March 2, 2016 at 2:30 pm

Climate Change Skepticism: Public Lecture by Renowned Harvard Professor, April 8

Naomi Oreskes, a world-renowned historian of science and authority on the denial of climate change, visits Ohio University to discuss climate change skepticism and its impacts on policymaking and public discourse on Friday, April 8, from 3-4:45 p.m in Schoonover Auditorium.

Naomi Oreskes

Naomi Oreskes

Oreskes is Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Harvard University. Her lecture is titled “Dynamics of Disbelief: Where Do We Go from Here?” OHIO professors Bernhard Debatin, Austin Babrow, and Alyssa Bernstein join Oreskes for a panel discussion following the lecture.

In connection with these events, the documentary film Merchants of Doubt screens on Thursday, April 7, from 6-8 p.m. in Stocker 103, and Friday, April 8, from 7-9 p.m. in Schoonover Auditorium. The Friday screening is followed by a question-and-answer session with Professor Oreskes.

Merchants of Doubt book cover, showing smokestackMerchants of Doubt, released in 2015, is based on a book with the same title that Oreskes co-authored with Erik Conway. In their book, Oreskes and Conway explain how a small yet potent subset of the scientific community of the USA has led the world in vehement denial of the dangers of global warming as well as of the dangers of DDT, tobacco smoke, and acid rain. The authors tell how a loose-knit group of high-level scientists, with extensive political connections, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. In so doing, they show how the ideology of free market fundamentalism, aided by a too-compliant media, has skewed public understanding of some of the most pressing issues of our era.

Oreskes is the author of more than 100 scholarly and popular books, articles, and opinion pieces. Most recently, she co-edited Science and Technology in the Global Cold War (MIT Press, 2014) and wrote the Introduction to the Melville House edition of the Papal Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality. Her books have been translated into nine languages, and she has won numerous prizes and awards, including the 2014 American Geophysical Union Presidential Citation for Science and Society, the 2015 Public Service Award of the Geological Society of America, and the 2015 Herbert Feis Prize of the American Historical Association for her contributions to public history.

Funding for these events is provided by the Ohio University Institute for Applied and Professional Ethics (IAPE), the Scripps College of Communication, the College of Arts & Sciences departments of Political Science, Geography, and History, the Honors Tutorial College, and the Arts & Sciences Curricular Theme group, “Knowing the Future.” Alyssa Bernstein, Director of the IAPE, has initiated these events and has organized them together with Bernhard Debatin of the Scripps School of Journalism and Professor Austin Babrow of the School of Communication Studies.

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