If President Barack Obama believes half of what the New York Times described as “dire warnings” included in the National Climate Assessment released on Tuesday, he should realize that climate change is far too important to leave to climate scientists.
The response to the Assessment from both believers and skeptics was grimly predictable.
On Tuesday morning, Senior Advisor John Podesta responded to a question about how climate skeptics would interpret the Assessment during a White House press conference by stating that 97% of scientists agree that “climate change is real . . . [and] caused by CO2 pollution and other pollutants that we’re putting into our air.”
A few hours later, Charles Krauthammer compared climate science to an Indian rain dance while speaking on Fox News’s Special Report on Tuesday evening.
On Wednesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) blamed the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch for causing climate change while speaking on the floor of the upper chamber of Congress.
The 3% of scientists who reportedly have doubts about the scientific basis for climate change cannot explain the gulf of understanding that separates Krauthammer and Reid.
In 2011, a survey by researchers at Yale University revealed that individuals who are “predisposed by their values to dismiss climate change evidence” are likely to become more dismissive as their scientific literacy increases.
Political values and the whole mess of human experience they encompass.
“The future is unknown, the future is uncertain, and there are choices,” said Gavin Schmidt, NASA’s lead climate scientist, during a TED Talk in March. “The differences between these choices can’t be answered by looking at models.”