Saturday, February 22, 2014

Climate Change at the Crossroads: Scientists, Skeptics and the Media

Harvard Kennedy School
Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian
Naomi Oreskes, Harvard 
Peter Frumhoff, Union of Concerned Scientists

SG:  it's not a debate about climate change or science but about politics.  The right sees climate change regulation as a power grab [really?]. An argument like Israel/Palestine [intractable?  theological? both?]

NO:  the Keeling Curve of atmospheric carbon measurements is engraved on the wall of the National Academy of Science along with Darwin's finches and the double helix.  Keeling started his carbon work in 1957 and thought by the mid-1960s he had enough data to prove global warming.  
Checked 1000 scientific papers on climate change over a decade and found not one paper that disagreed with the existence of anthropogenic climate change.

PF:  we can now connect recent heat waves to climate change.  Local climate change solutions are going forward without the denialists and generally outside the climate change debate. [and those local solutions are mostly at city scale]

NO:  scientists need to include communication to the people in the street as part of their "real work"

Q:  lessons learned from the decades of tobacco disinformation campaign?
Not just one thing and the DoJ's case against Big Tobacco took the lid off their history of bad practice

Q:  quantify the effect of disinformation campaigns?
SG:  certainly a major part of the downfall of Waxman/Markey
PF:  we don't know what the money stream is [dark money from groups like Donors Trust is currently untraceable]
NO:  in the 1990s industry had a study of the effect of their various disinformation campaigns.

Q:  what's the game changer?  where's the tipping point?
SG:  denialists are a fringe group that punches above its weight.
NO:  a RICO case against big fossil fuels, a Nixon goes to China moment from a conservative, people don't know about things like the BC carbon tax and its success

Harvard Gazette article on the symposium and link to the full video of the event

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