“I’m certainly not a scientist.” “I would not say I have firm views on it.” These were Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s responses to a question about climate change. It is highly probable that one day she will sit in judgment of plans to curtail climate pollution.
This answer uses a classic climate denier tactic to evade the issue and avoid assessing policy.
Here’s how I think of it:
My doctor tells me I have cancer.
Do I sit and think, “I’m certainly not a doctor. I don’t have firm views on cancer. Therefore, maybe this cancer is not happening, and I don’t have to deal with it”?
Well — if I do think that way, I’m indulging in magical — and disastrous — thinking.
I’m not a doctor. But when my doctor tells me something is wrong, I trust their expertise, I value their experience, I rely on their plans to respond to my cancer. Sure, I’ll read up on cancer — in my actual, real life, personal case, I learned whatever I could about kidney cancer, to the best of my ability to understand the biology of what was going on in my body. And then I turned myself over to the diligent, educated, and dedicated care of my health team.
I’m certainly not a scientist either. But I see, all around me, the way our lives are changing — how our weather is super-charged, how tide lines are rising, how unusual, hundred-year floods and droughts are killing crops — every year.
I read up on this thing called climate change that is making headlines everywhere just about every week. I learn what I can. And I turn to the experts to learn what I can do about it.
There’s no way to read up on climate change and NOT have a firm view on it — that it is happening, that it must be addressed, and that there are solutions to the problem.
I have developed firm views on climate change — because I am a concerned citizen who takes responsibility for the well-being of my children — and all our children.
Anyone who wants to sit in judgment of how we tackle one of the most urgent and disastrous problems of our lives should feel that same responsibility to get engaged, to get educated, and to get serious.