How climate science denial has not yet gone away – Steve Cardownie

It is a very rare occasion indeed when I am afforded the opportunity to enlist the support of a member of the royal family when advocating a particular point of view but on the subject of climate change I am more than happy to do so, writes Steve Cardownie.

Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 1:47 am
Protesters march and hold placards as they last month's climate strike in Edinburgh. Picture: Getty

The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, has gone on record with his views on the issue stating: “It’s a race against time and one in which we are losing. Everyone knows it. There is no excuse for not knowing that and the most troubling part of that is that I don’t believe that there’s anybody in this world that can deny science.”

Unfortunately, whilst he is absolutely correct that we are involved in a race against time on climate change, he must be all too aware that there are some in this world who do deny science. He might recognise that, as he said, there has been scientific evidence of climate change for at least 30 years “and it’s only getting stronger” but there are those who would contest this, in my view, undeniable data and continue to dispute what 97 per cent of climate change scientists are telling us – that humans are causing global warming.

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Donald Trump’s ear
Many are intent on maintaining the status quo and advocate doing nothing, some on religious grounds, and it is no surprise that a significant number of them can be found in America’s Bible Belt and within the ranks of the Republican Party, who ominously have the ear of Donald Trump, the president who pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement which aims to limit global warming to 1.5C over pre-industrial levels. If it is happening at all then it is God’s will is a view held by many Christian fundamentalists who refuse to support any action that may help to reverse global warming as it contradicts their belief in the teachings of the Bible. While their number may be diminishing they still exert considerable influence.

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Others seek to debunk science and pour scorn on evidence of climate change in pursuit of economic considerations, with news that an international network has been formed of politicians, academics and lobbyists whose goal is to stop commitments to net-zero carbon emissions being set in law.

They comprise 400 signatories to a letter titled “There is no climate change emergency”, claiming that climate change is a myth and that current changes in the climate are “expected from the cyclic behaviour of the climate system” and that there is “no proof” that carbon dioxide is a major cause of climate change.

Many of the signatories to the letter have links to the oil and gas industries and it led to one climate change expert stating that it looked like a panicked response to the significant media coverage of the climate crisis after influential protests by Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg. Robert Brulle, professor of sociology at Drexel University in Philadelphia, went on to say: “The talking points are stale and patently ­scientific nonsense. That isn’t critical. The point would be to keep the ‘contested’ nature of climate change alive.”

DiCaprio blasts ‘insulting tweets’

Worryingly some of the letter’s signatories have links to Boris Johnson’s cabinet and can use their positions to influence UK Government policy which may see a dilution of commitment to take the appropriate action to halt and hopefully reverse this climate process, which poses such a threat to us all.

Having elicited the support of Prince Harry at the beginning of this article I am now going to quote an A-list actor at its conclusion. Speaking to 60,000 ­people in New York’s Central Park last Saturday night at the 2019 Global Citizen Festival, Leonardo DiCaprio said “Last Friday, young people led the world in a strike. Millions of individuals did more than simply walk out of their schools and places of employment, they took a stand. They set an example of true leadership that our planet so ­desperately needs. Yet, surprisingly, some have reacted to this movement with insulting tweets and negative talking points – individuals that seem to care more about profit and their own self-interests than your own future. But we know that the climate youth movement is more important and crucial that at any time in human history.”

We should not question the fact that some will continue to deny that there is a climate emergency – what we should question is their motives!