If you have been watching Cosmos as I have and enjoying it, then you will be delighted to know that the topic next Sunday will be Climate Change. This is perhaps to be anticipated because it has already tackled some of the really big topics such as evolution and industry-funded science denial.
Is Climate Change factually scientific and appropriate for Cosmos?
Short answer = yes, of course.
Climate change is not a controversial topic for those familiar with it and willing to go with the prevailing scientific consensus, it fact the precise statistics are as follows:
A 2010 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (PNAS) reviewed publication and citation data for 1,372 climate researchers and drew the following two conclusions:
(i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC (Anthropogenic Climate Change) outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and
(ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers
In an October 2011 paper published in the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, researchers from George Mason University analyzed the results of a survey of 489 scientists working in academia, government, and industry, there was 97% support.
In 2012, Lefsrud and Meyer surveyed members of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA), and found 99.4% support.
In 2013, John Crook examined 11,944 abstracts from the peer-reviewed scientific literature from 1991–2011 that matched the topics ‘global climate change’ or ‘global warming’. They found that, while 66.4% of them expressed no position on anthropogenic global warming (AGW), of those that did, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are contributing to global warming.
There is however a real problem
The scientific consensus that prevails is rather clear, but there is a serious communication gap.
For example, a March 2013 Public Policy Polling poll about widespread and infamous conspiracy theories found that 37% of American voters believe that global warming is a hoax, while 51% do not.
In other words, 37% reject the prevailing scientific consensus, or to be more factually accurate, are most probably not actually aware of what the scientific consensus is and why it prevails, and so that is why a pure science-based program such as Cosmos in a primetime slot is a fabulous thing to have and may indeed make a real difference.
OK, so what is coming up on Cosmos?
Here is how National Geographic describe it …
Our journey begins with a trip to another world and time, an idyllic beach during the last perfect day on the planet Venus, right before a runaway greenhouse effect wreaks havoc on the planet, boiling the oceans and turning the skies a sickening yellow. We then trace the surprisingly lengthy history of our awareness of global warming and alternative energy sources, taking the Ship of the Imagination to intervene at some critical points in time.
Curious about it now?
Well here is a teaser for you …