“The media often fails to distinguish between predictions and what is actually being observed on Earth today. Rather than focusing on the hard science of global warming, the media has instead become an advocate for hyping scientifically unfounded climate alarmism”. This is an excerpt from the farewell speech of U.S. Senator James M. Inhofe, the outgoing Chairman of the U.S.’s Environment and Public Works Committee.
The Senator faced a severe backlash from the media for “under-rating” the climate catastrophe the planet is facing. Global Warming is indeed getting an extraordinary amount of media attention- partly aided by the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Paris. Though climate change and global warming are real problems, it is time to ask: Is climate change an existential threat to humanity or is it just overhyped?
A month ago the United Nations released ANOTHER very gloomy prognostication regarding global warming (read climate change). The report declared that even if the present governments’ upheld their commitments of reining in pollution levels, by 2050, Earth’s surface temperature will have risen by 1.5 degrees Celsius over the 1870 average. This figure created a huge sensation in the media, which started projecting the “Apocalypse of Earth” on prime time television . Unfortunately, people have forgotten that this is not the first time global temperatures have risen. Natural factors are always changing – and are still changing. Just take a look at the following graphs:
Notice the temperature deviation from the mean around 11th century AD? Even if humans have contributed something to global warming – which is conceivable and theoretically justifiable, it is not enough ,according to these graphs, to change the qualitative nature and extent of natural climate variability. Even if humans stopped breathing and driving tomorrow, the Earth’s temperature wouldn’t stop changing. So why is everyone talking about global warming nowadays?
There are a variety of factors for this hype, the main one being the legacy of the outgoing U.S. President, Barack Obama. Every President wants a memorable legacy, a policy for which they want to be remembered. Abraham Lincoln won the Civil War, Woodrow Wilson won U.S. the First World War, while Franklin Roosevelt won U.S.the Second World War. In the same way, Barack Obama wants the people to remember him for advocating policy discussion on climate change and global warming. Barack Obama wants to be remembered as the President who saved the world from climate change. Have you ever noticed that before 2014, global warming was never discussed as much? Now we see the U.S. President making statements on global warming almost every other day..
Though global warming is getting more than necessary international scrutiny, much less than expected is happening on the ground. For instance, the much touted 2015 Paris climate change accord, doesn’t have the required teeth to enforce strict pollution control standards. Countries are making promises they can’t keep, writing checks they can’t cash, and stepping over the poor people, to take credit for an ‘agreement’ that is subject to be shredded within a year. Key parts of the Paris pact are non-abiding,which can be declared null and void anytime by developing industrial countries like China and India.
This is not to say that climate change is not dangerous, it is. However startling and alarming the common citizen is not helpful at all. If the governments are serious about reducing global warming and slowing down climate change, they should work hard on the ground instead of just talking in front of the media. As they say:
Speak softly, but carry a big stick.