Simple rebuttals to denier talking points — with links to the full climate science

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"Simple rebuttals to denier talking points — with links to the full climate science"

Progressives should know the most commonly used arguments by the disinformers and doubters “” and how to answer them.

You should know as much of the science behind those rebuttals as possible, and a great place to start is SkepticalScience.com.

BUT most of the time your best response is to give the pithiest response possible, and then refer people to a  specific website  that has a more detailed scientific explanation with links to the original science.   That’s because usually those you are talking to are rarely in a position to adjudicate scientific arguments.  Indeed, they would probably tune out.  Also,  unless you know the science cold, you are as likely as not to make a  misstatement.

Physicist John Cook has done us a great service by posting good one-line responses, which I repost with links below.  For instance, if somebody  raises the standard talking point that the climate has changed before, you can say, “Climate reacts to whatever forces it to change at the time; humans are now the dominant forcing.”  That  it is actually quite similar to my standard response, “The climate changes  when it is forced to change,  and now humans are forcing it to change far more rapidly than in the past” (see “Humans boosting CO2 14,000 times faster than nature, overwhelming slow negative feedbacks” and “Yes, the atmospheric CO2 fraction has risen at a dangerously fast rate in the past 160 years, reaching levels not seen in millions of years“).  Working in the “humans are now the dominant forcing” part is a good idea.

Cook explains the origin of these one-liners in his post, “Rebutting skeptic arguments in a single line.

Ideas for improvement are very welcome.  I’ll repeat his caveat:

I forgot to mention, I welcome suggested improvements to any of the one line answers. So please post a comment suggesting how they can be better. But I do recommend rather than a “you should include something about…” in your comment, actually give specific wording, keeping it under 100 characters. If its better than the existing wording, I’ll update the database. Thanks for your suggestions.

Note:  This is an update of an 8/9/10 CP post.  Cook has revised his one liners based on comments he received, as you can see.  Also, I have thrown in the longer ‘paragraph’ rebuttals, which any CP reader who plans to speak out on this subject — in public or just with friends and associates — should also be familiar with.

Skeptic Rebuttals

Skeptic Argument One Liner Paragraph
1 “It’s the sun” In the last 35 years of global warming, sun and climate have been going in opposite directions In the last 35 years of global warming, the sun has shown a slight cooling trend. Sun and climate have been going in opposite directions.
2 “Climate’s changed before” Climate reacts to whatever forces it to change at the time; humans are now the dominant forcing. Natural climate change in the past proves that climate is sensitive to an energy imbalance. If the planet accumulates heat, global temperatures will go up. Currently, CO2 is imposing an energy imbalance due to the enhanced greenhouse effect. Past climate change actually provides evidence for our climate’s sensitivity to CO2.
3 “There is no consensus” 97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming. That humans are causing global warming is the position of the Academies of Science from 19 countries plus many scientific organizations that study climate science. More specifically, around 95% of active climate researchers actively publishing climate papers endorse the consensus position.
4 “It’s cooling” The last decade 2000-2009 was the hottest on record. Empirical measurements of the Earth’s heat content show the planet is still accumulating heat and global warming is still happening. Surface temperatures can show short-term cooling when heat is exchanged between the atmosphere and the ocean, which has a much greater heat capacity than the air.
5 “Models are unreliable” Models successfully reproduce temperatures since 1900 globally, by land, in the air and the ocean. While there are uncertainties with climate models, they successfully reproduce the past and have made predictions that have been subsequently confirmed by observations.
6 “Temp record is unreliable” The warming trend is the same in rural and urban areas, measured by thermometers and satellites. Numerous studies into the effect of urban heat island effect and microsite influences find they have negligible effect on long-term trends, particularly when averaged over large regions.
7 “It hasn’t warmed since 1998″ 2005 was the hottest year globally, and 2009 the second hottest. The planet has continued to accumulate heat since 1998 – global warming is still happening. Nevertheless, surface temperatures show much internal variability due to heat exchange between the ocean and atmosphere. 1998 was an unusually hot year due to a strong El Nino.
8 “Ice age predicted in the 70s” The vast majority of climate papers in the 1970s predicted warming. 1970s ice age predictions were predominantly media based. The majority of peer reviewed research at the time predicted warming due to increasing CO2.
9 “Antarctica is gaining ice” Satellites measure Antarctica losing land ice at an accelerating rate. While the interior of East Antarctica is gaining land ice, overall Antarctica is losing land ice at an accelerating rate. Antarctic sea ice is growing despite a strongly warming Southern Ocean.
10 “We’re heading into an ice age” Worry about global warming impacts in the next 100 years, not an ice age in over 10,000 years. The warming effect from more CO2 greatly outstrips the influence from changes in the Earth’s orbit or solar activity, even if solar levels were to drop to Maunder Minimum levels.
11 “CO2 lags temperature” Recent CO2 increase has caused recent warming without any time lag. When the Earth comes out of an ice age, the warming is not initiated by CO2 but by changes in the Earth’s orbit. The warming causes the oceans to give up CO2. The CO2 amplifies the warming and mixes through the atmosphere, spreading warming throughout the planet. So CO2 causes warming AND rising temperature causes CO2 rise.
12 “It’s not bad” Negative impacts of global warming on agriculture, health & environment far outweigh any positives. The negative impacts of global warming on agriculture, health, economy and environment far outweigh any positives.
