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“What happens if the climate skeptics are wrong? Catastrophe.”
Those were the words of Secretary of State John Kerry here in Lima today as he addressed the COP 20 climate talks on the need to foster global action to address climate change.
Secretary Kerry also emphasized the 97 percent scientific consensus on manmade global warming, calling it “a dramatic statement of fact that no one of good conscience or faith should ignore.”
Kerry spoke firmly about the climate-related costs of fossil fuels, saying that “oil and coal are largely responsible” for manmade global warming, and cautioned against any further expansion of fossil fuel use.
“If developing nations choose the energy choices of the past rather than the energy choices of the future,” they would further endanger the planet and miss out on “one of the greatest economic opportunities of all time” to build economies based on clean energy technology, Kerry said.
“Coal and oil may be cheap ways to power an economy today, in the near term, but I urge nations around the world, the vast majority of whom are represented here at this conference, look further down the road,” Kerry said. “I urge you to consider the real, actual, far-reaching costs that come along with what some think is the cheaper alternative. It's not cheaper.”
A new survey conducted by a team of volunteers at Skeptical Science has definitively confirmed the scientific consensus in climate science literature - 97 percent of peer-reviewed papers agree that global warming is happening and human activities are responsible.
It does not get any clearer than this. It should finally put to rest the claims of climate deniers that there is a scientific debate about global warming. Of course, this bunch isn't known for being reasonable or susceptible to facts. But maybe the mainstream media outlets that have given deniers a megaphone will finally stop.
The peer-reviewed survey, Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature, was published today in the peer-reviewed Environmental Research Letters, a publication of the Institute of Physics (IOP).
The citizen science team looked at some 12,000 peer-reviewed climate science papers and found a 97% consensus that humans are causing global warming. The work expanded upon an earlier survey of the literature by Naomi Oreskes, published in 2004, as well as an informal review conducted by James Powell, published on DeSmogBlog in November 2012.
Lead author John Cook created a short video summarizing the findings of the new survey:
Head over to TheConsensusProject.com and follow their Twitter for further updates.
An editorial in the Calgary Herald praises the latest report from Britain’s Royal Society entitled “Climate Change: A Summary of the Science”. Though the Royal Society’s report is anything but skeptical of the science of climate change and the tangible impacts it will have on populations, the Calgary Herald inappropriately cites the reputable organization’s report in an effort to deny climate change and attack climate legislation that would hurt their bottom line.
In response to the misperceptions held by some media and members of the public about climate change (despite the overwhelming scientific consensus), the Royal Society produced a definitive guide to the science of climate change that summarizes the current scientific evidence on climate change. It highlights the areas where the science is well established, where there is still some room for further investigation to improve confidence, and where substantial uncertainties remain. Far from claiming that there is any lack of consensus that climate change is happening, the report demonstrates, in layman’s terms, where the science is established, and where more scientific work is still needed.
This New York Times online editorial last week by Tim Egan, “Building a Nation of Know-Nothings,” says a lot about the need for literacy, respect for facts and rational thought all being important building blocks for democracy.
Egan notes the “astonishing level of willful ignorance” evident among the public, thanks to the lies and distortions put forward “largely by design” by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, “aided by a press afraid to call out the primary architects of the lies.”
Egan correctly points out that this pattern is all too often seen on the subject of global warming:
“Climate-change denial is a special category all its own. Once on the fringe, dismissal of scientific consensus is now an article of faith among leading Republicans, again taking their cue from Limbaugh and Fox.”
Read “Building a Nation of Know-Nothings” on The New York Times website.
Providing climate skeptics a voice in “balanced” mainstream media coverage skews public perception of the scientific consensus regarding climate change, leaving viewers less likely to understand the threat of climate disruption and less likely to support government actions to address global warming, according to the results of a Stanford University research effort.
The Stanford researchers probed the impact on public understanding of climate change when media coverage features a climate skeptic alongside a climate scientist. Media stories featuring only a mainstream climate scientist “increased the number of people who believed that global warming has been happening and that humans have caused global warming.”
However, when media stories also include a climate skeptic, ostensibly to add “balance” to the story, the result is a “significantly reduced” number of people who understand the issue and endorse government action to address the problem.
“Watching a skeptic decreased perceptions of consensus among scientific experts, and this decreased perception of consensus led respondents to be less supportive of government action in general and of cap and trade policy in particular,” the researchers found.