Scientists really aren’t the best champions of climate science


But Bill, isn’t it a problem when science
guys attempt to bully other people. It’s not working with the public. … That’s the same with tornados….  
This is how conversations about climate change often go down. Scientists say climate change is real, but
people still doubt them. So, why isn’t the science enough?  
It’s not like there’s a shortage of scientific facts out there spelling it all out for us.  
But let’s be honest — not many people can relate to scientists sharing their data,
no matter how compelling it is.  
When I give talks as a scientist versus when I’m talking to a friend, I don’t think
I’m any more persuasive. In fact, I think as a scientist, I may be
actually less trusted. The problem is you have people who are very,
very smart when it comes to reading data, but they’re dumb when it comes to dealing
with people. So people’s relationship to smarty-pants people,
I think you have to take into account. People don’t care how much you know until
they know how much you care.  
But this guy? He cares.  
Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan — known by many as “Ram” — is an atmospheric scientist
at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. And for decades, he’s been a leading and
prescient voice on climate change, long before the term was widely known.  
Ram also designs instruments to measure climate data on satellites, aircraft, and ships, but
he feels like he’s really just writing obituaries for the planet.  
Every time I come back from one of my expeditions, it’s always I bring back bad news
  His scientific findings were simply not inspiring
public action. So, Ram got creative. He’s been a science adviser for the Vatican
since 2004. In 2014, Ram was chosen to speak directly
to Pope Francis.  
Now, he only had three minutes, literally a “parking lot pitch,” outside the pope’s
apartment at the Vatican. Ram had memorized a few sentences in Spanish,
but when he saw the pope emerge from his Fiat, he just blanked out. I completely panicked, a panic attack! Then I said the heck with it, I’m going
to tell him in English. With a translator between them, Ram told the
pope that climate change was a moral and ethical issue.  
Most of the pollution comes from the wealthiest 1 billion. And the worst consequences of that is going
to be for the poorest 3 billion who had almost nothing to do with this pollution. At this moment, I had finished my two sentences. In English, hopefully. In English. Yeah… And he asked me in Spanish, what can he do
about this? And you’re looking quite confused, trying
to get your brain around what to say. Yes. I had not planned that. I told him, look, you are now the moral leader
of the world. So in your speeches, if you can ask people
to be better stewards of the planet that will have a huge impact.  
Not only did Pope Francis include this message in an address several days later, but he even
took his message to Twitter.  
This caused a sensation because it was the first time that the Catholic Church came out
and talked about climate change to a global audience of over 1.2 billion Catholics. This chat with Ram and the pope actually led
to what’s since been called the “Francis Effect.”35% of Catholics said that the pope’s
message changed their personal views on climate change. I know if I had planned the whole thing, it
would have been totally different. I would have gone into carbon dioxide, this,
all the pollution, scientific details. Since I was not prepared, I went to my heart. I could have blown this! Instead, Ram jokes that those three minutes
were the best scientific moments of his life. They were certainly one his most influential. Just by switching the messenger from a scientist
to a religious figure, people listened.  
And perhaps nowhere is the messenger more important than in politics. In the US, climate change has become a fiercely
partisan issue. The majority of Americans are concerned about
climate change, but there’s a sharp difference between liberals and conservatives on the
issue.  
And that’s largely attributed to who they’re getting their information from, regardless
of what the science actually says.   
  If the Earth becomes a partisan issue, everybody
loses. The good thing is, you’re now seeing people
on the conservative and libertarian right saying, hey, hold on a second. We have a right and a liberty as American
homeowners to power our homes as we please.  
Debbie Dooley, a co-founder of the Tea Party movement, is one of these conservatives.  
People that did not know me made the mistake of calling me a tree hugging, left-wing liberal. A founder of the Tea Party movement! I laughed and I said, well clearly they don’t
know me!  
I am probably the first well-known conservative in Georgia to come out on a grassroots level
and advocate for solar. I don’t like monopolies — they deserve
competition and choice.  
And Debbie agrees that there really is no reason that climate change should be a partisan
issue. It’s more fiscally responsible to prevent
damage to the environment than it is to clean it up. As Ronald Reagan said, “Being good stewards
of the environment God gave us should not be a partisan issue.” Focus on the message that resonates no matter
if you’re a Republican or a Democrat or Independent. And the last time I checked, this Earth belongs
to all of us. All of us want clean air or water. And we need to protect it. To get this message out, Debbie founded Conservatives
for Energy Freedom. And they recently helped defeat an anti-solar
amendment in Florida that was pushed by the state’s utilities.  
The only message conservatives heard was from groups that were funded by monopolies or fossil
fuel that wanted to stop competition from alternative energy. They’re hearing a different message from
Conservatives for Energy Freedom. We’re giving them the facts and we’re
having an impact. But not everyone is moved by politics or religion. Often what resonates most with us and gets
us motivated is simply understanding what’s going on in our own backyard.  
Oakland-based artist and grassroots activist Favianna Rodriguez uses art to draw awareness
to climate change.  
I grew up in the Latino district of Oakland and I always understood the impacts of environmental
devastation just by looking around where I live. The asthma rates that were in my community
were astonishing. The accessibility to clean, whole food was
very tough. And so for me, these are all impacts of what
it means to not live in alignment with the environment.  
When I think of environmentalists I think of native people who are at the front lines. I think of people who are impacted, who are
really trying to fight for clean air and clean water. The organization that I co-founded, CultureStrike,
one of the main areas we focus on is to show the many faces of environmentalism.  
And, Favianna isn’t just talking the talk.  
I just converted my entire home to be powered from solar energy, and I’m the first in my
community to do so. I want to model to my predominantly immigrant
Latino community what it means to go solar. And that this is actually a less expensive
way to get our energy. And that we can be the leaders. We are among the most impacted, we can be
the solution bearers.  
So while scientists should definitely be part of the conversation, they can’t be the only
messengers. Of course everyone wants clean air, pure water,
even cheap energy. So what we need is a chorus, a diversity of
many voices to deliver this message and to deliver it in a way that gets their community
to sit up and listen.  
You are a messenger too. Maybe the most important one we have. We hope we’ve given you some tools to think
more about climate change and how our lives intersect with this giant issue. Head over to climate.universityofcalifornia.edu
for more tools and resources.




