RealClimate & Climate Science

Ξ September 13th, 2007 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Science |

    "Geochemist bridges the gap between science and popular perception

    Eric Steig looks for answers about global warming in some of the Earth's most frigid spots. His walk-in freezers at the University of Washington are stacked with boxed ice cores from Antarctica and Greenland kept so cold he wears a parka and gloves to retrieve them.

    Steig, a geochemist, analyzes air bubbles and isotopes in the ice to reconstruct past temperatures and carbon-dioxide levels. He planned a career in physics until an undergraduate field project on the Juneau glacier fields kindled his passion for snow and ice.

    At 39, he belongs to a generation of climate researchers more open to global warming than the older guard, including Wallace and Battisti. Steig is also more frustrated by the way a handful of skeptics has dominated public debate.

    "Many of us have felt our voices are drowned out by the very well-funded industry viewpoint."

    He and several colleagues set out this year to bridge the gap between science and popular perception with a Web log called Researchers communicate directly with the public and debunk what they see as misinformation and misconceptions. By giving equal coverage to skeptics on the fringe of legitimate science, journalists fuel the perception that the field is racked with disagreement.

    "You get the impression it's 50-50, when it's really 99-to-1," Steig said.

    Over the past decade, coal and oil interests have funneled more than $1 million to about a dozen individual global-warming skeptics as part of an effort to "reposition global warming as theory rather than fact," according to industry memos first uncovered by former Boston Globe journalist Ross Gelbspan.

    From 2001 to 2003, Exxon Mobile donated more than $6.5 million to organizations that attack mainstream climate science and oppose greenhouse-gas controls. These think tanks and advocacy groups issue reports, sponsor briefings and maintain Web sites that reach a far wider audience than scholarly climate journals."

    Text from : here


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