A go-to argument from science deniers was absolutely crushed by one of the world’s most famous scientists.
Some believe one reason for the consensus that human activity has caused climate change is that
scientists are in cahoots with each other. But Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist, author and director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, highlighted the biggest flaw in that logic in a tweet he fired off on Sunday:
Tyson has tackled the issue before. Just last month, he said that no one denied the solar eclipse, which was predicted by science.
“I don’t see people objecting to it. I don’t see people in denial of it. Yet methods and tools of science predict it,” he said on “The Daily Show.” “So when methods and tools of science predict other things, to have people turn around and say, ‘I deny what you say,’
there’s something wrong in our world when that happens.”
Earlier this year, Tyson also warned that America’s growing rejection of science was “
the beginning of the end of an informed democracy.” He said:
“I’m so disappointed that the country that I grew up in ― that put men on the moon, that developed the internet, that invented personal computers and smartphones ― that people are debating what is and what is not scientifically true.”
A 2013 analysis of climate research found that that
97 percent of peer-reviewed papers that took a position on the issue endorsed the consensus view that human activity was causing climate change. Also on HuffPost Strengthen city, county and state climate efforts If the federal government refuses to stand up against climate change, it’ll be more important than ever for cities, counties and states to pick up the slack and become climate leaders. That means committing to divest from fossil fuels, embrace clean energy, set emissions targets and develop climate action plans, among other measures. “The ominous signals coming out of D.C. point to even more work needed at the city and state level,” said Kate Kiely, national media deputy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. In November, the NRDC announced partnerships with 20 cities across the country from St. Paul, Minnesota, to Houston, Texas, to make strides in renewable energy. According to Brune, cities could have an especially big influence in the climate change fight. “We should be pushing cities to go 100 percent clean energy and to reject natural gas and coal and other fossil fuels,” he said. “A majority of people now live in cities, so this could have a dramatic impact.” In the U.S., at least 20 cities have made commitments to rely completely on clean energy. “People should organize and get their own cities to move forward,” Brune said. Contact your mayor, city council, or county or state representative and get them to set a timeline to stop using fossil fuels. Push companies and institutions to divest from fossil fuels “There are a lot of things that the president can’t undo. He can’t stop the fact that solar and wind are cheaper than coal and gas. He can’t change the fact that dozens of businesses have already committed to clean energy,” Brune said. As of December, more than 640 institutions worldwide, including several universities, churches and for-profit companies and banks, have pledged to divest from their fossil fuel investments. According to Go Fossil Free, a 350.org campaign, the commitments amount to more than $3.4 trillion. Consumers should petition companies to ditch their fossil fuel investments, and students should urge their schools and colleges to do the same. “As we wrap up the hottest year in history, we know that investments in the fossil fuel industry fund these climate impacts. That’s why it’s more critical than ever that we push our institutions to divest from the fossil fuel companies that are knowingly perpetuating the climate crisis,” Lindsay Meiman, U.S. communications coordinator for 350.org, told HuffPost. Want to push a company, school or place of worship to divest from fossil fuels? 350.org has a list of resources to help you start a campaign. Or find an existing one to get involved in. Put your money where your mouth is Petitions and protests can be powerful, but moving your money speaks volumes too. As a consumer and as an investor, ensure you're not personally financing climate change. This means, for example, choosing banks that are free of fossil fuel connections. “Your ATM card or checking account or your mortgage, these should not be financed by companies that are taking your checking fees or other payments to subsidize the Dakota Access Pipeline or finance drilling offshore. Make sure your money aligns with your values,” Brune said. In September, Amalgamated Bank became the first North American bank to commit to divest 100 percent from fossil fuels. Aspiration has bank accounts that are fossil fuel-free, and Beneficial State Bank has credit cards that don’t invest in fossil fuels. Anthony Hobley, CEO of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, said consumers should also ensure that their pensions, 401(k) or other retirement savings accounts are similarly not underwriting fossil fuel companies. “A lot of pressure can be made through the financial industry,” Hobley said from London. “Ordinary people who hold pensions can put pressure on companies through their pensions. Put pressure on the people who manage your money and that’s one way to keep pressure on those companies too.” The financial services companies that manage retirement accounts “aren’t used to getting many letters from the people whose money they manage,” Hobley added. “It wouldn’t take much of an organized effort for them to take notice.” Are your investments supporting fossil fuels? FossilFreeFunds.org is a web tool that allows people to check whether their individual investments or employer-provided 401(k) is supporting coal companies, oil and gas producers, and fossil-fired utilities. Story continues Making a "financial case" for clean energy Hobley believes the “best chance” we have of convincing Trump to care about climate change is to make a compelling “financial case” for renewables. With new clean energy technologies getting more efficient and cheaper than fossil fuels, a transition to renewables is “inevitable,” said Hobley. It’s just a matter of time. “Trump can no more stop this transition than a previous U.S. president could’ve stopped the transition from steam locomotives to the automobile or the typewriter to the computer. The technological genie is already out of the bag,” he said. “It’s not a case of ‘if,’ but ‘when.’ But the ‘when’ is important because of the 2 degrees budget, and that’s where a lack of political leadership or resistance can have a real impact.” Clear political leadership from both the U.S. and China could mean a "smoother" and faster transition to clean energy. A lack thereof, however, could “make it easier for big oil and gas companies to stay in denial” — and that “would be to their detriment,” Hobley said. “It would mean pouring more money, billions or trillions of dollars, into fossil fuel assets that we simply don’t need.” Trump now has the opportunity to make the United States a leader in clean energy. “These are complicated and highly technical products,” Hobley said. “With an educated and skilled workforce, these are the kinds of things that should be manufactured in the U.S.” Creating new jobs was a central part of Trump’s election platform. Maybe someone should remind him that the clean energy industry creates more jobs per unit of energy than coal and natural gas. In 2015, the number of U.S. jobs in solar energy overtook those in oil and natural gas extraction for the very first time. A 2015 report by NextGen Climate America found that a transition to clean energy would add a million jobs by 2030 and up to 2 million jobs by 2050, while increasing the nation's gross domestic product by $290 billion and boosting household income. We should be citing such figures and urging utility companies and public utility commissions to embrace clean energy. (Public utility commissions regularly hold hearings that are open to the public. Attend them, and voice your thoughts!) Speak out! What’s the single biggest way you can influence climate change? According to the NRDC, it’s speaking up. “Talk to your friends and family, and make sure your representatives are making good decisions,” Aliya Haq, deputy director of NRDC’s Clean Power Plan Initiative, wrote in a blog post. “The main reason elected officials do anything difficult is because their constituents make them.” In the coming months and years, “there will be mass mobilizations that folks should join to push back against Trump’s regressive policies and hateful rhetoric,” said 350.org’s Meiman. “Folks can engage online by joining online actions, signing petitions and contributing their voice on social media to push back on Trump’s agenda.” You can also participate in protests in your area or join and support local nonprofits in their fight against climate change. Reduce your own carbon footprint Power your own home with renewable energy, invest in energy-efficient appliances and lightbulbs, and remember to weatherize. “Building heating and cooling are among the biggest uses of energy,” said NRDC’s Haq. Make your home more energy-efficient by sealing drafts and ensuring your home is adequately insulated and ventilated too. Also consider changing your diet. “Cut down on meat consumption or even eliminate it from your diet completely,” Brune said. “I do think that people can have a powerful impact on the environment just by eating less meat.” It takes 14 times as much biologically productive land to produce 1 ton of beef as it takes to produce 1 ton of grain, according to the Global Footprint Network. Global livestock is also responsible for 14.5 percent of all anthropogenic carbon emissions, data from the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization shows. Driving a fuel-efficient vehicle is another way to reduce your carbon footprint. You can also take steps to be more fuel efficient when you're on the road, no matter what car you drive. Support environmental journalism A major shortcoming of journalists during the presidential election was their failure to highlight climate change as a vital topic ― and to force Trump (and Hillary Clinton, too) to address this crisis. Over the next four years, Trump needs to be held accountable, and the press must make climate change a central issue in his presidency. The Society of Environmental Journalists, a nonprofit membership organization supporting environmental journalists in the U.S. and around the world, aims to “improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of reporting on the environment.” You can also support nonprofit environmental news outlets such as Inside Climate, Grist and High Country News. Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today. This article originally appeared on HuffPost.