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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Global warming: There’s no use denying it

“Think about it. If your ice cube melts in your glass, it doesn’t overflow, it’s displacement,” House Representative Steve Stockman said at a House Climate Hearing in September. Stockman questioned how global warming could cause sea levels to rise and said the concept didn’t make sense.

Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” gave Stockman a lesson on elementary science by taking bag of ice, representing land ice, and dumping it into a glass of ice water.

Shocker: The water overflowed.

Stockman, a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, is only one of many Republicans who deny global warming’s existence and design policies that worsen the problem. People must learn to set aside their differences, recognize the threat of global warming and pass laws that mitigate the issue.

Global warming is displacing communities and changing the nature of earth.  Human activity, especially the burning of fossil fuels, releases carbon dioxide which warms the world and affects air, water, food, and shelter. According to the World Health Organization, between 2030 and 2050 global warming is expected to cause 250,000 deaths per year.

A 2014 Pew Research Center poll reveals the partisan divide over global warming: 37 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Democrats believe there is evidence for it. Unfortunately, the scientific truth of global warming is often obfuscated in order to satisfy Republican ideals.

For example, the term “climate change” is a euphemism that Frank Luntz, a Republican strategist, has pushed for the Republican party to use instead of the term “global warming.” Climate change makes global warming sound more comfortable and natural than it really is, as if global warming is really a cyclic event influenced by solar radiation.

One reason for Republican denial is clarified by House Speaker John Boehner, who has voted against every bill proposed to address global warming. Boehner has said, “Every proposal that has come out of this administration to deal with climate change involves hurting our economy and killing American jobs.”

However, the environment, which must sustain humans for generations to come, is just as important as the economy. If Koch Industries and oil companies that fund the Republicans must lose money as a result, then so be it. Also, the World Health Organization predicts that by 2030 the health costs caused by global warming will rise up to $4 billion annually; money and lives are at stake.

The political divide over climate change is evident in not only high level politicians but also companies. Energy giants don’t benefit from scaling back on their exploitation of the environment.

Even companies not affiliated with energy are fighting against global warming. According to the Huffington Post, since 2008, businesses including Google, eBay, Ford, and UPS have given over $640 million to members of Congress who deny global warming’s existence.

Why do Democrats and Republicans bicker over global warming at all? While public has been educated on the science of global warming, political debates rage on. Yale Law professor Dan Kahan, puzzled by the same question, set out with researchers to find out why.

The results, expounded upon in a Vox article titled “Why Politics Makes Us Stupid,” revealed that “individuals subconsciously resist factual information that threatens their defining values.” Among global warming skeptics, reading more scientific literacy made them more skeptical of climate change.

Damage to the Earth is already being inflicted by politicians attempting to convince the masses that global warming is a myth. Republicans are pushing for a 1,180-mile Keystone XL pipeline that will carry tar sands oil from Texas’s coast to Canada. The pipeline will require excavation of an area the size of Florida and is bound to cause pollution.

Science has become a victim of politics. Unlike the effect of a spilled glass of water, the havoc caused by melting icebergs is immense. People and politicians must learn to set aside their partisan divide in order to create more eco-friendly policy; there is only one glass, one world to save.

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