EM1911J "The Scientific Evidence on Climate Change and the Ethics of Skepticism vs Denialism" (IM GR-111119)
The purpose is to introduce the main empirical evidence behind the scientific consensus that human-caused carbon emissions are warming the planet and threatening the health and survival of the world population. Following a “case report” of the role of climate change in causing the 2012 epidemic of West Nile encephalitis in Dallas, the presentation will summarize the evidence that addresses the 4 fundamental questions of the problem: Is the earth’s surface warming? Is the warming due to human effects or natural phenomena? Is the warming climate a serious threat to humans? Should society invest in curtailing climate change? The first two are purely empirical questions which have been thoroughly answered. The last two involve value judgments and economic consequences which have provoked denial of the first two, stymying planet-saving action. Finally the presentation will explain the distinction in scientific ethics between skepticism and denialism and some reasons that people confuse them. The conclusion will consider the moral imperative that physicians protect our patients and the rest of humanity by working toward a solution to climate change, just as the profession did 5 decades ago in leading opposition to world destruction by nuclear warfare.
UT Southwestern faculty, fellows, residents and medical students, community physicians, nurse clinicians, physician assistants and nurses.
At the conclusion of this activity, the participant should be able to:
- Explore the main evidence proving that the surface temperature of the earth has been warming since the beginning of the Industrial Era.
- Review the main evidence establishing that human-related carbon emissions are the primary cause of global warming and climate change.
- Consider the main scientific evidence showing important ways climate change is threatening the health and survival of humans.
- Consider what measures our country must take to curtail and reverse climate change.
- Understand the distinction between scientific skepticism and denialism and the moral imperative for physicians to protect our patients and the rest of humanity by working toward a solution to climate change, just as the profession did 5 decades ago in leading opposition to world destruction by nuclear warfare.
Robert Haley, M.D.
Distinguished Teaching Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
U.S. Armed Forces Veterans Distinguished Chair for Medical Research Honoring America’s Gulf War Veterans
Chief, Division of Epidemiology
Robert W. Haley, M.D., is a Professor of Internal Medicine, Distinguished Teaching Professor, and holder of the U.S. Armed Forces Veterans Distinguished Chair in Medical Research Honoring America’s Gulf War Veterans endowed by Ross Perot and the Perot Foundation. After serving 10 years at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), he joined the UT Southwestern faculty, founding the Division of Epidemiology which he heads. In addition to attending on Parkland Medicine and teaching a course in epidemiology for the clinical investigator and SAS computing for research fellows and young faculty, his research currently focuses on the neurological and genetic basis for sarin-related Gulf War illness and the possible role of paraoxonase in congestive heart failure, and he leads clean air policy development in the Dallas County Medical Society and the Texas Medical Association. While conducting an epidemiologic investigation of Dallas’ 2012 West Nile virus epidemic, he became interested in the problem of climate change which is playing an increasingly important role in the risks of infectious diseases. Realizing that the scientific evidence on climate change is not well known in the medical profession, he began lecturing on the subject first to medical groups and then to lay audiences.
- 1.00 AMA
- 1.00 Ethics