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What should we do about climate change? Show more Show less
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We are in a climate crisis. People and natural systems around the world are feeling the impacts of a warming globe, from more intense heat waves, more intense storms, heavier rainfall, melting sea ice and retreating glaciers, etc, etc. No part of our world is left untouched, and given the current rate of warming, things will only get worse. So what can we do to mitigate global warming?

We shouldn't do anything to address climate change Show more Show less

There are other issues to address that are more important, and we shouldn't spend resources on the issue of climate change.
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It’s just too expensive to stop climate change

We are currently spending a phenomenal amount of money fighting change, without any real success. Since current research and initiatives have been ineffective, it’s pointless to keep wasting money fighting climate change. We could do any number of things with that money instead.

Context

We know climate change is happening due to the rapid warming of the planet and an influx of extreme weather [1]. We also know that climate change is caused by humans’ greenhouse gas emissions [2]. If we want to continue living on our planet as it is, scientists say we must stop climate change, but no one can agree on how to do so. People have been fiercely debating the issue for decades, but coming to a consensus is imperative so as to stop vacillating on our response to climate change because that wastes money and energy.

The Argument

The United States government spent $106.7 billion from 2003 to 2010 fighting climate change [3]. This is an absurd sum of money given what’s been accomplished. Current money allocated for climate change efforts in the United States consists of a great deal of research funding. This expensive, decades-long research has merely produced information confirming that global warming is getting worse, and given us ominous predictions for the future [4]. Yet this research has not helped us determine how to stop climate change. If we actually wanted to stop climate change, the money spent researching it should be redirected towards building a renewable energy infrastructure since we already know that fossil fuel emissions worsen climate change. However, completely switching our energy sector to renewable energy is not feasible because of the price. All of our cars and transportation systems would have to be overhauled to be electric. We would have to somehow shut down the coal and oil industries and build solar, wind, and hydroelectric power plants in their place. The U.S. national debt is currently over $22 trillion [5]. We are not in a position to keep pouring money into fighting climate change when there are so many other items in the federal budget that need funding. This argument rests on the fact that the money spent on stopping climate change has not produced any helpful results. In light of this, the United States’ climate budget has been wasted. It does not make sense to continue funding something that has resulted in no viable solutions for climate change. Money allocated for climate change mitigation is better spent elsewhere in a way that actually benefits citizens.

Counter arguments

Part of the scientific method is accepting that a great many experiments will not be successful - meaning that you won’t get the result you need to better understand the problem at hand. That’s what’s happening to climate scientists. They have accomplished a great deal over the last decade in determining a timeline for the progression of climate change[4]. It’s not their fault that we don’t like the solution they proposed. We do have to switch to renewable energy to halt climate change. If we want another option, we have to give climate scientists more time and funding to find it. Furthermore, climate change funding is as important as funding for any other issue that impacts citizens. We live on the earth. As it deteriorates because of our inaction, citizens’ quality of life will worsen. Governments must either stop climate change or deal with it when it gets worse. And prevention is usually cheaper, so the money spent today on stopping climate change is money well spent.

Proponents


Premises

Rejecting the premises


References

  1. https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
  2. https://www.brookings.edu/policy2020/votervital/what-to-do-about-climate-change-and-why/
  3. https://www.co2nsensus.com/how-much-money-is-spent-on-climate-change-research
  4. https://www.nrdc.org/onearth/climate-scientists-world-we-have-only-20-years-theres-no-turning-back
  5. https://www.npr.org/2019/02/13/694199256/u-s-national-debt-hits-22-trillion-a-new-record-thats-predicted-to-fall

This page was last edited on Thursday, 10 Sep 2020 at 18:40 UTC

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