I am confident on Climate Change — I don’t know where I stand

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Guest Commentary
by Sage Naumann

In politics, the overwhelming trend is to pick a side and pick up a sword in an effort to avoid being inevitably devoured by both sides on any debate — it tends to be quite black and white. As a student of political science and philosophy, it’s more difficult for me to admit a lack of conviction at all than it is to declare defiance to my own political party or philosophical allies. That’s what makes this so difficult, yet so liberating.

I am confident that I don’t know where I stand on climate change.

I have read the studies, I have listened to the pundits, I have seen the charts, and I have heard the scientists. Between Al Gore’s inconvenient bloviating in the early 2000s and Republicans apparent blowing off of huge swaths of the scientific community, it’s difficult to find intellectual refuge on the topic. Both sides default to dogmatism — many Democrats view Republicans as being paid off by big oil, while many Republicans see Democrats view as an authoritarian scheme (or even some sort of plot devised by the Chinese government).

It’s an unfortunate byproduct of the times we currently live in. Hyper-partisan, polarized, and unwilling to see merit in arguments made from across the aisle, or at the very least, acknowledge that those making such arguments have benevolent motives. My inability to decisively choose between the two sides has rendered me perceptively unable to participate in the broader discussion, something that many Americans feel, I assume.

Now, I may not know if man-made climate change exists as environmentalists seem to, but I do know that most major studies on climate change indicate that nuclear power ought to be a major — if not the predominate — energy source explored to replace fossil fuels. Ken Silverstein of Forbes “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);”>recently pointed outthat while President Trump views climate change as a hoax, his policy on nuclear energy is “spot-on.” This is one of the reasons it’s difficult to take any Democrat — such as Bernie Sanders — seriously when they desire action on climate change paralleled with an absolute desire to shut down nuclear energy production. If we’re talking about the potential end of mankind — shouldn’t every option be on the table?

At the very least, Republican support for nuclear power coupled with scientific support, should provide somewhat of a middle ground on climate change — regardless if the motives between the two differs.

I also do know that the results of state action in response to climate change have real impacts on everyday Americans. According to the “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);”>2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report, there are 625,369 Americans who rely on natural gas for employment, 197,418 who rely on coal, 799,531 on petroleum, and we can even toss in another 72,146 for nuclear. Those are massive numbers — all of which are in some way under attack by statist solutions to forcefully transition our energy away from their respective industries.

Regardless if you believe climate change to be a threat or a farce, it’s important to understand that these nearly 1.7 million workers are in the direct crosshairs of any state action on climate change.

I do know that suggested “fixes” for climate change, such as those outlined in Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ “Green New Deal” will heavily increase the powers of an already bloated central government. Setting aside the “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);”>potentially massive costs to transition us to renewable energies within a relatively short span of time, doing so would result in massive reorganization of the United States economy via government orchestration.

Many on the left may not find issue with such expansion of government powers, but it is certainly an issue that any American skeptical of increasing the scope of government should be considerate of.

One does not need to believe in climate change to see that the issue is worth intensive discussion and debate, and one not need to disbelieve in climate change to critique some of the rhetoric and policy proposals coming from elected officials.

Undeniably, many partisans and zealots will find reason to critique my stance (or lack thereof) on this issue. Those who view climate change as an existential threat to our existence will find me to be just another cog in the pollution machine, whilst those who do not will not enjoy my unwillingness to admit climate change is just a statist plot.

I’ve met oil and gas workers, and I find no reason to believe that those who work, live, and raise their families in our communities to be willing accomplices to the destruction of our planet. As such, I’ve met climate change activists who overwhelmingly seem earnest in their convictions.

Harvard Professor Steven Pinker takes an interesting approach to the issue, stating “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);”>in an article for The Breakthrough Journal that “Problems are solvable. That does not mean that they will solve themselves, but it does mean that we can solve them ifwe sustain the benevolent forces of modernity that have allowed us to solve problems so far…”

Pinker is full of optimism — even as a believer himself in climate change.

I may not have staked out a position on climate change, but I have concluded that it’s going to take an about-face from all of those engaged in the conversation if we are to ever make headway on the issue. Like Pinker, I’m optimistic — perhaps you should be as well.

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Sage Naumann — a former Deputy and Acting Executive Director of the Republican Party of San Diego County — is now a Colorado-based political professional, graphic designer, film photographer, web consultant, cigar aficionado, vaper, and conservative commentator.

This article was published on Medium.com and appears here with the author’s permission.

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Comments 8

  1. I know firmly where I stand, before you were born, there was talk about #GlobalCooling, then Al Gore and his charlatans started #GlobalWarming … and when than fraud didn’t work out they changed it to #ClimateChange. They figured since the Climate always Changes Eureka!!!
    I’ve lived in the San Diego/Tijuana area all of my life and for reference let’s use the Hotel Del Coronado, if you notice, the Del has gotten closer and closer to the water… because they’ve built in that direction.
    Because of the stupidity of Public Education, most students fail to understand the massive amount of water it is going to take for sea level to rise (or recede).
    Even worse. How is it possible that the same solution applies to Global Cooling, Global Warming & Climate Change?
    Raising our Taxes and more Government control over Private sector!
    PS I don’t get a dime from the oil interest

  2. Hector,

    All I can say is that I am glad that all of your attempts at elected office have been unsuccessful. I will still fight for your right to your opinion, but on behalf of my children and the grandchildren I hope someday to have, I am very grateful that your opinion will not have any significant influence on public policy.

  3. FYI:
    Hector Gastelum is currently a publicly elected board member, division 4, Otay Water Board.
    In case you missed it.

  4. Humility is a characteristic we often forget about in polarizing times, especially when discussing polarizing topics. The ability to be honest with oneself and admit that you don’t know all the answers should be commended regardless of personal stance on the topic of climate change. We need more open minds, more listening and understanding than talking over each other with partisan talking points. Props to Sage for his humility.

  5. There is no good faith basis for confusion or equivocation on the science of climate change. There never was a scientific prediction of global cooling in a peer reviewed scientific journal, let alone thousands of them. Science rewards the rebel. Every scientist with a household name (Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Heisenberg, Einstein) became famous not for reinforcing the consensus of the day, but by smashing it to pieces. All scientists know that to stand atop Mount Everest in their field, they need to find and prove the fatal flaw in the consensus view. There is a scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change not because of some conspiracy of like-minded (and uniformly liberal) scientists, but because every research project targeting a potential flaw has ended up confirming the consensus view.

    The OP writes about the unknown and scary potential for economic and employment disruption that could happen if we act, and the prospect of increased government powers at the expense of individual liberties. These are real fears and real challenges. They deserve the focus and attention from all corners of the political spectrum. Unfortunately, rather than serving as the basis for solutions, those fears and challenges have been used to justify an organized and willful ignorance that the problem exists at all.

    History will not judge our generation kindly.

  6. I don’t care if you think “global warming” is B.S. Think about the fact that you can’t eat tuna on a regular basis because of mercury caused by coal plants. When I was young people were dropping dead in L.A. from air pollution. This changed because of “reckless and job killing” regulation. To quote your hero Rush Limbaugh, “solar doesn’t work”. It apparently does in San Diego. My point is that the biggest polluters are some of the biggest lobbyists and donors to the Republican party in particular. When clean alternatives become available we should consider them.

  7. “When clean alternatives become available we should consider them.”

    I agree and I support any choice you make with your money. It’s when politicians steal my money to support an unproven/unprofitable energy source (including fossil fuels) that I get upset.

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