Lecture by Jan Paul van Soest and Bart Verheggen – Climate skepticism unmasked

Location: Kanunnikenzaal of the Academiegebouw.
Entrance is through the Faculty Club, street address is ‘Achter de Dom 7‘.
Walk around the Dom (clockwise), and take first street right.


Among 99% of climate scientists there is a solid consensus about climate change: (1) climate change is happening, and (2) it is largely caused by human behaviour.

However, in the public and social media we see debates between these climate scientists and the so-called climate skeptics, a debate that centers around the scientific evidence for climate change.

How is it possible that these climate skeptics gain so much attention in the media and in politics when there really is no scientific debate?

On the 3rd of November, two speakers will share their views on the matter matter and enter into discussion with members of YES-DC.

About the speakers:

Jan Paul van Soest: former director of CE Delft, expert in sustainability issues and complex negotiation processes. During this lecture, Jan Paul will address the questions that he has researched for the the Netherlands Council for Environment and Infrastructure: Climate scepticism: Who is behind it, what strategies are used and how come the incorrect message is so successful?

 Jan Paul van Soest will speak about the way climate skepticism works. And more importantly, what kind of interests are behind it. Climate skepticism has started in the US and is based on the same tactics as the tobacco lobby used: employ scientists that zoom in on the little amount of uncertainty that remains, and so create doubt about the facts that are undisputed. Because business interests have the money and connections to reach the public media and policy makers, their message gets a disproportionate amount of attention. And of course, who wouldn’t like to believe that smoking is not harmful or that climate change does not exist?

Jan Paul’s presentation is not a story of black and white, but will show us the many gray zones and often unconscious mechanisms involved in climate scepticism.

Bart Verheggen currently works as scientist Air Quality and Climate Change at ECN Energy research Centre of the Netherlands. Bart holds an MSc in Environmental sciences (air quality and communication from Wageningen University) and a PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry (aerosol formation) from York University (Canada). His interests lie particularly in science communication, and during this night he will shed some light on some elements of climate science.

In Bart’s words: "What do we really know about climate change? The big picture is clear: it’s warming, it’s due to us and it’s bad news. Many details are less clear.

However, large segments of the public have a different view on climate change than the overwhelming majority of scientists do. This hampers the political process to deal with this challenge. In this talk I will discuss what we know about climate change, and what we know less well, from a scientific perspective. Some so-called “skeptical” arguments will also be discussed in passing.

Once the impacts are starting to hurt, it’s only the beginning, because of the inertia in the various systems (energy-, carbon cycle- and climate system). The ‘stop’ button has a delay of multiple decades, which means we have to act based on foresight, or what comes closest to it (e.g. projections based on science)."


Join us and get informed!


Links and recommended reading:
Website of Jan Paul Soest: www.jpvs.nl

Profile Jan Paul Soest on Newspaper Trouw:

Jan Paul’s essay on Climate scepticism: Clogs in the Works, essay on the transition to a sustainable energy economy and its deliberate and unconscious sabotage / (NL version Klompen in de Machinerie)


Bart Verheggen’s personal blog on climate change: http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/