Scientist Acts Out Perfect Analogy for Climate Change Denial—With Cosby Sweaters

The debate over global warming can get heated, so Adam Levy took a more lighthearted approach.
Sep 28, 2014·
Kristina Bravo is Assistant Editor at TakePart.

Last week Jon Stewart skewered climate-change deniers in signature fashion on an episode of The Daily Show. It may have been hilarious, but calling people idiots isn’t likely to change anyone’s mind. Climate scientist Adam Levy took a different approach—by acting out an analogy using brightly colored sweaters.

The video, which he posted on YouTube on Friday, presents an amusing and digestible way to understand how climate change works. In the skit, Levy plays a doctor and a patient.

“I think I’ve got a bug, doc. I feel really hot all the time,” he says, wearing a sweater. As the doctor, Levy points out that it’s probably the sweater, which gets the response, “That’s your opinion.”

That’s the kind of argument people are making, explains Levy as himself, a doctorate student in the department of atmospheric, oceanic, and planetary physics at the University of Oxford.

Before breaking down how climate change is transforming the planet, he notes, “Don’t get me wrong; climate is super complicated, and there’s still lots of tricky questions that need answering. But if it’s hot, the global warming debate is the same as the sweater debate.”

More than 300,000 people participated in last week’s People’s Climate March in New York City, but many influential figures in politics and business still argue over whether global warming is real. As Stewart pointed out last week, it’s more than ignorance.

Energy conglomerates fund the campaigns of several legislators, including some members of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, which oversees the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, and other groups. But as more Americans find the lack of action on climate change unacceptable, thanks to scientists like Levy, who patiently raises awareness about the issue (here’s another video in which he explains rising sea levels using gin and tonic), there’s reason to be optimistic.

Days after the People’s Climate March, tech giants Google, Facebook, and Yelp dropped their support of the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization that, among other things, pushes for legislation that questions whether climate change is real.