Climate change is a problem, and it is bad! Global warming isn’t just happening, its being denied by those with vested interests. So we thought we would address the common poor arguments against ‘Man-Made’ climate change. We will also give you an evidence based answer, and explain the fallacy. Today it’s;
”Climate Change isn’t bad.’
Climate Change, At Current Rates, Really Is
We are here, and over our planets history there have been clear oscillations in global temperature. So, they can’t have been that bad right? Actually, many theorists lay atleast part of the blame for mass extinctions on climate change. Around 250 million years ago our evidence tells us that the Permian Extinction (where 90% of marine and 70% of vertebrate life was wiped out,) may be blamed on uncharacteristically high CO2 levels. During this time we must factor in a rise in volcanic eruptions, but that does not change the fact that a high increase in global temperature was contributory (atleast in part,) to this ‘Great Dying’. In fact, volcanic eruptions worsen climate change.
Nature can adapt to climate change, and the permian extinction (along with many others,) is the reason humans, as we are now, are a dominant species. Nature, the environment and evolution are intrinsically linked. But if a species does not have a natural immunity or survival bias to change, it dies off. This could be due to temperature, scarcity of food, or any other threat. What troubles us is not so much an increase in temperature on human survival itself (although drought, the spread of mosquito-bourne illness and disease are important,) but its effect on the entire ecosystem. We could be hastening another extinction.
Negative effects on agriculture will reduce food, and with it drive up prices and disproportionally punish the poor. Mosquito-bourne illnesses (such as malaria,) will become more rife, as the environmental niche for mosquitos increases (i.e heat, standing water and vectors.) There may be less ‘winter death’ from cold, but up to 5x more deaths from heat waves. Sea level rise will decrease land availability, and worsen political and military conflict over what’s left. Finally, we cannot make a strong prediction on our ecosystem, but if our past teaches us anything, species will begin to die. And given how complex our system is, and how often it cannot adapt quickly, this may end up on us. The end result is a poorer, hungrier, smaller and more desperate world prone to sickness and likely warfare over dwindling resources.
Why The Skeptics Are Wrong
This is an example of a ‘from nature’ fallacy (its natural so it’s fine,) a ‘causal fallacy’ ( a caused b) and a ‘circular argument’ (if a +b means c then b must mean a.) The false premises and conclusions are:
- Climate change is natural and we are here, so its not a danger to us.
- We are here, so climate change is not a danger.
Here there are many issues. The first is that what we are seeing in (1) is natural climate change, it isn’t, its accelerated by human behaviour. The second problem with (1) is that the fact that we are here renders climate change immaterial. We are here, partly, because of climate change. Previous natural cycles may have favoured us, but it is not that simple. Trillions died for us to be here, and in no way does this make future climate change protective. The third issue is a circular argument, in that since we are here then climate change is fine because we could only be here if it was. The conclusion includes the premise, making it redundant argument without further speculation. But with further speculation, we can see climate change is a danger. So a better argument would be;
- Climate change is a multifactorial phenomenon which plays a part in the survival and variety of species on the planet.
- The evidence suggests that our current survival is explained, in part at-least by this, and the extinction of other species too.
- From what we know about ecosystems, changes in climates have clear effects on survival over huge ecosystems that are not inherently predictable, but we can see trends developing that are well explained.
- From what we know, it would be foolish to ignore climate change as immaterial to our survival.
- With that premise accepted, relying on the evidence at hand, this accelerated version is dangerous.
So next time someone says ‘Climate change isn’t bad’ you can simply say;
‘Climate change can be good or bad. It can cause mass extinctions, where few species survive. That is why likely why we are here. But the evidence suggests that our previous survival does not guarantee surviving the next accelerated cycle. It, infact, suggests quite the opposite. The rapid change does not allow us, or the ecosystem we depend on, to adapt in a way favourable to our survival.’