Photo: Aske Holst, Flickr/ CC BY
The most surprising thing about the midterm elections wasn't that it swept over 60 Tea Party-backed candidates to power -- it was that more than half of those candidates are on record denying climate change. Unified climate denial is an alarming platform to adopt in the modern world, considering every other major political party around the globe -- even conservative ones -- acknowledges that global warming is a serious problem. But the ascendant far-right wing that's just taken power isn't deterred by stuff like science: The GOP plans to attack the EPA, "investigate" climate scientists, and convince the public that climate change is a scam. Thankfully, climate scientists have had enough. This time, they're fighting back.In response to the political success that denying climate change was able to muster, the American Geophysical Union -- the nation's largest association of climate scientists -- has decided to mobilize, and to publicly speak out about climate science. 700 climate researchers have agreed to participate in the campaign to help educate the public, and to refute erroneous claims that deny humans are having an impact on the earth's climate.
From the LA Times:
Faced with rising political attacks, hundreds of climate scientists are joining a broad campaign to push back against congressional conservatives who have threatened prominent researchers with investigations and vowed to kill regulations to rein in man-made greenhouse gas emissions.This move is long overdue -- discourse on climate science has far too long been swayed by messaging from fossil fuel interests, opportunistic politicians, and conservative pundits, all who without any knowledge of the science, insist that global warming is a scam. And with those opportunistic politicians now in power, and threatening to worsen the US's already disgraceful climate and clean energy policies, it's high time the scientists -- the actual experts on the topic -- made their case to the public.
The still-evolving efforts reveal a shift among climate scientists, many of whom have traditionally stayed out of politics and avoided the news media. Many now say they are willing to go toe-to-toe with their critics ... John Abraham of St. Thomas University in Minnesota, who last May wrote a widely disseminated response to climate change skeptics, is also pulling together a "climate rapid response team," which includes scientists prepared to go before what they consider potentially hostile audiences on conservative talk radio and television shows.
I wish that they didn't have to do this -- I wish we had a cable TV media apparatus that aimed to relay honest information to the public, that oil companies like Exxon hadn't sunk millions into propagating climate denial, that politicians sought solutions to our most gripping problems instead of pandering to those who would like to believe nothing -- including our consumption habits -- ever has to change.
Scientists shouldn't have to prove that their work is valid (that's what peer review is for) by defending it on cable talk shows and calling out misinformation-spouting politicians. But it sure seems like they have to now.
More on Climate Science and Politics
How Climate Denial Becomes Fact in Right - Wing Media (Video)
Why Nearly Every GOP Senate Candidate is a Climate Skeptic
Dick Cheney Ushered in Era of GOP Climate Denial: NY Times