Tools for fighting climate denying zombies

Nov 10, 2010 by  | Bio |  1 Comment »

In the movies the best tools for fighting off zombies are torches, flamethrowers or the odd chainsaw.  When confronting climate zombies a more sophisticated approach is called for.

Political and financial tools, like the massive clean energy business mobilization that saved the California Global Warming Solutions Act, are very important. So are efforts to bring to bear unexpected and powerful cultural forces, like military leaders, on the problem.

Information and evidence rebutting nonsense, like the ideas that scientists have swung from thinking there is global cooling to global warming or that climate science is all new and manufactured, is essential as well.  Joe Romm, who runs the influential Climate Progress blog has an excellent compilation of material pushing back on those myths.   Some highlights:

Yes, I know everybody used to think we were headed toward an ice age.  Well, except Dr. Frank Baxter (and Frank Capra) in 1958. And except for James Hansen for three decades, of course. And the National Research Council along with the vast majority of climate scientists from the 1970s on.

. . .

The myth never dies that “In the 1970’s all the climate scientists believed an ice age was coming” (as Crichton has one of his fictional ‘environmentalists’ say in the novel State of Fear).  Any climate hawk must be able to quickly and assuredly respond to this myth because it continues to live on thanks to the deniers’ and delayers’ clever strategy of ignoring the facts.

I still recommend an excellent review article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) by Thomas Peterson, William Connolley, and John Fleck, which concluded:

There was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an imminent ice age. Indeed, the possibility of anthropogenic warming dominated the peer-reviewed literature even then.

The BAMS piece examines the scientific origins of the myth, the popular media of the 1970s who got the story slightly wrong, the deniers/delayers who perpetuate the myth today, and, most importantly, what real scientists actually said in real peer-reviewed journals at the time.

and check out the really excellent video presenting audio from the 1950’s that Romm links to from Climate Denial Crock of the Week

Be prepared and fully armed !

One Response to “Tools for fighting climate denying zombies”

  1. John Teal

    Just to point out that back in the early 50’s, 20 years before the 70’s., I was talking with other scientists about te increase in atmospheric CO2 and what that meant for climate change.