3 Points to bring up with a climate change denier

Thoughts that keep me up at night #4

Climate change is easily the biggest problem of our generation and the current leader of the free world, President Trump has been carelessly downplaying its global impact. Trump has been distracting and purposefully misleading American citizens in order to push his family and business agenda.

However, climate change believers and deniers have been going at it for decades. As someone who has seen first hand, the impacts of climate change (longer and more frequent extreme winters in Northeast America), I am a firm climate change believer. My entire life, I have spoken with some folks from around the world that have not seen evidence of climate change and I would like to think that I have opened their eyes with my own Northeast North American experiences. My hope is to show to people that have not seen climate change first hand that there is data collected from decades of study with modern measurement instruments that correlates human activity with global temperature warming/climate change. So I decided to put together three points that anyone can use to persuade those that are on the fence about climate change AKA global warming.

1) The difference between Climate and Weather

First, it is important to properly understand the difference between climate and weather. Climate, is the average of weather over a series of years. Weather, is the state of the atmosphere and that includes the humidity, calmness and cloudiness. Now, climate change has occurred before in the past. Evidence in tree rings and ocean sediments prove that. However, in the past, it took the Earth about 5,000 years to warm 5 degrees. Over the past 200 years (plot pulled from NASA), using modern instruments, you will find that the global temperature has been increasing at a rate 20 times faster. What has been happening the past 200 years? Rapid industrialization and globalization.

Graph of multi-proxy global temperature reconstruction and instrumental records.

2) More frequent extreme weather

Arguments that the Los Angeles is getting colder and winter is harsher year over year does not make a claim against global warming but actually advocates for it! How you may ask? All of the time periods when northern North America experienced harsh winters coincides with the time periods that the arctic experienced warmer weather. What happens is as the arctic gets warmer, jet air streams swing wider and further south. This causes the warm or cold weather to stay around longer, allowing more extreme weather conditions like polar vortexes to happen more frequently.

Also, to be clear, extreme weather doesn’t just mean more cold weather, it also means more hot weather as well (see this year reporting the hottest summer months June and July in recorded history thus far).

3) Weathering the storm

The premise of climate change/global warming is pretty simple. If we were to ignore what we know, then the worst case scenario is: the planet gets hotter and global ecosystems change and that means humans and all other living creatures will have to compete for very limited resources (e.g. water, farmable land, livestock). If we were to actually do something about it then that means we have new technology that makes life easier and better health and resources for everyone.

With that said, the decision of what we need to do seems pretty simple to me. Take responsibility of your own actions and consider any impact your decision may have on your future. What better way to live your life than to understand control every decision? Isn’t that what you would want anyways? That is how, together, we can make the world better functioning, with less noise, and a happier place to live.