Watters: The politicians who deny climate change are just full of hot air

Arabella Watters

A refusal to “believe” in global warming always makes me laugh, especially in the year 2012. It’s humorous partially because I don’t think climate change can quite be equated to other “beliefs,” like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, and partially because the staunch conservatives who deny that Earth is quietly heating up below our feet always sound just the slightest bit insane. Just because I tend to think that a conservative president would be better for our economy doesn’t mean I agree with the fanatical ranting against the “warmists.” The warmists, I might add, are people who choose to look at the empirical facts regarding climate change and want to do something to combat it. Apparently warmist also seems to translate into liberal; I wasn’t aware that global climate patterns had become partisan, but apparently I missed the memo. Regardless of political leanings, it’s an undeniable fact that the planet is heating up at a rate it shouldn’t be. The catch is this: Young people, regardless of their politics, care about the environment and we’re growing up in a generation that has more power than ever before. I don’t need to tell anyone that with the advent of the Internet and all the technology that came with it, we have a louder and more accessible voice than ever. At 19 years old, I have the power to vote along with the freedom of speech and the entire world to share it with. That’s why I think that the entire argument about climate change is about to become insignificant. Nobody my age that I know is naive enough to believe that global warming doesn’t “exist.” Sure, people have differing opinions on how much government funding we should spend on solutions, but nobody is illogical enough to live in a denial-of-climate-change fantasy world. I’m not about to ramble on about the legacy I’m leaving behind when I can barely contemplate making it through finals week, but I can say that I place a huge value on the planet I’ve been privileged enough to experience. It would be irresponsible to say the least if I didn’t hold myself a little bit accountable. All that being said, there is a difference between caring about the planet and forcing it down people’s throats with a political agenda. Both parties and the media that follow them treat climate change as another way to convince voters of their omnipotence and as a result, the inevitable manipulation of statistics occurs. I don’t like how anything you read about global warming seems to have a partisan spin on it. Climate change shouldn’t either be seen as a harbinger for doomsday or a figment of the imagintion. There is real scientific evidence out there presenting the natural and human causes and effects of global warming. Unfortunately, these facts are totally eclipsed by the the insanity propagated by each party. Take for example the Heartland Institute’s Seventh Annual Climate Conference that occurred this weekend in New York. Not only was attendance down from 800 to less than 200, but the conference seemed crazier and more off base than ever before. Perhaps this is simple evidence of Heartland’s recent loss of funding, but the event seemed so far from the current accepted narrative regarding global warming. I know the far right end of the party has never been known for their political correctness, but I think that the fact that the conference was advertised with a billboard featured Ted Kaczynski (The Unabomber) with the words “I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?” emblazoned on it, epitomizes the level of poor taste this movement is taking. The movement certainly isn’t speaking to my generation. And funny thing is, it isn’t speaking to any major players of the Republican Party either. Only Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) appeared at the conference. This extremist, radical movement trying to convince people about the falsity of global warming is stale and irrelevant. The Republican Party is more concerned with getting elected and wouldn’t touch this kind of staunch conservatism with a 20-foot pole and I find it disgusting that these kind of clearly falsified theories are even considered valid anymore. The amount of self-righteousness that is required to publicly denounce scientifically proven facts is colossal. At the conference, John Dunn, a policy advisor to Heartland spoke against the “envirofascist madness” and only succeeded in making a fool of himself when he released this statement: “Warm is good for people, and it’s particularly good for people as they get older,” Dunn said. “The people that warm spells kill are already moribund.” Not only is this statement not relevant to the entire argument about climate change, but it is also ridiculous. Honestly, I believe that everybody has the right to his or her own opinion, no matter how outdated and unfounded it may be, but one cannot expect respect when said opinion makes absolutely no sense at all. That is the frustrating yet non-threatening thing about the entire crusade against global warming: It has no foundation except in wildly maniacal theory. At this point, as I said before, I believe that the entire fight will probably just die out, or at least those fighting at the forefront should consider packing it in and giving up. My generation, if anything, is becoming more self aware and I highly doubt that anybody is going to advocate for the destruction of our planet. Arabella Watters is a Medill freshman. She can be reached at [email protected]