Many parts of the Midwest were hit hard with severe weather over the weekend that brought several inches of snow to their areas. Cold weather is hitting other parts of the nation hard. And President Donald Trump last week suggested that such cold-snaps may debunk the idea of global warming or climate change.
But former CBS News anchor Dan Rather disagrees with Trump, and other pundits who reject science, writing on Twitter Sunday evening that we should not embrace the anecdotal musings of individuals who readily admit they’re not scientists.
In a general statement on science, Rather made clear that those who aren’t scientists shouldn’t try and act like they’re experts on a particular scientific subject.
“When someone starts an argument with ‘I’m not a scientist, but…’ maybe we should stop listening to them weighing in on science,” Rather wrote in a tweet Sunday evening.
In a separate but related tweet Monday morning, Rather elaborated on his point.
“I believe science should be subject to policy discussions. But we can’t have pundits/politicians confusing the public about scientific consensus,” Rather said. “How should we respond to climate change? Let’s debate. Scientists are part of a conspiracy: & climate change isn’t real? Not a debate.”
The comments from Rather come after two very important events took place over the weekend.
A report from the federal government said that climate change is a real phenomenon that’s already happening, and which could have disastrous effects, including thousands of deaths and loss of economic revenues in the United States, according to reporting from the Hill. The report also noted that there were “no credible natural explanations for this amount of warming.”
“Instead, the evidence consistently points to human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse or heat-trapping gases, as the dominant cause,” the report added.
Also happening this weekend, however, was a sharp rebuke about climate change from the president of the United States, who seemed to challenge the report’s finding based on weather events he saw outside his window or on television.
“Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?” Trump wrote in a tweet last Wednesday evening.
Scientists challenged the president’s assertions. Some even pointed out the wording on NASA’s website discussing climate, noting that climate and weather were not synonymous terms.
“In most places, weather can change from minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and season-to-season. Climate, however, is the average of weather over time and space,” NASA, a federal agency under Trump’s purview, states, per reporting from HuffPost.
In addition to Rather’s remarks on pundits making inaccurate and unscientific claims on climate change, other scientists specifically singled out Trump’s tweet last week. His tweet on Wednesday “demonstrates once again that Donald Trump is not an individual to be taken seriously on any topic, let alone matters as serious as climate change,” climate scientist Michael Mann said.