Dr. John Abraham, a University of St. Thomas scientist with the Clmate Science Rapid Response Team, offers these comments to ThinkProgress Green on Vice President Al Gore’s Rolling Stone article on the battle between “Science and Reason” and “Poisonous Polluters and Right-wing Ideologues”:
Former Vice President Al Gore’s comments reflect a real frustration that is shared by scientists who are concerned about this issue. Every year, the evidence becomes stronger and stronger as our Earth warms, the seas rise, and the ice melts. Every year, the denial machine trots out new arguments that tries to explain away what we can see with our eyes. Every year, the ranks of the denialists get thinner and thinner and the stature of their members decreases.
Despite this overwhelming consensus amongst people who understand climate, there is a gulf found within the general public. Many people are either not concerned or are dismissive. Part of the apathy is a result of terrible media coverage and a well-funded industrial force against taking climate action. When our media defers to experts from think tanks as experts in climate science, everyone loses.
Al Gore’s statements reflected a hope that many scientists shared, that the new administration would champion the cause of environmental stewardship and would resist the forces of denial. Instead of taking a strong and public stand, the current administration has chosen to work within other frameworks, including using stimulus funding to promote renewable every and relying upon the EPA to work on greenhouse mitigation.
It is not clear which approach would have a greater chance at success. What is clear is that every year we delay action is another year that other countries increase their technological lead on us in this important area of clean power production. Every year that we delay, the solutions become more expensive. Every year we delay is a year that groups like the Heartland Institute and the Cato Institute win, and the rest of us lose.