I thought the issue was settled by now, but oh no. People are still denying that Climate Change is a problem.
Whatever Climate Change event you go to these days, the organisers will still feel obliged to run a session on Climate Change Science, explaining why there is actually a very real and already present problem, and why the sceptics are mistaken. And why some of them are paid to lie.
In the end, the arguments boil down to a very few set of contentious and highly debatable, well-disputed positions.
At Climate Camp this year in London, there are plans for a workshop called “Climate Change for Beginners”, or “Climate Science 101” which will contain a section on “Myth Busting”.
Here’s a contribution from me on this topic. I hope to be co-writing some concise ripostes, denying the arguments of the deniers.
Believe it or not, someone used some of these arguments on me in an e-mail this weekend. These sceptics ! You can’t take them anywhere ! They’d deny the pavement/sidewalk exists, or that the waiter(ess) in the cocktail bar is a human being !
Climate Change Deniers (or as they prefer “Sceptics”) are very fond of a certain limited set of arguments which can easily be refuted/debunked/dismissed.
Here’s a brief summary of some of the best clangers around – Klingons that cling on despite the progress in Climate Science.
MYTH #1 : The Climate is always Changing…
VARIANT #1 : …it’s no warmer now than the Medieval Warm Period, or the last Interglacial.
VARIANT #2 : …mankind’s activities are not causing Climate Change.
VARIANT #3 : …there’s nothing we can do to stop it.
VARIANT #4 : …and Life on Earth has always carried on.
VARIANT #5 : …God wouldn’t destroy us with Climate Change.
MYTH #2 : Climate Change is caused by the Sun…
VARIANT #1 : …it’s related to Sunspot activity.
VARIANT #2 : …it’s caused by changes in the Solar Flux.
VARIANT #3 : …it’s caused by Cosmic Rays.
VARIANT #4 : …Global Warming is happening on Mars and Pluto too.
MYTH #3 : Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions aren’t causing Global Warming…
VARIANT #1 : …there’s so little CO2 in the atmosphere.
VARIANT #2 : …the rise in Global Warming has stopped because of saturation of CO2.
VARIANT #3 : …Global Warming stopped in 1998.
VARIANT #4 : …more CO2 comes out of volcanoes than mankind’s activities.
VARIANT #5 : …the trees and plants breathe in Carbon Dioxide again.
VARIANT #6 : …the computer models are wrong.
VARIANT #7 : …the observational data is not good enough.
VARIANT #8 : …CO2 will only cause 1 degree C (more) of Global Warming.
MYTH #4 : Satellites and weather balloons disprove Global Warming theory.
MYTH #5 : The Oceans are cooling.
MYTH #6 : There’s not enough Fossil Fuel to burn to cause dangerous Climate Change.
MYTH #7 : Rising Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere is due to Global Warming.
MYTH #8 : The glaciers/ice sheets are getting thicker.
MYTH #9 : It’s all a conspiracy theory…
VARIANT #1 : …to raise taxes
VARIANT #2 : …to make us all afraid so they can control us.
MYTH #10 : Scientists are always changing their minds…
VARIANT #1 : …In the 1970’s they said we were heading for an Ice Age
MYTH #11 : Arctic Sea Ice is recovering
Helpful links in answering these myths, obfuscations and cherry-picking fallacies :-
“Climate change: A guide for the perplexed”
“Climate Change controversies – a simple guide”
“A guide to facts and fictions about climate change”
“Crock of the Week” – calm and collected videos by Peter Sinclair
“How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: Responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming A Grist Special Series”
“Skeptics’ disputes with the IPCC”
“Operation Noah : Countering Climate Change Sceptics”
“Climate change deniers: failsafe tips on how to spot them”
Science Blogs : Denialism
“Global Warming Sceptic Bingo”
NERC Climate Change Challenge
“How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic”
“Responses to common contrarian arguments”
This is a snippet from the e-mail I received today from a Climate Change Denier. See if you can pick out the myths from the facts (and there are couple) :-
“Yes climate change is very real, has been on going for 4.5 billion years. Has been cyclic for the last 12000 years – since the end of the Younger Dryas. We have probably just topped out warming in 1998 following the peak of the solar cycle (1988) associated with the modern warm period (which followed the Medieval warm period and the Roman warm period). The fact that we are not yet growing grapes in N England suggests to me that the modern warm period did not attain the height of the Roman warm period. With about 5 weeks of Summer melt still to go, its beginning to look like the Arctic Sea ice will show further “healing” compared to the last 2 summers – the summer of 2007 being the one that really set the scare mongering into overdrive. http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/ Doubling CO2 will lead to about 1˚C warming – and there’s not enough high ERoEI FF on the planet for us to reach a doubling.”