A call to climate scientists

Climate Change

Climate change is a huge threat to humanity. This is a call to US climate scientists out there. Look behind you, because history shows it’s about to get personal.

I’ve steered clear of writing about the new US president and his policies on this blog. I’m not a US citizen, so it’s not really my business. Then again, the global impact of Trump’s climate skepticism will affect me as well as any US citizen.

The problem

Before I get to my – hopefully  relevant – insights on  the matter, some background.

I’m a software engineer and a writer. I don’t research theoretical physics, or measure the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Still, I have a master’s degree in science, so I consider myself a scientist – on a side note, in Dutch, the term alpha, beta, and gamma is used for a mindset best suited to respectively non-sciences (like languages), technical sciences (like physics),  and social sciences (like psychology). I’m fully in the beta camp.

At the top of the list of things that scare me is climate change. We are killing our planet, and appear incapable of stopping. As a race, we are not able to keep our population or pollution under control. Unless we change our ways drastically, the human race is going to be gone in a century or two; or sooner. That scares me. Especially when I look at my baby daughter. Twenty years ago I would have said she would grow up in a wonderful world. Now I just hope she reaches adulthood before the environment collapses.

This might seem scare-mongering, or baseless fear. Unfortunately, it’s neither. It’s a projection based on scientific fact. Every part of our eco-system is under duress. In the next few decades, weather is going to become increasingly violent, drought is going to cause massive migrations of people, and will result in war, hunger, and death. That’s already likely to be inescapable. If we give it our all, we might still prevent the planet from becoming completely uninhabitable.

The ‘debate’

Opponents of climate change (like the new President Trump and his cabal), claim there is a raging debate about climate change. There really isn’t. That myth is fueled by media always over-representing climate skeptics and alternative media pumping out fake science.

Go check out this site for some scientific data against skeptic arguments.

We pump more CO2 into the atmosphere than the earth takes out. What we are doing is the equivalent of running your car on stationary in your garage, only in slow-motion and on a much bigger scale. The end result is the same though: death.

So far, we’ve covered the same arguments that have been floating around for decades.

Enter the Trump administration.

The censorship

One of the first things Trump did, was take all the information about climate change on the white house website offline. Then he started censoring government information about climate change. Official Twitter accounts of national parks and NASA are forbidden from writing about climate change.

This tactic of suppressing information you don’t like and pulling a fake narrative out of thin air should be familiar to you. It’s what dictators all over the world use to try and change the truth to suit their needs. It’s newspeak straight out of 1984.

Scientists are now scrambling to safe guard scientific information before it gets destroyed. The whole situation is sickening. Kudos to the men and women fighting back against this.

Of course, it is important to understand the motives. This is not about truth or fact. It’s about power and preserving a way of life. Trump’s power comes from friends in the fossil fuel industry and voters who want jobs and privilege they feel they’ve lost.

It isn’t going to end with censorship.

The next step

When you want to censor certain facts, you start with the information itself. Then you move on to targeting the people producing the information. That’s you, United States scientists.

The scientific community is struggling to keep their work safe, but we can soon except layoffs in government agencies, and pressure on non-government organizations. I expect pressure to ‘make science more impartial’, by requiring a number of climate skeptic ‘scientists’ in official positions equal to the number of climate-change believers. That pressure will take the form of laws and funding.

Universities are not as immune to government influence as they may think. And if they are, smearing campaigns and pestering might bring them to heel. And who controls scientific magazines? Who determines who the IPCC representatives are? How can you separate legitimate scientific institutes from fake ones?

Trump will want to go from 97% of scientists believing in climate change to 0%. How to do that? Remove the scientists supporting climate change from the equation and add skeptics.

Another tool from the dictator’s toolbox is to use the populace itself to root out those that believe in climate change. If the administration can convince people that climate scientists are attacking their way of life – and they are already doing a good job of that -, then those people will do the administration’s job for them. Ignore the scientists, hassle them, or ostracize them completely.

Scared yet?

The call

This is a call to all of you scientists working for magazines, universities, and agencies. Look at saving your data, yes, but also look at your job security. Look at your organization’s policies, charters, and funding. Any place where you are dependent on something related to the government, you could be targeted.

On another front, it is important that all people come to understand that fighting climate change is not going to cost them their jobs or way of life. If you haven’t seen it already, make sure you check out this article by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Batten down the hatches, because a storm is coming.

Author: Martin Stellinga

I’m a science fiction and fantasy writer from the Netherlands

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