Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Republican Meteorologist on climate change

This one is too good not to share.  It's the response of Paul Douglas, a meteorologist who happens to be a registered Republican, to a question on why more climate scientists do not enter the public debate (full response found here).  His take-home line?
"To the heart of your question, why don’t more climate scientists enter into the public debate? Because the debate is over. It’s the moral and scientific equivalent of debating gravity."
As readers who peruse the archives of this blog know, I've spent quite a bit of time detailing why the scientific debate is over.  However, I have one quibble with Douglas' response: He fails to distinguish between the scientific debate and the public debate.  The question concerned the public debate—and the public debate is far from over.  Given the scientific illiteracy of many American voters (26% of whom don't even know that the Earth revolves around the sun), it's been easy for fossil fuel interests to spread misinformation.  And it's going to take scientists who understand both the science and how to communicate that science to set the public debate straight so we can solve the knotty issue of how to take the carbon out of our economy.  While debating climate change may be the moral and scientific equivalent of debating gravity, we need scientists willing to enter the fray so that Americans can understand why it's the equivalent of debating gravity.

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