In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a global initiative backed in part by the United Nations affirmed what many have come to believe: The earth is warming and humans play a role in this warming. Specifically, humans have contributed to a 70 percent increase in green house gas emissions between 1970 and 2004. Moreover, Dr. Jerry R. Shubel, president and CEO of the Aquarium of the Pacific and climate change expert, says, “The overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that human-caused global warming is happening and that we need to take action now to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels—coal, oil and natural gas—if we are to avoid serious economic, public health, and environmental consequences.”

Currently, consensus opinion seems to weight in favor of the reality of global warming. So, for argument’s sake, let's accept the conclusion that climate change is occurring and humans are partly to blame. If so, I wonder why climate change played only a minute role in the 2012 presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Although Barack Obama was more forthcoming in his acceptance that climate change is a reality, neither candidate took interest in addressing the issue in terms of policy.

I also wonder, at this point, whether media coverage that expounds on the nonexistence of global warming and climate change represents “false equivalence”: the tendency for journalists to create and readers to expect two sides to every story. If so, who would benefit from such false equivalence? Would it be the publishers who create headlines?

Finally, even if public policy were to change in an attempt to ease global warming does this mean that governments could exert further control on their companies and constituents? Moreover, as described by economist Mark Hendrickson would the “politically connected elite,” people who can financially benefit from a shift away from fossil fuels, make money from such change?

What do you think?

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