There are few things that can get me as hot under my collar as people who flout scientific facts. Whilst I admit that I get a bit of a thrill every time someone comes on my blog to try and debate me otherwise it still saddens me that there are many people out there who are willing to disregard hard facts in favour of anecdotes and emotional arguments. When it comes to anthropogenic (read: man made) climate change I all too often find people who aren’t willing to believe that there’s resound scientific consensus on the issue, instead wanting to believe the story that there’s still on-going debate. This could not be farther from the truth as the scientific community, and more specifically the ones specializing in climate, are in such unity on the idea that only one, out of almost 10,000, disagrees:
This picture has been doing the rounds on social media for a while now and it aptly highlights that there really isn’t an on-going debate among climate scientists about whether or not anthropogenic climate change is occurring. Still many media outlets feel compelled to provide a “balanced” story, pitting top climate scientists against celebrities, politicians and anyone else who isn’t exactly qualified to comment on where the science stands on this. Such debate thus lends credence to the idea that both are equally valid when, in fact, anyone who’s an expert in the field would say otherwise. Typically I could just write this off however a recent study from 2 universities in the USA has me very worried about how the general public is processing this information.
The report states that the number of people in the USA that flat out don’t believe climate change is happening at all has increased by 7% since the beginning of last year rising to a rather staggering 23%. Worst still they’re becoming far more stubborn about their views with many more people now saying that they’re unlikely to change their stance. The only bit of good news in there is that the majority of the USA believe climate change is happening although the percentage of those that believe its caused by us is declining.Taking the figures at face value I really was surprised to see that this was occurring but the explanation is what blew me away.
So apparently climate change deniers came up with the theory that we’re actually in a global warming “pause” as the amount of warming over the past 15 years has slowed down. Now forgetting for a second that this means they’re agreeing in principle to the idea of global warming (as you can’t say the warming has slowed without acknowledging it’s happening) taking short time slices of a phenomenon that occurs over a period of decades or centuries is a best disingenuous. We could just as easily take a similar time slice from multiple different periods to prove the opposite but instead we’ll just take the large swath of data we have that has shown an upward trend in temperatures that strongly correlates with the amount of carbon we’ve pumped into the atmosphere.
I know I’m preaching the the choir here but the mental gymnastics I’d have to go through to believe this kind of tripe befuddles me. Sure I can understand that when faced with problems this large with such huge consequences rational thought processes tend to shut down but it’s really not that difficult to take ownership of it in order to start making a positive difference. We all need to stop humouring those who harbour opinions that not only fly in the face of science but also prove to be extremely damaging to the rest of the world. The longer we entertain the idea that we need a balanced debate about things like this the worse the problem will get and I won’t feel at all good about saying “I told you so” when all of Australia’s beaches are underwater.