Actually, it’s not. The evidence is irrefutable at this point that global warming is being caused primarily by human manipulation of the environment. But does it matter? Despite increasingly dire predictions by scientists and international organizations—and recent evidence that events are progressing even faster than predicted—our world leaders have shown little to no zeal for scaling back the burning of fossil fuels that is pushing global warming towards a civilization-destroying catastrophe. Indeed, it may as well be caused by cosmic rays for all they seem to care.
Despite the thousands of hours of painstaking research, the millions of words written to explain global warming and its consequences, and the billions of dollars spent just trying to agree that this is a problem, the majority of the people on this planet still do not even know that global warming exists. They live in information-poor areas where anything other than subsistence living is a luxury. Of those in the industrialized world who do have access to information, the majority of those still don’t believe that global warming is man-made, or that anything can be done about it. And perhaps they are right, for what the climate community is fighting against is something far more powerful and insidious than cosmic rays: they are fighting ideology.
Ideology is exceptionally difficult to change. It will resist contrary evidence all the way to the bitter end. People will sooner change their religion than their ideology. So my suggestion to the climate community is this: just stop trying. Let the climate deniers have their beliefs. When they point to cosmic rays, or volcanoes, or sunspots, or orbital wobbles, or whatever cockamamie cause they come up with, just nod your head. Let them win. Because the alternative is just going to cause them to dig in deeper and rob resources from the real challenge before us: coming up with a plan to keep global warming from pushing civilization into a thousand-year dark age.
The question now before us in not whether we can stop global warming. That ship has sailed. The question before us is not how to minimize global warming. That ship has probably sailed, too. The question now before us is how we can adapt civilization to the rapid changes that will be occurring during the worst case scenario. Instead of spending time and money antagonizing the people in power who, frankly, just do not want to be convinced, spend the money on researching how to adapt. Instead of continuously sounding the alarm about the worst case scenario, embrace it and plan for it. Because that is the track we are on, no matter what we say or do. Ideology or cosmic rays, it’s irrelevant at this point.
We who understand that global warming is being caused by human intervention are smart people. We have demonstrated the ability to listen to the evidence and use it to accurately see into the future. We are proactive, not reactive. We are leaders, not followers. It is time to stop fighting and start leading. The deniers may be able to refute the cause, but they are increasingly unable to refute the change. Let’s use that to lead us towards a future where at least some of our civilization is preserved. The alternative is to keep fighting over semantics until the water is literally lapping at our doors.