Mailbag: Beware of climate misinformation

Mailbag: Beware of climate misinformation

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The recent letters from Greg Peterson (Feb. 23) and Jay Burreson (Feb. 25) show how prevalent misinformation on climate change is in our society. As described in Naomi Oreskes book “Merchants of Doubt,” the American public has been systematically misled about climate science by industry groups and think tanks that promote the ideology of free market fundamentalism. This campaign has been very successful, as can be seen not only in the above-mentioned letters but also in the statements and policies of our current president.

The reality and the view of the vast majority of climate scientists is that a rapidly changing climate caused by our carbon emissions is a major concern. So how to find trustworthy information on climate science?

Before reading a book, I recommend researching the author a little. E.g., Tim Ball is connected to an organization (Friends of Science) that is known to spread misinformation and has been funded by the fossil fuel industry. Similarly, Alan Moran works at the Heartland Institute, which is a free market think tank notorious for spreading misinformation that has also been funded by the fossil fuel industry. Those are not trustworthy sources of information.

On the other hand, information from major scientific organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences, American Geophysical Union or American Meteorological Society are trustworthy. I’ve summarized the scientific evidence in my recent text https://open.oregonstate.education/climatechange/.

Andreas Schmittner

Corvallis

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