The author of today's post, Sheryl Canter, is an Online Writer and Editorial Manager at Environmental Defense.
The cover story in the current issue of Newsweek is about the bizarre persistence of the global warming deniers, in the face of overwhelming evidence that global warming exists ("Global Warming Is A Hoax – Or so claim well-funded naysayers who still reject the overwhelming evidence of climate change").
Who is funding the doubt machine, and how should science-based organizations respond?
ExxonMobil is a major funder of the conservative think tanks Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and American Enterprise Institute (AEI). CEI has run misleading ads about climate change, and AEI reportedly offered scientists $10,000 to write articles undercutting the IPCC report. Grist offers a good overview of the dispute.
According to a Newsweek poll, a disturbingly large percentage of Americans still think (erroneously) that there is "a lot of disagreement among climate scientists" on whether the planet is warming. As our window of opportunity for effective action closes and we get closer and closer to the tipping point, this is frustrating!
The Conscious Earth blog is so tired of repeating explanations to skeptics who never listen that they've posted a new policy of non-response to climate change deniers. We've felt the frustration here at Climate 411 as well. We post thoroughly documented explanations of the science behind global warming, and then get comments from skeptics that directly contradict the latest scientific measurements and conclusions.
What's the solution?
Some have suggested that climate change deniers be frozen out of the media the way terrorists are – don't give them a platform. Should we do like the Conscious Earth blog and stop responding to "commenters that regurgitate an existing and previously debunked skeptic argument"? We don't want to ignore sincere questions from people who have heard the skeptics' arguments and want to know whether they hold water.
What do you think? How do we stop going in circles and move forward before it's too late?