EMBARGOED TILL 14 JUNE 2011
The overwhelming scientific evidence tells us that human greenhouse gas emissions are resulting in climate changes that cannot be explained by natural causes. Climate change is real, we are causing it, and it is happening right now. Like it or not, humanity is facing a problem that is unparalleled in its scale and complexity. The magnitude of the problem was given a chilling focus in the most recent report of the International Energy Agency, which their chief economist characterized as the “worst news on emissions.” Limiting global warming to 2C is now beginning to look like a nearly insurmountable challenge.
Like all great challenges, climate change has brought out the best and the worst in people: A vast number of scientists, engineers, and visionary businessmen are boldly designing a future that is based on low-impact energy pathways and living within safe planetary boundaries; a future in which substantial health gains can be achieved by eliminating fossil-fuel pollution; and a future in which we strive to hand over a liveable planet to posterity.
At the other extreme, understandable economic insecurity and fear of radical change have been exploited by ideologues and vested interests to whip up ill-informed populist rage, in which climate scientists have become the punching bag of shock jocks and tabloid scribes.
Aided by a pervasive media culture that often considers peer-reviewed scientific evidence to be in need of “balance” by internet bloggers, this has enabled so-called “skeptics” to find a captive audience while largely escaping scrutiny. As a result, Australians have been exposed to a phony public debate which is not remotely reflected in the scientific literature and community of experts.
Beginning today, The Conversation will bring much-needed and long-overdue accountability to the so-called climate “skeptics.” For the next two weeks, our series of daily analyses will show how so-called “skeptics” generally side-step the scientific literature and how they sometimes subvert normal peer review. They invariably ignore clear refutations of their arguments and continue to promote demonstrably false critiques. We will show that so-called climate “skeptics” often show little regard for truth and the critical procedures of the ethical conduct of science on which real skepticism is based.
Rather than acting as “skeptics”, the individuals who deny the balance of scientific evidence on climate change will impose a heavy future burden on Australians if their unsupported opinions are given undue credence.
The signatories below jointly authored this article, and some may also contribute to the forthcoming series of analyses.
Winthrop Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, Australian Professorial Fellow, UWA
Dr. Matthew Hipsey, Research Assistant Professor, School of Earth and Environment, Centre of Excellence for Ecohydrology, UWA
Dr Julie Trotter, Research Assistant Professor, School of Earth and Environment, UWA Oceans Institute, UWA
Winthrop Professor Malcolm McCulloch, F.R.S., Premier’s Research Fellow, UWA Oceans Institute, School of Earth and Environment, UWA
Professor Kevin Judd, School of Mathematics and Statistics, UWA
Dr Thomas Stemler, Assistant Professor, School of Mathematics and Statistics, UWA
Dr. Karl-Heinz Wyrwoll, Senior Lecturer, School of Earth and Environment, UWA
Dr. Andrew Glikson, Earth and paleoclimate scientist, School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Research School of Earth Science, Planetary Science Institute, ANU
Prof Michael Ashley, School of Physics, Faculty of Science, UNSW
Prof David Karoly, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne
Prof John Abraham, Associate Professor, School of Engineering, University of St. Thomas
Prof Ian Enting, ARC Centre for Mathematics and Statistics of Complex Systems, University of Melbourne
Prof John Wiseman, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Ben Newell, School of Psychology, Faculty of Science, UNSW
Prof Matthew England, co-Director, Climate Change Research Centre, Faculty of Science, UNSW
Dr Alex Sen Gupta Climate Change Research Centre,Faculty of Science, UNSW
Prof. Mike Archer AM, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, UNSW
Prof Steven Sherwood, co-Director, Climate Change Research Centre, Faculty of Science, UNSW
Dr. Katrin Meissner, ARC Future Fellow, Climate Change Research Centre, Faculty of Science, UNSW
Dr Jason Evans, ARC Australian Research Fellow, Climate Change Research Centre,Faculty of Science, UNSW
Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Global Change Institute, UQ
Dr Andy Hogg, Fellow, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU
Prof John Quiggin, School of Economics, School of Political Science & Intnl Studies, UQ
Prof Chris Turney FRSA FGS FRGS, Climate Change Research Centre and School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UNSW
Dr Gab Abramowitz, Lecturer, Climate Change Research Centre,Faculty of Science, UNSW
Prof Andy Pitman, Climate Change Research Centre, Faculty of Science, UNSW
Prof Barry Brook, Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change, University of Adelaide
Prof Mike Sandiford, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne
Dr Michael Box, Associate Professor, School of Physics, Faculty of Science, UNSW
Prof Corey Bradshaw, Director of Ecological Modelling, The Environment Institute, The University of Adelaide
Dr Paul Dargusch, School of Agriculture & Food Science, UQ
Prof Nigel Tapper, Professor Environmental Science, School of Geography and Environmental Science Monash University
Prof Jason Beringer, Associate Professor & Deputy Dean of Research, School of Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University
Prof Neville Nicholls, Professorial Fellow, School of Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University
Prof Dave Griggs, Director, Monash Sustainability Institute, Monash University
Prof Peter Sly, Medicine Faculty, School of Paediatrics & Child Health, UQ
Dr Pauline Grierson, Senior Lecturer, School of Plant Biology, Ecosystems Research Group, Director of West Australian Biogeochemistry Centre, UWA
Prof Jurg Keller, IWA Fellow, Advanced Water Management Centre, UQ
Prof Amanda Lynch, School of Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University
A/Prof Steve Siems, School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University
Prof Justin Brookes, Director, Water Research Centre, The University of Adelaide
Prof Glenn Albrecht, Professor of Sustainability, Director: Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy (ISTP), Murdoch University
Winthrop Professor Steven Smith, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, UWA
Dr Kerrie Unsworth, School of Business, UWA
Dr Pieter Poot, Assistant Professor in Plant Conservation Biology, School of Plant Biology, UWA
Adam McHugh, Lecturer, School of Engineering and Energy, Murdoch University
Dr Louise Bruce, Research Associate, School of Earth and Environment, UWA