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 Atlantic3 min read
The GOP Health-Care Bill's Byrd Rule Dilemma
The Senate parliamentarian’s rejection of important provisions of the GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill puts its status in further jeopardy.
The Atlantic2 min read
Trump Asserts 'Complete Power to Pardon' in Saturday Tweetstorm
President Trump lashed out at the media in a Saturday morning tweetstorm, insisting his authority to issue pardons is “complete” and expressing frustration over stories that revealed Attorney General Jeff Sessions may have lied about his contacts wit
The Atlantic4 min read
Poland: The EU's Next Big Test
Poland’s Senate has approved a controversial measure that would allow the government to replace every member of the nation’s supreme court with people of its choice. The move puts it on a collision course with the European Union that says the bill th