Maybe they’re right. Maybe the rightwing crazies have a point. Maybe global warming has all been part of vast leftwing conspiracy to stop us from funding terrorist states to the tune of $1 trillion a year through our oil imports; maybe the real agenda of the socialists is to reduce our use of coal, since it would be crazy to decrease the severe air pollution that kills thousands every year, despoils the American landscape, and provides some of the worst employment in the nation; maybe the liberal media really wants to divert our attention from the fact that China is now the leading producer of solar panels because they want American industry to fail; maybe those big-government fanatics just want the American economy to become more efficient so that they can have more money for their radical agenda, like making education more affordable and ensuring everyone access to quality healthcare.
As the evidence mounts that global warming is accelerating at an alarming pace, it is equally evident that progressives have done a terrible job of getting people to care about it. Barely a month goes by without polls showing that climate change nears the bottom of the list of most people’s concerns. Much of this is driven by the horrible messaging that begins with the basic terms themselves; neither global warming nor climate change conveys a sense of urgency.
But it’s more than that: the idea of global warming is simply too abstract and long-term for most people to grasp (despite some incredible weather events every year or two), and the solutions are presented in the worst possible ways, either completely dry and academic (i.e. cap and trade), or in terms which immediately invoke negative reactions (i.e. carbon tax).
And there are much better ways to convince people to do the things that will help avert catastrophic climate change, all of which are intuitive, and require no complex scientific knowledge, extended power point presentations, or fancy charts.
1: Gas guzzlers are the best friends of terrorists and Middle Eastern dictators
We have fought two wars in Iraq and are deeply engaged in the Middle East largely (not exclusively) because of the oil in the region; no one denies that. And the dictators and rogue regimes that dominate the Middle East exist because of the petrodollars we give them. It should incense Americans that our presidents have to pay respect to the Saudi Royal Family, which is one of the most Medieval, reactionary, and despicable regimes in the world, in which women can’t even walk alone or own a driver’s license. That a single dollar of our money goes to these despots or makes its way into the pockets of the Iranian mullahs should be an affront to our very sense of decency. Every time we fill our gas tanks some portion of that money is ending up in the pocket of someone who hates our values and wants to kill us. That should be enough to seal the deal on reducing our oil consumption. It should be talking point #1, repeated over and over again at every opportunity.
2: If you don’t believe we can do better than coal, then you don’t believe in America
Coal is cheap and abundant but it’s just about the dirtiest fuel out there. And it not only causes extreme forms of air pollution but getting it out of the mountains destroys them and the surrounding landscapes. It’s an 18th century technology that has carried us into the 21st century, but its time has passed. What jobs would be better for Americans, coal mining or building and installing wind turbines and solar panels? It’s that simple. The former is something most people couldn’t be paid enough to do, while the latter seems like a pretty attractive form of employment. And if we can get our energy without polluting the air and water and blowing up mountains, why wouldn’t we do that? And how on earth did we let the Chinese beat us at making solar panels? We should view it as a national disgrace that a communist government is beating us in the green technology race, and there’s little Americans love more than a good challenge to get them riled up, especially against an economic rival.
3: Wasting energy is for suckers
A recent report by McKinsey and Company estimates that energy efficiency improvements in the U.S. could save us $1.2 trillion. Letting the status quo continue is like throwing money down a rat hole; it is simply stupid. Retrofitting U.S. infrastructure would employ millions of workers in good jobs and end up saving us all money. What’s not to like? Being opposed to something like this is like being opposed to check-ups for infants.
The bottom line: so what if global warming is a hoax? There are clear and inarguable reasons that we should be doing everything in our power to reduce our use of fossil fuels and become leaders in the green energy revolution. Anything less should be viewed as un-American.
And for a bonus we might also help to reduce climate change and ensure a reasonably hospitable planet for generations to come.
Not bad for a leftwing conspiracy.