BY EMILY ATKIN ON APRIL 1, 2014 AT 12:02 PM
When the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases a report, it’s safe to say it’s a pretty big deal. For the one released Monday, more than 1,271 people were nominated to partake in its writing, of which309 were chosen as lead authors, and 436 as contributing authors. Just to drive the point home a little further: 745 men and women from at least 73 different nationalities took part in writing the latest IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. It was an enormous, momentous effort in scientific consensus.
With that in mind, it is only more mind-boggling when the importance of this gargantuan undertaking is downplayed and misinterpreted, most generally by members of a conservative blogosphere who routinely seek to ignore the realities of climate science, nit-picking at inherently cautious scientific language for any sign that there may be some doubt; that maybe climate change isn’t so bad; that maybe we can keep extracting carbon reserves without atmospheric punishment.