Like far too many pressing issues talked about in the media, climate change has become an extremely politicized topic. Currently, there seems to be only two ways to view the environment: the Democratic view, or the Republican view. Unfortunately, this is exactly the problem. Because the environment has become a political discussion, the opinions on climate change have polarized into two extreme, irreconcilable viewpoints.
Today, we have to find a way to blend these polarized opinions and take into account the concerns and perspectives of both sides, or else nothing will actually be done to discuss and fix the issues that matter.
The Apocalyptic Doctrine
When it comes to the left-wing point of view, there is absolutely no room to compromise. According to the Democratic narrative, climate change is the most pressing issue in contemporary politics. And if left untouched, the results will be catastrophic. The focus is rarely on the root causes of the issues, but rather the dramatic effects they will have. Some climate change alarmists have even gone to the extreme of stating that much of Florida will be underwater or that chocolate, coffee, and beer will go extinct because of global warming. Clearly, the Democrats have all the answers on how to save the environment, despite the fact that the climate change theory has changed and evolved dramatically over time.
The fear-mongering tactics are not a new trend, either. In fact, they’ve been lingering in society for decades. For example, in his 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore stated the outrageous claim that unless the world took “drastic measures” to reduce greenhouse emissions, we would reach a “point of no return” and a “true planetary disaster” within ten years. It’s been eleven- and despite the ominous threats, little has changed.
However, the most divisive part of all is how Democrats present the solution to this apocalyptic, nightmare scenario. (This is where the Party politics come in.) According to the left, the only cure to this otherwise lethal illness is by regulating businesses- an inherently liberal policy. The left depicts businesses as greedy and corrupt, polluting and destroying the environment for their own financial gain and profits. Therefore, the only way to avoid this cruel fate is by imposing tough regulation on businesses. And this is where the Republicans become alienated by the liberal climate change narrative, and the division begins.
Absolute Denial of Climate Change
Over time, this message has been ingrained into our minds for so long that the idea of fighting climate change is basically associated with regulating businesses. Because that stands against fundamental principles of fiscally conservative policy, many Republicans have- for some reason- flat-out denied that any climate change is happening. While the “97% of scientists” statistic has been debunked, there is still plenty of scientific evidence to back up climate change.
Many Republicans have gone to absurd lengths to appeal to their supporters’ disapproval of liberal fear-mongering. For example, President Trump once infamously stated that climate change is a Chinese hoax to weaken our manufacturing. Positions derived from tweets like these are practically jokes, and they give Democrats easy fodder to use as straw-man arguments.
Now, I’m not saying that Republicans, or anybody else with a similar viewpoint, should stop questioning the liberal narrative. Climate change studies is still a developing science that has been admittedly been proven wrong many times before. Climate change has also been happening throughout the history of the Earth, making current shifts potentially less significant. Therefore, determining long-term effects is very difficult because of how many factors there are to consider. Additionally, I wholeheartedly agree that the scare tactics used by mainstream Democrats exaggerate the potential dangers of climate change.
In short, climate change science is extremely complicated. However, stubbornly denying that it could very well exist just shows that Republicans care more about party politics than the actual issues.
Mending the Climate Change Discussion
I think the first major step to mend the divide between the Democrats and Republicans would be to redefine the potential solutions to climate change. Democrats need to realize that federal regulation is not the only way to help the environment. Eco-friendly businesses are very popular right now, while heavily polluting can stain the reputations of businesses. Additionally, businesses investing into new technology is the key to the future of environmentally-friendly products.
Meanwhile, many Republicans need to let go of the absolute position that climate change cannot exist, simply because it is falsely presented as the end of the world. That isn’t a reason to ignore obvious problems or deny a middle ground exists.
Fortunately, I think we are making a major step in the right direction. After Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, many American companies took matters into their own hands. Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Lyft, along with hundreds of other US businesses, pledged their support for the agreement. Fortunately for the future of climate change debate, these companies just proved that government regulation is not the only solution. Many companies can and will strive to be more eco-friendly and help prevent harmful climate change.
Today, we cannot fix the problems of climate change without first being able to discuss and debate the issues. However, I hope that in the future, we will learn to discuss these problems- without ridiculing the other side- to help make our planet and our world a better place.