by Eric Worrall, Watts Up With That:
According to Naomi Oreskes, who is so prolific with her public name calling she once called NASA climate scientist James Hansen a denier, climate scientists are frightened to speak up when their findings diverge from the public positions of their colleagues.
The real reason some scientists downplay the risks of climate change
Climate deniers often accuse scientists of exaggerating the threats associated with the climate crisis, but if anything they’re often too conservative
Dale Jamieson, Michael Oppenheimer and Naomi Oreskes
Fri 25 Oct 2019 18.00 AEDT
lthough the results of climate research have been consistent for decades, climate scientists have struggled to convey the gravity of the situation to laypeople outside their field. If anything, the wider public only recently seems to have awakened to the threat of the climate crisis. Why?
One of the factors that appears to contribute to this trend of underestimation is the perceived need for consensus, or what we call “univocality”: the felt need to speak in a single voice.
Many scientists worry that if they publicly air their disagreement, government officials will conflate their differences of opinion with ignorance and use this as justification for inaction.
Others worry that even if policy-makers want to act, they will find it difficult to do so if scientists fail to send an unambiguous message. Therefore, scientists actively seek to find their common ground, and to focus on those areas of agreement. In some cases, where there are irreconciliable differences of opinion, scientists may say nothing, giving the erroneous impression that nothing is known.
Clearly the real problem is Naomi hasn’t called enough people names. If she makes an effort in future to call even more people a “denier”, to help defuse the toxic atmosphere of public bullying which has stifled scientific dissent, perhaps more climate scientists would feel able to freely speak their thoughts to her.