Comments
  1. Must-include-words to persuade Americans: "Rights" and "Freedom".

    Although I'd be really curious how effective it would be if we could get public figures (including "influencers", etc) to spread the message too.

  2. I can think of several reasons people don’t believe in “climate change.”
    1) Climate change is happening all of the time.
    2) Stats supporting it are a mere fraction of a second snapshot in time. They have no long term historical data, or prediction longterm future effects.
    3) Countries such as China and India do nothing about it.
    4) How is raising taxes going to solve “climate change,” except make the uber rich richer.
    5) We do not control the weather, the Sun does. The Sun drives our planets weather, not mankind's activities.
    6) For every claim there’s a counter claim. ‘Give me $100k of funding and I will also tell you our climate is changing.’
    7) The earth goes through cycles of warming and cooling, which can take centuries to run their course. The last period of warming occurred at the beginning of the medieval period, and we’re still in it.
    8) The warming of our oceans by the Sun causes it to expand, the sea levels to rise, and our oceans to release CO2.
    9) “Climate control” is being used by the Globalist agenda to promote collectivism. Collectivism to introduce a Socialist world government or, NWO.

  3. Disclaimer, I study Bio, but I gotta play devil’s advocate here. Scientists have been consistently wrong about climate predictions for nearly a century, so it’s a major reason why older folks especially (some of them Titans of Industry) just don’t believe what they say. Science is all about reacting and adjusting to new data, but the laymen don’t understand that. They just feel lied to, but that’s a result of inconclusive data taken at times when we knew less. Younger folks know wassup, especially from more recent data, and we’re already seeing the effects of eutrophication, pollution, and habitat conversion for agriculture, yet these are the issues that really matter that are being ignored when these people refuse to believe anything involving climate change.

    Ignorance and anti-intellectualism is rife in the US and developing world, but Americans and Chinese especially need to change they way they live if we wanna live on a clean, sustainable planet that won’t eventually buckle under our own weight. The youth want a future, but the elderly want a status quo. This debate won’t be settled until titans of industry are held accountable for the pollution and waste they generate on a national or even international level.

  4. We know the earth is changing and don't mind doing something about it. Now remove your social ideology from your climate Bill's, and stop lying about the effectiveness of renewable energy sources so we can actually do something about it.

    – a conservative

  5. You cant produce enough energy with wind and solar. Scientists should be smart enough to figure this out…

  6. Can he PLEASE advise the Muslim community leaders, too? 🙏🙏🙏🙏

    And/Or the Beverly Hill Billy folks?

