How Populist Parties Use Climate Change to Gain Power

Far Right Populism is gaining traction in many countries around the world. One of the ways the officials in these political parties can influence people and gain power is to play to their fears.

The biggest fear that most people have is that the world is changing. That means there might be a need to alter some lifestyle decisions for the good of everyone. Creating “climate change hysteria” through soundbites and tweets creates an echo chamber that confirms personal perspectives instead of focusing on facts.

A 2012 tweet from Donald Trump about climate change is an excellent example of this approach. “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

What Are the Facts About Climate Change?

The reality of climate change is here, whether we want to deny it as a civilization or embrace it so that we can fix the problem.

Far-right populism doesn’t deny the fact that the weather is changing on our planet. The goal of their rhetoric is to shift the blame away from humans. It is either a conspiracy theory, a natural change that happens, or an unexplained cause that has nothing to do with greenhouse gas emissions.

Who is telling the truth when anyone can spin facts to support a personal narrative?

It is up to us to look at the information about climate change to understand the entire picture. Conservation International has a series of 11 facts that you should know about so that everyone can make up their own minds about what is happening.

Here is a look at some of their findings.

1. CO2 levels are very high.

The concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere reached 408 parts per million in 2018. Scientists estimate that this is the highest level in over 3 million years.

2. Our warmest years are happening all of the time. 

Data from the NOAA and NASA show us that 2016 was the hottest year on record for our planet. It was almost two degrees warmer than it was in the 1950s. Since we’ve been keeping track of this information, 17 out of the 18 hottest years have happened since 2000.

3. Deforestation has a significant impact.

11% of the global greenhouse gas emissions occur because of deforestation. That amount is comparable to the activities of every vehicle on our planet today.

4. A warmer climate creates vulnerable populations.

Over 10% of the global population lives somewhere that is currently vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. That includes heatwaves, flooding, drought, and extreme weather events. Low-lying coastal areas could see ocean levels rise to the point where some areas become uninhabitable.
Climate change is real, but there are steps we can take to minimize the damage. Instead of letting far-right populism scare everyone so that they can retain power, arm yourself with real information so that you can understand what is happening in the world around you.