13 “1934 – hottest year on record” 1934 was one of the hottest years in the US, not globally. 1934 is the hottest year on record in the USA which only comprises 2% of the globe. According to NASA temperature records, the hottest year on record globally is 2005.
14 “Al Gore got it wrong” Al Gore book is quite accurate, and far more accurate than contrarian books. While there are minor errors in An Inconvenient Truth, the main truths presented – evidence to show mankind is causing global warming and its various impacts is consistent with peer reviewed science.
15 “It’s freaking cold!” A local cold day has nothing to do with the long-term trend of increasing global temperatures. Since the mid 1970s, global temperatures have been warming at around 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade. However, weather imposes its own dramatic ups and downs over the long term trend. We expect to see record cold temperatures even during global warming. Nevertheless over the last decade, daily record high temperatures occurred twice as often as record lows. This tendency towards hotter days is expected to increase as global warming continues into the 21st Century.
16 “It’s cosmic rays” Cosmic rays show no trend over the last 30 years & have had little impact on recent global warming. While the link between cosmic rays and cloud cover is yet to be confirmed, more importantly, there has been no correlation between cosmic rays and global temperatures over the last 30 years of global warming.
17 “Hurricanes aren’t linked to global warming” There is increasing evidence that hurricanes are getting stronger due to global warming. It is unclear whether global warming is increasing hurricane frequency but there is increasing evidence that warming increases hurricane intensity.
18 “Hockey stick is broken” Recent studies agree that recent global temperatures are unprecedented in the last 1000 years. Since the hockey stick paper in 1998, there have been a number of proxy studies analysing a variety of different sources including corals, stalagmites, tree rings, boreholes and ice cores. They all confirm the original hockey stick conclusion: the 20th century is the warmest in the last 1000 years and that warming was most dramatic after 1920.
19 “Climategate CRU emails suggest conspiracy” Several investigations have cleared scientists of any wrongdoing in the media-hyped email incident. While some of the private correspondance is not commendable, an informed examination of their “suggestive” emails reveal technical discussions using techniques well known in the peer reviewed literature. Focusing on a few suggestive emails merely serves to distract from the wealth of empirical evidence for man-made global warming.
20 “Arctic icemelt is a natural cycle” Thick arctic sea ice is undergoing a rapid retreat. Arctic sea ice has been retreating over the past 30 years. The rate of retreat is accelerating and in fact is exceeding most models’ forecasts.
21 “Sea level rise is exaggerated” A variety of different measurements find steadily rising sea levels over the past century. Sea levels are measured by a variety of methods that show close agreement – sediment cores, tidal gauges, satellite measurements. What they find is sea level rise has been steadily accelerating over the past century.
22 “It’s Urban Heat Island effect” Urban and rural regions show the same warming trend. While urban areas are undoubtedly warmer than surrounding rural areas, this has had little to no impact on warming trends.
23 “Mars is warming” Mars is not warming globally. Martian climate is primarily driven by dust and albedo and there is little empirical evidence that Mars is showing long term warming.
24 “It’s a 1500 year cycle” Ancient natural cycles are irrelevant for attributing recent global warming to humans. The 1500 year cycles, known as Dansgaard-Oeschger events, are localized to the northern hemisphere and accompanied with cooling in the southern hemisphere. In contrast, current global warming is occuring in both hemispheres and particularly throughout the world’s oceans, indicating a significant energy imbalance.
25 “Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas” Rising CO2 increases atmospheric water vapor, which makes global warming much worse. Water vapour is the most dominant greenhouse gas. Water vapour is also the dominant positive feedback in our climate system and amplifies any warming caused by changes in atmospheric CO2. This positive feedback is why climate is so sensitive to CO2 warming.
26 “Human CO2 is a tiny % of CO2 emissions” The natural cycle adds and removes CO2 to keep a balance; humans add extra CO2 without removing any. The CO2 that nature emits (from the ocean and vegetation) is balanced by natural absorptions (again by the ocean and vegetation). Therefore human emissions upset the natural balance, rising CO2 to levels not seen in at least 800,000 years. In fact, human emit 26 gigatonnes of CO2 per year while CO2 in the atmosphere is rising by only 15 gigatonnes per year – much of human CO2 emissions is being absorbed by natural sinks.
27 “Climate sensitivity is low” Net positive feedback is confirmed by many different lines of evidence. Climate sensitivity can be calculated empirically by comparing past temperature change to natural forcings at the time. Various periods of Earth’s past have been examined in this manner and find broad agreement of a climate sensitivity of around 3°C.
28 “Oceans are cooling” The most recent ocean measurements show consistent warming. Early estimates of ocean heat from the Argo showed a cooling bias due to pressure sensor issues. Recent estimates of ocean heat that take this bias into account show continued warming of the upper ocean. This is confirmed by independent estimates of ocean heat as well as more comprehensive measurements of ocean heat down to 2000 metres deep.
29 “Greenland was green” Other parts of the earth got colder when Greenland got warmer. The Greenland ice sheet has existed for at least 400,000 years. There may have been regions of Greenland that were ‘greener’ than today but this was not a global phenomenon.
30 “CO2 effect is weak” The strong CO2 effect has been observed by many different measurements. An enhanced greenhouse effect from CO2 has been confirmed by multiple lines of empirical evidence. Satellite measurements of infrared spectra over the past 40 years observe less energy escaping to space at the wavelengths associated with CO2. Surface measurements find more downward infrared radiation warming the planet’s surface. This provides a direct, empirical causal link between CO2 and global warming.
