Campus Environment Opinion OPINION: There’s no denying the problematic truths about climate change By Sam Smith Posted on April 3, 2018 6 min read 0 0 578 Photo via Pexels. When bought-out politicians relay their views to the public, public acceptance of climate change denial proliferates. Climate change expert Michael Mann gave a lighthearted and captivating lecture on March 28 at the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium titled “A Return to the Madhouse: Climate Change Denial in the Age of Trump.” Mann, who is the Director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, is considered to be near the top of his field in terms of research of the increase of global temperatures over the past millennium. It is clear that there are two truths about climate change: It is real, and the American government denies it. Both of these truths are problematic. In recent years, the planet has seen staggering effects because of climate change. Hurricane Patricia devastated earth in 2015. California experienced its biggest drought in 1,200 years. Canada was ravaged by the second largest brush fire ever in 2014. Mann said that 2014-2016 were the hottest years ever, each hotter than the last. All the while, average temperatures on earth have been increasing steadily. Climate change deniers argue that these changes are occuring naturally. However, Mann and his colleagues have determined that the chance climate change is natural is a meager 0.03 percent. Mann said that the amount of climate change denial coming from politicians is concerning. Climate change denial may have originated with fossil fuel companies’ efforts to further their business interests. The companies completely deny any change. In 2013 and 2014, oil and gas companies spent $125,698,216 in lobbying. The majority of this amount went to Republicans. When bought-out politicians relay their views to the public, public acceptance of climate change denial proliferates. Politicians are inherently model figures for many people, so when they say climate change is not real, people listen. The current administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, is a climate change denier himself. He even said that global warming may benefit humans! One senator brought a snowball into the Senate to try to deny reality. Outrageous examples of this sort of denial are rampant in Congress, as Mann made evident. President Donald Trump is no exception to the rule. In one tweet, he said that climate change was a scheme from China. In another, he even said we could use climate change to our benefit. Trump is essentially calling for the destruction of humanity by doing things like these. On June 1, 2017, Trump announced his plan to leave the Paris Climate Accord. Trump said he wished to leave the agreement because it left “American workers and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.” America is now the only country in the world that is not a member of the agreement. This symbolic exit is a concrete indicator of the Trump administration’s stance toward climate change. Luckily, Mann affirms that there is still hope. Many states and cities are choosing to set goals under the Paris Agreement, even if the nation as a whole refuses to do so. These states could make up for the rest of the country that dropped out in terms of pollution reduction. Despite there still being hope, there is not much time. We must elect politicians that support pro-environmental measures, take individual measures to be environmentally friendly and be politically active. The future of the planet depends on it.