About a month ago I attended the 2016 International Žižek Studies Conference and had the privileged of meeting some fantastic people. Additionally, and of more relevance to any readers of this post, I was awash in new ideas and new things to think about; some of which I am still processing to this day. This post, however, attempts to deal with an issue that was brought up in passing during a Q and A session during a panel. For context: I was in a panel where Dr. Gregor Campbell of the University of Guelph was presenting a paper and we finished before the allotted time ended (due largely to the other participant’s absence) allowing for an extensive Q and A session and discussion. During our conversation, Campbell said, in passing, something that caught my attention and which I am indebted to him for thinking of. Campbell mentioned how people who deny climate change (climate deniers) serve to motivate climate scientists to work harder to prove their theories. While this comment lasted all of maybe 30 seconds, I would like to briefly unpack it and see what implications it has, if true.
A little over a week ago Bill Nye (the Science Guy) was on CNN’s “Crossfire” segment where he “debated”, and I hesitate to use this word when describing the following people, pundit S. E. Cupp and the Heritage Foundation‘s Nicolas Loris on the impact that climate change has on our lives. Amidst Bill’s clearly superior understanding of climate science and Loris’ “>muh federalism” cries, Cupp stepped up and did make one interesting point when she said
[Y]ou can look at entitlement reform which will bankrupt this country long before climate change destroys us, heart disease kills 7 million a year worldwide, 870 million suffer from hunger; I want you to look me in the eye and tell me in good conscience that climate change is our most urgent, number one priority right now.
While I loved Bill’s response and her reaction, I feel like he could have run with it more. Specifically, climate change directly affects the root cause of each of those issues and solving climate change is a prerequisite to solving any of the issues Cupp brought up. You see, climate change really is our most urgent, number one priority because it will not only be a huge blow to the economies of the world due to flooding and relocation issues, but it will disrupt global food supplies due to crop failures and ocean acidification, and the increased temperatures will create higher outbreak rates for diseases. All these, which will be fleshed out below, are reasons why climate change is a prior question and answers the impacts of Cupp’s claims.
My aim in writing this is not to provide a comprehensive list of the impacts of climate change, rather to point out that climate change comes before every issues that Cupp claims is more important.