Ignorance Is Bliss

by Breanna Sewell

Retired NASA astrophysicist and former leader in humanist organizations, Jordan Stuart, discusses the willingness and ability of people to counter the effects of climate change in his 2014 paper, “Is Action to Mitigate Climate Change Possible Today?” He introduces the topic by addressing the unfortunate state of our planet in regards to increasing amounts of natural disasters, and then continues on to state that global climate change is undeniably caused by human activity. Stuart writes that scientists have done enough to prove that global warming is the cause of climate change and that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are the cause of global warming, therefore we, as a people, should admit that we are the cause of climate change.

Despite this certainty, very little action has been taken to reverse or even slow down the process of climate change. For this inactivity, we can thank those opposed to the idea of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. With only profit in mind, from Stuart’s perspective, they do their best to convince voters that there is great debate surrounding the tie between carbon emissions and climate change, when in actuality, there is not.

Later on, Stuart explains that if all major carbon emitters do not cooperate soon in trying to reduce emissions, it will not be possible to stay at the proposed limit of a two-degree Celsius increase in global temperature. This is a serious dilemma considering that recent studies suggest a 21-foot increase in sea level if the global temperature were to increase 3.5 degrees Celsius. This shocking truth calls for cooperation on a global level.

According to Stuart, these facts about global climate change are known by few, which is the root of the problem. Stuart points out the necessity that action be taken quickly, but realizes the difficulty of this due to the general ignorance of the public when it comes to climate science. We can’t expect to see progress until the truth about climate change is made clear to the public.

Stuart, J., 2014. Moving Past A Warm-Up: Is Action to Mitigate Climate Change Possible Today? The Humanist.


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