Photo credit: Maassive via Flickr/CC BY
With the GOP primary race in full swing, climate change has again taken center stage in the American political discourse -- just not in a way that any serious climate scientist would have hoped. Despite the prominence of an increasingly robust body of evidence that human activity is warming the planet, Republican presidential contenders like Texas governor Rick Perry and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann are flat-out denying that such a body of evidence exists.
So, I asked one of the world's top curators of that evidence, Nobel Prize-winning IPCC chief Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, how much of a problem that poses for global climate action. His answer? "Truth, and scientific facts, will prevail." Watch:Dr. Pachauri was kind enough to sit down for an interview with TreeHugger before he gave a talk at the annual Poptech conference; I'll post a video of our entire conversation soon. But I'll say now that I drew encouragement from Pachauri's strikingly optimistic words. Despite spending year after year facing manufactured controversies and attacks on the very core of climate science, Pachauri continues to be steadfast in his dedication to communicating the dangers of global warming to policymakers and the international public.
And I have to believe he's right. Industries inconvenienced by climate change, and the media outlets and politicians they influence, can only sow doubt about the science for so long. Eventually, like the tobacco spin doctors before them, they'll fall out of public favor. Or so we can hope.
The annual Poptech conference began today, and I'm in Camden, Maine reporting on the proceedings. The event gathers scientists, writers, public officials, performers, and others to foster a discussion (and potential collaborations) that engage the world's most pressing problems with the most modern, effective tools.