Friday, May 7th 2010, 5:34 PM EDT
Over 250 members of the US National Academy of Sciences have hit back at global warming deniers, warning that attacks on climate science are being mainly driven not by intellectual inquiry but by special interest and dogma.
In a letter published in Science the researchers compare the recent furore around the so-called ‘climate-gate’ stolen emails to the Communist witch hunts of the 50s led by Joseph McCarthy.
“We urge our policy-makers and the public to move forward immediately to address the causes of climate change, including the un-restrained burning of fossil fuels,” they write (letter, open access version). “We also call for an end to McCarthy-like threats of criminal prosecution against our colleagues based on innuendo and guilt by association, the harassment of scientists by politicians seeking distractions to avoid taking action, and the outright lies being spread about them.”
After a vast cache of emails between climate researchers were stolen from the University of East Anglia and leaked online, a number of people sceptical of climate change declared that these messages proved man-made global warming was a myth. US Senator James Inhofe even implied criminal charges could be forthcoming against the scientists involved.
The new letter says such political attacks on climate scientists are deeply disturbing. It sets out a series of ‘theories’ such as the age of the Earth being 4.5 billion years, the Big Bang and evolution that are “overwhelmingly accepted”, even though researchers are very willing to be shown these are wrong. Climate science, say the signatories, now falls into this category.
Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute and corresponding author of the letter, writes, “In the end, we have only three choices: we can act to mitigate the risks of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we can expand efforts to adapt to a changing climate, or we can suffer the consequences of doing nothing. The only real question is, what is the balance among these three options.” (Huffington Post.)
In an accompanying editorial, Brooks Hanson, deputy editor for physical sciences at Science, says that scientists now need to engage and communicate their findings to fix a “dangerous deterioration in the rational relation between science and society”.
“The scientific community must recognize that the recent attacks stem in part from its culture and scientists’ behaviour,” he writes. “In turn, it is time to focus on the main problem: The IPCC reports have underestimated the pace of climate change while overestimating societies’ abilities to curb greenhouse gas emissions.”
Click source to read FULL Statement. Also see Climate change deniers accused of McCarthyism
by By Louise Gray, The Telegraph