Science? We don’t need no stinkin’ science!

Dear beloved Friends of Science,

Perhaps you did not get the memo, but the rest of us “denialists” have changed our tact and become delayers. The main method by which we mean to do so is to tell everyone that climate change is harmless or in fact beneficial. Due to the warmer weather for our comfort, increased carbon for plant growth and all sorts of other wonderful things like that, we will convince people to stick to the comfortable and indulgent status quo! Although I must give you kudos for creating further confusion, which I suppose will help delay all this alarmist behaviour that will reduce our, ah, interests!

Yours truly,

Other Greedy Folk

As I realize my mock-letter above may be offensive, I apologize to those of you who are offended. To show my sincerity I will explain where this dripping sarcasm comes from. First, let me say that while I understand there are legitimate concerns about what climate action may do in certain areas of the economy, let me remind you that capitalism is supposedly about innovation and risk-taking. Which, by the way, is exactly what is happening. Meanwhile the “old boys clubs” are fighting tooth and nail to keep their towers of consolidated wealth from toppling — although, as far as I can tell, the smart companies are diversifying and preparing for change, working with, and not against. I would love to think that capitalism could solve all of our problems, but unfortunately, capitalism is based on individual profit. As much as Adam Smith would have liked it to benefit everyone, it does not work out so well on a global or even national scale. I know there are a lot of people who would like the government to keep their noses out of, well, just about everything. If you stop for a moment and think about it, that is a rather scary sentiment. The government represents the people, and, especially in Canada, we are incredibly lucky to have such a government. We need the government to interfere sometimes specifically because the “trickle-down effect” does not work. Note the ever-widening gap between rich and poor. Would it really be nice if the government just stood back and said, “Have at ‘er! Do what you will!?” I think the consequences would be vast; tragedy of the commons at its worst.

Bizarre conspiracy theories about the world’s environmentalists and scientists aside, it is really tiring hearing people and groups like the Friends of Science say that we are all deluded alarmists. I have looked at the issue of global warming, or more accurately global climate destabilization, from every angle I could think of: environmental, social, economic, political, scientific and even a risk management perspective. Who am I? I’m nobody! My meager education does not make me a science expert on climate. But after all my reading and consideration, I’ve come to the conclusion that a) there is no debate among climate scientists on the fact of man-made climate change, and b) organizations with reputations at stake and organizations whose interests would probably be served better by NOT listening to the scientists calling for action.

So why are we even listening to these mysteriously funded nobodies? I could probably laugh off their absurd advertisements, except I hear people repeating them, with whole-hearted belief! Every time I hear someone taking these people seriously, I get a sick feeling in my stomach, my mouth goes a bit dry and my heart beats a little faster. I’d think I was experiencing a prepubescent crush if it wasn’t for the urge to simultaneously shake the person and ask to see their climate science credentials. Perhaps it is reassuring to grab hold of the idea that it is all nonsense. I certainly don’t want to see storms and droughts that begin by impacting poor nations hardest. Not that we will not face any impact, a global warming analysis of Alberta revealed droughts in store for our already over-allocated province.

Yes, the need for action is urgent and we may have to change the way we do some things. Have we really become so steeped in our indulgent culture that the mere idea of something a bit different terrifies us? What happened to the people who broke with everything they knew, melted their pots and sacrificed their fathers, brothers and sons for their nation? Climate action is asking far less of us for the sake of the entire world. It seems to me strange that there is so much resistance to climate action when the status quo and our level of comfort will change far more if we do nothing. Perhaps the joke is on us all, and the Friends of Science are part of a conspiracy by disruptive anarchists — no offense to the peaceful anarchists, of course.

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