I don’t believe in climate change

Frankly, if you deny climate change, you’re behind the times. Like waaaaaaay behind the times. Even climate change “deniers” don’t deny that the climate is changing anymore. Seriously. Do you live under a rock?

If you do, you have some rather esteemed company in U.S. Congress.

Let me take you back a few years to the day climate change denial died. I peg it at sometime around December 2012. The results of a scientific study called the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project had passed peer review and were entered into scientific literature. The goal of the project was to finally put the arguments to rest and determine whether climate change was really happening or not.
 Robert Muller, lead scientist on the BEST project, was all over the news. “We are bringing the spirit of science back to a subject that has become too argumentative and too contentious,” Muller says, over a cup of tea. “We are an independent, non-political, non-partisan group. We will gather the data, do the analysis, present the results and make all of it available. There will be no spin, whatever we find.”

An independent, non-political, non-partisan group. Putting an end to the misplaced, non-scientific contention behind climate science. Putting an end to the biased analysis that appears in paper after paper from the climate science community.

The catch here is that this non-political, non-partisan group was being funded in large part by the Charles G. Koch Foundation. Yes, Charles Koch of the Koch brothers and Koch Industries fame. Perhaps the most, shall I say, endowed of all the climate deniers that ever lived, credited with supplying more than $65 million for the anti-climate-change cause.

To be fair, the study was also funded by Lawrence Berkeley National Labs and the Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research (aka Bill Gates’ checking account). But all it took was the Koch name to give this study the headlines. Because this meant vindication for climate deniers. The truth would finally be heard! The wrongs would be righted! The liberal-biased climate science community would be outed!

And the results were SHOCKING! OUTRAGEOUS! EARTH-SHATTERING! For everyone but climate scientists. You see, the BEST study, with full endorsement from climate change deniers the world over, who swore up and down before the study was released that this would be the study they could finally trust, found that climate change is happening. It’s not a result of cherry-picked data. It’s not a byproduct of bias from the urban heat island effect. It’s not even an effect of poor data quality.

No matter how you spin it, the earth is warming up. That’s it. The science is undeniable. 

Interestingly, soon after the results were released, the climate change denial community separated themselves from the BEST project. Surely, there must be something wrong with it. I mean, science can’t compete with gut instinct, right? And the deniers just know that climate change is a hoax.

Gradually, climate change deniers have stepped down from their denial soapbox and admitted that the temperature of the Earth is rising. Of course, they can’t hang up their hats that easily, so they found a new soapbox: denying anthropogenic climate change, that the rapid climate change we’ve experienced in the last century is a consequence of human intervention. And so the cycle continues.

It was astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson who said:

“The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

He couldn’t be more right. I don’t believe in climate change. Climate change is a fact. It’s not something that you or I can will into (or out of) existence by a change in our personal beliefs. We can pretend it doesn’t exist all we want, but that doesn’t make it go away. It’s science.


11 thoughts on “I don’t believe in climate change

  1. Great post, Gail. I loved the science fair nightmare youtube video. Having argued many times with my own climate science contrarian parents I can certainly relate to it. Although I didn’t have quite the same success at converting them as the girl in the video did. They are still contrarians.


    • Glad you enjoyed the video and were able to share it yourself. The video oversimplifies how easy it is to convert someone. Though I will say that I recently discovered it’s not always as hard as I think it is to change someone’s mind. With a real presentation of the facts and the whole story, you really can convince people.


  2. Excellent post! I don’t understand why people would think humans are not contributing to climate change, given what we dump in the atmosphere world-wide, every single day. And this has been going on at least since the Industrial Revolution. Yes, some warming is due to natural cycles, but humans are definitely “helping” the process along and probably accelerating it.
    So what did the Koch brothers themselves have to say about this study?


    • Anne, I’d say we’re definitely accelerating it, which is why climate change is suddenly such an issue on relatively short time scales. (We see changes over 20 years, for example, instead of hundreds or thousands of years). I haven’t seen any response from the Koch brothers or the Koch Foundation. If I had to guess, I imagine they distanced themselves from it as well.


  3. Pingback: Science Fair Nightmare | quakerattled

  4. A most interesting post, Gail! To be honest, I didn’t know about the BEST project. Once again, you’ve enlightened me. (Although I already believed climate change is real and caused in part by humans.) So, the big question — how much can we do about it?


  5. Interesting Gail! I have an article to send you and will comment more at that point. Wonder if the warming is part of the natural weather cycle? Latter can be quite long-thousands of years!


    • Thanks, Tom. The warming isn’t natural in the sense that the warming wouldn’t be happening this way if humans weren’t altering the earth system like we are today. Like you mention, the natural cycle can take thousands of years to run its course, but we’re seeing changes on the scale of decades. The weather cycle, in particular, is separate from climate. Weather describes very short term phenomena that are controlled by different things than climate, which happens over the long term. This is why we can’t blame climate change on particular weather events. Climate is the average of weather over long timescales in some sense. I gave a presentation over the summer that described that difference. I’ll have to find a convenient way to turn it into a blog post.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s