8.4 Debunking Myths Cited By Climate Change Skeptics

Wednesday, 13 January 2016: 2:15 PM
Room 245 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Robert S. Marshall, Earth Networks, Germantown, MD; and W. Callahan

Abstract text:

Since broadening the company's mission to “Take the Pulse of the Planet” in 2011, Earth Networks has had the privilege of working with top climate scientists around the world. Given our atmospheric observation and analytical expertise, and contributions to the climate research community, we are frequently asked to defend current science on the topic of climate change.

While human-caused climate change is widely accepted by the science community, much of the general public remains skeptical. In fact, an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) poll in 2014 showed that while the vast majority (87 percent) of scientists stated that human activity is causing global warming, only half of the general public in the U.S. held that view. In the same poll, 77 percent of scientists stated that climate change is a very serious problem, yet only a third of the public agreed with the scientists.

The reason for the public's lack of acceptance of climate change is based on repeated misinformation that disregards science and the measured data behind it. The public is confused by this misinformation, and cannot easily judge the quality and the value of the information they receive due to a general lack of scientific knowledge. This misinformation fuels common, reoccurring myths that take advantage of the public's limited understanding of climate science.

These myths thrive on the public's misunderstanding of the distinction between climate and weather -- for example, the belief that a cold, snowy winter serves as an indicator that the climate is not warming. Other myths are promulgated by those who continue to ignore long-term trends or have political or economic reasons to deny climate change.

The evidence supporting that human-caused climate change is real continues to mount. This presentation will provide an overview of several common myths about climate change that continue to circulate in the public realm. For each myth, informative responses and counterarguments, based on observations and data from decades of climate research, will be discussed. The presentation will also provide an historical overview of key climate research and show examples of greenhouse gas data sets from Earth Networks' greenhouse gas monitoring network.

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