The popular website Buzzflash.com has added Unscientific America to its premiums–where you can buy the book and also throw in a donation to Buzzflash–and now they’ve also run a commentary piece by us, setting our failure to act on climate in the context of the continuing gap between science and society. An excerpt:
The climate issue is the most powerful — and also the most catastrophic — example of how our society dysfunctionally managed matters of science. The stakes are literally enormous: We’re threatened with an unrecognizably changed planet, many of its largest cities submerged. The science is extraordinarily clear: It goes all the way back to 1859, when the Irish scientist John Tyndall first described the nature of the greenhouse effect. In modern times, meanwhile, the issue has been on the agenda for fully two decades now. Yet still, only about half of the public follows or trusts scientists on the matter. And so nothing has happened politically, and the problem has had all those years to steadily worsen — and even if we do get a global warming law for the first time in 2009, in a sense we’ve already failed.
So perhaps we ought to ask, what could we possibly have done differently?