1. Industrialized countries are the major contributors to it, while developing countries are the major victims.
It’s clear that industrialized countries are the major causes of climate change with their high levels of emissions from advanced transportation, industry, and agriculture. However, these countries don’t get the brunt force of the effects; the poorer countries generally do.
The table on page six of the Germanwatch Global Climate Risk Index, which lists the countries most affected by weather-related loss events, shows that the top ten countries are all developing countries including Honduras, Haiti, and the Philippines. This type of disconnect between cause and effect of climate change makes it difficult for the causing countries to realize the potential effects of their emissions.
2. There is a scientific consensus on the validity of climate change, but not a public one.
This is a major frustration for those who acknowledge the reality of climate change. Despite the fact that 99 percent of scientists agree that climate change is happening, and 97 percent believe that its cause is human activity, the public doesn’t follow suit. According to the April 2014 version of Climate Change in the American Mind, 64 percent of Americans believe that climate change is happening. While a majority, there is still a large disconnect between the general public and scientists. Similarly, only 52 percent of Americans believe that it is mostly caused by human activity.
America is supposed to be a global leader, and if they can’t admit fault, how is the world supposed to start changing?
3. We’re destroying our natural climate mitigation.
While we are emitting more, we are simultaneously destroying our natural safety nets. There are things all over this planet called carbon sinks that absorb and store carbon, resulting in less being released in the atmosphere. A good thing, right? Well the world doesn’t seem to care. Carbon sinks are being destroyed left and right all over the planet. Deforestation is prominent in the Amazon, out of control in Indonesia, and has taken place in several countries to a major extent. By demolishing these forests, not only are they no longer able to store carbon; they also release all of the carbon they had been storing for hundreds of years.
It’s not just terrestrial forests either. There are these wonderful things called blue carbon sinks, which consist of seagrass, marshland and mangroves that sequester carbon several times more efficiently than do terrestrial forests. Despite covering less than 0.2 percent of the seafloor, these sinks contribute 50 percent of carbon sequestration in the ocean. However, mangrove forests are being dug up for shrimp farming, sea grass is being degraded by human activity and salt marshes are being replaced with development projects.
4. “But it’s cold here; global warming isn’t real.”
Okay, so I’ve been using climate change throughout this entire thing, and the buzz phrase “climate change” can often lead people to believe that global warming is no longer a thing, but it is. Climate change was a term adopted to encompass a wider variety of weather-related phenomena related to human activity. Be assured of this: the earth is still warming.
Sometimes when people experience cold weather, they immediately treat it as evidence of the planet not warming. What they fail to recognize is that the concept is that of global warming, not warming in your little slice of the world. So yes, you may experience snow in May in Colorado, or record lows for weeks straight in Michigan, but California is in the most extreme drought it has seen in recent history. So no, the earth has not suddenly stopped warming because it’s cold where you are, because chances are it’s very hot somewhere else.
5. It’s become a political issue.
Climate change should not be a partisan issue. It’s a global problem that affects everyone. So it’s frustrating that, at least in the United States, liberals believe it and conservatives don’t — because it needs to be addressed regardless of political affiliation. While 84 percent of democrats in the U.S. believe there is solid evidence of global warming, only 46 percent of republicans do. Globally, Americans don’t seem to care as much about climate change as people from other countries, a limitation brought on by the political nature of the issue in America. A mere 40 percent of Americans believe it’s a major threat (the lowest amount), while the global average is 54 percent, with Latin America the highest at 65 percent.
So it isn’t about politics; it isn’t about you.
Global warming/climate change is a much bigger, universal issue, and it has global ramifications that need to be acknowledged.