Climate deniers are seizing on a recent study in the journal Nature Geoscience that suggested the possibility of an easier path to holding average global warming to 1.5°C, and a more lenient limit on the greenhouse gases humanity can pump into the atmosphere.
“What this paper means is that keeping warming to 1.5°C still remains a geophysical possibility, contrary to quite widespread belief,” said lead researcher Richard Millar of the University of Oxford. Predictably, that assertion was enough to push climate denial machines like the Heartland Institute into overdrive, Politico Morning Energy reports.
“This is exactly the type of debate scientists need to be having,” said Institute President Tim Huelskamp, whose organization has been supporting much of the new activity at a federal Environmental Protection Agency now led by fellow climate denier Scott Pruitt. “If they were wrong 10 years ago, what makes their new modelling correct?”
The study’s authors “said their work has been willfully misinterpreted for political purposes,” Politico notes. “While they expected their conclusions to be mischaracterized, they said they hadn’t expected such an intense reaction,” with co-author Damon Matthews, Research Chair in Climate Science and Sustainability at Montreal’s Concordia University, exclaiming that “we are not trained in PR”.
“It’s not really our job to guard against every possible critique, especially when they’re not real critiques,” Matthews added. “There is no scientific result in our story that questions the basics of climate change and the imperatives for mitigation action.”