President Obama took the wrong side on global climate change, according to physicist Freeman Dyson, and a national survey that shows denial of climate change at a record low.
Ninety-one-year-old Freeman Dyson, a noted theoretical physicist, mathematician, and nuclear engineer came out this week to share his professional opinion that Obama took the wrong side on global climate change. Dyson spent much of his career working on and studying the problem of climate change before he retired as a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton in 1994.
Dyson agreed to an interview with the U.K. Register, in which he shared that he believes scientists today are ignoring the clear signs achieved from their own data, and that the climate is shifting far more rapidly than their models show.
He also expressed his opinion that Obama took the wrong side on this issue.
“It’s very sad that in this country, political opinion parted [people’s views on climate change]. I’m 100 percent Democrat myself, and I like Obama. But he took the wrong side on this issue, and the Republicans took the right side.”
He also goes on to say that the problem with climate change is not so much a scientific mystery as it is a human mystery, meaning that humans are the cause.
“How does it happen that a whole generation of scientific experts is blind to obvious facts?” he stated.
Dyson explained some of the principals behind climate change that the Obama administration has been ignoring, principally that climate change and pollution are not the same thing.
“Coal is very unpleasant stuff, and there are problems with coal quite apart from climate,” he said. “Pollution is quite separate to the climate problem: one can be solved, and the other cannot, and the public doesn’t understand that.”
As Dyson says, the problem is human, meaning that it’s up to the human race to make the changes. He’s calling for politicians to stop debating about whether or not climate change exists and begin thinking about how to solve the problem.
Some of his suggestions for combatting climate change include building up topsoil and inducing snowfall in order to keep the tides down. Although he’s expressed the view that pollution and climate change are not the same thing, he agrees that a general turn towards more energy efficiency in homes and daily actions will help to reduce the problem of climate change. As everyone works to reduce their carbon footprint, they’ll begin to think with a more environmentally-centered point of view, and make the necessary changes to slow the rapidly evolving problem.
Dyson has been known to state how climate models in the past have been filled with discrepancies and mistakes. He also liked to talk about how these climate models only provided evidence for those who don’t know anything about them, like politicians. When asked about whether these models are getting better, he responded, “What has happened in the past 10 years is that the discrepancies between what’s observed and what’s predicted have become much stronger. It’s clear now the models are wrong, but it wasn’t so clear 10 years ago.”
Dyson’s theories are beginning to receive a little more recognition now, according to a recent survey from the University of Michigan. It shows that only 16 percent of Americans now believe that global climate change is not real based on lack of evidence. The survey that polled nearly a thousand Americans also showed that 70 percent (14 percent did not vote) have taken the evidence to heart and are recognizing the problem. That’s an increase of 7 percent from six months ago, and a 10 percent increase from a year ago.
This shift in belief patterns comes with a number of factors. For one, the weather this year has been particularly extreme with the droughts in California, flooding in the Midwest and Atlantic coast, and unusually warm summers nation-wide. People are more likely to believe in global climate change overall when the weather is acting strangely.
It also comes as a result of politics. With an election year coming up, politicians are raising awareness on their views of climate change. With so many Republican candidates taking the stage, and many of the Democrats starting to believe in the science, it’s bringing in more acceptance for global climate change nationwide.
[Image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images]