31 “Other planets are warming” Mars and Jupiter are not warming, and anyway the sun has recently been cooling slightly. There are three fundamental flaws in the ‘other planets are warming’ argument. Not all planets in the solar system are warming. The sun has shown no long term trend since 1950 and in fact has shown a slight cooling trend in recent decades. There are explanations for why other planets are warming.
32 “Extreme weather isn’t caused by global warming” Extreme weather events are being made more frequent and worse by global warming. There is growing empirical evidence that warming temperatures cause more intense hurricanes, heavier rainfalls and flooding, increased conditions for wildfires and dangerous heat waves.
33 “There’s no empirical evidence” There are multiple lines of direct observations that humans are causing global warming. Direct observations find that CO2 is rising sharply due to human activity. Satellite and surface measurements find less energy is escaping to space at CO2 absorption wavelengths. Ocean and surface temperature measurements find the planet continues to accumulate heat. This gives a line of empirical evidence that human CO2 emissions are causing global warming.
34 “It cooled mid-century” Mid-century cooling involved aerosols and is irrelevant for recent global warming. There are a number of forcings which affect climate (eg – stratospheric aerosols, solar variations). When all forcings are combined, they show good correlation to global temperature throughout the 20th century including the mid-century cooling period. However, for the last 35 years, the dominant forcing has been CO2.
35 “Glaciers are growing” Most glaciers are retreating, posing a serious problem for millions who rely on glaciers for water. While there are isolated cases of growing glaciers, the overwhelming trend in glaciers worldwide is retreat. In fact, the global melt rate has been accelerating since the mid-1970s.
36 “We’re coming out of the Little Ice Age” The sun was warming up then, but the sun hasn’t been warming since 1970. The main driver of the warming from the Little Ice Age to 1940 was the warming sun with a small contribution from volcanic activity. However, solar activity leveled off after 1940 and the net influence from sun and volcano since 1940 has been slight cooling. Greenhouse gases have been the main contributor of warming since 1970.
37 “IPCC is alarmist” The IPCC summarizes the recent research by leading scientific experts. The IPCC lead authors are experts in their field, instructed to fairly represent the full range of the up-to-date, peer-reviewed literature. Consequently, the IPCC reports tend to be cautious in their conclusions. Comparisons to the most recent data consistently finds that climate change is occurring more rapidly and intensely than indicated by IPCC predictions.
38 “It warmed before 1940 when CO2 was low” Early 20th century warming is due to several causes, including rising CO2. Early 20th century warming was in large part due to rising solar activity and relatively quiet volcanic activity. However, both factors have played little to no part in the warming since 1975. Solar activity has been steady since the 50′s. Volcanoes have been relatively frequent and if anything, have exerted a cooling effect.
39 “Polar bear numbers are increasing” Polar bears are in danger of extinction as well as many other species. While there is some uncertainty on current polar bear population trends, one thing is certain. No sea ice means no seals which means no polar bears. With Arctic sea ice retreating at an accelerating rate, the polar bear is at grave risk of extinction
40 “Satellites show no warming in the troposphere” The most recent satellite data show that the earth as a whole is warming. Satellite measurements match model results apart from in the tropics. There is uncertainty with the tropical data due to how various teams correct for satellite drift. The U.S. Climate Change Science Program concludes the discrepancy is most likely due to data errors.
41 “There’s no correlation between CO2 and temperature” There is long-term correlation between CO2 and global temperature; other effects are short-term. Even during a period of long term warming, there are short periods of cooling due to climate variability. Short term cooling over the last few years is largely due to a strong La Nina phase in the Pacific Ocean and a prolonged solar minimum.
42 “Greenland is gaining ice” Greenland on the whole is losing ice, as confirmed by satellite measurement. While the Greenland interior is in mass balance, the coastlines are losing ice. Overall Greenland is losing ice mass at an accelerating rate. From 2002 to 2009, the rate of ice mass loss doubled.
43 “Animals and plants can adapt to global warming” Global warming will cause mass extinctions of species that cannot adapt on short time scales. A large number of ancient mass extinction events have been strongly linked to global climate change. Because current climate change is so rapid, the way species typically adapt (eg – migration) is, in most cases, simply not be possible. Global change is simply too pervasive and occurring too rapidly.
44 “Mt. Kilimanjaro’s ice loss is due to land use” Most glaciers are in rapid retreat worldwide, notwithstanding a few complicated cases. Mount Kilimanjaro’s shrinking glacier is complicated and not due to just global warming. However, this does not mean the Earth is not warming. There is ample evidence that Earth’s average temperature has increased in the past 100 years and the decline of mid- and high-latitude glaciers is a major piece of evidence.
45 “CO2 is not a pollutant” Excess CO2 emissions will lead to hotter conditions that will stress and even kill crops. While there are direct ways in which CO2 is a pollutant (acidification of the ocean), its primary impact is its greenhouse warming effect. While the greenhouse effect is a natural occurence, too much warming has severe negative impacts on agriculture, health and environment.
46 “CO2 was higher in the past” When CO2 was higher in the past, the sun was cooler. When CO2 levels were higher in the past, solar levels were also lower. The combined effect of sun and CO2 matches well with climate.
