Back when the FDA was testing ads to discourage kids from smoking, they tried arguments based on science: smoking will give you cancer; smoking will give you emphysema; smoking will hurt your unborn child. They tried appealing to kids’ social anxieties: smoking will make your teeth yellow; smoking will give you bad breath. None of these arguments worked very well. What worked was telling kids that the tobacco companies were lying to them, tricking them into smoking so that they could make money off them for the rest of their lives. The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy, by climate scientist Michael Mann and cartoonist Tom Toles, serves the same purpose. It makes it quite clear that the “debate” about climate change has nothing to do with science and everything to do with wishful thinking, exploited by vested economic and political interests. Only when that false debate is put behind us will a productive discussion about what to do about climate change finally begin, returning scientific evidence to its rightful place as a powerful tool, not a punching bag.

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ScienceDebate logoHere at NCSE, we tend to frown on formal staged debates, especially about science itself. But in this political season, there’s an exception to be made.

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08.15.2016

I have always enjoyed food, not just any food, but meat. My favorite meal growing up was my abuela’s bistec empanizado, a Cuban dish of breaded and fried steak with rice, black beans, and plantains. I still remember the joy in my grandmother's eyes as I devoured her home cooked meal.

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Some time ago, I wrote about Lamar Smith (R–Texas and chairman of the House Science Committee) and his efforts to intimidate climate scientists. In that post, I noted that Smith had issued:

…a Congressional subpoena—the King Kong of information requests—for all emails and correspondence between the paper’s authors and NOAA officials.

You might say that as taxpayers we have a right to see everything that government employees and government-funded scientists write to each other…but when the only correspondence that is sought is that concerning a scientific finding that pisses off a politician, society’s collective you-know-what detector really ought to go off.

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06.30.2016

The other day I was waiting at a bus stop in downtown L.A. during a scorching heat wave, when a young man sat down next to me and wiped the sweat from his brow. Noticing my own sweating, I turned to him and said, “This is gross; climate change is too real, man.”

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Here at NCSE, we talk a lot about the people who reject climate change science, how they are threatening science education, and what we can do to ensure teachers have the support they need to teach the science. What we don’t always discuss is why people reject climate change.

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The first time I heard of NCSE was in a mass email from one of my professors. This particular professor sent tons of these emails over the semester with potential job opportunities for us experience-hungry students. Most of the time when I researched the positions being offered, I would find requirements like “recent graduate” or “entry-level position, two years of experience required”. It was incredibly frustrating to continually get excited about snazzy research positions or internships only to realize halfway through the application that I did not meet the basic requirements.

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If you had two minutes with John S. Watson, the CEO of oil industry giant Chevron, what would you ask? Climate scientist and NCSE Board member Ben Santer recently got that opportunity, when he attended the company’s annual shareholder meeting in San Ramon, California.

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My favorite place to be is outdoors, and I mean that in a purposefully vague way. Whether I’m by the beach, hiking, or canoeing through alligator-laden swamps, I’m by far the happiest and most in my element. Heck, the reason I got into the field of climate education was because of how much I love the outdoors. Naturally, one of my favorite days every year is Earth Day—the one day when the rest of the world hops the nature nerd train and comes together to make the world a better, more sustainable place.

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