Skeptic about Scholars: Climate Change Denial and Southeast Asia

Anthropogenic climate change is one of the biggest issues of today.

Like any issue, there are skeptics of its existence. Many, many people cast doubt on the science, quick to label it as a hoax or a lie. The National Center for Science Education uses the term “climate change deniers” as “intended descriptively...used for the sake of brevity and consistency with a well-established usage in the scholarly and journalistic literature.”

In this regard, climate change denial can be quite dangerous. It prevents citizens from viewing it as a legitimate issue, one that never has solutions in the forefront of their minds when voting for candidates. Policies that involve drastic change, which is a necessity, easily turn off voters. Climate change intersects with economics and everyday lives. Thus, whether you believe in it or not, it has been propelled to the spotlight of politics. In the recent third American Democratic candidates debate, climate change was brought up multiple times. There have been several proposals such as Andrew Yang’s carbon fee, a “market-based solution” that makes fossil fuel companies pay fees if they exceed their emissions. These ideas have be come a key factor in pushing for solutions to address the issue. Across the Atlantic, sixty percent of UK adults did not think their government was focused enough on climate change. Meanwhile, the United States is still considered to be a “hotbed” of climate change denial, polling in at the third highest percentage of people who had this view out of 23 countries.

Bearing the Brunt

The mentality behind many climate change deniers, particularly in the West, is simple: if I can’t see it, it’s not happening. On the other side of the world, the International Monetary Fund describes the scene: Vietnamese people scurrying, carrying as much as possible in their arms, as they slosh through knee-high water in the wake of the latest flood. This chaos is the new norm for the 640 million Southeast Asians who live in low-lying coastal cities.