47 “Medieval Warm Period was warmer” Globally averaged temperature now is higher than global temperature in medieval times. While the Medieval Warm Period saw unusually warm temperatures in some regions, globally the planet was cooler than current conditions.
48 “CO2 limits will harm the economy” Various economic estimates find the net economic impact of a price on carbon will be minor. Economic assessments of proposed policy to put a price on carbon emissions are in widespread agreement that the net economic impact will be minor. The costs over the next several decades center around $100 per average family, or about 75 cents per person per day, and a GDP reduction of less than 1%.
49 “Ocean acidification isn’t serious” Past history shows that when CO2 rises quickly, there was mass extinctions of coral reefs. Past history shows that when CO2 rose sharply, this corresponded with mass extinctions of coral reefs. Currently, CO2 levels are rising faster than any other time in known history. The change in seawater pH over the 21st Century is projected to be faster than anytime over the last 800,000 years and will create conditions not seen on Earth for at least 40 million years.
50 “Scientists can’t even predict weather” Weather and climate are different; climate predictions do not need weather detail. Weather is chaotic, making prediction difficult. However, climate takes a long term view, averaging weather out over time. This removes the chaotic element, enabling climate models to successfully predict future climate change.
51 “There’s no tropospheric hot spot” We see a clear “short-term hot spot” – there’s various evidence for a “long-term hot spot”. Satellite measurements match model results apart from in the tropics. There is uncertainty with the tropic data due to how various teams correct for satellite drift. The U.S. Climate Change Science Program conclude the discrepancy is most likely due to data errors.
52 “2009-2010 winter saw record cold spells” A cold day in Chicago in winter has nothing to do with the trend of global warming. The cold snap is due to a strong phase of the Arctic Oscillation. This is causing cool temperatures at mid-latitudes (eg – Eurasia and North America) and warming in polar regions (Greenland and Arctic Ocean). The warm and cool regions roughly balance each other out with little impact on global temperature.
53 “Arctic sea ice has recovered” Thick arctic sea ice is in rapid retreat. Arctic sea ice has been steadily thinning, even in the last few years while the surface ice (eg – sea ice extent) increased slightly. Consequently, the total amount of Arctic sea ice in 2008 and 2009 are the lowest on record.
54 “2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory” The 2nd law of thermodynamics is consistent with the greenhouse effect which is directly observed. The atmosphere of the Earth is less able to absorb shortwave radiation from the Sun than thermal radiation coming from the surface. The effect of this disparity is that thermal radiation escaping to space comes mostly from the cold upper atmosphere, while the surface is maintained at a substantially warmer temperature. This is called the “atmospheric greenhouse effect”, and without it the Earth’s surface would be much colder.
55 “It’s Pacific Decadal Oscillation” The PDO shows no trend, and therefore the PDO is not responsible for the trend of global warming. PDO as an oscillation between positive and negative values shows no long term trend, while temperature shows a long term warming trend. When the PDO last switched to a cool phase, global temperatures were about 0.4C cooler than currently. The long term warming trend indicates the total energy in the Earth’s climate system is increasing due to an energy imbalance.
56 “It’s the ocean” The oceans are warming and moreover are becoming more acidic, threatening the food chain. Oceans are warming across the globe. In fact, globally oceans are accumulating energy at a rate of 4 x 1021 Joules per year – equivalent to 127,000 nuclear plants (which have an average output of 1 gigawatt) pouring their energy directly into the world’s oceans. This tells us the planet is in energy imbalance – more energy is coming in than radiating back out to space.
57 “Neptune is warming” And the sun is cooling. Neptune’s orbit is 164 years so observations (1950 to present day) span less than a third of a Neptunian year. Climate modelling of Neptune suggests its brightening is a seasonal response. Eg – Neptune’s southern hemisphere is heading into summer.
58 “It’s El Ni±o” El Nino has no trend and so is not responsible for the trend of global warming. The El Nino Southern Oscillation shows close correlation to global temperatures over the short term. However, it is unable to explain the long term warming trend over the past few decades.
59 “Jupiter is warming” Jupiter is not warming, and anyway the sun is cooling. Jupiter’s climate change is due to shifts in internal turbulence fueled from an internal heat source – the planet radiates twice as much energy as it receives from the sun.
60 “Greenland ice sheet won’t collapse” When Greenland was 3 to 5 degrees C warmer than today, a large portion of the Ice Sheet melted. Satellite gravity measurements show Greenland is losing ice mass at an accelerated rate, increasing its contribution to rising sea levels.
61 “Volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans” Humans emit 100 times more CO2 than volcanoes. Volcanoes emit around 0.3 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. This is about 1% of human CO2 emissions which is around 29 billion tonnes per year.
62 “CO2 effect is saturated” Direct measurements find that rising CO2 is trapping more heat. If the CO2 effect was saturated, adding more CO2 should add no additional greenhouse effect. However, satellite and surface measurements observe an enhanced greenhouse effect at the wavelengths that CO2 absorb energy. This is empirical proof that the CO2 effect is not saturated.
63 “Pluto is warming” And the sun has been recently cooling. Pluto’s climate change over the last 14 years is likely a seasonal event. Pluto experiences drastic season changes due to an elliptical orbit (that takes 250 Earth years). Any Plutonian warming cannot be caused by solar variations as the sun has showed little to no long term trend over the past 50 years and sunlight at Pluto is 900 times weaker than it is at the Earth.
