Big Business and Economists Ignore the Climate Skeptics
BOSTON ( MainStreet) Last month, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report affirming that climate change is still occurring and asserting with 95% certainty that human activities are mostly to blame.
Much of the general public might not realize that this is the case, though, because some articles in the media seized on a few minor details of the IPCC report, exaggerating them or taking them out of context to make it sound as if climate change has stopped or is no longer relevant.
On Sept. 28, the U.K.'s Daily Mail blasted the headline And Now It's Global Cooling! referring to the 29% increase in summer sea ice in the Arctic this past summer as compared with the summer before. (The article failed to note that the Arctic sea ice had reached an all-time record low in summer 2012; even with the rebound, the sea ice this past summer was still the sixth-lowest on record.)
Additionally, much coverage has focused on a reference in the report to a hiatus in an increase in global surface temperatures since 1998. But it is not that the warming trend has stopped the first decade of the 2000s was the hottest on record but that most of it has been occurring in the oceans rather than on land, where a recent spate of volcanic eruptions and weather patterns such as La Nina have temporarily slowed the rise of temperatures. In the meantime, the excess carbon the ocean has been absorbing has caused it to suffer unprecedented acidification .
An uptick in articles and op-eds by climate skeptics always accompanies IPCC report releases. It's a cornerstone of the skeptics' method that has been analyzed and anticipated by experts such as InsideClimateNews.com.
That these groups are so determined to cast doubt on climate change shouldn't be surprising, considering that many of their donations come from the fossil fuel industry and other groups with a vested interest in keeping the public questioning the validity of climate change.
Yet while climate skeptics make a big noise, many leading economists and big businesses are calling on political leaders to take the issue of climate change seriously.
"It is astonishing, irrational and unscientific to suggest the risks [of climate change] are small," Lord Nicolas Stern, former chief economist of the World Bank and a leading authority in the field of climate economics, told The Guardian last month. "The science is unequivocal and shows there is serious danger. What is coming from [skeptics] is just noise, and should be treated as noise."