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Opposites Attract: Climate Change (Liberal vs. Libertarian)

Robert Warming and Philip Bailey

In this issue of the Panel, we are continuing a tradition of good-hearted debate between two Belmont Hill VI Formers, Phil Bailey and Robbie Warming. In it, they will satirically argue views completely contrary to their true beliefs. 

Liberal (Robbie)

Climate change is happening, and politicians have to recognize it. No, this isn’t a Chinese conspiracy. No, the Sun will not engulf the Earth before sea levels rise. This is real.

Ninety-nine percent of scientists recognize that human-driven climate change is happening. But you don’t need to have a PhD to understand that. In fact, you don’t even need to be in AP Environmental Science (or AP Daycare) to grasp the concept of climate change. It’s all in the numbers. From 1980 to 2012, the average temperature rose 1 degree Celsius. Though that doesn’t seem like much, on average, such a rise in temperature can be catastrophic. If we keep heading in the direction we’re going, humanity will pay the price.

Around 2.96 billion people, or about forty percent of the world’s population, live within 62 miles of the ocean. When the polar ice melts and sea levels rise, as they already have been doing, millions of lives and billions of dollars in property would be in danger. Boston would be at particular risk. If the ocean were to rise just five feet, parts of both Cambridge and South Boston would flooded. At twelve feet, the Back Bay would flood, and Boston would become an island. The Muddy River would go from a boring ditch to the Muddy Ocean. At 25 feet, Beacon Hill would be the only point of land remaining of the “city upon a hill”. That’s a pun. Boston would literally consist of only a hill. I’d be surprised if there were a city still on top of it.

So what do I do about it? I make a difference. I make political posts on Facebook. I drive a Prius. It has 58 miles to the gallon and is very green. I also don’t shower in order to save water. I make an enormous difference with my personal sacrifices for Mother Earth, and I’m going to let you know every single chance I get.

This past election, I voted for the only candidate who will shut all the coal mines down. Yeah, that’s right. I’m with her and not with coal. In order to dig out the cancer that is air pollution, you need to kill it at its source. Will nearly one million American blue collar workers lose their jobs? Sure. Would this destroy the economies of some of the poorest parts of the country? Okay, yeah. Would Appalachia become even more impoverished than it is today? I mean… Will people starve? Okay, maybe a lil…

But the environment matters more than all that. Screw American workers, all they’ve done is elect a President Trump. Slash and burn coal jobs…  Right?

Libertarian (Phil)

Alright, let’s get this out of the way.  Of course climate change is real.  99% of scientists are in agreement.  My Republican friends like to tell me that number is inflated and only 97% of scientists agree.   No difference, really.  Climate change is going to be extremely harmful to all of humanity.  If climate change continues to be left unheeded, our current global world order will, in time, be uprooted by political change.  The world’s poorest countries will be decimated by the effects of climate change that they barely contributed to.  Their people will flee in massive numbers and overwhelm Western governments to the point of collapse.  Now, that may sound bad to many people.  But quite frankly, I call that the Libertarian Platform.  

And besides, even if the clenching fist of pollution that will eventually strangle our children into death’s cold hands is unappealing to you, take solace in the fact that the sun will, in a few billion years, grow to encompass the Earth.  When I was a child, I asked my father how he deals with the knowledge that he will die.  He told me everything is fine because a piece of him lives on through his children and grandchildren.  That might sound like a good argument to save the Earth for our own descendents.  But none of that will matter when the entirety of human history is thrown into a massive furnace never to be discovered again.  It would be kind of nice if our descendants could live a good life.  But earth is just a tiny speck in the universe.  And our universe is likely just one universe in whatever unit is larger than the universe.   So who cares about our grandchildren?  Who really cares about anything?  I assume that logic is why no one cares about me.  It must be cause they are too consumed with the meaningless of life to care about me, right?  That’s why I became a Libertarian.  If we are all going to die eventually, who cares about dying a bit sooner from climate change?  Sure, government intervention could prevent climate change, but government is lame.  I should give a Woodbury speech about this.  Oh wait, nevermind, those speeches are just for personal stories.  In fact, if we are all going to die anyway, and I have no one who cares about me, why don’t I just end it now?

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