  7. I don't need political or religious leaders to tell me what to do. Having understood the problem does not help me either. Because lets be real. At the end of the day when I'm tired I don't want to have to think about my shopping choices. I want to go into a shop, buy something and go home. I just don't want to have to set aside mental energy for something that should be fixed on a national or even global level. So, instead of telling me what I shouldn't buy, just ban it.
    If you don't want me to buy plastic forks, ban them. If you don't want me to use plastic straws, ban them.
    God, why do we create so many videos on a topic that is so simple. "Stewards of the earth" bla bla, just implement rules. Ugh.

  8. Okay straight up, we don't need to start accounting for people's ignorance by inventing new methods of conveying data. Most of us realised the inherent accessibility of information with the internet, and it's honestly not that difficult to convince yourself about climate change. It's so self evident at this point

  9. it's honestly sad how true this is. I mean if countless of scientists who put research into their work and know what's going on, people should listen to what they say needs to be done. It's not something to "believe" in. It's fact.

  10. Even if climate change is not human made which it is. You would still want to stop used fossil fuels to stop pollution of the planet as extracting and burning them can significantly lower air quality and destroy environment of near by area.

  11. I’ve always been intrested in science since I was a kid, so I’m pretty convinced by scientific facts

  12. Damn this is heartbreaking, a scientist have to use a religion leader to persuade people to acknowledge the truth… that just show how hopeless humanity is.

  13. I cant remember the last time my mechanic was correct fixing my car, and he has a better record than scientists. If no-one claimed to know why the climate was changing we would just call it weather and buy lighter clothes.

  14. People here speaking "It's a american problem." It is not true. Here in Brazil we have politicians and important people who denies Climate Changes. IT IS A WORLD PROBLEM!

  15. Science is all about facts and data. Science has nothing to do with morality. Climate chance is not a moral issue. Climate change is something that has been going on, non-stop, for 4.5 billion years and will continue to go on regardless what we do.

  16. Look, we can begin fixing the climate just as soon as we sort out the more immediate issue of comedians being mean to personas, and settling on a vague definition of equality that's still malleable enough to 'magic bullet' all the oppressive logic and reason.

  17. Climate Science is technically not science give it can't be tested or reproduced. Majority of the work in climate science is data collection, statistics and predictions. Not unlike a day trader in the stock market but with less risk.

    Climate Change isn't a belief system either. Nobody "believes" that the climate doesn't change, so the assertion that there are people who don't believe in Climate Change is a strawman built by the weak-minded.

    As was brought up in the video, nobody understands what climate science is, not even people who call themselves climate scientists can identify the science aspect of their work and how it fits the scientific method. Ask the everyday person how average global temperature is measured over time, they would say it's easy but then struggle to justify a comprehensive process for doing so to get precise results with any reasonable degree of certainty, let alone identify forcings and their degree which produce such results.

  18. People trust people that will benefit them. Scientists only care about what helps themselves and people know this. So they aren't gonna listen to a scientist because doesn't care about helping the person

  19. No offense to him or the video's topic, but I, for some reason, don't like this guy. Everytime he talks I want to punch him.

  20. Can we first acknowledge at least, that Bill the ''science'' guy, isn't actually a scientist? Thank you 😛

  21. As a Republican I support going green and getting our energy from a more sustainable and cleaner source. The way I promote the idea is by practicing it in my daily life and telling my friends about it. I cant make them change but I can show them what it looks like and make it popular and show them its more beneficial.

  22. “Easy Explanation of the Greenhouse Effect”
    The greenhouse effect is all about Infrared Radiation (IR). It is the ‘heat’ that results from sunlight striking the surface of the planet. As the heat (IR) radiates away from the surface, it interacts with the large molecules present in the atmosphere. Water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and other significant gases are examples of such. This interaction slows down the escape of IR out into space.

  23. I'm not gonna lie, I'm a Catholic and a lot of older white people (Catholic) didn't believe in climate change. Even my own Hispanic family thinks it's not as important, I'm guessing it's the adopted American thinking culture . I saw a change when the Pope said it was important. All of a sudden people started to donate money or being more concious because the Pope asked the people to think about the creation of God.
    I'm really happy, I'm starting small but I'm realizing just how wasteful I have been just by myself.

  24. And ironically solar is some one of the worst long term solutions to the problem. The chemicals needed are polluting and never breakdown.

