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Deny this: climate change scientists take on the skeptics

Environmental activists demonstrate in Copenhagen on the sidelines of the COP15 UN Climate Change Conference.
Environmental activists demonstrate in Copenhagen on the sidelines of the COP15 UN Climate Change Conference.
Andreas Hillergren/AFP/Getty Images

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Debate over the very existence of the global warming phenomenon, and certainly about whether the causes of that warming (assuming that you believe it’s actually happening) are mostly man-made, has been around since the term “climate change” gained prominence in the nation’s consciousness. The debate over climate change reached a fever pitch earlier in the year when a massive controversy broke out over leaked emails from climate change scientists, who were contributing data to major research on global warming, that seemed to show some of the data was exaggerated. Climate scientists had been reluctant to enter the debate, preferring to stay above the fray and the resulting political machinations, and focus on their work. But there’s a group of scientists that isn’t staying on the sidelines any longer: organized in part by the American Geophysical Union, 700 climate scientists have agreed to speak out as experts on questions about global warming and some are even prepared to go before what they consider hostile audiences on conservative talk-radio and TV shows. Given the changing political climate, with many Republican who are dubious about climate change and certainly climate change policies taking over in the House of Representatives, is now the right time for scientists to sharpen their elbows?


John Abraham, associate professor of mechanical engineering at University of St. Thomas in Minnesota; forming a “Climate Rapid Response Team” of scientists to make media appearances

Scott Mandia, professor of physical sciences at Suffolk County Community College in Long Island, New York

Jonathan Overpeck, co-director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona & a professor of atmospheric sciences