Myron Ebell is a climate denialist who was recently appointed as an advisor to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Ebell’s background is in economics, which explains why most of his thoughts about global warming are about economic policy and not science. But Ebell still claims that the science behind global warming is a hoax perpetrated to harm the US economy. How does a non-scientist get so much credit for trying to dis-credit actual science? Continue reading
In a recent blog post By Adam Sobel, he mentioned that he doesn’t use the word “skeptic” to describe those who do not accept the idea that the earth is warming due to human activity. I had never really thought about my word choice on this issue, but I like his point and many others seem to share this notion. A skeptic has to be open to being proven wrong.
Many people frame debates over climate science with a false dichotomy. Either you’re a “denier” or an “alarmist”, with us or against us. But there are many people out there that fall into a different category we can call the “lukewarmers“. The lukewarmers are on board with what we have learned from data and theory. They recognize the robust findings that the Earth is warming, and that most of the change can be attributed to CO2 emissions. However, they don’t believe that the consequences of global warming qualify as “dangerous”. In spite of my own feelings on the issue, I find this growing opinion to be a positive development.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to tackle the problem of misinformation in the global warming debate. Shouting matches on the internet just feed the trolls and rarely achieve anything, and people don’t want to read accurate technical, science-y things, so what can we scientists really do? We can’t attack peoples’ character even when they attack ours, because that just makes us look bad, and fuels the global warming denier image of being an “underdog” or an “outsider”. These people are not on a crusade against science, they are just concerned (and a bit paranoid).
Global warming deniers are people too.
One of the many ongoing internal debates I have with myself is how to best combat ignorant climate skeptics. It is a never-ending task that can feel like wasted effort. I would argue that it’s actually much easier for skeptics to spread misinformation than it is for actual scientists to explain how the climate system works. This problem boils down to two key issues. Continue reading