As so often on environmental issues, California is far ahead of most of the USA in combating climate change. The state has done what the federal government has failed to do, legislated a legally binding emission reduction target for 2020 and introduced a raft of measures to achieve it. As part of its efforts it has now launched a new website, “Climate Change. Just the Facts”. Most of the texts are very short, just pointing out some key facts and giving references for further reading, which hopefully means that more people are going to read them.
Climate change facts include:
- 97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is happening and human-caused.
- Many of those who publicly doubt climate change have actually little or no expertise in climate science.
- Many of them are funded by fossil fuel companies, just as the tobacco industry funded people who claimed that second-hand smoke was safe. As a leaked tobacco industry memo from the 1960s said, “Doubt is our product, since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the minds of the general public.”
The website also debunks some of the most common claims of climate deniers. And it’s not just some government website, according to the LA Times governor Jerry Brown himself is publicly putting his weight behind this effort. And this whole effort is in stark contrast to something I read just yesterday in Joe Romm’s new book. Apparently the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy wanted to launch a robust public defence of the science of climate change. But the proposal was swiped off the desk by the communications people. Instead, the White House tried to get a climate change bill adopted without actually talking very much about climate change.