence and arguments that support preexisting beliefs, and by expending disproportionate energy trying to refute views or arguments that are contrary to those beliefs.”
As far as the politcial aspects of environmental issues go, there are three major sides: the conservative, the liberal, and the moderate. The liberal side to this mainly focuses on the Clean Water Act that President Obama was pushing towards, in his election campaign. The conservative side is leaning towards the conservation of resources. The moderate side is standing on hard scientific facts, which includes both the conservative and liberal standings. This indecision amongst ourselves as a nation, is what causes the environment to worsen as we sit around and firmly decide nothing. Thus, causing even more strain in the political aspect of environmental issues.
Belief in Climate Change
Statistics are showing that around 39% of the American population believe that climate change is happening, and is a relatively important issue we should be focused on. This percentage is comprised of mainly middle-aged women and a diversity of liberal-leaning moderates who have a college education. The fact that less than half of the nation's population "believes" in climate change is a LARGE contributing factor to the lack of good decisions (or decisions in general) congress has been making.
Skepticism with Climate Change
“For a consensus-based discussion, climate change science should be presented not as a binary yes or no question, but as a series of six questions.”
Additional Information
Projections show that the Earth's temperature will rise about three to seven degrees on average during the 21st century. However, by raising awareness, we should be able to keep the rise in temperature down to the minimum.
"The Consensus-Based Form involves a reasoned societal debate, focused on the full scope of technical and social dimensions of the problem and the feasibility and desirability of multiple solutions. It is this form to which scientists have the most to offer, playing the role of what Pielke calls the 'honest broker'—a person who can 'integrate scientific knowledge with stakeholder concerns to explore alternative possible courses of action.'"
"The Optimistic Form is where people do not have to change their values at all. In other words, the easiest way to eliminate the common problems of climate change is to develop technological solutions that do not require major alterations to our values, worldviews, or behavior: carbon-free renewable energy, carbon capture and sequestration technologies, geo-engineering, and others."
"The Pessimistic Form is where people fight to protect their values. This most dire outcome results in a logic schism, where opposing sides debate different issues, seek only information that supports their position and disconfirms the others’, and even go so far as to demonize the other."
What is a Culture War?
In the article by Andrew J. Hoffman a cultural war can be defined as a war fought between two differing mindsets over the same topic typically dealing with traditional or cultural view points.
This particular "war" was about whether climate change exisited, or if it was just another hoax made to scare people out of money.
Six Americas: The Alarmed and The Concerned.
The approximate remaining 61% of the nation that does NOT believe in climate change is comprised of rich and well educated white men, or people who are not politically active. Even so, their votes towards which president to elect do count, and since they are more towards non-belief, it could greatly impact the topic of environmental issues throughout the nation.
Conservative views
Six Americas: The Cautious, The Disengaged, The Doubtful, The Dismissive.
Moderate Views
Liberal Views
Politically moderate people tend to look for only the facts, while members of the other parties will twist it to make the news reflect what they want. For example, the Democratic side of the government is willing to use the ignorance of the public to distort the social debate over climate change to put their party in an even better light. At the time the article came out Republicans in the house were a minority, and trying to pass over the environmental issues, so they could focus on issues they felt were more important to their party. Moderate people tend to lean towards the scientific side, were facts are presented, and they know they will be helping the enviroment instead of adding to the global warming issues of today.
Climate change is the heating or cooling of the earth, scientists have concluded that greenhouse gasses are heating up the earth but it’s not as simple as that. we need greenhouse gases to keep some heat in and one of the biggest issues is that there is no cheap way to limit greenhouse gases. Plus the earth, it is thought, heats and cools periodically due to natural causes changing the climate. In today’s society we are such a diverse culture all over the world that our debates on any issue are bound to conflict with our beliefs weather they be political, religious our just our own person thoughts. With such a large number of opinions it is hard, if not impossible, to agree on something completely or to at least come to an agreement especially on a subject as strenuous as Climate change.
Taking a moment to step aside from "Environmental Issues" as being a part of nature, a news article that was written recently by a Conservative-leaning person, talked about the differences in congressional votes on particular issues. The article began, continued with and concluded with an immense mentioning of the congressional votes in which the Republicans had more votes than the Democrats. So, not only are we failing to make firmdecisions about environmental issues, "we" are also having a childish stand-off with the people "we" are supposed to be working with to better the country as a whole. The conservative views on climate change focus on conserving resources, though if they can't even conserve a partnership with the other "half" of congress, I don't see how we can ever make a firm decision on important issues in the world.
Global warming is happening in the world, regardless of how many try to deny it. Reason #1- “the overwhelming majority of climate scientists and scientists in other fields agree”. Reason #2- the earth’s surface is increasing by .13 degrees celsius per decade on average. Reason #3- Glaciers are not being replaced as much as they used to, by the process of Ablation. Ablation is the process in which glaciers melt and evaporate, but the lost water is replaced by winter snowfalls. Because of the increasing temperatures, glaciers melt more than usual, and snowfall replacement only delays the melting of the whole glacier. Reason #4- Peru’s water glaciers have decreased by 22% in the past decade.
"Scientists have documented that anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gases are leading to a buildup in the atmosphere, which leads to a general warming of the global climate and an alteration in the statistical distribution of localized weather patterns over long periods of time."
Greenhouse gases aren't all bad in fact we do need them in order to live. Without greenhouse gases the earth wouldn't be able to keep other needed elements in our air (i.e. oxygen).
Ideally, we would like to eliminate their production through the mobilization of economic and technical resources. But the chief greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, is both man-made and natural. It is not inherently harmful; it is a natural part of the natural systems; and we do not desire to eliminate its production.
Three possible Cultural Solutions
"And yet a social consensus on climate change does not exist. Surveys show that the American public’s belief in the science of climate change has mostly declined over the past five years, with large percentages of the population remaining skeptical of the science."
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