"You might as well say that the earth is flat"

In an interview with TU Berlin, MCC Director Ottmar Edenhofer talks about populism in the debate on climate change and the scientific search for truth.

Photo: TU Berlin


The rise of populism, seen in the election of US President Donald Trump or the electoral success of the right-wing populist party AfD in Germany, has an increasing impact on the public climate debate. However, populist criticism of climate science is not a new phenomenon, says Ottmar Edenhofer, Director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) in an interview with Technische Universität Berlin. He points out: “We need to communicate to the public that there is real scientific progress.”

“For example, we are certain that humans are mainly responsible for the increase in the global mean temperature,” the MCC Director continues. “If you deny that, you are challenging the three laws of thermodynamics.” According to this logic, one could just as well argue about whether the earth is flat or not, Edenhofer contends. It is important that science makes clear to the public what they are certain about – while also naming uncertainties and legitimate disagreements.

Watch the full video here (German):

Sign up for the MCC newsletter.