I’ve just been watching Top Gear, the one where they manage to reach the North Pole in a car. Seeing as the car was running on fumes when they got there, I’ve no idea how they got back, but on the whole it was pretty good. Except for the last 10 seconds.
Clarkson’s voiceover says the following: “They said we’d never get to the Pole because of the damage the car had already done to the ice cap. Perhaps then that’s what we’ve proved most of all. Really. The inconvenient truth is that it doesn’t appear to have even scratched the surface.”
What in hell is he basing that conclusion on? The fact that he drove a car over it? Is that it, seriously?! No figures on the melting ice caps, or on global water levels, just the fact that it’s still there and it can support a 3 ton truck means climate change isn’t happening and the ice caps are just fine and dandy. Talk about making the evidence fit in with the conclusion… The statement was totally irrelevant to the rest of the show too. Up until then it had been “look at this wonderful machine that’s making things so much easier”. This is one of the things I hate about Jeremy Clarkson, it’s the totally nonchalant attitude he broadcasts on national television, particularly towards climate change and humanity’s influence on it (but also on things like speeding and, during this episode, drink driving), an attitude which I’m sure has been adopted by some of his viewers.
I can sort of understand some people not caring about the environment, not being motivated to do anything about it, but to deny global warming is even taking place is a step too far. The majority of evidence shows that it has increased dramatically since the industrial revolution, and the evidence and research which opposes it is far too often funded by those in whose interest it is to deny it; the oil companies, the car manufacturers, the airlines.
What’s more, it is an issue of such fundamental importance! If we do nothing, the world could become uninhabitable, our species and many others could well die out. It’s amazing how people consider finding a cure for cancer more important than solving the problem of climate change, but in reality which is the bigger threat? Even if humanity isn’t a major cause of climate change, surely it is in our best interests to try and reduce its effects! So I’m not sure how to handle this. Should climate change denial be on the same kind of level as Holocaust denial? Certainly the consequences of each are of similar threat levels, one just appears more immediate than the other.