  25. Here’s a bigger question why is this more of an issue in America? Not saying other places don’t have similar issues but well, everything is bigger in the US right

  26. Libertarian Right, I think nuclear talked in the other video and private techs like Carbon Engineering are better economical and ecological options

    I think we should use more nuclear for it to be more profitable by using it more effectively. Maybe even fusion energy can be found.
    My problem with solar and eolic is, besides of the high tax in solar here, that they are not reliabale enough and also how they affect the environment. Climate end environment are different thing and both are important to take care of

  27. My problem with climate change is I have all LED bulbs, I used bus service for years, my car and my wife's get over 30mpg, I keep my thermostats below 68. But using less energy isn't what the green is pushing instead they want solar panels on my roof and a hybrid car. And still we are told we only have 12 years to change all our infrastructure or the world ends. We can't possibly change all infastructure in 12 years so we are doomed anyway. The green side also refuses to even consider nuclear even if it produces very little CO2, has the lowest death per kwh, is a base load which is what we need (not unpredictable wind and solar). We are doomed in 12 years (18 months according to the BBC) so why bother trying.

  28. Interestingly, as a computer scientist, I find only the highest respect from Americans as a scientist. But then, I don't try to act like an expert on subjects outside my area. When asked, I always say "Well, this is what I believe and why." People tend to listen. I guess part of the problem is that often enough we find scientists who have falsified data to support their hypotheses (like on both sides of the climate debate) that people are naturally suspicious. When you get enough conflicting claims from "scientists", you tend to stop believing ANY of it…it becomes background noise.

  29. Another B.S. video by Vox miscaracterizing conservatives. Conservatives don’t disbelieve climate change, they disbelieve the socialist “solutions” proposed and the threat of being called a science denier if you don’t accept.

  30. Maybe they should stop with predictions of doom and gloom that each time fail to materialize.
    To me, that sounds like they really haven't done the work needed to understand the climate.

  31. I believe it is more important to stress on local warming against global warming. People simply wouldn't bring change in their surroundings if they don't see a sooner impact. Tell them to do the same thing they have been told to do when it comes to global warming and tell them that the results will be clear in their own localities first and then on the planet. I do not think a large population can be sensitised to give up the convenience for the world, but it can surely be manipulated to do the same compromises for their own private localities.

  32. Newton, Einstein, Tesla, to name a few, were scientists…but being a "scientist" isn't enough, they want to be politicians, religious leaders, the new Messiah…and these reasons, of course, change their minds! And they are confusing climate change with pollution . So sweet charging a Leaf with sun…sorry it's not in reach of most!

  33. So when the science is so fundamentally flawed that people are not persuaded by climate hucksters, then the solution is to use fallacious and emotional arguments to try to persuade people?

  34. Most informed conservatives believe in climate change we just don’t think that a multi trillion dollar plan is the solution especially when said plan gives a lot of power to the federal government. I BELIEVE IN SCIENCE BUT I ALSO BELIEVE IN BASIC ECONOMICS!

  35. My college students just today were asking why we require them to take two lab classes. THIS is why! We cannot afford to have a general public that is scientifically illiterate!

  36. The southern lady is confusing pollution which EVERYONE is against with man made climate change. Everyone believes in climate change EVERYONE. its the cause that is at issue. Some of the top scientists in the world don't believe man is causing it. (The physicists tend to think its solar activity and orbital issues primarily. others feel it is man made CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels). CO2 is NOT pollution!

  37. I remember back in early 2000s when it was called Global warming their predictions back then were a tab bit off, by their estimates all the coast lines should be under water right now

  38. 01:29 – "… simply writing obituaries for the planet …" – Sad indeed ! 😭
    The silver lining is that the Earth's going nowhere, it's actually obituaries for the human race…

  39. Dr Robert Holmes has formulated this equation  T = P/(R.d/n) T temperature K  P surface pressure R gas constant d density n mean moles. It seems to work on planets that have an atmosphere  > 10 kPa to accurately determine their surface temperature regardless of the atmosphere's composition. If planetary surface temperature can be determine by pressure density and mean moles what does this say to the IPCC claim that temperature will raise by up 5 deg C with a doubling of CO2.

  40. Yeah, but in other countries, they know and accept climate science. But nobody does something about it. They think it will hurt them financially, they think this mainly due to misinformation spread by industries or political parties subsidised by these industries.