64 “CO2 measurements are suspect” CO2 levels are measured by hundreds of stations across the globe, all reporting the same trend. CO2 levels are measured by hundreds of stations scattered across 66 countries which all report the same rising trend.
65 “It’s not happening” Recent global warming is occurring and is due to humans. There are many lines of independent empirical evidence for global warming, from accelerated ice loss from the Arctic to Antarctica to the poleward migration of plant and animal species across the globe.
66 “Solar Cycle Length proves its the sun” The sun has not warmed since 1970 and so cannot be driving global warming. The claim that solar cycle length proves the sun is driving global warming is based on a single study published in 1991.
Subsequent research, including a paper by a co-author of the original 1991 paper, finds the opposite conclusion. Solar cycle length as a proxy for solar activity tells us the sun has had very little contribution to global warming since 1975.
67 “It’s aerosols” Aerosols have been masking global warming, which would be worse otherwise. The global dimming trend reversed around 1990 – 15 years after the global warming trend began in the mid 1970′s.
68 “IPCC were wrong about Himalayan glaciers” Glaciers are in rapid retreat worldwide, despite 1 error in 1 paragraph in a 1000 page IPCC report. The IPCC error on the 2035 prediction was unfortunate and it’s important that such mistakes are avoided in future publications through more rigorous review. But the central message of the IPCC AR4, is confirmed by the peer reviewed literature. The Himalayan glaciers are of vital importance, providing drinking water to half a billion people. Satellites and on-site measurements are observing that Himalayan glaciers are disappearing at an accelerating rate.
69 “CO2 has a short residence time” Excess CO2 from human emissions has a long residence time of over 100 years Individual carbon dioxide molecules have a short life time of around 5 years in the atmosphere. However, when they leave the atmosphere, they’re simply swapping places with carbon dioxide in the ocean. The final amount of extra CO2 that remains in the atmosphere stays there on a time scale of centuries.
70 “500 scientists refute the consensus” Around 97% of climate experts agree that humans are causing global warming. Close inspection of the studies alleged to refute man-made global warming finds that many of these papers do no such thing. Of the few studies that do claim to refute man-made global warming, these repeat well debunked myths.
71 “Sea level rise predictions are exaggerated” Sea level rise is now increasing faster than predicted due to unexpectedly rapid ice melting. Observed sea levels are actually tracking at the upper range of the IPCC projections. When accelerating ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica are factored into sea level projections, the estimated sea level rise by 2100 is between 75cm to 2 metres.
72 “It’s microsite influences” Microsite influences on temperature changes are minimal; good and bad sites show the same trend. Poor weather stations actually show a cooler trend compared to well sited stations. This is due to instrumentation changes. When this is taken into account, there’s negligible difference between poor and well sited stations.
73 “Dropped stations introduce warming bias” If the dropped stations had been kept, the temperature would actually be slightly higher. Dropped weather stations actually show a slightly warmer trend compared to kept stations. So the removal of these faster warming dropped stations has actually imposed a slight cooling trend although the difference is negligible since 1970.
74 “Humans are too insignificant to affect global climate” Humans are small but powerful, and human CO2 emissions are causing global warming. Atmospheric CO2 levels are rising by 15 gigatonnes per year. Humans are emitting 26 gigatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. Humans are dramatically altering the composition of our climate.
75 “Less than half of published scientists endorse global warming” Around 97% of climate experts agree that humans are causing global warming. Schulte’s paper makes much of the fact that 48% of the papers they surveyed are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject anthropogenic global warming. The fact that so many studies on climate change don’t bother to endorse the consensus position is significant because scientists have largely moved from what’s causing global warming onto discussing details of the problem (eg – how fast, how soon, impacts, etc).
76 “It’s not us” Multiple sets of independent observations find a human fingerprint on climate change. The human fingerprint in global warming is evident in multiple lines of empirical evidence – in satellite measurements of outgoing infrared radiation, in surface measurements of downward infrared radiation, in the cooling stratosphere and other metrics.
77 “Greenhouse effect has been falsified” The greenhouse effect is standard physics and confirmed by observations. The atmosphere of the Earth is less able to absorb shortwave radiation from the Sun than thermal radiation coming from the surface. The effect of this disparity is that thermal radiation escaping to space comes mostly from the cold upper atmosphere, while the surface is maintained at a substantially warmer temperature. This is called the “atmospheric greenhouse effect”, and without it the Earth’s surface would be much colder.
78 “It’s a climate regime shift” There is no evidence that climate has chaotic “regimes” on a long-term basis. A full reading of Tsonis and Swanson’s research shows that internal variability from climate shifts merely cause temporary slow downs or speeding up of the long-term warming trend. When the internal variability is removed from the temperature record, what we find is nearly monotonic, accelerating warming throughout the 20th Century.
79 “Mike’s Nature trick to ‘hide the decline’” Phil Jones was quoted out of context, and nothing was hidden. “Mike’s Nature trick” refers to the technique of plotting recent instrumental data along with the reconstructed data. This places recent global warming trends in the context of temperature changes over longer time scales. “Hide the decline” refers to a decline in the reliability of tree rings to reflect temperatures after 1960. This is known as the “divergence problem” where tree ring proxies diverge from modern instrumental temperature records after 1960, discussed in the peer reviewed literature as early as 1995
80 “The science isn’t settled” That human CO2 is causing global warming is known with high certainty & confirmed by observations. Science is never 100% settled – science is about narrowing uncertainty. Different areas of science are understood with varying degrees of certainty. For example, we have a lower understanding of the effect of aerosols while we have a high understanding of the warming effect of carbon dioxide. Poorly understood aspects of climate change do not change the fact that a great deal of climate science is well understood.
