Month 9, Day 2: It’s Too Darn Hot.

The Philadelphia Inquirer ran an AP story about the IPCC, with a headline that was not supported by anything in the story.

Corporate-funded denialism went into full-bore attack mode when the IPCC reports were first released. Minor discrepancies were blown up into international scientific scandals, which dissipated under further investigation. Rajendra Pachauri was charged with conflicts of interest — and has been completely exonerated. Evidence for scientific misconduct is extraordinarily flimsy — while evidence confirming human causes of global warming is extraordinarily robust. Ninety-seven percent of climatologists agree on the factuality of anthropogenic climate change— an impressive number (what would you do if ninety-seven out of a hundred oncologists told you a lump was malignant?). Meanwhile, the physical effects of climate chaos are harder and harder to ignore. When we see Pakistan’s floods, Russia’s droughts, a heat wave hammering the country, anomalous rain, snow and storms, we’re getting a picture of what’s in store for us in the years to come. We should be heeding the IPCC’s findings, not quibbling about minutiae.

Warren Senders

Month 7, Day 8: All Clear?

The Philadelphia Inquirer ran an AP story noting that the third inquiry into “climategate” was due out soon. Of course, the results came out today, and of course the scientists from the University of East Anglia were completely cleared (just as happened in the previous two inquiries, which I suppose proves to the denialists that all the Boards of Inquiry are in the tank).

This report was the third such inquiry into the so-called “climategate” non-scandal, and the third inquiry to completely exonerate the scientists involved from any hint of dishonesty or wrongdoing. Even though the accusations leveled against the British scientific team were completely unfounded, the entire affair succeeded in making global warming less accepted by the general public. This is a tragedy: at the time when we most need widespread awareness of the threat posed by worldwide climate change, fewer people are prepared to take scientific authority seriously. Over ninety-seven percent of climatologists agree that global warming is happening, that human activity is to blame, and that if we don’t change our ways soon, we’re in for a world of hurt. If ninety-seven out of a hundred oncologists diagnosed malignancy, you’d probably take their advice. Climatologists are “planetary physicians.” We would do well to take them seriously.

Warren Senders