Climate change is a big issue, and it's one that's surrounded by an even bigger problem: deniers.
Science thrives off of dissent since it is, quite literally, a constant questioning of accepted knowledge and evidence. Scientific skepticism is healthy and people are encouraged to challenge themselves to improve their understanding, especially in many scientific issues such as the link between vaccines and autism, and GMOs. Yet whenever the subject of climate change comes up, the so-called skeptics become downright deniers—refusing to accept any evidence that supports man-made climate change.
And this despite the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding manmade climate change. As NASA notes, "Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver."
But this denial is the scenario that Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, is facing today. Scambos has been studying our climate for about a quarter of a century already, gathering data and publishing papers focusing on evidence of climate change and its impact. But this also means that the man is on the receiving end of a deluge of messages from people who reject the idea of climate change.
RECIPE FOR DISASTER
It's a recipe for disaster, but trust Scambos to find a silver lining in the cloud of climate change deniers.
In an article published on ResearchGate, Scambos wrote how he is even more hopeful today about our ability to cope with climate change.
"Twenty-two years ago, as I walked somberly back to my office, it appeared that we had no tools in hand, no path toward solving the challenge of global warming. Today we have many options, and most importantly, we have a global generation of people who understand world climate change and are looking eagerly for ways to mitigate it," Scambos said.
He pointed out that there is now a global push for alternative energies and clean technology, even though many people still refuse to believe the 97 percent of scientists who agree that climate change is likely due to human activity.
"Global warming is no longer an anticipation. It is no longer something for children or grandchildren to worry about. This is it. We have created the global warming era, now. And yet, almost unnoticed, the tools to solve the issue have begun to appear," Scambos said. "The deniers and delayers have lost simply because they could not hide the economic logic of addressing the problem, or convince entrepreneurs not to invent."