Saturday, February 14, 2015

'Climate skeptics' or 'Climate deniers' What’s your label?

"For those opposing the science surrounding the issue, are they “climate change deniers” or merely “skeptics”? And what about “warmistas” vs. “lukewarmers”?

Justin Gillis, the New York Times climate columnist (yes, they've got one of those) examined the question in a recent  piece that's received a good deal of attention.

BY DEGREES
Here's a portion of it:

“In the long-running political battles over climate change, the fight about what to call the various factions has been going on for a long time. Recently, though, the issue has taken a new turn, with a public appeal that has garnered 22,000 signatures and counting.
“The petition asks the news media to abandon the most frequently used term for people who question climate science, “skeptic,” and call them “climate deniers” instead.
“Climate scientists are among the most vocal critics of using the term “climate skeptic” to describe people who flatly reject their findings. They point out that skepticism is the very foundation of the scientific method. The modern consensus about the risks of climate change, they say, is based on evidence that has piled up over the course of decades and has been subjected to critical scrutiny every step of the way.
“Drop into any climate science convention, in fact, and you will hear vigorous debate about the details of the latest studies. While they may disagree over the fine points, those same researchers are virtually unanimous in warning that society is running extraordinary risks by continuing to pump huge quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
“In other words, the climate scientists see themselves as the true skeptics, having arrived at a durable consensus about emissions simply because the evidence of risk has become overwhelming. And in this view, people who reject the evidence are phony skeptics, arguing their case by cherry-picking studies, manipulating data, and refusing to weigh the evidence as a whole.

“The petition asking the media to drop the “climate skeptic” label began with
Mark B. Boslough, a physicist in New Mexico who grew increasingly annoyed by the term over several years. The phrase is wrong, he said, because “these people do not embrace the scientific method.”

Almost anything written about climate change seems to provoke a spirited response. So, too, this piece which drew 299 reader comments.
You'll find the full column--and the replies--here.

Use the comment box below to tell us what YOU think.

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