WHY DID TWO SCIENCE HISTORIANS WRITE A SI-FI BOOK ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE?

Dr. Naomi Oreskes is a Professor of the History of Science and an Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University.  She had written an essay ten years ago, in Science Magazine, titled:  ”The Scientific Consensus of Climate Change”, in which she asserted that there is a consensus among scientists that human activity has caused Global Warming.

The mere inclusion of the word “consensus” riled many on the “Right” who have always claimed that the Science of Climate Change has not been settled.  If that claim sounds familiar, it has been used by other efforts in the past to fight any sort of environmental regulation.  The various industries that were fighting the idea of a scientific consensus, have poured a lot of money into lobbying Congress to block Regulation, and misrepresenting the facts.

When Dr. Oreskes was researching a book she was writing on Oceanography, she did a search of 938 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals for the prior ten years, searching for how many disagreed with her finding, with regard to Climate Change over the past fifty years.  There were exactly:  Zero.  That also matches the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report, titled:  “Climate change threatens irreversible and dangerous impacts, but options exist to limit its effects”.

Various industries, such as Auto, Chemical, Energy, Real Estate Development, etc. have been fighting the conclusion that Climate Change is man-made for years.  Even Christine Todd Whitman (R-NJ), when she was Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, which overseas the Environment, after a review of Climate Change reports, said that the Science was still unsettled.  That’s when Dr. Oreskes realized the importance of the issue:  that it was more of a question of Economics than Science. That’s when the idea for a Si-Fi book came to mind.

Recently, Naomi Oreskes, along with Mr. Erik Conway, Science Historian at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, co-authored a book:  “The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From the Future.”  In it, Oreskes and Conway discuss Global Climate Change from the point of view of the Narrator in the year 2,393 who concludes that, in the 21st century, the forces of climate denial prevailed.  So, the two apparently consider that to be 300 years after the Planet would have reached the point-of-no-return.

As Dr. Oreskes notes in the linked interview from the NY Times, the future perspective provides a certain poetic license, which allows them to have the leeway to suggest what the future might hold for our descendants: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/28/science/naomi-oreskes-imagines-the-future-history-of-climate-change.html?emc=edit_th_20141028&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=64667462.

Generally, history is written from a backward perspective; however, by writing it as Science Fiction. Oreskes and Conway can avoid the political aspects of those who disregard the Science–and its dire consequences–in order to focus on Profits.  But, when you think about it, the true ramifications of the Global Climate Change debate is really not about today or yesterday; but rather, what kind of a Planet do we leave to the future generations.

NOTE:    In the linked Times interview, Dr. Oreskes points-out that there are not any Climate Scientists among the “Experts” included in the various groups that are fighting any linkage between Human Activity and Global Warming.

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