81 “It’s land use” Land use plays a minor role in climate change, although carbon sequestration may help to mitigate. Correlations between warming and economic activity are most likely spurious. They don’t take into account local forcing agents such as tropospheric ozone or black carbon. Correlations are likely over-estimated since grid boxes in both economic and climate data are not independent. Lastly, there is significant independent evidence for warming in the oceans, snow cover and sea ice extent changes.
82 “Phil Jones says no global warming since 1995″ Phil Jones was misquoted. When you read Phil Jones’ actual words, you see he’s saying there is a warming trend but it’s not statistically significant. He’s not talking about whether warming is actually happening. He’s discussing our ability to detect that warming trend in a noisy signal over a short period.
83 “Humidity is falling” Multiple lines of independent evidence indicate humidity is rising and provides positive feedback. To claim that humidity is decreasing requires you ignore a multitude of independent reanalyses that all show increasing humidity. It requires you accept a flawed reanalysis that even its own authors express caution about. It fails to explain how we can have short-term positive feedback and long-term negative feedback. In short, to insist that humidity is decreasing is to neglect the full body of evidence.
84 “It’s methane” Methane plays a minor role in global warming but could get much worse if permafrost starts to melt. While methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, there is over 200 times more CO2 in the atmosphere. Hence the amount of warming methane contributes is 28% of the warming CO2 contributes.
85 “Hansen’s 1988 prediction was wrong” Jim Hansen had several possible scenarios; his mid-level scenario B was right. Subsequent comparison of observations with predictions find that Hansen’s Scenario B (which most closely matched the level of CO2 emissions) shows close correlation with observed temperatures.
86 “Lindzen and Choi find low climate sensitivity” Lindzen and Choi’s paper is viewed as unacceptably flawed by other climatologists. Lindzen’s analysis has several flaws, such as only looking at data in the tropics. A number of independent studies using near-global satellite data find positive feedback and high climate sensitivity.
87 “CO2 is not increasing” CO2 is increasing rapidly, and is reaching levels not seen on the earth for millions of years. Currently, humans are emitting around 29 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year. Around 43% remains in the atmosphere – this is called the ‘airborne fraction’. The rest is absorbed by vegetation and the oceans. While there are questions over how much the airborne fraction is increasing, it is clear that the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing dramatically. Current CO2 levels are the highest in 15 million years.
88 “Freedom of Information (FOI) requests were ignored” An independent inquiry found CRU is a small research unit with limited resources and their rigour and honesty are not in doubt. The Independent Climate Change Email Review found the CRU scientists were unhelpful and unsympathetic to information requesters and at times broke FoI laws. However, CRU is a small research unit with limited resources, and they perceived the requesters were not acting in good faith. The same inquiry found the rigour and honesty of the scientists are not in doubt, and their behaviour did not prejudice the advice given to policymakers.
89 “IPCC overestimate temperature rise” Monckton used the IPCC equation in an inappropriate manner. Lord Monckton has taken a single equation from the IPCC, used it in an inappropriate manner, and then attributed his results to the IPCC. This is as if I borrowed your car, drove into a tree, and then blamed you. He uses a method that is clearly intended to examine the long-term response of temperature to changes in carbon dioxide, and which is never used by the IPCC (nor should it be) to make predictions about current temperature trends. A slight change in Lord Monckton’s methodology as of July 2010 still does not make his method or attribution remotely appropriate.
90 “CO2 is coming from the ocean” The ocean is absorbing massive amounts of CO2, and is becoming more acidic as a result. Measurements of carbon isotopes and falling oxygen in the atmosphere show that rising carbon dioxide is due to the burning of fossil fuels and cannot be coming from the ocean.
91 “Naomi Oreskes’ study on consensus was flawed” Benny Peiser, the Oreskes critic, retracted his criticism. An examination of the papers that critics claim refute the consensus are found to actually endorse the consensus or are review papers (eg – they don’t offer any new research but merely review other papers). This led the original critic Benny Peiser to retract his criticism of Oreskes’ study.
92 “Ice isn’t melting” Ice is melting at an accelerating rate at both poles and in glaciers all over the world. Ice mass loss is occuring at an accelerated rate in Greenland, Antarctica and globally from inland glaciers. Arctic sea ice is also falling at an accelerated rate. The exception to this ice loss is Antarctic sea ice which has been growing despite the warming Southern Ocean. This is due to local factors unique to the area.
93 “Record snowfall disproves global warming” Warming leads to increased evaporation and precipitation, which falls as increased snow in winter. To claim that record snowfall is inconsistent with a warming world betrays a lack of understanding of the link between global warming and extreme precipitation. Warming causes more moisture in the air which leads to more extreme precipitation events. This includes more heavy snowstorms in regions where snowfall conditions are favourable. Far from contradicting global warming, record snowfall is predicted by climate models and consistent with our expectation of more extreme precipitation events.
94 “Peer review process was corrupted” An Independent Review concluded that CRU’s actions were normal and didn’t threaten the integrity of peer review. The Independent Climate Change Email Review investigated the CRU scientists’ actions relating to peer review. In one case, it judged their strong reaction to a controversial paper was not unusual. In another, it turned out the alleged victim had actually been spreading malicious rumours about CRU. In a third, the allegation of collusion fell apart when the full email exchange was examined. The Review concluded that CRU’s actions were normal and did not threaten the integrity of peer review.
