Nicholas Goldberg: Americans don’t care about climate change. Here’s how to wake them up
WASHINGTON — While some in Congress and elsewhere may have hoped to avoid the climate summit in Paris last month, the U.S. is not going to let its inaction stand.
And it isn’t going to do a damn thing to stop it.
The fact is, climate change is here and it is happening. It is happening even though you, your president and your Supreme Court have failed to wake you up to the issue, as President Obama said in his State of the Union address, “The planet’s changing, our oceans are rising, storms are becoming more intense. Glaciers are melting. Droughts are getting worse. Heat waves are getting hotter. We’re seeing all of it.”
Climate change is not just the greatest challenge facing the nation. It’s a genuine disaster that threatens life on earth, and the American people deserve better than the president and his ilk who have proven to lack the courage and the vision to confront it.
Here are five ways to wake people up to the reality of climate change.
Make climate science central to public discourse
The fact is, there is no doubt that global warming is a real problem that, to use Obama’s words, has “happened in our lifetime.” And we all know it. The key question, however, is the extent of the danger.
Let’s be clear about this: Climate change is not the same thing as global warming. Global warming refers to temperature change on the planet, measured as average global temperatures. Climate change refers to a broad suite of environmental problems caused by the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, such as more heat waves, more intense storms, more intense droughts, more severe flooding and loss of the polar icecaps.
“Climate science is a fundamental foundation for the scientific process of evaluating and learning about the world around us, and for predicting changes of the climate in the future,” a NASA website describes the field, adding that “climate scientists use the findings about climate to understand the processes of Earth’s climate and to find solutions to global warming.”
It is true that climate science is a central part of our national discourse. In this last year alone, I have read two new books on global warming that are