Bray Park’s John Cook has been nominated for a Eureka Prize for his dedication to dispelling the myths surrounding climate change.
A Bray Park resident interested in the “social justice” of climate change is a finalist in one of the country’s most esteemed awards for science.
John Cook is one of three finalists in the Advancement of Climate Change Knowledge category of the Australian Museum Eureka Prize.
The awards cover the fields of research and innovation, leadership and commercialisation, science communication and journalism, and school science.
Mr Cook has been shortlisted for his website Skeptical Science, which examines and rebuts the arguments of global warming skeptics.
“I guess it (the award nomination) is recognising that what I’m doing is having an impact, and that hopefully all the years and effort poured into it (the website) have been worth it,” he said.
“You don’t do it for the recognition, you do it to make a difference so it is an indication that it is making a difference, which is a good thing.”
The 39-year-old said the impetus for establishing the website four years ago was “vigorous discussions with family members who were skeptical about climate change” and “a compulsion to catalogue and collect data”.
“I’ve never been particularly interested in the environment but because I did physics at university I was more interested in the science at first,” Mr Cook said.
“I started researching the various arguments that they (family members) had given… and then when I started looking into the science I could see the arguments they were giving were false.
“I started building up a database of all the different arguments and what the science said about each myth, and it got to the point where I thought ‘this might be useful for other people’.
“One of the main messages of my website is that our understanding of climate change is based on all these different lines of hard evidence, and not just theories or models.”
The co-author of the book Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand said his interest in climate change was also motivated by “social justice”.
“Once I started looking into the science about what climate change means I found the impacts of climate change has the greatest effect on the poorest developing countries, while they’re the countries that contribute to it the least,” Mr Cook said.
“That’s what made me so interested and passionate about the subject, the social justice element to it.”
Skeptical Science readers can also access climate change data via social media and innovative phone apps at http://www.skepticalscience.com/
The Eureka Prize winners will be announced in Sydney in September.