- Associated Press - Saturday, May 14, 2016

LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) - Astrophysicist Philip Judge, a Brit living in Longmont, has become so incensed about climate-change doubters in recent years that he invented a whole new genre of fiction on the subject, called cli-fi-sci.

He’s planning three books, the “Ergo Sum” trilogy, with the second, “Credo, Ergo Sum,” having been self-published in April. The third and final volume will be out later in the year, the Times-Call reported (https://bit.ly/1OkBMaF).

Judge, 56, is a senior scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, where he has worked for 25 years. He arrived in the United States in 1988, first living in Boulder, then moving to Niwot in the late 1990s due to a preference for his children’s elementary school, and then finally to Longmont when his children went to college.

According to Judge, he’s been very concerned about doubters and what he deems to be their political motives. In September, Judge had what he called a difficult week at work, and decided to take a couple of weeks off.

“I thought that I had better make something good out of something bad and I started writing,” he said. “Within about three weeks, I had written a story about the ethics of what’s going on. Basically, I was asking myself the question, ‘What kind of person is willing to gamble the future of their grandchildren at the expense of today?’

“I don’t understand that, personally. I wrote it for myself. I didn’t write it for the public. My wife read it, she’s a literature major, and she said that it’s good, so I decided to push the thing.”

Judge said that the first book is really a look at the decline of the world, and a mission in interstellar travel, including discussion about how we haven’t heard from intelligent life when there are so many stars out there. The second book is about hope, when the world has hit rock-bottom. The third is about how to deal with the future.

The trilogy was clearly prompted by climate change, and what Judge considers the hijacking of the word “skepticism,” as he believes it’s a very important part of what scientists do - trying to disprove their own theories until they can’t.

“That skepticism is absolutely built into what we do,” he said. “To have somebody else say, ‘We’re the skeptics, you’re not,’ is actually rather insulting and it doesn’t give you credit for what your actual job is about.”

While Judge’s books are works of fiction, there are elements of scientific fact and well-researched theories in there, based on the ideas that concern the author the most. For example, Judge said that there’s so much CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere now that, were we to cut off the supply today, it’s already too late.

“It’s a done deal,” he said. “What we should be doing is prepare to retreat from coastal areas. It won’t happen immediately, but it takes one of those really big ice sheets to come off Antarctica. I think the loss of an ice sheet will probably prompt action.”

Judge does believe that there’s cause to be optimistic, however, as there are various projects and initiatives going on around the country that he believes are steps in the right direction

“The windmills in Wyoming, for example,” he said. “People need to learn to live with the planet and not using it.”

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Information from: Daily Times-Call, https://timescall.com/


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