255 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, including 11 Nobel laureates, have penned a letter in Science slamming the disinformation campaign orchestrated by a small network of climate deniers that has confused the public about the real danger of climate disruption.
The scientists’ letter, published in the May 7th issue of the journal Science (subscription req’d), says:
“We are deeply disturbed by the recent escalation of political assaults on scientists in general and on climate scientists in particular.”
The scientists note that the fundamental science of climate change is sound, despite the extensive campaign by deniers and skeptics to confuse politicians and the general public:
“There is compelling, comprehensive, and consistent objective evidence that humans are changing the climate in ways that threaten our societies and the ecosystems on which we depend.”
Noting that denier attacks are “typically driven by special interests or dogma,” the scientists rail against the overblown attacks on the IPCC for its minor mistakes:
“Many recent assaults on climate science and, more disturbingly, on climate scientists by climate change deniers, are typically driven by special interests or dogma, not by an honest effort to provide an alternative theory that credibly satisfies the evidence. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other scientific assessments of climate change, which involve thousands of scientists producing massive and comprehensive reports, have, quite expectedly and normally, made some mistakes. When errors are pointed out, they are corrected.
But there is nothing remotely identified in the recent events that changes the fundamental conclusions about climate change…”
In a clear rebuke of the efforts of GOP climate deniers like Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK to deny reality), the scientists call for an end to the harassment of climate scientists:
“We also call for an end to McCarthy-like threats of criminal prosecution against our colleagues based on innuendo and guilt by association, the harassment of scientists by politicians seeking distractions to avoid taking action, and the outright lies being spread about them.”
As Peter Gleick, President of the Pacific Institute and one of the co-signers of the letter, notes:
“It is hard to get 255 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences to agree on pretty much anything, making the import of this letter even more substantial.”
The scientists conclude with an appeal for action to address climate change:
“Society has two choices: we can ignore the science and hide our heads in the sand and hope we are lucky, or we can act in the public interest to reduce the threat of global climate change quickly and substantively.”
The letter is available at Science (subscription required), and reprinted at The Guardian and Climate Progress for open access.
The relationship between the media and think tanks is the most “pernicious” problem in environment reporting today, Adam Ramsay of Open Democracy has warned.
The co-editor of the e-zine...