Climate change denial: Why playing ostrich won’t save you

climate change denial - climateaction

Climate change denial: Why playing ostrich won’t save you

Communities in several parts of the world have become uninhabitable as a result of climate change as they continue to experience upward trends in global temperature, sea levels, and extreme weather events – all affecting living conditions and the ability to grow crops.

In August last year, the United Nations reported that Madagascar was on the brink of the world’s first climate change famine, and from all indications, things will only get worse as millions of people – predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia – are already being displaced from their homes, due to disasters worsened by climate change.

According to the latest UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, climate change is affecting the world way faster than scientists had predicted, and the projected global warming under current global emissions reduction policies will leave many of the world’s human and natural systems at very high risk – putting some beyond adaptation.

As the world debates as well as takes actions to salvage the situation, it would however seem that the progress that is being made to reach emissions targets, mainstream sustainability, and save the world from the looming climate catastrophe is being hampered by one thing – climate change denial.

Climate change denial occurs when a person or a group of people deny, dismiss, or unjustifiably doubt the scientific consensus on climate change, including its effects on nature and human society, the extent to which it is caused by humans, and the potential of adaptation to global warming by human actions.

Climate change denial can also imply individuals or social groups accepting the science but failing to come to terms with it or translating their acceptance into action.

Climate change denial is undermining public trust in climate science as well as the efforts to act on or adapt to climate change because it makes people perceive climate science the wrong wrong way. Instead of making them want to act on the climate crisis, it makes them resist the very thought of it, and this is fueled by a number of factors, some of which are political, industrial, and/or ideological interests.

On the part of individuals, climate change denial could be fueled by the idea of climate change being a threat to their worldviews, while on the part of industries and governments, it could be the fear of societal response to climate change as well as the disruption that comes with fossil fuel phase-out/ transition to a low-emissions economy.

Whatever the case may be, climate change deniers resort to suppressing climate facts instead of accepting that it is the current reality and act. They seek ways to discredit scientific studies and incorrectly justify weather changes – some go as far as saying the past century’s temperature changes are just part of the planet’s natural cycle.

It is quite laughable that a group of individuals would deny a fact that has been proven by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which constitutes thousands of international scientists and has spent three decades human role in the climate crisis, the impending danger the world faces, and what can be done to avert doom.

The thing is, climate change is here and denial won’t solve the problem. Instead, it will fuel inaction and plunge us into further disasters.

Science is telling us that the upward trends in global temperature, sea levels, and extreme weather events will continue for quite some time, even after global emissions decline. It only makes sense to accept the situation for what it is and act now, at least, so that we can still have a planet to call our own.

There’s no denying or wishing the climate crisis away. We’re living it. Might as well do the needful and take action.

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