Scientists helping communicate climate change

Climate rapid response communications team gears up – Scientists get off the sidelines to right media wrongs
[Via Climate Progress]

Decadal 

Last week, Dr. John Abraham of St. Thomas University helped launch a “climate rapid response team.” CAP’s Sean Pool Interview Abraham about this effort in this

It’s not easy being a climate scientist these days. They live in a world where well-funded organizations collude to spread lies and misinformation about their discipline, and where political pundits and elected officials alike engage in blatant harassment to promote an anti-science political agenda. Conservative pundits have called for climate scientists to commit “hara-kiri” (Glenn Beck); be “named and fired, drawn and quartered” (Rush Limbaugh); and be “publicly flogged” (Mark Morano).

Sadly, despite the rancor and conspicuous absence of any data or actual science, these fossil fuel-funded tactics have proven effective at swaying public opinion. Poll results have shown a marked decline in Americans’ belief in global warming, from a high of 85 percent in a 2006 poll to 63 percent during the summer of 2010.

Surely some of the blame must be shared by traditional media outlets for elevating the spurious claims of television weathermen and ex-governors to the same level as peer-reviewed, data-driven, scientific analysis conducted by credentialed experts. Others blamed climate scientists themselves for not being better organized to defend themselves against the onslaught of well-funded and well-organized public relations professionals.

But who can blame them? Scientists have never been particularly good at communicating with the media— historically it’s not really been their job. Scientists are trained not to shape public opinion but to examine the natural world. But that may have to change the longer climate science remains in the crosshairs of the fact-free conservative punditocracy. According to science historian Spencer Weart, “we’ve never before seen a set of people accuse an entire community of scientists of deliberate deception and other professional malfeasance. Even the tobacco companies never tried to slander legitimate cancer researchers.”

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Nice to see some attempt to debunk the widespread misinformation about this. If you are interested in reading some easily understood explanantion about all the data, including links to the relevant papers, check out Skeptical Science. It has a list of the major arguments against anthropogenic global warming and how the science debunks every one.