In a rational world, people would take climate change more and more seriously as real-world evidence for its damaging effects mounts.
The dying of the Great Barrier Reef; the ongoing drought in East Africa; the thawing of Arctic ice. All of these should make us more determined to tackle the problem at the source by reducing our worldwide carbon emissions.
But we don't live in a rational world. Tracking the rapid rise in global temperatures has been an equally fast increase in the politically motivated denial of the basic science of climate change.
This process of anti-science posturing has now reached its nadir in the determined effort by the Trump administration to unravel former President Barack Obama's efforts to tackle global warming.
The Trump administration's war on science is fast becoming its most destructive attribute. We will never be able to tackle climate change if we continue to live in a post-truth age.
Read my full opinion piece here on CNN.com:
Of course, organising scientists to go on a march was always going to be like herding cats. Scientists and science people are professional skeptics. That makes them quick to doubt, criticise and find fault. Witness the many who have vowed not to attend the March for Science, and who are worried about whatever their pet cause is - lack of inclusiveness, too much diversity, whatever, as reported in this piece:
But let's be clear - we need a March for Science, more today than perhaps at any other time in years, if not decades. This is not just about Trump, his constant falsehoods and 'alternative facts', it is something wider, something hopefully non-partisan and broader than any response to a particular political moment in time. It is a defence of Enlightenment values generally, and of human reason and empiricism in the face of appeals from both left (GMOs) and right (climate) to mysticism and mass intuition/prejudice.
That is why it is so important that the March is broad and politically diverse. It is also why it is important for the organisers to avoid too much of the kind of overly liberal virtue-signalling about things like gender and LGBT inclusiveness. We also need conservatives on this march, people who may have a different balance of ethics than liberals but who also believe in the primacy of the scientific method.
I'll end with an analogy. The worst thing that ever happened to climate science was its wholesale co-option by the Left. That meant automatic rejection by the Right - and today we're in a situation where your position on climate in the US is more predictive of political worldview even than your stance on guns and abortion. This kind of partisan tribalism is the one thing that will doom the March if it is allowed to get out of hand and define it as too left-liberal. Being on Earth Day is already a bad start, though I'm told there were logistical rather than political reasons for this.
So here's the upshot. If you are worried that your perspective may not be represented at the worldwide March for Science, there is one thing you can do to ensure your view does not get left out. Turn up! And bring a banner saying loud and clear what you think! Don't just sit at home and grumble. That changes nothing.
So please don't get distracted or disheartened by the ongoing controversies. Keep your eyes on the prize. See you on 22 April, in whichever of the 400-and-counting locations you're planning to attend. Only a month to go.
I visited the Great Barrier Reef in 2002. I subsequently wrote in my book High Tide that "disasters on this scale [such as the 1998 mass-bleaching event] are likely to become commonplace within the next two decades". That was thirteen years ago. I was accused of being alarmist, but this prediction was if anything somewhat conservative.
In Six Degrees (first published 2007) I put mass coral bleaching in my 'one degree' chapter, writing that "by the 2020s, with less than a degree of global warming, the seas will have heated up so much that the 1998 Barrier Reef mass bleaching event would be a 'normal' year." Again, I was accused of scaremongering. But as this New York Times report clearly shows, this is exactly what is now happening, in 2017.