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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Climate Quickies: Scientists (Briefly) Discuss Climate Change

By Phil Plait

One of the problems with debunking climate change deniers is that they reuse old, long-debunked claims over and over, even long after those claims are shown to be wrong. Marshall Shepherd, the 2013 president of the American Meteorological Society, called these “zombie ideas,” rising from the dead to walk to the Earth again.

It’s an apt term … and whack-a-mole comes to mind as well.* Happily, there are tools at our disposal that help. One is Skeptical Science, my go-to for most basic debunking. Another is DeSmogBlog, which gives histories of climate change deniers themselves.

Now another great resource has popped up. It’s a series of short videos (most are about two minutes long) interviewing climate scientists. They aren’t necessarily debunking—the YouTube channel is called “Scientists on Climate Change”—but it fills that niche wonderfully. You’ll find lots of interesting info there, with links to more information.

Here’s a timely one as an example: National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist Kevin Trenberth discussing the record heat in 2015:

The channel is run by Peter Sinclair, who works with Yale Climate Connections (and who also does the great Climate Crock of the Week). He’s a videographer and has made a number of excellent videos for YCC.

I asked him about the shorter videos, and he told me he has so many clips of great interviews from scientists left over from longer videos that he felt they needed to be aired: “Since I find myself the custodian of literally hundreds of historically significant interviews by the key scientists, at this key moment, I feel compelled to not let them sit on my hard drive.”

He puts them on this new channel with minimal editing and graphics, and no music. That makes them perfect for inserting into blogs, news programs, and the like.

Here’s another good one: In a Senate hearing, retired Navy Adm. David Titley schools anti-science Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on how there was no global warming “pause”:

These really are terrific. If you get confronted by some head-in-the-sand science denier who swears satellite measurements are better than in situ thermometers on the ground, who thinks the Earth hasn’t warmed since 1998, who thinks the Wall Street Journal is a legit source of climate change information, then check these videos out. They’ll help. And Sinclair tells me there are more to come, so bookmark it!

And you should also look at his series This Is Not Cool and Climate Change Elevator Pitches. These should all be at your fingertips to help you fight the good fight.

*When I write a climate piece, I literally spend about half the time making sure I have lots of links going to pages that prove/show my point, simply because I want people to have access to that knowledge. I don’t know what’s more discouraging; that I have to write articles debunking deniers at all, or knowing that I’ve spent all that time spent on links I know deniers will never click.

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