Chronicling the Conversions of Climate Change Skeptics

Written by Lisa Hayden on . Posted in Learn

Once a skeptic, always a skeptic?

Surprisingly, not always so, it turns out, when it comes to climate change.

In a series on treehugger, Brian Merchant has been tracking the conversions of several high-profile climate change skeptics. And today he posted video from The Nature Conservancy, linking to Planet Change’s testimonial from Curt Stager, Ph.D., a scientist who describes himself as a “reformed climate skeptic.”

In the video, reposted above, Stager describes how he was finally swayed from his healthy skepticism, by the accumulation of scientific evidence over the past decade for human influence on the climate system. Stager is a paleoclimatologist and co-author of a Conservancy report, Climate Change in the Champlain Basin, a region that has been experiencing record flooding this spring following heavy snow and rains.

Stager is not the only one who has changed his mind after taking a close look at the evidence.

In an article for Slate, Brian Merchant also interviewed D.R. Tucker, a conservative talk show host, who had been a climate skeptic until reading, among other things, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report, which he was surprised to find detailed and well-documented.

A recent post for the Energy Collective argues that you shouldn’t bother trying to change skeptics’ minds. But, if you have climate deniers in your life (or in your family), you might want to take a look at Grist’s handy, “How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic.”

This guide offers a round-up of research-based responses to arguments against climate change. I find the rebuttal to the argument that “there is no consensus” on climate change, to be particularly cogent.

Perhaps you can spur a few more conversions of your own. And maybe the IPCC synthesis report should be required reading in high school earth science class!

Lisa Hayden is a blogger and feature writer for The Nature Conservancy

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Planet Change is a Nature Conservancy blog site designed to share stories about actions the Conservancy and others around the world are taking to fight carbon pollution and the impacts of climate change, and to help people feel the connections between climate change and their daily lives and understand actions they can take.

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