Heat records of 2012 show there is no controversy over climate change
Posted on Jan 14, 2013 in Opinion
The year of 2012 was the hottest on record for the lower 48 states. The National Oceania and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has undeniable data showing the record heats. Analysis independently performed from NOAA by the Berkeley Earth project agrees with NOAA to the T. Yet, Fox News, despite the overwhelming evidence, decided to publish an article questioning the findings, backing its challenge with claims from bloggers with no scientific training and a scientist with questionable repute.
On the topics of climate change, especially the latter, I hear a lot of the word “debate” and its variants. These words are peddled by people who claim that we must present both sides of the argument in discussions of climate change. They spuriously claim that the “liberal” media only shows one side of the story to climate change.
All I can ask is, “What debate?” In the scientific community, there is no debate; there is no argument; there is no controversy over the validity of climate change. It is supported by mountains of irrefutable evidence.
In reality, in place of the so-call controversy, there is a small group of people whose beliefs, world-view, and convenient lifestyle are being challenged by our ever-increasing knowledge and our careless management of the planet. Instead of reconciling fact with belief and finding solutions to problems as the rest of the world does, this small subset chooses to deny the truth in order to preserve the status quo. The result is what essentially amounts to a misinformation campaign.
A sociological phenomenon known as pluralistic ignorance is compounding the “controversy” and aiding the misinformation. Pluralistic ignorance occurs when a majority (or plurality) of people believe that the majority thinks a certain way, when in reality, the majority opinion lies elsewhere. An Australian study revealed that pluralistic ignorance is definitely at work, well, at least in Australia. Though over 90 percent believed that climate change is occurring, they believed that over 40 percent of Australians were unsure of climate change or convinced that it is not occurring.
Since the misinformation is overrepresented in our minds, the media is more apt to report their side. Of course, this creates a self-reinforcing loop. As more misinformation is presented by the media, it become more prominent in our minds, which increases the perceived amount of debate, leading to more representation in the media.
We have now reached a point where we are willing to question something as basic as temperature records. What next? Questioning the use of science itself? In order to protect our future, to ensure that we can sustain the existence of civilization of our species, we must present the truth behind the “debate” over climate change. Perhaps then we, as a nation, as a planet, will be able to work together to stop the disaster looming in the future.