The Political Debate On Climate Change


Screenshot by Madi Lucido

Greta Thunberg at the UN conference regarding climate change.

Each day, news on different topics are touched on over live television by news anchors. Some topics are very important, while others are not important at all.

One of the most prevalent topics that should be making headlines, and be declared a worldwide emergency, is climate change. Also known as global warming, this topic has been drilled into the minds of most elementary schoolers, and even the catchy phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!” was coined and created in order to remain imprinted in our memories.

It is understandable why this topic would be swept under the rug and not spoken about as often as it should be. There are two sides to the ever-growing debate on climate change and protecting our planet. One side argues that there is no such thing as climate change and that the amount of fossil fuels are not affecting the planet we live on.

President Donald Trump has made it clear what his stance on this growing topic is. Before Trump ran for office, many of his tweets were not very discreet about his beliefs.

“Global warming has been proven canard repeatedly over and over again. The left needs a dose of reality,” said Trump on his twitter.

Screenshot by Madi Lucido of President Trump’s Twitter
President Donald Trump has made it clear what his stance on climate change is.

In the begin of Trump’s term in office in 2017, the President announced that the United States will be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. This agreement, adopted in 2015, had the purpose of strengthening the world’s response to climate change by having multiple governments come together and try to lower the Earth’s emissions.

The general idea, according to an article written by Vox magazine entitled “Why conservatives keep gaslighting the nation about climate change”, is that the right believes climate change is a made up concept and that the Earth’s climate is just shifting. Some even believe that nothing is happening to the Earth at all, and that the planet is completely unharmed. While the majority of the conservative side believe that climate change is a sham, the left are on the other far end of this debate pleading for change. This is mentioned in another article from Best Value Schools. In the article, the writer explained “President Donald Trump told the American public that he did not believe in climate change because he didn’t see any real evidence”.

Liberals are believed to be more science based than conservatives, thus providing reasoning as to why they are given the label of having more beliefs in science and care considerately more about the climate than the other side. An article written by the LA Times entitled, “When it comes to views on climate change, liberals and conservatives are still worlds apart” said, “Conservative Republicans were much less likely than liberal Democrats to fear that climate change would have dire consequences for the planet and it inhabitants,” supports this fact.

Some republicans do believe in climate change, but it is confusing as to how some cannot with the decline in the Earth’s climate. It seems as though there is evidence all around that implies a change is coming, or may already be here. More recently, the world has been experiencing weather extremes like an increase in wildfires due to drought, snow in abnormal places, and warmer temperatures in climates that are supposed to be more mild. If there is no change occurring all around the world right now, then why are people always drilling home the ideas of shutting our lights off when leaving a room to save electricity? Why are people using reusable water bottles to lower the production of plastic? Why are people doing things to help our planet, but not actually believing in the damage that we are doing? Fossil fuels are damaging to the Ozone layer, yet they are still in use. Entire forests are being cut down at a time, damaging the existing habitats for animals, causing many species to die out and disrupt the precious food chain that exists.

Do the people of Earth not care enough about keeping the planet healthy and clean for the generations to come? Or are people turning a blind eye because they are ashamed and feel small? In order to get a general idea, a few Highlanders were asked if they believed in climate change and if the government does enough regarding the issue or even attempts to prevent it.

“I do believe in climate change because it has actually been scientifically proven, it’s not just a theory. I don’t think our government does enough to battle climate change because we hear about it in places like the news all the time, but you never hear about any laws or policies being proposed or passed to actually help this planet,” said senior Maddie Davis.

Screenshot by Madi Lucido
A picture explaining the point of the Paris agreement.

While some students seem familiar and understand the topic of climate change, others are a bit confused on which side of the political debate they would fall under.

“I don’t know [if I believe in climate change]. There are several situations where there is evidence of [climate change] but there’s also situations that make it hard to believe,” said senior Sara Samolinski.

When both students were asked if they think the political divide in the climate change debate affects the government from doing something to help the planet, they both answered yes. It seems as though students know something may be happening across the globe to our once comfortable climate system. But due to the many changes taking place, there is a call or change in politics. If the adults are not going to do anything, then why don’t students raise their voice? Well one student has.

15 year old Greta Thunberg from the small country of Sweden is using her big voice to draw attention to this issue. In September, Thunberg sat outside her country’s parliament, refusing to go to school until the 9th of that month, when the government leaders would be conducting their general election. Thunberg did this protest by herself to draw attention to global warming and more specifically climate change. Recently, the mighty 15 year old spoke at a UN conference about climate change and how global leaders are just sitting back and not doing anything.

“We have not come to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again. We have come to let you know change is coming, whether you like it or not,” said Ms. Thunberg in her UN speech, given in front of the Swedish president and other world leaders.

Screenshot by Madi Lucido from MSNBC broadcast
Donald Trump claiming climate change is a hoax.

The debate with climate change will no doubt go on forever, and there is no way to prevent people from having different viewpoints on the topic. But through educating people and raising a voice in politics, a change can come. Visible changes in the global climate are happening right in front of civilians and politicians eyes, yet nothing is actually being done. In a dream world, any human being would like to pretend they live on a perfect planet and that no harm actually being done to it.  In reality, the quality of air, water, and living conditions are on the decline and all of the damage currently being done will be permanent in 30 years to come. Change needs to happen and this can only happen if people in politics and all over the globe alike drop the divide that stands between the two sides and just talks about what they can do before it is too late. It is not too late now to save the planet, so changes must be made now before it is too late.