Mark Hertsgaard at The Nation is offering some reasons for stepping up and confronting climate denialists:
“You want specifics? By the time she is my age, [my daughter] Chiara may well not have enough water to drink here in California, because much of the Sierra Nevada snowpack will have melted. Children in today’s Washington, DC, are likely to witness in the course of their lifetimes sea level rise combine with stronger storm surges to regularly ring the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials with moats and submerge half of the National Mall. By 2050 the record heat that made the summer of 2010 so wicked will become the new normal in New York City and much of the East Coast. Overseas, the impacts will be punishing as well, especially for the poor. In Bangladesh, sea level rise is already making the soil and water in southern coastal regions too salty to produce decent yields of rice, the staple crop for hundreds of years. Meanwhile, the inexorability of sea level rise ensures that many such low-lying areas worldwide will have to be evacuated, unleashing vast streams of climate change refugees. Military experts warn that this will pose not only humanitarian challenges but recurring threats to peace if the refugees attempt to cross national borders.”
An important step in the process is to avoid referring to climate cranks as “skeptics.”
Don’t rely on our media to rise to the occasion. The protocol of mainstream news coverage leads Washington journalists to refer to these people as climate skeptics. They’re not skeptics. They’re cranks. True skepticism is invaluable to the scientific method, but an honest skeptic can be persuaded by facts, if they are sound. The cranks are impervious to facts, at least facts that contradict their wacky worldview. When virtually every national science academy in the developed world, including our own, and every major scientific organization (e.g., the American Geophysical Union, the American Physics Society) has affirmed that climate change is real and extremely dangerous, only a crank continues to insist that it’s all a left-wing plot.