Thursday, June 11, 2015

Climatologists vs. "Skeptics" - guess who wins?

If you get your news from TV, especially Fox, or from certain major newspaper chains, then you might have the impression that climate scientists disagree with each other on what’s causing global warming or if it’s even happening, or perhaps picked up the idea that global warming has “stopped” or “paused”, or that major predictions of warming have somehow failed.
I don't believe in rising ocean levels, either.
Well, all of that is really a pile of bunk, promulgated by right-wing media outlets and think-tanks and assisted by the mass media’s tendency to seek “balance” in news by quoting from each “side”.
But as is demonstrated in the new book “Climatology vs.Pseudoscience: Exposing the Failed Predictions of Global Warming Skeptics”, this search for “balance” has seriously skewed the public’s perception.
The reality is that an overwhelming 97% majority of published climate studies demonstrate human activity is warming the planet, in a dangerous direction. What’s more, the 3% of conflicting studies are often published in questionable ways, such as through journals not specializing in climate science or deliberate manipulations of the peer-review process. The “skeptical” scientists who have written many of these studies make basic flaws or omissions in process, or state conclusions not supported by data unless one cherry-picks dates or overlooks important counter-indications.
Written by my friend and fellow climate presenter Dana Nuccitelli, contributor to The Guardian and a scientist himself, “Climatology vs. Psuedoscience” does something that has never been done before: it takes specific climate change projections made over the years by pioneering and mainstream climate scientists, and those made by “skeptics”, comparing them with subsequent temperature measurements to see which has proven a better predictor of what came to pass. Perhaps not surprisingly, the projections made by most climate models, including those used by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), have turned out to be extremely accurate, while predictions of cooling or other non-standard temperature patterns made by “skeptics” were clearly way off-base.
What’s really sad about this, though, is that much of the right-wing media actually claims the opposite, by promulgating views of “skeptics” (really, global warming deniers) not backed by any good science, and repeatedly going to self-billed “climate experts” who are either not actually trained or publishing in climate science, or whose predictions or studies have been consistently disproven. For some reason, the media keeps trotting out the same notorious “expert skeptics” whose past pronouncements have all been wrong. These deniers really have no credibility, and are chosen for no more reason than that their contrarian views make what should be a cut-and-dried story into some kind of “controversy”. This perverts the real story about how the climate change consensus continues to get stronger and clearer, and how the time to act on it is now.
Well, the bets were placed, the results are in, and as Nuccitelli clearly demonstrates in his book, global warming continues apace as the IPCC has warned while the predictions of skeptics keep falling further to the wayside. So if you still think we are in some kind of “pause”, or that climate change is merely a hoax, you owe it to yourself to put your skepticism to the test by reading this book and learning just whose science has proven true. Because while everyone is entitled to their own opinions, the science of human-caused global warming is an undeniable fact.

Published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner as "New book tests opinions about global warming"

Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.

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