Our associate director, Rick Jahnke, wrote the following as a letter-to-the-editor to the Savannah Morning News.
We Need to Depoliticize the Global Climate Change Discussion
Al Gore has recently raised awareness of global climate change but has also greatly politicized its debate. Unlike Mr. Gore, governments do not have the luxury of focusing exclusively on a single issue but must weigh each issue against other challenges.
For example, how many people have died from climate change versus AIDS, cancer, tsunamis, or starvation world-wide?
Will an unintended consequence of policies designed to promote biofuel production be additional starvation deaths due to reduced foreign food-aid?
It is not possible to discuss these complex questions in a highly-charged political climate.
Let’s start by recognizing that global climate change is too serious an issue to belong to any particular political party. Let’s take it seriously and depoliticize it.
Change is only an obstacle for humans if we are unprepared for it due to ignorance or denial. Mitigation strategies within our capabilities can utilize the natural resiliency of ecosystems to minimize environmental impacts.
With a sound scientific basis for evaluating and predicting future climate and thoughtful policies, we can facilitate adaptation and position economies to thrive in the coming climate – but only if we can engage in rational, bipartisan discussion.
Rick Jahnke, Ph.D., Professor, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography