With President Trump fully embracing fossil fuels and indicating that he intends to abandon US efforts to address climate change (and even the scientific inquiry underlying those efforts), there is no time like the present to refresh what we know about climate change, what we can do about it, and what kinds of research still need to be done to improve our understanding. This episode is the first of what will become a mini-series of episodes on the science of climate change, and it starts by looking at the debate over climate change, the counter-arguments of climate change skeptics and the rebuttals to those arguments, and what recent scientific observations can tell us. It also suggests that ultimately, there may be a lot more willingness amongst the rank and file of all political parties to take action on climate, regardless of ideological perspectives on the left and right.

Geek rating: 5

Guest: Dr. Joseph Majkut is director of climate science at the Niskanen Center. He is an expert on climate science, the global carbon cycle, and risk and uncertainty analysis for decision-making. Before joining the Niskanen Center, he worked on climate change policy in Congress as a congressional science fellow, supported by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geoscience Institute. He holds degrees from Princeton University, the Delft University of Technology, and Harvey Mudd College.

On Twitter: @JosephMajkut

On the Web:  niskanencenter.org

Recording date: January 21, 2017

Air date: February 8, 2017


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Chris Mooney, “U.S. scientists officially declare 2016 the hottest year on record. That makes three in a row,” Washington Post. (Jan 18, 2017)

Chris Mooney, “The huge crack in this Antarctic ice shelf just grew by another 6 miles” Washington Post. (Jan 19, 2017)

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Joseph Majkut, “Should We Make Peace with CO2?” Niskanen Center. (Nov 7, 2016)

Joseph Majkut, “Climbing the Staircase of Global Warming” Niskanen Center. (Jul 27, 2016)

Joseph Majkut, “Study: No Evidence Climate Models Too Sensitive to CO2” Niskanen Center. (Jun 29, 2016)

Joseph Majkut, “Cool It: Megan McArdle Has It Right” Niskanen Center. (Jun 8, 2016)

Joseph Majkut, “Buying Urgency: Overcoming Political Barriers to Carbon Pricing” Niskanen Center. (May 19, 2016)

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ARGO float network

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Teaser photo credit: By WiNG – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7155522