- [*B.S. means "Bad Science." What did you think it meant?]
- Merchants of Doubt
Peter H. Gleick, Huffington Post
Thanks to Evergreene Digest reader Jeanette Eastman for this contribution.
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The Earth's climate continued to change during 2011 -- a year in which unprecedented combinations of extreme weather events killed people and damaged property around the world. The scientific evidence for the accelerating human influence on climate further strengthened, as it has for decades now. Yet on the policy front, once again, national leaders did little to stem the growing emissions of greenhouse gases or to help societies prepare for increasingly severe consequences of climate changes, including rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, rising sea-levels, loss of snowpack and glaciers, disappearance of Arctic sea ice, and much more.
Why the failure to act? In part because climate change is a truly difficult challenge. But in part because of a concerted, well-funded, and aggressive anti-science campaign by climate change deniers and contrarians. These are mostly groups focused on protecting narrow financial interests, ideologues fearful of any government regulation, or scientific contrarians who cling to outdated, long-refuted interpretations of science. While much of the opposition to addressing the issue of climate change is political, it often hides behind pseudo-scientific claims, with persistent efforts to intentionally mislead the public and policymakers with bad science about climate change. Much of this effort is based on intentional falsehoods, misrepresentations, inflated uncertainties, or pure and utter B.S. -- the same tactics that delayed efforts to tackle tobacco's health risks long after the science was understood (as documented in Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway's book, Merchants of Doubt).
Merchants of Doubt, Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Bloomsbury Press
- How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming
- The troubling story of how a cadre of influential scientists have clouded public understanding of scientific facts to advance a political and economic agenda.