95 “It’s albedo” Albedo change in the Arctic, due to receding ice, is increasing global warming. The long term trend from albedo is that of cooling. In recent years, satellite measurements of albedo show little to no trend.
96 “Springs aren’t advancing” Hundreds of flowers across the UK are flowering earlier now than any time in 250 years. A synthesis of nearly 400,000 first flowering records covering 405 species across the UK found that British plants are flowering earlier now than at any time in the last 250 years.
97 “IPCC were wrong about Amazon rainforests” The IPCC statement on Amazon rainforests was correct, and was incorrectly reported in some media. The IPCC statement on Amazon rain forests is correct. The error was incorrect citation, failing to mention the peer-reviewed papers where the data came from. The peer-reviewed science prior to the 2007 IPCC report found that up to 40% of the Brazilian forest is vulnerable to drought. Subsequent field research has confirmed this assessment.
98 “CO2 is not the only driver of climate” CO2 is the main driver of climate change. While there are many drivers of climate, CO2 is the most dominant radiative forcing and is increasing faster than any other forcing.
99 “Over 31,000 scientists signed the OISM Petition Project” The ‘OISM petition’ was signed by only a few climatologists. The 30,000 scientists and science graduates listed on the OISM petition represent a tiny fraction (0.3%) of all science graduates. More importantly, the OISM list only contains 39 scientists who specialise in climate science.
100 “It’s too hard” Scientific studies have determined that current technology is sufficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to avoid dangerous climate change. The argument that solving the global warming problem by reducing human greenhouse gas emissions is “too hard” generally stems from the belief that (i) our technology is not sufficiently advanced to achieve significant emissions reductions, and/or (ii) that doing so would cripple the global economy. However, studies have determined that current technology is sufficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions the necessary amount, and that we can do so without significant impact on the economy.
101 “The IPCC consensus is phoney” Ironically, it’s those who are mispresenting Hulme’s paper that are the ones being misleading. Ironically, it’s those who are mispresenting Hulme’s paper that are the ones being misleading.
102 “Ice Sheet losses are overestimated” A number of independent measurements find extensive ice loss from Antarctica and Greenland. Wu et al (2010) use a new method to calculate ice sheet mass balance. This method, like all new methods will improve and be revised with time. Although, it does not agree well with most other measurement techniques, Wu et al’s (2010) estimate is still at the upper end of IPCC predictions for ice losses and shows extensive land-ice losses from both Antarctica and Greenland.
103 “The sun is getting hotter” The sun has just had the deepest solar minimum in 100 years. Various independent measurements of solar activity all confirm the sun has shown a slight cooling trend since 1978.
104 “Solar cycles cause global warming” Over recent decades, the sun has been slightly cooling & is irrelevant to recent global warming. A full reading of Tung 2008 finds a distinct 11 year solar signal in the global temperature record. However, this 11 year cycle is superimposed over the long term global warming trend. In fact, the authors go on to estimate climate sensitivity from their findings, calculate a value between 2.3 to 4.1°C. This confirms the IPCC estimate of climate sensitivity.
105 “Trenberth can’t account for the lack of warming” Trenberth is talking about the details of energy flow, not whether global warming is happening. Trenberth’s views are clarified in the paper “An imperative for climate change planning: tracking Earth’s global energy”. We know the planet is continually heating due to increasing carbon dioxide but that surface temperature sometimes have short term cooling periods. This is due to internal variability and Trenberth was lamenting that our observation systems can’t comprehensively track all the energy flow through the climate system.
106 “Tree-rings diverge from temperature after 1960″ This is a detail that is complex, local, and irrelevant to the observed global warming trend. The divergence problem is a physical phenomenon – tree growth has slowed or declined in the last few decades, mostly in high northern latitudes. The divergence problem is unprecedented, unique to the last few decades, indicating its cause may be anthropogenic. The cause is likely to be a combination of local and global factors such as warming-induced drought and global dimming. Tree-ring proxy reconstructions are reliable before 1960, tracking closely with the instrumental record and other independent proxies.
107 “A drop in volcanic activity caused warming” Volcanoes have had no warming effect in recent global warming – if anything, a cooling effect. A drop of volcanic activity in the early 20th century may have had a warming effect. However, volcanoes have had no warming effect in the last 40 years of global warming. If anything, they’ve imposed a slight cooling effect.
108 “Climate is chaotic and cannot be predicted” Weather is chaotic but climate is driven by Earth’s energy imbalance, which is more predictable. Weather is chaotic because air is light, it has low friction and viscosity, it expands strongly when in contact with hot surfaces and it conducts heat poorly. Therefore weather is never in equilibrium and the wind always blows. The climate is mostly explained by equilibrium radiation physics, which puts the brakes on variations in global temperatures. Effects from weather, the Sun, volcanoes etc. currently only causes a small amount of chaotic behavior compared to the deterministic, predictable greenhouse gas forcing for the next 100 years”
109 “Mauna Loa is a volcano” The global trend is calculated from hundreds of CO2 measuring stations and confirmed by satellites. The trend in CO2 at Mauna Loa is practically identical to the global trend because CO2 mixes well throughout the atmosphere. The global trend is calculated from hundreds of CO2 measuring stations and is consistent with independently measurements from satellites.
