Partisanism and Why We Can’t Stop Climate Change

Chelsea Hill, Queens University.

We live in a time where a prosperous future for humanity is questionable at best. Unless the polarization of political parties stops, progress will continuously come to a grinding halt.

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We live in a world where seemingly common knowledge is being put up for debate. While some movements, like Flat Earth supporters, may be humorous, the dispute over climate change is anything but harmless. Not only are people still debating on the mere existence of climate change but questions as to whether urgent action is necessary or if the changing climate is truly a crisis are incredibly detrimental.

The polarizing views on climate change result in slow progress towards tackling this ever growing problem. For instance, the United States’ Green New Deal legislation proposed drastic policies to reduce greenhouse gases but was rejected by the Senate. Republicans cited fears of “socialism” on the part of Democrats as a reason for opposing the deal. This leads us to question whether this plan was rejected due to its lack of merit, or merely because it was proposed by the Democrats.

Indeed, political tensions between parties have impacted how the issue of climate change is treated. Climate change scepticism is primarily associated with conservative thinking. This is owing to how one’s political ideology and associations may encourage us to only look at the information that supports our party’s beliefs. Climate Change, unlike some other issues that are divided along party lines, is generally regarded amongst the scientific community as factual. The construction of environmental problems as belonging to one political wing is not only absurd, but dangerous.

Even in Canada, Elections Canada warned environmental agencies that advertisements about the dangers of climate change could be seen as partisan. This ruling by Elections Canada highlights one of the many issues with viewing climate change as a partisan issue. People need to be more informed of the climate crisis if we are to fix it, restricting climate change advertisements would limit public awareness and henceforth an individual’s ability to carry out more sustainable activities.

Climate change is not a partisan issue. Crises like mass extinction, rising sea levels, and soil degradation are problematic for our future – all of our futures. Environmental problems will affect us all, regardless of political views

We live in a time where a prosperous future for humanity is questionable at best. Cutting carbon dioxide emissions is a big step towards solving the Climate Crisis, and may help save us. Observers suggest that significant cuts to carbon output should be made by the end of the year to keep global temperatures from rising by 1.5 degrees Celsius this century. Unfortunately, unless the polarization of political parties stops, progress will continuously halt. Politicians are allowed to disagree on the best ways to solve climate change, but disagreement should involve denying scientific evidence that demands urgent steps be taken.

If real change is to be made, there is one solution: unity. Unity is not only essential between our political leaders but within the public. It is important that we all take the time to look at the scientific facts and think for ourselves, instead of basing our beliefs on the beliefs of others.  There is no room to debate science when our home is on fire.

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References

Guardian staff and agencies. (2019, March 27). Green New Deal: Senate defeats proposal as Democrats unite in protest. The Guardian .

Luo, Y., Zhao, J., & Todd, R. M. (2019, September 18). Climate explained: Why are climate change skeptics often right-wing conservatives? The Conversation .

McGrath, M. (2019, July 24). Climate change: 12 years to save the planet? Make that 18 months. BBC News .

The Canadian Press. (2019, August 19). Environmental groups were warned that some climate change ads could be seen as partisan during election period. CBC .