The Climate Crisis Debate: Who is Right-Who Is Wrong?

Reader Contribution by Richard Hilderman and Ph.D.

The climate crisis debate can be divided into two main camps. The first group argues that the global climate crisis is human induced and we must convert to a renewable energy economy. The other group argues that the climate crisis doesn’t exist and we should continue “business as usual” in our use of fossil fuels. The debate can be simplified into “what happens if I am right and you are wrong vs. if you are right and I am wrong?”

If the argument that climate change is a serious problem turns out to be wrong and we convert to renewable energy sources there will be positive benefits.

1. We will no longer be dependent on foreign oil. Thus we will no longer be sending billions of dollars overseas for energy.

2. It will create a new generation of jobs to build and maintain wind turbines, solar panels, etc.

3. The planet will be more sustainable.

4. The air and water will be cleaner.

5. Our children will be healthier due to less pollution.

On the other hand, if the argument that the climate crisis is not a problem turns out to be wrong and we continue to use fossil fuels there will be catastrophic consequences. The global temperature will continue to rise and the planet will reach a tipping point.

1. Sea level will continue to rise as the global temperature increases. This will generate at least 100 million climate refugees.

2. Food supplies will become scarce due to heat waves and droughts.

3. The ocean will continue to acidify due to the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide entering the ocean. This will cause the extinction of ocean flora/fauna which means the ocean resources will become less abundant.

4. Humans will migrate inland as the oceans rise and migrate towards the poles as the global temperature increases. This will result in the human population being concentrated in a smaller area on the planet. Humans have a hard time getting along when we are scattered over most of the planet.

5. Terrestrial plants and animals will become extinct due to the rising global temperature and droughts.

6. The planet will survive but the fate of humans will be in doubt–at the very least there will be a lot less of us on the planet.

Should we convert to renewable energy sources with benefits or should we continue “business as usual” and hope there are no catastrophic consequences that our children, grandchildren and future generations will have to face?