Suppose there is only one chance in a hundred that an electrical short would start a fire in your house in the middle of the night. This is highly unlikely, but just to be on the safe side, you have installed smoke detectors.
Suppose there is only one chance in a hundred that your child will fall off her bicycle and hit her head on the pavement. This is highly unlikely, but just to be on the safe side, you insist that she wears a helmet that meets federal safety standards.
Suppose you had a bit too much to drink at your holiday party. Maybe there’s only one chance in a hundred that you will be pulled over for DUI, but even in your impaired state you are intelligent enough to find alternate transportation to get home.
You get the picture. There are risks in life. Some are more likely to occur than others, but a prudent person takes action to mitigate even the most unlikely risks. We can’t mitigate every risk, but we do spend the time and money to try to avoid those that have the gravest consequences.
Now suppose that despite the decades of evidence and despite the fact that nearly all reputable scientists tell us that global climate change is at least in part man-made, that there’s only a one in one hundred chance that they are right. The devastating impact of climate change – from flooding of cities to unbreathable air – is enough to mandate action to mitigate these risks. All the warnings are there, and the evidence is overwhelming.
Yet, there are those who are unwilling to face up to these risks. And starting in January, many of them will be in positions of great power as the Republicans take over the majority in the House of Representatives. But it’s not just the GOP. Elected officials from oil and coal-
producing polluting states from both parties are in the “deniers” category, as they accept massive contributions from their corporate benefactors.
It’s time for these pollution whores to wake up and realize that, unlike many of the other issues on which they are wrong, global climate change will affect the rich as well as the poor.
The wealthy can afford decent medical care, the poor cannot. But both the wealthy and the poor breathe the same air.
The wealthy can afford to send their kids to well-funded private schools, the poor cannot. But both the wealthy and the poor will need access to clean drinking water.
The wealthy can afford decent safe housing, the poor cannot. But both the wealthy and the poor will be impacted by the increase in violent weather patterns caused by climate change. Ocean shore mansions are just as vulnerable to hurricanes as shanties in North Carolina.
So to global climate change deniers: This is one thing that you can’t buy your way out of. You are taking chances with the planet’s future – and taking unnecessary risks by thwarting clean energy and conservation. You have a choice. Pay for the investment in alternative energy, or pay the cost of suppressing famine, wars, and destruction of our society.