When you talk to people about climate issues, you’ll constantly be battling against the well-oiled (grim pun intentional) denialism machine described in this Guardian article:
The conservative media may currently be the single biggest roadblock to addressing the threat posed by human-caused climate change. There is virtually no support for any sort of climate policy among Republicans in US Congress, because even acknowledging the reality of global warming guarantees a wave of attacks by the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party and a probable primary election challenge. This politicization of science has been caused in large part by the conservative media like Fox News, who treat climate change like a punch line.
Another conservative media outlet, The Weekly Standard has occasionally run articles encouraging the Republican Party to stop denying science and start engaging in constructive debate about the best climate solutions. Unfortunately, those types of constructive articles are the exception rather than the norm. Last week, The Weekly Standard instead ran a puff piece about contrarian climate scientist Richard Lindzen that embodied the fundamental problems in most conservative media coverage of climate change.
There are only a few scientists with any professional standing at all who’ve gone on record against the prevailing climatological consensus. Probably the most frequently encountered is Richard Lindzen, who is mercifully now retired from active research, but still very much present in public discourse.
In discussions with waverers, I get various versions of “but the science isn’t settled,” and “the jury’s still out.” What they really mean by this is that they saw Lindzen or Roy Spencer or a few others on TV.
Simple rebuttal: do they agree that cigarette smoking can cause cancer? If so, then they should know that Richard Lindzen doesn’t.
Of course, maybe they’ll start smoking.
This is why denialism needs to be proactively marginalized in the public discussion of climate.