After following climate science for three decades, I remain surprised – no, dumbfounded – that people can doubt the overwhelming scientific evidence for human-caused climate change.
Let’s face it. This subject has left the realm of science and become an all-out media war. Here are some stories to read this week.
Climate Insurance. Let’s start with the facts. This Washington Post editorial asserts that “few reputable scientists would disagree” that the world is getting warmer and that humans are at least partly the cause. It explains that climate is complex, that the evidence for human-caused climate change in this century is overwhelming, and that the errors in the data that have come to light so far are “trivial.”
The Attack on Climate-Change Science: Why It’s the O.J. Moment of the Twenty-First Century. This article by Bill McKibben is posted as a Tomgram at TomDispatch.com. McKibben wrote the book End of Nature, which may have been first book ever written about human-caused climate change for a general audience. “The campaign against climate science has been enormously clever, and enormously effective,” McKibben writes. “It’s worth trying to understand how they’ve done it.”
Climate Wars. The Guardian has cataloged all of its “Climategate” stories. You’ll find factual articles and opinion pieces – expressing a diversity of opinions – related to climate science e-mails stolen from a University of East Anglia server in late 2009. Here’s the common thread: the battle over climate data has turned into an all-out war between actual climate scientists – the men and women who studied for years to become scientists, then spent decades carefully studying climate itself – and the skeptics whose motivations are sometimes hard to understand.
Bullying, lies and the rise of right-wing climate denial. Writing from Australia, Clive Hamilton explains that that nation’s “most distinguished climate scientists have become the target of a new form of cyber-bullying aimed at driving them out of the public debate.” No matter what you think of climate science, you will be shocked by the tone of some of these emails.
By the way … EarthSky has received its own share of these very disturbing, bullying emails in recent weeks. Meanwhile, our mission is to be a voice for science, and the science on this subject is very solid – as solid as science can be. If the science changes, EarthSky will change with it. Until then, we’ll continue to interview leading scientists from among the thousands around the world whose data directly or indirectly show the facts of the matter. We live on a planet that is getting noticeably warmer. Global warming could have dire consequences for some of Earth’s billions of inhabitants, especially the poorest of us in the least developed countries. Human activities play a role in creating global warming.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.