By Leo Hodges
Climate change is undeniably an imminent threat, yet there are still doubts threatening this consensus. A mass of empirical evidence provides the subject with all the ammunition it needs to force multilateral organisations, state governments and us, as individuals, to change.
Predictions exemplify how immediate the threat is: increased temperatures have already accelerated heat related deaths; year on year crop yields have fallen; forest fires have increased in fervency and number; disease has spread at an accelerated rate due to an increase in temperature or intensified precipitation. Flooding, coastal erosion and competition for drinking water caused by climate change exacerbate the deadly impact climate change possesses.
Hence, climate change has been replaced by ‘climate crisis.’ Evidence can be found far and wide, however proving climate change is real is not the aim here, instead this article shall explain the insidious nature and danger that climate change deniers present.
Climate crisis extends into the realm of socio-political problems. Environmental degradation cannot be separated from the capitalist culture that has bred exploitation of natural resources for profit. This ‘profit by any means’ mindset has become entrenched into Western policy, and subsequently that of rising international powers, who have then set unrealistic precedents for the Global South to follow.
The crisis will only become harder to deny
The Global South strives for greater economic strength, however, they are being forbidden from using the same exploitative systems that permitted Western growth in the name of climate crisis. This subject is complex, and solutions are even more complex, yet what is less complex is the reasoning behind, and danger of, climate change deniers.
Climate change deniers are so devoted to their misguided beliefs that they claim any form of empirical evidence must be ‘fake news.’ In this sense deniers can be equated to conspiracy theorists. To this community of conspiracy theorist’s, climate change is a political weapon used by the ‘elite’ to control the masses.
This frustration towards an ‘elite’ has been misdirected. Though there is an economic elite who may be the driving force of an unequal economy, there is a difference between the economic elite and the academic elite. This academic elite should be listened to, whereas the former’s power can be overturned and, in fact, are the ones who benefit from the destruction of our climate.
If climate change deniers had their way there would be no incentive for corporations or governments to expand the emerging green markets, the profit would not be worth the upheaval of the current economic system. In some cases, the elite, perpetuates climate change scepticism.
For example, Donald Trump’s reversal on climate policy, his MAGA campaign slogan and devotion to take America back to the ‘good old days’ appeals to many, it is inherently comforting to be full of positive nostalgia. Nevertheless, the era they wish to return to included vast exploitation of workers, as well as natural resources.
This lazy, rose-tinted view of the past aggravates the climate crisis. However, one aspect of the denier’s anti-establishment view can be spun into a positive. They argue it is the people who can bring down the elite, which is true, the power is in our hands, we have the influence to enact real, powerful change. But as a people we have been lazy, and climate change deniers are the epitome of our collective laziness.
Through claiming science is a weapon of the elite to control the people, deniers appeal to our narcissism. The denier is an enlightened being, they do not follow the sheep of the masses. They are one of a few extraordinary people who can see beyond the lies. This egotistical aspect of climate change deniers bolsters their beliefs against the negative attention they attract, instead ‘cancel culture’ helps them thrive.
They seem to shout ‘People want to shut me up, therefore I MUST be correct!’ They seek a higher status, which they achieve through outrage and an exploitation of cancel culture, in turn this further deepens their beliefs that they are one of the few real geniuses left. Their confidence grows alongside the increasing absurdity of their claims.
Climate change deniers, therefore, are scared, lazy and narcissistic. They cannot comprehend their mortality and their insignificance on the world, for which I cannot blame them. However, they use this fear to heighten their selfishness, whereas we accept our mortality and do what we can, while we can.
Everyone is an amalgamation of the above traits, as well as many others. However, most of us recognise the dangers of these traits and do our best to combat them, whereas the deniers lean into them, going as far to be consumed by them.
The crisis will only become harder to deny, and luckily most of the population sees climate deniers for the paranoid narcissists that they are. In some ways, they help reaffirm the scientific position on climate change, and spur greater innovation to combat the deadly effects it has produced. The power is in our hands, and it is our duty to use this power to educate, innovate and change.
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