Friday, November 3, 2017

Elizabeth Kolbert

Elizabeth Kolbert is a writer at The New Yorker and the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. From her Q&A with Slate's Isaac Chotiner:

How do you think we should approach climate change deniers? There’s one school of thought that says “You know, it’s a free flow of ideas. People should be able to offer their opinion and then in a debate the best ideas will win out.” Another says “Well no. It’s crazy that any major news organization would publish anything even in an op-ed page about climate change denial.”

If you read the Scientist and the Times or science stories in the Washington Post or even in the Wall Street Journal, which has its own politics, about a medical breakthrough or gravity waves or anything where certain norms apply, you don’t [quote] people who say “Oh. I don’t believe that. I didn’t see that.”

I think you have to understand that [climate science] has been purposely construed this way as if it were not a science just like all these other sciences are. It is, and basically we’re talking about pretty simple geophysics here, and we’re talking about science that has actually been understood and is basic for over a hundred years, so we’re not talking about cutting-edge science even. I don’t think that there’s an excuse anymore really for the “he said, she said” when you’re covering climate change.

Now, we can have policy debates. We can have very vigorous debates about what your reaction to this information should be. But the same way we no longer debate “Is there a connection between smoking and lung cancer?” we can no longer debate that there’s a connection between drawing a lot of CO2 into the air and warming the planet. It’s just really...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue