Why is anthropogenic climate change more popular?

I think it is manmade. I think it’s clearly manmade. If you don’t understand what the cause is, it’s virtually impossible to come up with a solution. We know what the cause is. The cause is manmade. That’s the cause. That’s why the polar icecap is melting.
~Joe Biden

Climate is a complex subject. Like many parts of our world, it’s not understood completely. Is climate change occurring? Seems so. Is it anthropogenic? Maybe. But the way I figure it is that the world has to be either warming up or cooling off. You’ve got a fifty-fifty shot there. Assuming the planet is going to hold the same damn average temperature for any extended period of time is, I’m fairly certain, laughable.

So, with my admittedly limited knowledge on the subject of climate (I’m not even a meteorologist), I’m still not entirely convinced that climate change is anthropogenic.

But why is the anthropogenic reason so popular? Why are people so quick to embrace the fact that climate change may be entirely our fault? Here are a few possible reasons:

Scientists are saying it. This is a big one. Of course, science has, and will be, periodically blown out of the water as new information is gathered and interpreted. While it’s not always the case, it gets forgotten a lot. It’s also hard to argue with an expert. Especially when said expert has been horribly misrepresented by the media.

It’s an easy answer. We can just sit back and assume that not only is it us, but that it’s specifically our carbon emissions doing it. A nice, easy answer all wrapped up with a bow on top.

It’s an easy fix. Similarly, if it’s a nice, easy problem, the solution is pretty clear. God forbid the problem not be so simple.

It’s anthropocentric. Yes, we are capable of making massive changes to our world. But we’re not all-powerful and sometimes things are just beyond our reach. In that vein, believing it’s our doing keeps us from having to worry about what Mother Nature is up to, and let’s us feel certain that we are masters of our own destiny, for good or for ill. It may be easier to swallow that we’re doing this to ourselves than it is to acknowledge that some part of our world is out of our hands. It also means that we can stop it. If it’s discovered that climate change isn’t anthropogenic, suddenly we have a load of sticky questions to ask ourselves…staring with, “Should we do something about it?”

It places humanity as the villain. We’re abnormally fond of berating ourselves for being ourselves. I hated humans for years before I grew out of that particular lunacy. Some people still haven’t. Misanthropy and noble savage stereotypes abound in the green movement. Four legs good, two legs bad.

Now, these aren’t easy to pick out. I doubt anyone would want to acknowledge even the existence of these reasons in their own mind. The reality, no doubt, is probably infinitely more complex. But this will serve me pretty well until some sociologist dedicates some research to it. I find it a much more fascinating question than “Is Madonna feminist?” and they have entire classes about that.

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2 Responses to “Why is anthropogenic climate change more popular?”

  1. Then again there’s the argument that it doesn’t matter at all why it’s happening. We’re reasonably sure that the average temperature of the planet is rising, and that if the trend continues, we’re in for a world of hurt.

    So what does it matter what’s causing it? One of the traits of mankind is that we adapt the environment to suit our purposes; if we don’t want the temperature to continue climbing, and it is potentially within our grasp to reverse the trend, why not at least try?

    • Well, if it’s not us that’s causing the rising temperature, then CO2 is likely not to blame, which leaves us searching for the other reason for the increasing temperatures.

      And environmentalism has made a big deal of preservationism and this idea of letting natural things be. If the planet is going to warm on its own, is it ethical, by the standards of preservationism, to stop it? Now, if we’re going to ditch the pretenses and just say “We’re going to save it for the same reason we save habitat, because we like it and we want to,” hell yes. And then there’s of course the question of saving our own hides should they become imperiled due to climate change. That one will probably supersede all others.

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