Thursday, January 1, 2015

Welcome to 2015...A Critical Year in Man-Made Climate Change

A year ago The Dake Page underwent a transition from a periodic science and policy news blog to a weekly source of science/policy analysis and science communication. The twin goals are to become an ongoing resource for information and a growing guidebook into how science can be, or should be, communicated to the public. These goals are critical to our understanding...and our future.

While individual posts may cover items of current topical events, the latter part of the year has focused on a series of posts on what we call "Exposing Climate Denialism." As readers of this page will no doubt know, the result of more than a century of scientific study has demonstrated unequivocally that human activity is warming the climate of our planet. The ramifications of this warming are significant, definitive action is necessary, and that action is already long overdue.

But while climate scientists have become more and more certain of this fact, lobbyists for the fossil fuel industry and libertarian causes have worked hard to create misinformation. Their goal is to keep policymakers from making any policy to deal with the science. The Dake Page has provided many articles showing some of the tricks used by professional denialist lobbies and their ideologically, and often willfully ignorant, amateur followers. We will continue to do so in 2015.

As noted last week, 2014 was a critical year in the communication of man-made climate change. The IPCC and several other major scientific organizations released compilations and summaries of the latest state-of-the-science. All noted the same conclusion:

The climate system is warming, and

human activity is the dominant cause of that warming.

So what is next? While 2014 was a critical year, 2015 will be even more critical. The scientific data are in, and the conclusions are undeniable. Action on a worldwide scale is necessary.

Some action has already been taken. President Obama has begun the process of reducing carbon emissions here at home, and the recent agreement between the US and China sets the stage for getting emissions under control in the two biggest carbon emitting countries. Meanwhile, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change made some progress at its most recent annual meeting. While one can argue how "definitive" that progress really is, the key outcomes do provide a basis for the more critical global meeting scheduled for Paris later in 2015.

The road ahead is likely to be slower than needed, and bumpier than anyone would hope, but we have a chance to make significant global commitments. So far we've taken baby steps, and not always forward. In 2015 these steps will need to become leaps ahead. The stage is set for that to happen.

Not surprisingly, the professional denialist lobby and their amateur followers can be expected to step up their attacks on scientists and intentional misinformation to the public. That is what denial lobbyists do, and have done for decades on issues from denying tobacco smoke causes cancer, CFCs cause ozone depletion, pollutants from industrial and power plants cause acid rain, and numerous other scientific denial attempts. In all cases the science became unequivocal and action, eventually, was taken to correct the problem. So too will that happen with man-made climate change. Ignoring or denying the problem doesn't remove the problem; in fact, it just makes it worse and harder to deal with when action does finally happen.

So in 2015 The Dake Page will continue providing analysis and information exposing climate denialism. Join us to learn the tactics and tall tales used by both professional and amateur deniers. Join us to learn how to communicate the science to the public in ways everyone can understand. And help spread the word that action is necessary.

The science is clear. Now it's time to debate the policies needed to address the scientific reality of man-made climate change.

Happy New Year!