My roommate was trying to make a salient point in a facebook debate over climate change to which he received the abrupt rebuttal, “It’s a money making scheme.”
It took me a day to process but this morning I realized, “Yes it’s a money making scheme!” As much as the oil industry, or any industry for that matter is a money making scheme. Yes, a stuggling alternative energy industry is trying to become economically viable. Yes, it’s in their interest for everyone to believe in climate change. It’s also in the interest of the highly successful oil and coal industries for people to not believe, or at least not care about climate change. If governments make climate change issues into an economic interest for the oil industry then as good business people they’ll start caring.
The point of whose economic interest is at stake shouldn’t factor into the discussion of climate change. It is a matter of understanding the climatological changes that are happening on a global scale.
It is not a question of if the earth has gone through significant climate changes in the past. It is not a question of if we are on the precipice of significant climate changes in the near future (next 100 years). It is a question of how well we understand these changes. It is a question of how much impact we as humans have or can have on these changes.
If you’re interested in the century long history of exhaustive science that supports current theory I would highly recommend The Discovery of Global Warming (Dec. 2011). There is also a very brief and succinct introduction that gives an overview of the subject Introduction:
A Hyperlinked History of Climate Change Science (May 2010).