We’ll care when climate change finally costs us

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At the moment there is only a small group of people in the world who really want to fight climate change. The vast majority of people do not believe that climate change really exists or simply do not suffer from it in the area where they live. In addition, many people are also politically influenced by different parties. In the end, the costs also count for people and then the choice is quickly made in these times of uncertainty.

As a scientist, I find extreme political rhetoric on both sides tough to watch. The right spreads falsehoods that abandoning fossil fuels will destroy the economy or, worse, that climate change is fake science. The left, meanwhile, incorrectly says we have 12 years to save Earth. In reality, the world won’t end and neither will the global economy. There will be severe damage, and it will cost us money to fix, but collective action to prevent it won’t happen because the underlying issue behind public inaction is not political, scientific or economic — rather, it’s one of human nature.

I’ve spoken countless times about climate change with family, friends, strangers, acquaintances, frenemies, you name it. Most do not see climate change as a pressing matter. In fact, some still promote myths about liberals changing the tune from global warming to climate change. Or how it’s all a natural cycle. These (and many others) have been debunked many times over. The science is clear: Humans are warming the planet. So why aren’t we all up in arms and making serious changes to how we live our daily lives?

I’ll make a prediction, which is a hallmark of science: I do not think that anything substantial will happen to combat the effects of climate change for the next 10 to 20 years because that’s how long it will take for the public to care. As a scientist, I […]

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