I am Aashka Pandya and today I am going to continue my discussion on global warming. I mentioned previously that global warming was a pressing issue facing our society today, an issue that could potentially alter our existence on this planet. But an even greater issue is how we choose to attack this problem. I would like to begin by mentioning that scientific studies of global warming began in the 1890s with the discoveries of Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius. He published the first calculation of global warming from human emissions, and other scientists followed with their discoveries soon after. But it wasn’t until the late 1980’s and early 1990’s that a self-conscious discussion about global warming made its way into the public realm. Unfortunately, these were narrowly focused on scientific findings and caused a lack of exchange between the ones researching climate change and those communicating it.
What I mean by this is, there was, and to a certain extend still is, a disconnect between the general public, policy makers and those examining climate change. And this disconnect is a huge problem, because in order to combat climate change, these three entities need to work in unison. It is also due to this lack of communication that has caused a rise in anti-global warming sentiment. There are many argument made against trying to combat global warming and even against the existence of global warming. For starters, it hard for an individual to grasp the extent of climate change because it isn’t an issue that necessarily has tangible side effects. The causes are invisible, the impacts are distant, and there is lack of immediacy or direct experience of the impacts. Secondly, the media, which is incharge of educating the public about the intensity and significance of the climate change has failed, which has lead to a disbelief in the influence of humans on climate change, and provided inadequate signals indicating the need for change.
Lastly, there are limits to how much the general public can achieve, and in order to make major change, policy makers need to take action. In countries like, the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan, and supranational institutions like the European Union and the United Nations Development Program, a top-down climate change and energy-related communication campaign has been created. The United States, with the exception of California, on the other hand, doesn’t really have any central communication or outreach efforts, and follow an active bottom-up method, which is largely uncoordinated and has caused contradictory climate change communications. The policy makers in the United States are also largely still debating whether humans are responsible for the current climate, while organizations like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says otherwise. The government is also seen to favor special interest groups and are wary of political costs, which leads to ignorance of the issue. Many policy makers also have other, more pressing issues to addresses and direct funding towards, which leads to the climate change being placed on the backburner. So, in order to address climate change an unprecedented amount of corporation and difficult trade-offs are required, so innovative policies and novel technologie can be created, and we can still inhabit our planet.
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