Nicholas Goldberg: Americans don’t care about climate change. Here’s how to wake them up
It’s been four years since a massive oil spill in the pristine waters of the Gulf of Mexico turned the ocean blue.
It’s been four years since a record-setting heatwave engulfed the planet, killed 4,000 people, and caused temperatures to rise 3.2 degrees Celsius in eight days. It’s been four years since a huge fire in Australia that scorched the country to the point of losing all of its tropical vegetation in one night. It’s been four years since the hottest year on record was surpassed by more than 1 degree Celsius in one month; it was the third consecutive year of record-setting temperatures. In this time, we have seen the highest recorded number of heat-related deaths; the lowest number of coral reef deaths ever recorded in a single year; and some of the worst coral bleaching ever recorded in history.
The science is clear: climate change is real, and it will impact us as we sit back and watch. But we all know the political will is simply not there to address this issue.
For Americans, climate change is simply the latest of a laundry list of problems that are just too big and too pressing for much-needed change. And even when the federal government does acknowledge the science of climate change, it’s always a step behind the curve.
So why isn’t the whole issue on the minds of every single voter? It’s a complicated answer, but it all starts with the basic question: who is America’s government?
As the world waits to find out whether or not it will experience average global temperatures as high as 4 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels, we have spent years debating the issue around here.
But the American people are simply not interested.
What’s more, we have seen this dynamic play out over and over again