How do we know this climate change thing is even real?


– Scientists are always changing their mind about stuff anyways. One day, coffee's good for you; the next day, it's bad. We should just wait 'til they figure out this global warming thing for good before we take it too seriously, right? 18. That's how many scientific societies in the United States have issued official statements on climate change, from the American Geophysical Union to the American Medical Association. 50. That's how many years it's been since U.S. scientists officially warned the president, Lyndon B. Johnson back then, of the dangers of climate change. And 97. That's the percentage of climate scientists who agree that climate change is real and for the first time in the history of the planet, we're the ones causing it today. It's true, we're still arguing about climate change. But it's not because the science isn't solid.

It's because climate change has become one of the most politically polarized issues in the entire United States, to a lesser extent in Australia, as well as a little bit in Canada and the U.K. Over the last 20 years, the United States in general has become more and more polarized. In 2014, a Pew poll found that Republicans and Democrats are move divided along ideological lines and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive than at any point in the last two decades. It's gotten so extreme that today, if you can believe it, the best predictor of who we'll marry, if we're not already married, is not the person's appearance or their personality or even their race. Today, it's their political party. Today, you can pretty much predict what someone thinks about climate change, is it real or is it a hoax, from one factor alone: where that person falls on the political spectrum.

A 2016 poll on climate change from Yale and George Mason Universities found that while 82% of liberal Democrats and even 49% of liberal-to-moderate Republicans say global warming is mostly caused by human activities, only 26% of conservative Republicans agree. How is it that we've got our science so tangled up with our politics? I mean, the physics we use in climate models, non-linear fluid dynamics and radiative transfer, for all the nerds out there, that's the same physics we use in designing airplanes and satellites, yet no one doubts the reality of a Boeing 747 or a communications satellite or accuses them of being part of a worldwide hoax, do they? You and I, we're both cognitive misers. It means that one person's brain can't hold all the information we know about science, the world, politics and current issues.

I don't have the time to become an expert in immigration or stem cell research or even what the latest political candidate was up to when we weren't looking. I do have opinions on these things though. How do I get them? I listen to someone I trust. And today, our trusted politicians and thought leaders and media pundits have very different things to say about climate change, depending on their political leanings. In the same way, the science isn't political. We get the same results no matter whether we're a Republican or Democrat. Our politicians know that. Senator Inhofe, for example, is one of the most vocal opponents to climate change. He's even written a book about how climate change is a hoax. And he once brought a snowball onto the Senate floor to illustrate his point. But in a revealing interview back in 2012, he said this to Rachel Maddow: "Do you realize I was actually on your side of this issue "when I was chairing that Senate Environment Committee "and I first heard about this? "I thought it must be true, until when? "Until I found out what it would cost.

" And that is where the true objections to climate change lie. Many people hate the proposed solutions because they believe they involve government interference in people's freedom and in the economy. But it's a lot easier to say, "I don't think it's a real problem," than to say, "Yes, it's a huge problem, "but I don't wanna do anything to fix it." Well, I live in Texas. When people here talk about climate solutions, this is what they say: "The government wants to set my thermostat "and tell me what car to drive. "They wanna put a tax on carbon and ruin the economy." A lotta people wouldn't wanna fix climate if the only way was for the government to take away their personal liberties and pull the plug on the economy. Are these the real solutions though? Here's the thing, they're not. Did you know there are organizations across the entire spectrum of politics, from Tea Partiers and Libertarians all the way through progressives and tree huggers, all with different ideas on how to fix this problem.

For example, should we empower the free market by putting a price on carbon and refunding that revenue to everybody, like they do in British Columbia, so you can let the market pick the winners and losers? Or should we choose the ways that we want to grow clean energy and let the taxpayers pick up the tab? Some solutions are big government, that's true, but some are small. Some involve sticks, others use carrots. Who's right? I don't know. That depends on where we fall on the political spectrum. But I do know this: What we believe and how we vote shouldn't affect our opinion of whether humans are changing climate or not. The science is clear, we are. Hey, thanks for watching Global Weirding. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, follow me on Twitter and check out our Facebook live discussion every other Thursday after each new episode at 7pm Central. See you next time..