Basic research regarding the Earth’s average temperature tells us so. Over the past 50 years, the average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in recorded history, and the vast majority of experts in the field of climate change agree that human action is the primary cause of the increasing temperatures.
But despite the facts, certain political leaders in America refuse to accept the truth. Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry, a skeptic regarding climate change, recently said, “I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling in to their projects” at a campaign stop in New Hampshire.
This tactic used by Perry as a way of explaining scientific data has apparently taken its toll on the American public. In a recent poll conducted by Gallup, it was found that 48 percent of Americans now believe that the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated, up from 41 percent in 2009 and 31percent in 1997.
The fact that climate change is widely unacknowledged and understated by the American public frustrates me. In a world where information is at our fingertips and solid facts are so readily available, how can one refuse to accept such proven and important data? The answer is that the American public will not accept such an inconvenient truth as climate change until our leaders in this country accept it.
If the United States is truly the world leader it claims to be, then it’s about time that its leaders act the part and take a real stand on climate change. After all, it’s mostly our problem to begin with, and therefore our responsibility. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans make up just four percent of the world’s population, but produce 25 percent of the carbon dioxide pollution from fossil-fuel burning—which is more than China, India and Japan, combined.
Within the problem that climate change poses, there is also opportunity. The United States is the most technologically advanced nation in the world, and has the means to find alternative energy solutions. By using legislation to curb green-house gasses, our nation’s leaders can create a demand for clean energy, generating manufacturing jobs in the process. In addition, by producing our own clean energy within our borders, we can reduce our dependency on foreign oil.
The time to act is now. If we ignore the facts any longer, we put our country and our environment at risk of dire consequences. We also risk missing out on the promising future that clean energy can bring. Americans need to come to terms with the fact that climate change is real, and that it’s here to stay, unless some significant changes are made regarding how we power the country.
How can we expect the general public to buy into a solution if the political leaders do not believe in the facts of global warming? America’s resolution starts with acknowledging the problem as a nation. That means cutting all of the political rhetoric that surrounds the issue of climate change, so that we can take real, momentous steps toward solving the problem.