Denial is an Action, Not a Thought


Denial is not a specific position, it is the act of rejection. In the case of climate, while Trump’s cabinet does not appear to reject the most basic science of the greenhouse effect, they do still reject the well-established body of evidence that shows human activity, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, to be the main driver of climate change. At this point, not a single national academy of science disputes the fact that humans are causing climate change and there exists a strong consensus among scientists and the peer-reviewed literature.

With an incoming cabinet that consistently used the same line on climate change- that it’s changing, and man is at least partly responsible, but we don’t know enough to act- now is the perfect time to clarify climate change denial.

According to the AAAS, the science connecting fossil fuels with climate change is just as strong as the connection between smoking and cancer. To claim that there is justification to avoid reducing emissions because there is still significant debate among scientists is simply wrong, and has been since at least 1995.

Here are the definitive quotes from the scientific community:

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period…Greenhouse gases contributed a global mean surface warming likely to be in the range of 0.5°C to 1.3 °C over the period 1951−2010, with the contributions from other anthropogenic forcings, including the cooling effect of aerosols, likely to be in the range of −0.6°C to 0.1°C. [Full report here]

The National Academy of Science: The National Research Council of the National Academies reports, “with high confidence,” that “most of the warming over the last several decade can be attributed to human activities.” And that the “burning of fossil fuels for energy is the single largest human driver of climate change.” [Full report here]

National Climate Assessment: What is new over the last decade is that we know with increasing certainty that climate change is happening now. While scientists continue to refine projections of the future, observations unequivocally show that climate is changing and that the warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases. These emissions come mainly from burning coal, oil, and gas, with additional contributions from forest clearing and some agricultural practices. [Full report here]

American Association for the Advancement of Science: “The science linking human activities to climate change is analogous to the science linking smoking to lung and cardiovascular diseases. Physicians, cardiovascular scientists, public health experts and others all agree smoking causes cancer.” [Full report here]

American Geophysical Union: Human activities are changing Earth’s climate…Human‐caused increases in greenhouse gases are responsible for most of the observed global average surface warming of roughly 0.8°C (1.5°F) over the past 140 years… Extensive, independent observations confirm the reality of global warming…The changes are inconsistent with explanations of climate change that rely on known natural influences. [Full statement here]

American Meteorological Society: “the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases.  [Full statement here]