‘My partner convinced me of the facts’: readers on changing their opinion on climate change

The 2017 One Planet Summit in France hoped to jump-start the transition to a greener economy two years after the historic Paris agreement to limit climate change. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

We asked you to tell us about the time you crossed from one side of the debate to the other

‘My partner convinced me of the facts of climate change’: Joshua, 28, Florida, US

I first thought it was fake as I used to watch Fox News with my family. In 2015 I met my partner Stephen who knew that the facts of climate change couldn’t be ignored. He took it upon himself to try to convince me. We started watching documentaries on the subject on Netflix. The first documentary that caught my attention was Cowspiracy directed by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn. This documentary really hit home and I even wrote an essay on it. Then came What the Health by the same directors. After we watched the movie Stephen and I turned to an all plant-based diet. We have our ups and downs on staying true to our new lifestyle change, but we always keep in mind that for every burger we don’t eat that is 660 gallons of water that we are saving for others in need. I was lucky enough that Stephen took the time and saw that if I could see the issues I would see that the facts are true.

‘I read scientific papers and it became obvious the sceptic claims made no sense’: Harri Haanpää, 45, Siuntio, Finland

As a graduate student in the early 2000s, I did not really have an opinion on the matter but the debate raised my curiosity. So when some of the prominent sceptical websites made claims about some scientific papers, I searched for the papers online and checked for myself. It soon became quite obvious that the sceptic claims made no sense whatsoever. So I became politically active and I’ve now been active in the Finnish Green party for 10 years.

‘Visits to museums and exhibitions helped me learn about climate change’: Ray, Hong Kong

Climate change seemed like a questionable thing to me at first and now it’s not. What made me change my mind is several news articles and blogs that I’ve read up on the internet as well as visits to museums and exhibitions. It was informative and introduced aspects such as rising temperatures, rising seas, extreme weather events and risks that we as a community face. I believe it will help people understand how serious the situation is and I would like to encourage the community to visit museums and learn about climate change. Given everything I have been told, my belief in climate change has gone from weak to very strong even if I still have many questions. After learning about how bad this can really get, it not only changed whether or not I believed in it, but also made me worry more and more. I now understand that I must try to do things that benefit the environment but at the same time I must also understand that I can’t save the world.

‘Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth was an eye-opener’: Annette Bejany, 51, Beirut, Lebanon

I was a teenager when President Ronald Reagan reassured us that global warming was all part of a natural, cyclical process – not dangerous and not caused by humans. Being a young, naive Republican, I believed him. When Al Gore’s documentary An inconvenient Truth came out in theatres, I would never have considered going to see it if I hadn’t become angry about Bush’s decision to invade Iraq and cynical about the Republicans’ lip service to Christian values. The movie was an eye-opener to say the least. Now I am a Green Party member, try to live a zero waste life, I’m nearly vegan and read up on climate change issues in the news on a regular basis. I agree 100% with Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment that fighting climate change is a moral imperative for social justice and that it is a grave sin to be tyrants rather than stewards of the earth.

‘Other factors are more important than the ones stated by the IPCC’: Guy, UK

I believe that the climate is changing, but I now think that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s view on the importance of CO2 is significantly overstated. I assumed that mainstream science was right and agree that burning fossil fuels is generally harmful and should be reduced if possible. However, after researching more about the factors effecting our climate I am of the opinion that other factors are more important than the IPCC stated factors. The sun and solar magnetic flux, plus the ocean currents are much more significant than stated by some scientist and the press. I also see significant data manipulation and misinformation (from both sides) so finding good independent sources of information is hard. I check published ‘hard data’ against obvious proxy data to see if it agrees, and too often it doesn’t. I think climate science has become political (understandable given the consequences) which means normal scientific debate is not happening as it should.

‘There are far more urgent ecological or environmental concerns, such as land management, ocean management’: William Handler, 45, Ontario, Canada

I used to think climate change was a serious problem but now I think it has been overblown. As a research physicist I looked at research first hand and came to the conclusion that the modelling of climate is not particularly good. Catastrophic predictions are silly. Global warming is real but not as serious as portrayed in the press. The probable total effect on the climate due to people is nothing to worry about compared to other, far more urgent ecological or environmental concerns, such as land management, ocean management, invasive species etc. Also, regardless of the actual reality of catastrophic global warming the actual actions taken have been ridiculous, futile, expensive and have had no impact on CO2 production in any meaningful way. If predictions made in the 90s had been true, the only solution was to use the already developed, reliable, cheap nuclear power and to get India, China and African countries using it. Instead people are burning fuel.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/14/my-partner-convinced-me-of-the-facts-readers-on-changing-their-opinion-on-climate-change

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