Sunday, February 17, 2008

Naomi Oreskes talk on history of climate science and of climate contrarianism

Updated May 24 - see below.
Video of UCSD historian of science (and soon to be Provost) Naomi Oreskes talking on The American Denial of Global Warming.

First half is on history of the science of global warming (predictions and results), the 2nd half is on the history of climate change contrarianism and the role of the Marshall Institute.

Tuesday Update, excerpt from caerbannog's comment on another blog:

After the lecture, I asked Dr. Oreskes if Scripps scientists were ever invited to appear on the local conservative talk-radio shows (i.e. Rick Roberts and Rodger Hedgecock). She laughed and replied with an emphatic “no”.
I wanted to find out if our local right-wing radio hosts (who have repeatedly scoffed at global-warming) had any interest in hearing what some real experts had to say. Well, Dr. Oreskes made it quite clear that the local conservatives aren’t interested in hearing anything the Scripps folks might have to say regarding the matter.

The fact that even an organization as prestigious as the Scripps Institution of Oceanography cannot get a fair hearing on its own home-town conservative talk-radio shows tells you all you need to know what conservatives think of scientific expertise these days…


May 24 update: I'd emailed Scripps asking if they could confirm this; their response was more nuanced:

"...we have been approached to debate the media about climate change science, and, in at least once instance I can recall recently, we declined. Being asked to debate is not effective -- it just feeds in to the "uncertainty" framework, which scientists do not support."

On 'debates', see Eriga, quoted here ("I can't win a debate, not only about climate change, but about any reasonably complex scientific issue, with someone who knows what they're doing. ... it's essentially a debate about trust in scientific authority, not about the science itself.")