Huffpost Green
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Erik Rasmussen Headshot

The Climate Skeptics' Falsity

Posted: Updated:

Last week, the Economist's front page stated that we have entered into the Anthropocene age: the age of man -- scientists now agree that the human race "has become a force of nature reshaping the planet on a geological scale." The article argued that the human race is to blame for a long line of alterations in the earth's natural processes, and that we are causing these changes on earth to happen faster than ever before -- the "humans have changed the way the world looks" and acts.

The same week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) documented a record high increase in global CO2 emissions -- which transforms even the most extreme climate scenarios from being scare stories into a mere realistic projections of the future of our planet. The IEA warned that the "Prospect of limiting the global increase in temperature to 2ºC is getting bleaker" due to estimates showing that CO2 emissions reached a record high in 2010.

These gloomy wakeup calls came just a few days after, the Republican Gov. Chris Christie announced that New Jersey is dropping out of the Regional Green House Gas Initiative -- an initiative considered an important test run for future national and international emissions trading pacts. His argument was that the initiative is a failure at cutting pollution and a burden to taxpayers.

The New Jersey case is just the latest example that the climate changes and the numerous warnings from science is not taken seriously by the politicians -- that politicians are still allowed to make politics on a falsity that climate change is not real and that political decisions not to fight climate change is still considered a winning strategy.

The main responsible group for constructing this falsity is a well organized and powerful climate skeptics lobby. For years leading politicians, private industry groups, media, and various organizations have successfully been downplaying and dismissing human caused climate change and raised political doubt about the need for action. Through a well constructed and widely disseminated campaign targeted at the public and political debate, the climate skeptics' lobby has created confusion and doubt about the reality of global warming and climate change. They have presented a picture of an unresolved and contentious debate within the scientific community about climate change, with equally weighted camps still producing evidence that continues to contradict each other -- and are thus conveniently overlooking that there are now no credible scientific skeptics challenging the underlying science and projections of climate change.

The consequences of their successful campaigns are tremendous. The political and public debate regarding the reality and extent of global warming continues. There is still a very big 'maybe' or 'question mark' connected to the climate change debate and the connection between climate change and skepticism is very much alive and kicking. 44 percent Americans still believe that global warming is primarily caused by planetary trends, according to the latest poll from Rasmussen Reports. And 36 percent do not believe climate change is a serious problem.

The limited support from the public animates to and justifies the current lack of action from the politicians. There is still a lot of votes in climate change skepticism and this represent a political free card for decisions such as the one made by Gov. Christie. Consequently, the climate skeptics are successfully delaying and even stopping the fight against climate change.

The climate skeptics are thus allowed to exert extreme power over the fate of our civilization. But on what grounds? Do they have the winning arguments? The answer is no. Their arguments are pointing in very different directions. They dispute whether global warming is taking place; suggesting that temperatures maybe falling; yet also argue global warming is a good thing that will bring many benefits to human beings. And they lack scientific support. The internet site Skeptical Science listed the most popular arguments used by climate skeptics and lined them with current data and science available. The result: the 10 most popular used arguments from the climate skeptics are all false.

The lack of scientific grounds in the climate skeptics' campaign is palpable. They are thus succeeding in seducing the entire world community with a false promise, that nothing is wrong. And we are happy to believe their falsity and continue to listen, because they allow us to put our head in the sand and not deal with the gloomy future. But by doing this, we are letting them gamble with our, and the next generations', future. But the future is soon to become our present. When that time comes, we will be in the middle of a great climate catastrophe and we will -- probably too late -- be forced to deal with the inconvenient truth of the Antropocene. And then we will all become the losers of the climate skeptic's falsity.

From Our Partners