Reading Bruce Gerencser’s excellent blog today, wherein he took on the climate deniers. He received one particularly virulent denier comment, and another less spittle-covered, though no more intelligent. This is my response:

Mark: “There are scientist on both sides of the theory.”

There are virtually no CLIMATE scientists on the climate-denier side of the issue and very few of any other type. A 2003 poll confirmed scientific consensus on the subject — http://www.sciencemag.org/content/306/5702/1686.full — and when the results were criticized, a 2009 survey (http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf), simply confirmed the first one’s findings. To quote from the latter article: “It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes. The challenge, rather, appears to be how to effectively communicate this fact to policy makers and to a public that continues to mistakenly perceive debate among scientists.”

Russel (and T Paul, not quoted): “Unlike those who follow Al Gore by burying their heads in the sand to the existence of skeptic climate scientists’ assessments, such conservatives look into skeptic viewpoints in careful detail. What do they see? Peer-reviewed science journal-published papers and lengthy reports citing thousands of these, which ultimately come to a conclusion that contradicts the IPCC.”

Proof? References? According to the studies above, scientists who are currently publishing in ANY field are overwhelmingly of the opinion that the earth is warming and that the warming is primarily due to human activity. Among publishing climatologists, the view is nearly unanimous. Who are these skeptics? And how does such a small number of them (almost none of them climatologists!) trump the vast consensus among the scientific community at large?

I understand why people want to deny climate change. It’s scary. If climate change were true, we would have to to change many of our everyday habitsĀ  and rethink many of our modern “conveniences.” Slowing or halting the process would demand changes is in manufacturing that would doubtless cut into the (often outrageous) profits of many large industries and harm many smaller companies as well. Owning up to our part in the disaster could induce truly spectacular levels of guilt. Easier to wave it away or use the Bible or some angry conspiracy theories to “prove” it doesn’t exist/it’s normal/we can’t do anything about it.

But once you have the facts, you can no long hide behind lack of education or wishful thinking. You are now responsible for your part in climate change, even if you continue to deny it’s happening. You are responsible for the futures of your children and grandchildren. You are answerable to the people of low-lying nations, who will certainly be made homeless, their nations EXTINCT as the water rises (http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/washed_away_as_sea_levels_rise_island_nations_look_to_the_law, http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-03-07/news/31130875_1_climate-change-global-sea-levels-president-tong). You are accountable to all of those who will suffer or die from the droughts, floods, storms, heatwaves, etc. that will be the result of this massive global change. As we all are, of course, but the question is, what will YOU do about it?