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Beyond Debate: There’s Still Time

“The danger posed by war to all of humanity – and to our planet – is at least matched by the climate crisis and global warming. I believe that the world has reached a critical stage in its efforts to exercise responsible environmental stewardship.” 

-UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Okay, so let me confess something before I get into this. I don’t like to argue. I really don’t. I’m a bit of a conflict-a-phobe. And in the last 15 years, I have learned to not argue with anyone who is convinced that human beings are not responsible for the current climate crisis impacting our Earth. I avoid this for the same reason I would avoid trying out for the Golden State Warriors. It is futile. I would completely and utterly fail.

If someone in 2019 is still a committed denier of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming (AGW) or climate change, despite the overwhelming peer-reviewed evidence to the contrary that has been published in the last 30 years, I assume they are committed to it like some people are committed to their religion or love of chocolate.

Why is this? Simply because, if one denies that humans are responsible for the climate crisis, they are denying science itself. They are insisting there are other, better ways to know things and prove things than the scientific method. And since all I have at my disposal to bolster my view is the abundant, massive, evidence-based, replicated data that unequivocally supports the world-wide scientific consensus, the conversation ends. Since they are not interested in science, I am not particularly enthused to pretend they are open to learning.

The really good news is that less than one in ten Americans is in complete denial of AGW. The Yale Program on Climate Communication identifies Six Americas, or six different segments of society that can be distinctly separated according to their understanding of the climate crisis. Only nine percent are “Dismissive,” which means they are “very sure” there isn’t a climate crisis and they are “actively involved as opponents of a national effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Nearly 30 percent of us are “Alarmed” which means we are “fully convinced of the reality and seriousness of climate change and are already taking individual, consumer and political action to address it.” Another 30 percent are “Concerned” and this group is just as convinced that AGW is real and serious but just haven’t “engaged the issue personally.” That means nearly six in ten Americans really understand what is happening.

The other three Americas – “the Cautious, the Disengaged and the Doubtful represent different stages of understanding and acceptance of the problem, and none are actively involved.”

It is these middle three groups, comprising nearly a third of Americans, along with the 59 percent who already get it, who would be potentially open to Dr. Shahir Masri’s book, “Beyond Debate, Answers to 50 Misconceptions on Climate Change.”

In Beyond Debate, Masri “clears up 50 of the most common misconceptions surrounding climate change. He simplifies the science and resolves the confusion so that everyone may better understand the issue.”

While the science is clear that human activity is responsible for AGW, not everyone understands this or believes it. Masri explains in easy to understand language how greenhouse gases trap heat, how we know what the temperature of the Earth was like millions of years ago and why Earth’s natural cycles cannot account for AGW.

He also helps us understand what the 97 percent climate consensus means, why the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are highly regarded and trusted by the world’s scientists, how we precisely measure the increase of CO2 in our atmosphere, and how we know a hotter Sun is not responsible for a hotter Earth.

While a majority of both Democrats and Republicans agree environmental protection is more important than economic growth, the good news is that we don’t have to choose one or the other! Masri refutes the notion that environmental regulation is bad for the economy and explains how putting a price on carbon through a Carbon Fee and Dividend program will be good for the economy and give us a fighting change to significantly reduce the severity of the climate crisis.

Masri explodes the myth that Americans are deeply divided on this issue as the Yale Climate Connections survey show. A strong majority of Democrats (93%) and Republicans (80%) want Congress to fund research into renewable sources. High numbers of Democrats (90%) and Republicans (64%) want the government to regulate CO2 as a pollutant. A majority of Democrats (93%) and Republicans (61%) believe our schools should teach students about this issue and that corporations should do more to address it (D=86%/R=54%).

While Masri dismantles the denial of AGW, he also offers hope for those of us who fall into despair that it might be too late. If we take aggressive action now, there is robust evidence that we can avert disaster in the future. He points to the success of the National Rifle Association in influencing legislation with “only” five million members.

With 59 percent of Americans being Alarmed or Concerned, that means nearly 150 million adults are potentially available to support aggressive action to solve the climate crisis! It isn’t too late and there is reason for hope. All that is required is for those who understand the problem to get involved in helping us to find solutions.

If I have piqued your interest, please tune into KKRN 88.5 FM or kkrn.org on Tuesday, July 2 from 4-5 pm PDT and listen to my interview of Dr. Shahir Masri on my show, Wake-Up Call and check out his website, On the Road for Climate Action.