The Atlantic

The Atlantic Ocean and an Actual Debate in Climate Science

Scientists have recently begun to re-examine a scary question: Will a crucial ocean current shut down?
Source: NOAA

Americans who are concerned about climate change have long found themselves in an unenviable position: They have to debate about the existence of a debate.

For about two decades, the vast majority of climate scientists have agreed that human industrial activity is forcing the planet to warm. For about as long, some doubters have argued that this consensus is nonexistent or premature—and that, despite repeated studies identifying it, media attempts to report on the consensus constitute so much liberal bias.

These fights will likely be recapitulated this month. Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma and President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the EPA, has invested a lot of time in fighting the Obama administration’s climate and environmental regulations. He has not, however, said very much on the record about climate change.

One of his only quotes on the matter appeared in a National Review editorial last year. “Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind,” he wrote, in an article co-authored with Alabama attorney general Luther Strange.

The problem is: Not all of this sentence is true. While scientists continue to explore the consequences of climate change, there is essentially no debate among scientists about global warming’s “connection

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic4 min read
Nine Inch Nails Is Still Pushing the Sound of Catharsis
The rock band’s Bad Witch completes a trilogy of terse, inventive, post-Trump blasts of rage.
The Atlantic19 min read
When a Mars Simulation Goes Wrong
A recent mission atop a Hawaiian volcano shows humans still have much to learn before they set foot on another world.
The Atlantic7 min readPolitics
How Nietzsche Explains Turkey
Erdoğan is counting on his resentment-fueled political movement to deliver him to victory in the upcoming elections.