Climate: The first decade of the new millennium was the warmest on record

cross-posted from T-Time

Debunking the deniers

Stephen Leahy of Inter Press Service interviews climate expert Naomi Oreskes.

PARIS—Even though 2009 was the fifth-warmest year since 1850, and 2000-09 the warmest decade ever, according to the World Meteorological Organization, surveys show that public concern about global warming in the United States and Canada has dropped sharply in the past 18 months.

Why? Because of a relentless disinformation effort from an unlikely cabal of fossil-fuel interests, Christian evangelicals and the media, says Naomi Oreskes, a professor of history and science studies at the University of California, San Diego.

“They have managed to reopen the debate over global warming in people’s minds,” she told Inter Press Service (IPS).

Oreskes and coauthor Erik Conway, a science historian at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, document similar efforts to manufacture doubt around the science on acid rain, the ozone hole, secondhand cigarette smoke and the pesticide DDT in their forthcoming book, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.

In 2004 Oreskes was vilified on TV, radio and in print by commentators for providing clear evidence there was, in fact, a scientific consensus on global climate change. Her essay in the journal Science examined all of the peer-reviewed scientific papers on climate over the previous 10 years and found none dissented with the theories that climate change was occurring and it was caused by humans. Her survey has never been successfully challenged, despite many attempts.

IPS environmental correspondent Stephen Leahy spoke to Oreskes over the phone. Excerpts of the interview follow.

read more: Debunking the deniers

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Filed under Climate Change, Environment, Uncategorized, Weather

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