Climate change denial is bad, meek acceptance is worse – Kenny MacAskill

Nearly two-thirds of right-wing Americans recognise global warming is real – despite Donald Trump’s views – but the problem now seems to be meek acceptance that temperatures are going to continue to rise.

A forest fire rages just six miles from the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa earlier this month (Picture: Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty)

Amidst the meltdown at Westminster, it’s sometimes hard to realise that other things in life are also hotting up; most concerning is that our planet is getting warmer. A report showing carbon emissions increasing by 1.7 per cent may have been missed by many earlier this week. Seventy per cent of the rise in energy demand was caused by just three countries, the USA, China and India, which increased their emissions by 3.1, 2.5 and 4.5 per cent respectively.

Wherever the blame rests, it’s what it causes that matters. The increasing temperatures are bringing summer heatwaves and raging forest fires are becoming the norm.That’s what we notice in the northern hemisphere. It’s even worse in sub-Saharan Africa, explaining much of the migrant crisis. An article in a technology magazine was illuminating, yet frightening as well. It stated that in the US over the past three years acceptance of global warming had increased even among Republicans from 49 to 64 per cent. A clear majority now accepting it, whatever the current position of President Trump.

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More worrying, though, was what was to be done about it, with some thinking it had just become too big a problem to solve, even though it was accepted as critical. Nihilism could kick in. It’s happening and it’s bad but there’s nothing we can do about it, the view.

For sure there are things that can be done but they require action by governments and taking decisions that are unpopular. And that applies not just in those big three polluting nations but here. Lifestyles need to change and actions need to be adjusted accordingly.

But if people become fatalistic that could compound an unwillingness to alter how we live.

A workplace parking levy has proven unpopular among the public and seen the SNP administration say a “big Green did it and ran away”. So, the acceptance of global warming as an issue isn’t enough and there’s a danger that it’s seen as overwhelming.

That’s probably even harder to overcome than vested interests. Frightening people can also be counterproductive. Climate change denial was bad enough, but meek acceptance of it is truly dispiriting.