Thursday, June 21, 2012

A must-read article on the Climate Wars

Popular Science magazine ( just recently published a very lengthy article entitled "The Battle Over Climate Science". It goes into great detail over how a large number of climate scientists "routinely face death threats, hate mail, nuisance lawsuits and political attacks". 
Here are two excerpts that particularly caught my attention, in a bad way:
A climate modeler at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory answered a late-night knock to find a dead rat on his doorstep and a yellow Hummer speeding away. An MIT hurricane researcher found his inbox flooded daily for two weeks last January with hate mail and threats directed at him and his wife. And in Australia last year, officials relocated several climatologists to a secure facility after climate-change skeptics unleashed a barrage of vandalism, noose brandishing and threats of sexual attacks on the scientists’ children.
 “When I get an e-mail that mentions my child and a guillotine,” Hayhoe says, “I sometimes want to pull a blanket over my head. The intent of all this is to discourage scientists. As a woman and a mother, I have to say that sometimes it does achieve its goal. There are many times when I wonder if it’s worth it.”
But there was some positive news in the article:
Some conservative think tanks have since begun to soften their positions. Jeff Kueter, the current president of the George C. Marshall Institute, which has been advocating against mainstream climate science since the 1980s, told me in his office in Virginia last month that “climate change is not a hoax” and that “human activities undoubtedly have an impact on climate change.”
Public opinion in the U.S. about anthropogenic climate change is also changing. This spring, four major universities released polls showing that a clear majority of American citizens now say that the world is warming and that the country should take action. Jon Krosnick, a professor of communications at Stanford University, conducted one of the polls. He found that 83 percent of Americans say they believe that the Earth has been warming. One significant factor, he suggests, is that Americans can finally see and feel climate change happening. 
I've been reading quite a lot about climate change and the climate "debate" recently. A lot of the stuff I read makes me a bit angry because, as a working scientist, I feel like some of the hatred against climate scientists is directed at me and my colleagues too. This PopSci article doesn't help me abate that anger.

On the bright side, I 've been watching quite a few videos by Peter Sinclair over at (it was a recent article by Peter that linked to the PopSci article above). He has a series of videos called "Renewable Energy Solution of the Month". They make for very positive viewing and help give me great hope for the future.

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