A New Book Manages to Get Climate Science Badly Wrong

In Unsettled, Steven Koonin deploys that highly misleading label to falsely suggest that we don’t understand the risks well enough to take action.

Steven Koonin, a former undersecretary for science of the Department of Energy in the Obama administration, but more recently considered for an advisory post to Scott Pruitt when he was administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has published a new book. Released on May 4 and entitled Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, its major theme is that the science about the Earth’s climate is anything but settled. He argues that pundits and politicians and most of the population who feel otherwise are victims of what he has publicly called “consensus science.”

Koonin is wrong on both counts. The science is stronger than ever around findings that speak to the likelihood and consequences of climate impacts, and has been growing stronger for decades. In the early days of research, the uncertainty was wide; but with each subsequent step that uncertainty has narrowed or become better understood. This is how science works, and in the case of climate, the early indications detected and attributed in the 1980s and 1990s, have come true, over and over again and sooner than anticipated.


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