I was going to post this yesterday, but then Willard beat me to it. I thought I would post it now, but it’s all a bit disjointed, so apologies. Anyway, a couple of my fellow physicists/astrophysicists have been quite prominent in the public climate science debate in the last day or so. Brian Cox was on the Australian Question Time and did an impressive job of countering the claims of the newly elected Australian Senator Malcolm Roberts.
As a result, Katie Mack, a theoretical astrophysicst at Melbourne University who is also quite a high profile science communicator, started tweeting about climate change. As one might expect, Katie then encountered a number of what I shall politely call “skeptics” and responded in a manner that appealed to J.K. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame (as if that wasn’t obvious).
The existence of Twitter is forever validated by the following exchange. pic.twitter.com/f3TciHPFFh
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 16, 2016
Where do people like Malcolm Roberts come from and how do they get elected? To deny climate change is very dangerous for us all.
— Eric Idle (@EricIdle) August 16, 2016
I actually found all of the exchanges very amusing, which I do think is probably the optimal way to deal with those who are clueless, but are very unlikely to ever recognise their ignorance. It was also interesting how much impact these have had. Brian Cox’s exchange with Malcolm Roberts is all over the news, and – as you can see above – more than 70000 people have retweeted J.K. Rowling’s tweet about Katie Mack’s response. Maybe it really is becoming more and more obvious that climate denial is ridiculous and that the only suitable response is to mock those who promote it.
It was also good to see some other scientists commenting on this topic. We certainly shouldn’t expect climate scientists to shoulder all the burden. It might also make some more aware of the kind of crap that some have had to put up with when they do communicate about this publicly. I sometimes get the sense that many don’t realise just how difficult it is to discuss this topic publicly and what you have to put up with if you do. Certainly, in my view, the more who get involved, the merrier.