Source: Podcast of Dr. Katharine Hayhoe’s Keynote Address - 2015 International Conference of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Washington, DC, June 22, 2015.
Notes: A common argument by closed-minded climate skeptics is that climate scientists have over exaggerated the risks of global warming.
Below is an excellent rebuttal to this argument by Dr. Katharine Hayhoe. She is atmospheric scientist and associate professor of political science at Texas Tech University, where she is director of the Climate Science Center. She made that statement as the keynote speaker at the 2015 Citizens’ Climate Lobby International Conference in Washington, DC.
Expanded Quote by Katharine Hayhoe:
“We scientists have often been accused of being alarmists. All the time. In fact, I have a great program director, who is in charge of our program at Texas Tech. He is on board with the idea that climate change is real. He has no problem with that.
But, (he recently) said, ‘You know, Katharine, I think people would be more accepting of what you (not meaning me personally but what you climate scientists) are saying if you didn’t exaggerate all the time.
People really get tired of all that extreme messages. If you could just scale it back and try not be alarmist.’
So, I said to him, ‘Unfortunately, that question has been examined by the scientific literature, this is the beauty of science, to see if we really are conservative or if we really are alarmists.'
Actually, when you look at projections over the past 20 years, they found the opposite. They found that we scientists have consistently been conservative. In fact, we have been underestimating the risks.
In fact, this paper concluded that scientists are systematically biased towards being cautious…
This paper said we are actually going to coin a syndrome of erring on the side of least drama. Instead of being drama queens, climate scientists are like anti-drama kings.
We are, as a community, guilty of ESLD: Systematically underestimating the risk. That is because we afraid and hate to be called alarmists.”
Image Source: businessinsider.com
Additional Notes: Climate scientists deserve our deep appreciation and gratitude for their vital work. Their cautious and conservatve nature though is a humorous reminder of the monotone high school history teacher played by Ben Stein (pictured above) in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
In the film, Stein delivered the iconic attendance roll of "Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?” as well as an economic lecture to sleepy teenagers.