Mason climate communication scientist rejects White House plan to undercut National Climate Assessment

A George Mason University researcher says the White House decision to create an ad hoc group of scientists to counter the government’s own climate science assessment makes no sense, and that it’s imperative to refute that misinformation campaign.

The Trump administration recently announced the creation of a working group of scientists whose mission would be to question the result of the government’s own National Climate Assessment that warned of dire consequences if greenhouse gas emissions weren’t curbed.

“There’s a 97 percent consensus among climate scientists that humans cause global warming,” said John Cook, a research assistant professor at Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication. “But President [Donald] Trump is only interested in hearing from that three percent.”

Trump has long been skeptical of the harm being done to the planet with the continued burning of fossil fuels, and withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

“He already has his views,” Cook said of the president, “and they’re not informed by science. So when science tells him things he doesn’t like, he finds contrarian voices and non-experts to tell him what he wants to hear.”

Climate scientists almost universally agree that the carbon and methane released into the atmosphere have played a significant role in the planet’s rising temperatures. If left unchecked, the results will include more extreme weather, irreparable sea level rise, species extinction and political upheaval, particularly in developing countries.

Cook said it’s imperative the American public gets the facts.

“If you don’t counter the misinformation,” he said, “then the misinformation cancels out the accurate information.”

John Cook can be reached at 703-993-5943 or

For more information, contact John Hollis at 703-993-8781 or

About George Mason 

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 37,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility.