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Climate Debates: On Data and Denial

from the Los Angeles Times Review of Books "Provocations"

For the Provocations series, in conjunction with UCI’s “Fire & Ice: The Shifting Narrative of Climate Change” conference.

The world’s scientific community is in strong, consistent, and long-standing agreement about the facts of human-caused climate change as noted in the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the latest US National Climate Assessment, and statements from literally every single national academy of science on the planet. Even some of the mainstream media, which wrestles daily with the conflict between promoting controversy to improve ratings and efforts to accurately portray the position of the scientific community is slowly coming around to the idea that false “balance” on this issue is a mistake. As Chuck Todd of “Meet the Press” said in early January 2019:


Just as important as what we are going to do is what we’re not going to do … We’re not going to debate climate change, the existence of it. The earth is getting hotter, and human activity is a major cause. Period.


In short, the reality of human-caused climate change cannot be denied.

And yet, it is denied: regularly, loudly, vociferously, and persistently by small but well-funded and politically connected groups....