We are writing in response to the Reunions panel “Why Climate Change is NOT an Emergency,” mentioned in your July/August issue. While we can and should have a spirited debate over what the consequences of climate change could be for life on Earth, the basic fact that it is happening is not up for debate anymore. Giving a microphone to those who deny basic reality turns this topic into a political one and severely hampers our ability to create the social will to meet the challenge.
If the University felt pressured to include a climate debate in the name of free speech, it should have insisted on representation from more credible sources than this and included University-affiliated scientists to represent the prevailing view that, yes, climate change is an emergency.
What the “non-emergency” experts said was peppered with questionable science and absurd propositions: that CO2 release doesn’t have the least impact on climate, that deforestation isn't happening, that sea levels aren’t rising. The panelists cherry-picked facts, making up their own version of reality. No counterpoint was expressed until the Q&A.
This panel was a shameful embarrassment to Princeton, with its mission of being “in the service of humanity.” Incredibly, some panelists are now touting the fact that Princeton gave them a voice — and so disinformation metastasizes, besmirching the name of Princeton and casting doubt on a scientific reality that threatens the future of the planet.
The University needs to do better in curating such panels and avoiding fictitious, dangerous positions. Watch the panel for yourself — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEFAVoaLfug — and you decide.