The March 16 column “Apocalypse now?” is a shameful attack on climate science. This is part of a misinformation campaign designed to sow doubt and keep the public confused. We don’t get to choose whether or not we believe in climate science any more than we get to choose whether or not we believe in gravity.

Our country was built on the time-proven method of scientific consensus. Scientific consensus is how we created the very technological innovations that make America one of the greatest nations on Earth. That method is not suddenly failing.

This reminds of how when I smoked cigarettes, I clung to the forceful statements of tobacco industry scientists who insisted that cigarette smoking wasn’t linked to lung cancer. It was so much easier to believe them than it was to kick my addictive habit.

In 2006, a landmark ruling found overwhelming evidence that tobacco companies conspired to defraud the public. Since the 1950s, scientific consensus showed the link between cigarettes and lung cancer. But that consensus threatened tobacco industry profits, so the industry lied for over 50 years to keep people buying their harmful product.

Today, the same debacle is happening with climate science. There is scientific consensus that human activities — primarily the burning of fossil fuels — are releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a volume and rate that’s causing the planet to rapidly warm. This news isn’t new. In the early 1900s, it was predicted that CO2 released into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels could alter Earth’s climate. Even ExxonMobil’s own research came to the same conclusion as early as 1977, although the company hid its research to protect profits.

Like with the tobacco industry, the fossil fuel industry and its mouthpieces are trying to sow doubt in the public’s mind. In fact, the fossil fuel and tobacco industries use the same consultants to develop the most effective strategies to sway public opinion.

But today, we don’t have 50 years to confirm what we already know and what many fossil fuel companies now admit — that the scientific consensus on climate change is accurate. It’s time to stop talking about whether or not we “believe” in climate change, and time to demand our members of Congress enact legislation to put a price on carbon so we can lower CO2 emissions and end the rapid warming of our one and only home.

Pam Martella Shaouy


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