Colorado State University Atmospheric Science Professor Scott Denning will talk on campus Tuesday, Oct. 19, about engaging people who don’t believe in climate change as part of the overall climate discourse in the scientific community.
Denning’s talk, “Engaging Organized Climate-Change Denial,” will be at 7 p.m. in Room 100 in the Engineering Building. The lecture, part of an ongoing program called Changing Climates @ CSU, is free and open to the public. Changing Climates seeks to increase public awareness and understanding of current science and research on climate change.
Denning has come to realize that global climate change is no longer merely a scientific field of study.
“It has emerged as a major issue in American popular culture and political discourse,” Denning said, “and it is subject to political rhetoric and media spin in the same way as health care, war, the economy and the marital difficulties of Tiger Woods. Millions of Americans believe that predictions of future global warming are part of a politically-motivated conspiracy: these people outnumber professional climate scientists by at least 1,000:1.”
In May 2010, Denning was invited to speak at the Fourth International Conference on Climate Change in Chicago, sponsored by The Heartland Institute. He learned a lot about the viewpoints of people who believe that climate change will not occur – and who have organized themselves to convince others. In the process, Denning said, he also thought carefully about why he is convinced that climate change will occur. This phenomenon ultimately is not a disagreement about science, but rather about cultural values and views of the world.
“It is important for climate scientists and scholars to be aware of this discourse, which is arguably more important than the facts as global societies debate their future courses of action on climate change adaptation and mitigation,” Denning said.