Climate Scientists as Public Intellectuals

My tenured home at UCLA is at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.  Our Director is Glen MacDonald.  He recently gave a talk in Pacific Palisades focused on what he knows about the climate change challenge and what this challenge means for the future of Pacific Palisades (a very nice coastal area in West LA).  Some of his remarks are posted here and here is  a direct quote from the piece;

“MacDonald is quick to point out that these predictions and projections are just that, best guesses based on what is going on today and simulations and models of what will happen in the future.   ’My approach, and the approach of the Institute of Environment Sustainability, is not to be a fearmonger, not to use this as a way to re-organize our economy or redistribute wealth,’ he said. ‘What we are trying to do is figure out how to basically cope with these kind of environmental challenges, but also keep the lights on.'”

Author: Matthew E. Kahn

Professor of Economics at UCLA.

5 thoughts on “Climate Scientists as Public Intellectuals”

  1. Surely all true. Unfortunately, those who would make such frivolous claims are themselves in the grip of wild ideological cognitive denial, and thus immune to reason, logic or science.

  2. funny that, the talk mentions 4 degrees (but its 2-6C in the projections and the talk to americans doesn’t mention C (anyone reading it would think F)) and the talk sort of neglects to remind people that the temperature rise continues after that… on top of that the 3 ft rise neglects serious ice cap effects or basically the latest research. All together a talk understating the risks, not at all giving people a balanced view of the range between the worse cases and minimum cases. sad.

  3. Seems like the important part was about not climate change. It was reassuring the well off people that we won’t be re-organizing our kleptocracy, or re-distributing wealth, (unless it’s upward, of course). The poor “producers” shouldn’t worry they might have to give up something for the sake of the rest of us.
    IOW, It’s business as usual, so who cares about climate change anyway? Party on!

  4.  ’My approach … is not to be a fearmonger … What we are trying to do is figure out how to basically cope with these kind of environmental challenges, but also keep the lights on.’”

    Make a serious effort to ameliorate global warming, and it’s bye-bye electric lights. Good thing he’s not a fearmonger.

  5. People are not motivated unless there is a threat. Downplay a threat and they do not recognize, galvanize, organize and create change. Simple, really: call it “fearmongering” and there is no galvanization, and thus no change. Voila!

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