The number of people who deny that climate change is man-made is increasing, and climate scientists are beginning to fight back.
The Los Angeles Times reports
that one effort to respond to deniers is about to be announced and another effort is not far behind. The American Geophysical Union, the nation’s largest association of climate scientists, plans to announce today that 700 climate scientists will be speaking publically about global warming and how humans are contributing to it. This announcement comes a few months after climate scientist John Abraham
of St. Thomas University in Minnesota publicly refuted
global warming denier Lord Edward Monckton.
The Los Angeles Times article quotes Scott Mandia of Suffolk Community College in New York saying, "We are taking the fight to them because we are … tired of taking the hits. The notion that truth will prevail is not working. The truth has been out there for the past two decades, and nothing has changed."
The response is taking shape during difficult times for climate scientists. Last year hackers obtained thousands of e-mails from climate scientists and used those e-mails to claim that scientists were fabricating evidence about the seriousness and causes of climate change. The controversy became known as “Climategate
.” Five different independent panels investigated the e-mail controversy and concluded that the scientists had not doctored or misrepresented the facts. Still, the damage was done.
In the months after “Climategate," polls began to show
that Americans were becoming increasingly skeptical of climate change. The midterm elections resulted in Republicans making huge gains, with a field of anti-climate change candidates.
As Republicans prepare to sort out committees in the House of Representatives, it's likely they will be make life more difficult for climate scientists.
U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, who is infamous for apologizing to BP for their oil spill
, is hoping to chair the Energy and Commerce Committee, where he has pledged — along with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) — to investigate the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases. Rumors of Republicans having climate scientists testify before congressional committees are also flying around in Washington.
It's clear that Republicans have climate change in the crosshairs — a reality that undoubtedly has influenced the formation of these rapid-response climate teams.
Unfortunately, these teams may be too little, too late. They will serve as a useful tool for educating the public about the facts and the opposition’s misinformation campaign, but they are forming after midterm elections pummeled environmental causes and a year after the devastating Climategate scandal.