Even among those who agree on the broad contours of climate change science -- that is, that the planet is warming, and largely as a result of mankind's prodigious use of fossil fuels -- finding common ground on what to do about it, particularly given the divisive politics on Capitol Hill, is no easy task.
As I and others have noted in the past, a fundamental clash in world views between left and right often makes it impossible for either side to hear reasonable appeals to consensus on the climate problem -- infrequent as those appeals tend to be.
The Union of Concerned Scientists, the environmental organization based in Cambridge, Mass., is attempting to cut through the static with a new video featuring two scientists -- one politically conservative, the other tending toward the Democrats -- who make the case for cooperation.
"Leaders of both parties need to take seriously what science tells us," says Peter Frumhoff, the science and policy director at UCS and the left-leaning half of the production, in the video posted on Wednesday. Frumhoff is joined in his appeal by Kerry Emmanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at MIT, who is described as a Republican supporter.
"It's a conclusion based on established physics," Emmanuel says of human-driven global warming, "and on evidence gathered from satellite data, ancient ice cores, temperature stations, and fossilized trees and corals."
The pair urge viewers to discuss the issue -- and to share the video -- with family and friends who might not align with them politically. They also urge viewers to call Congress and demand efforts toward consensus. "It's time to find common ground," they say.