97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is real and that humans are causing it. And this consensus holds even in response to anonymous surveys, which is salient because it indicates that the scientists are not simply self-censoring their true views due to political pressure. In other words, 97% of the people who actually know what they are talking about believe climate change is a real thing.
Substitute “climate scientists” with oncologists, and make climate change cancer, and how would you feel if 97% of oncologists believed that eating grapes increases your chances for some type of fiercely deadly cancer by 60%? How often would you continue to eat grapes? Would you say, “Well, we need more science into whether grapes really do give people cancer?” – and go on eating the same amount of grapes you ate before? Or would you reduce the amount of grapes you ate, if not stop eating grapes altogether? More than likely, you’d probably change your behavior (assuming you like living).
Now, within the community of climate scientists, there is a wide range of views as to just how severe we can expect climate change to be. While some are skeptical that it will be as severe as the consensus predicts, the vast majority believe that the data says we should be concerned. So, in other words, the vast majority of oncologists are screaming, “probably want to worry about them grapes!”, even though some (but only some!!!) of them are saying, “Although the cancer may not be as bad as our current models are predicting.”
Therefore, since we can’t reverse the effects of human caused global warming, and because there are no other viable planets for our species to relocate to if the high end projections for anthropogenic climate change turn out to be true, it makes sense that only our best and brightest climate minds should be responsible for government agencies charged with managing our policy responses to this human problem. It also makes sense that we take a conservative approach to how we interpret the data, and assume that the more severe projections are worth worrying about. Again, because we can’t reverse the effects.
So why is the Trump administration considering a radio talk show host and non-scientist “climate skeptic” (I put that in serious quotes since he likely doesn’t actually know much at all about the actual science part) in charge of a USDA post that oversees research into climate change? A position, mind you, that is supposed to be headed by an actual scientist? Perhaps because the Trump administration has demonstrated a profound disregard for expert knowledge, or knowledge in general?
There is a difference, of course, between being an expert skeptic, and being a radio talk show host who believes that climate change is “simply a mechanism for transferring wealth from one group of people to another.” Keep in mind that, as stated above, 97% of the actual scientists agree that climate change is a real thing. So the oncologists are saying, “grapes give you cancer”, and Trump is considering the appointment of a radio talk show host and “grapes give you cancer” skeptic in charge of the government division responsible for the research into whether many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands (or even billions) of people’s livelihoods may be at risk by grape eating. Let me just say that this seems pretty stupid.