  41. It's funny how some people don't believe that something bad's gonna happen until it actually does. Wake up, America! Climate change's real

  42. Wow. No facts, only dogma. Oh wait. Vox. Climate as religion. That Dooley woman using the terms fiscally responsible in the same sentence as wind and solar is funny for all the wrong reasons. Solar activity and electro magnetic fields around the poles? No. Native people on the frontlines showing the many faces of environmentalism. Bwaaaaa!

  43. The government cares as much about the environment as they care about you. They pretend they care about both but really care about neither. They have their own agendas and hide behind the good guy image.

  44. Its because science is the boy who cried wolf. Throughout past decades, they came to incorrect conclusions but presented them as fact to the public anyway. Then they come back 10 years later and say they got it wrong. Science is easy to do wrong and make it look right on paper, but they realize later that there is more factors than they took into account. Ask anyone over 50 years old, scientists told them in their day that an ice age was imminent, now they say our cars are making the world hot. Sorry for our skepticism, but thats what happens when you go public with bad information.

  45. Interglacial Period – The opposite of an ice age, a geological interval of warmer global average temperature lasting thousands of years that separates consecutive glacial periods within an ice age. The current Holocene interglacial began 11,700 years ago.

  46. As a communications expert communicating on complex policy and scientific issues, I can cite examples when scientists have been and can be effective communicators. I think part of this has to do with creating a strategic narrative and deploying their expertise in a way that is effective with a given audience at the appropriate time. You clearly give a good example of this. I think a lot of this also has to do with the individual scientists. There are some scientists who are exceptionally effective communicators and know how to engage their audiences. Lucy Jones is someone who comes to mind i a great example, and I know that Vox recently featured a video with her explaining earthquakes and geology!

  47. Climate change is a religion and has doomsday prophecy too. I remember 19yrs ago the same i was told that the world will end in 4yrs. Now aoc says 7 yrs left.

  48. The Vatican is the least trusted place and persons on Earth….why the Fudge would anyhow use that platform and expect to be trusted.

  49. Part of this is just the American pathology I think. Were I'm from the mentality is "I'm not better than anyone else." in America it seems to be "No one is better than me".
    well actually plenty of people are better at certain things than you are. And that goes for everyone.

  50. We are emotional creatures at our core. Emotions are evolutionary much older than intellect. And we should keep this in mind when dealing with this sort of stuff.

  51. Vox can't help but come of as insanely elitist. Other people don't understand science. It isnt even that they are wrong but it is a horrible way to go about persuading

  52. Remember dinosaurs? They were wiped out of earth then a different species rised. Human beings aren’t the ultra lifeform. Maybe when earth wipes out humans a new life form will rise. Being skeptical, it is always like some politicians are using “climate change” to push their agenda and tell you what to do what not to do.

  53. Yah, scientists are people too, they can have strong or conservative ideas on the science that they are engaged in. And the climate change model has it's own short comings, as well.

  54. It's interesting that the biggest proclaimers of climate change are the ones with little responsibility in their own lives, but feel they got a big responsibility in the world. It's a very strong feeling that you do something important for the world, it gives meaning. What they often don't see is that they are simultaneously destroying 'the old left' (workers, farmers).

    I worked on the office of a dairy company for a while. I had phone calls with so many farmers who got desperate because of all these climate rules and restrictions the government gave them. To work all day, almost every day, with a passion for their farms and therefore for nature itself. Doing the best they can to become sustainable, even if they get into financial problems because of all the things they need to purchase. And then turning on the television at night and see how so many people hate farmers, because "they destroy the world with co2 emissions and they abuse animals". In some cases having to close their 200 year old farm because they can't anymore. Google for instance 'suicidal farmers' to see the seriousness of this.

    So why these activists really believe that they are doing something good for the world and call themselves 'socialists', they also cause a massive wave of pessimism, depression and even suicides in the lower classes.

  55. Just amazes me how ignorant people are about science. Partly it's a failure of our education system. The 40 years of ignorance about climate change will cost tens of millions of lives at least it looks like.

  56. I dont like when theyre called "climate change deniers" because of course they believe in climate change, they just dont believe that its the end of the world.

  57. Wait a second. So Vox is saying that scientists who specialize in anything to do with climate change and ecosystems… Etc, are not the best champions of climate science? They are saying that those who specialize in these fields should not lecture about their speciality. Correct me if I'm wrong.

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