By Yaron Berkowitz I was always puzzled by the climate change debate. In the early 1990s, it was becoming apparent that increasing amounts of evidence indicated that human activity was rapidly changing the earth’s atmosphere and climate. It seemed the world was determined to respond and willing to make dramatic changes to the way in which we produce and consume energy. However, after the Kyoto Agreement was signed in 1997 something changed and the climate change sceptic was born. Though scientists could prove human-induced climate change was occurring, with potentially catastrophic consequences, the media began to report that climate science might not be absolute and scientists may be exaggerating the real facts. Certain climate conspiracy theories became more popular. Perhaps climate change is just a way for the government to create new taxes. Maybe it is environmentalist movement hogwash. Many started to believe the entire scientific community was part of a climate conspiracy and cannot be trusted. ‘Sceptic scientists’ suddenly emerged and demanded more balanced coverage in the media. These claims always seemed odd to me. The giant fossil fuel corporations that provided the world’s energy output always held all of the money and power. They had access to politicians and decision makers, not the environmentalists. I could never understand the reason for governments to promote problems that require a massive amount of money and resources to remedy and would involve unpopular changes to our lifestyle. Fifteen years ago, the majority of the public believed that climate change was real and we have to take immediate action. Today, the public is divided. Why, despite even more convincing science, is humanity so fragmented? I decided to read more in order to try to understand the issue better and found two interesting books that explained in a concise and intelligent way what was happening:
- Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming – by Erik M. Conway and Naomi Oreskes.
- Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming – by James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore.
- Real Climate – Real Science from Climate Scientists – A website that explains the science to non-scientists.
- RC Wiki – a supplement to the above website. It is primarily an index for debunking climate-change myths.
- DeSmog Blog – Clearing the PR Pollution That Clouds Climate Science. Climate cover-up authors James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore are main contributors to this excellent blog.
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) website. The IPCC is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide the world with a clear scientific view on climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.