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Ask a climate scientist

In this new column, our resident climate scientist, Carl Mears, will answer your most pressing questions about climate. Carl is a member of our board.

First up:


I’ve heard the best way to change things at speed and scale is policy, policy, policy. I am too young to vote. My voting uncle doesn’t believe in climate change. What can I say to him to stop him from voting? #electiondayisdecember6th


Well, if you’re part of a Russian intelligence organization, you could try their method. Just talk about how the system is “all rigged”, and voting “doesn’t matter”. BUT, if you are just a regular American that cares about where the country is going, this is probably not the best approach. I would try to find some common ground with your uncle. Does he hate paying lots of money for electricity? Point out that going solar can save him money. Does he hate buying oil from certain foreign countries? An electric car can help with that. Is he worried about toxic pollution? Many low-carbon technologies reduce air and water pollution, so they are worth pursuing even if climate change turns out to be a “hoax”. BTW, it isn’t. My hope is that by finding common ground, we can start to persuade people to support low-carbon policies. Also, register to vote as soon as you’re old enough! And even if you can’t vote, you CAN volunteer with political campaigns. My daughter (now 15) started making political calls when she was 12 and spent several weekends last fall walking neighborhoods in Modesto to get out the vote!

Email us your climate questions: questions@theclimatecenter.org