Climate science in "a moment of crisis"
It's been a rough couple of years for climate science--attacks on the entire field have sought to undermine its credibility, a series of overblown, so-called 'scandals' distracted the media, and the public's general comprehension of climate change has greatly eroded. So I was glad to see paleoclimatologist Kim Cobb address the importance of communicating with the public in her talk at this year's Poptech conference. I sat down with Cobb, who's an Associate Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and she talked about her work, the sad state of climate politics, and why the climate science community has failed in communicating its findings to the public so far. Interview continues after the jump:
As I mentioned to Cobb, it's disgraceful that scientists should have the need to also become spokespersons for their science at all -- that they should have to practice messaging and wage a PR war in the first place. Sound science should speak for itself.
But that's certainly not the case in the US, where certain blocs of people have seized and distorted the issue to protect their ideological and economic interests. As Cobb says, it is unacceptable that only one of the GOP senatorial candidates even accepts that humans are causing the climate to warm -- the most rudimentary tenet of climate science -- seeing as how there's a vast body of peer-reviewed science that shows exactly that. Peer-reviewed science that Cobb herself contributes to:
Cobb is not only doing groundbreaking work in the field, but is intent on communicating that work to the public in a digestible way -- I'd love to see more enthusiastic, activist climate scientists emerge in Cobb's mold.
More on Climate Science at Poptech 2010
Ben Goldacre Talks Bad Climate Science: Poptech 2010 (Video)
Why So Many People Are Wrong About Climate Change (Video)
Climate Change is Making Waves Bigger & Steeper (Video)