110 “It’s waste heat” Greenhouse warming is adding 100 times more heat to the climate than waste heat. The contribution of waste heat to the global climate is 0.028 W/m2. In contrast, the contribution from human greenhouse gases is 2.9 W/m2. Greenhouse warming is adding about 100 times more heat to our climate than waste heat.
111 “Water levels correlate with sunspots” This detail is irrelevant to the observation of global warming caused by humans. There seems to be evidence for a link between solar activity and water levels. However, more direct comparisons between solar activity and global temperature finds that as the sun grew hotter or cooler, Earth’s climate followed it with a 10 year lag – presumably due to the dampening effect of the ocean. Also found was that the correlation between solar activity and global temperatures ended around 1975, hence recent warming must have some other cause than solar variations.
112 “CO2 emissions do not correlate with CO2 concentration” That humans are causing the rise in atmospheric CO2 is confirmed by multiple isotopic analyses. When CO2 emissions are compared directly to CO2 levels, there is a strong correlation in the long term trends. This is independently confirmed by carbon isotopes which find the falling ratio of C13/C12 correlates well with fossil fuel emissions.
113 “Renewables can’t provide baseload power” A combination of different renewables can provide long-term baseload. Although renewable energy does not necessarily need to provide baseload power in the short-term, there are several ways in which it can do so. For example, geothermal energy is available at all times, concentrated solar thermal energy has storage capability, and wind energy can be stored in compressed air.
114 “Breathing contributes to CO2 buildup” By breathing out, we are simply returning to the air the same CO2 that was there to begin with. By breathing out, we are simply returning to the air the same CO2 that was there to begin with.
115 “Global warming stopped in 1998, 1995, 2002, 2007, 2010, ????” But global temperatures rose sharply in 2009, to the second hottest level. 2007′s dramatic cooling is driven by strong La Nina conditions which historically has caused similar drops in global temperature. It is also exacerbated by unusually low solar activity.
116 “Water vapor in the stratosphere stopped global warming” This possibility just means that future global warming could be even worse. The effect from stratospheric water vapor contributes a fraction of the temperature change imposed from man-made greenhouse gases. Also, it’s not yet clear whether changes in stratospheric water vapor are caused by a climate feedback or internal variability (eg – linked to El Nino Southern Oscillation). However, the long term warming trend seems to speak against the possibility of a negative feedback.
117 “Warming causes CO2 rise” Recent warming is due to rising CO2. Hocker is claiming that his model shows that the long-term upward trend in CO2 is explained by temperature, when his methods actually removed the long-term trend. In today’s world, the greatly increased partial pressure of CO2 from fossil fuel emissions causes a flux of CO2 from the atmosphere to the oceans. Observations show the oceans are a “sink” rather than a source of CO2 in the atmosphere
118 “It’s ozone” Ozone has only a small effect. Multiple satellite measurements and ground-based observations have determined the ozone layer has stopped declining since 1995 while temperature trends continue upwards.
119 “Scientists retracted claim that sea levels are rising” The Siddall 2009 paper was retracted because its predicted sea level rise was too low. The retracted paper actually predicts a low range of future sea level rise. The retraction removes a lower bound of sea level prediction. This increases confidence in other peer-reviewed research predicting sea level rise of 80cm to 2 metres by 2100.
120 “CO2 was higher in the late Ordovician” The sun was much cooler during the Ordovician. During the Ordovician, solar output was much lower than current levels. Consequently, CO2 levels only needed to fall below 3000 parts per million for glaciation to be possible. The latest CO2 data calculated from sediment cores show that CO2 levels fell sharply during the late Ordovician due to high rock weathering removing CO2 from the air. Thus the CO2 record during the late Ordovician is entirely consistent with the notion that CO2 is a strong driver of climate.
121 “Southern sea ice is increasing” Antarctic sea ice has grown in recent decades despite the Southern Ocean warming at the same time. Antarctic sea ice has growing over the last few decades but it certainly is not due to cooling – the Southern Ocean has shown warming over same period. Increasing southern sea ice is due to a combination of complex phenomena including cyclonic winds around Antarctica and changes in ocean circulation.
122 “Antarctica is too cold to lose ice” Glaciers are sliding faster into the ocean because ice shelves are thinning due to warming oceans. Antarctica is losing ice because its glaciers are speeding up. This is due to melt water lubricating the base of the glaciers and the removal of ice shelves which act as a “speed bump” slowing the glacier flow. The ice shelves are thinning due to warming ocean waters.
123 “DMI show cooling Arctic” While summer maximums have showed little trend, the annual average Arctic temperature has risen sharply in recent decades. While summer maximums have showed little trend, the annual average Arctic temperature has risen sharply in recent decades.
124 “It’s CFCs” CFCs contribute at a small level. Models and direct observations find that CFCs only contribute a fraction of the warming supplied by other greenhouse gases.
125 “Melting ice isn’t warming the Arctic” Melting ice leads to more sunlight being absorbed by water, thus heating the Arctic. Decline in sea ice is the major driver of Arctic amplification. This is evidence by the pattern of atmospheric warming over the Arctic. Maximum warming occurs over the surface during winter while less surface warming is found in summer when heat is being used to melt sea ice. This pattern is consistent with sea ice amplification.
126 “It’s global brightening” This is a complex aerosol effect with unclear temperature significance. Global brightening is caused by changes in cloud cover, reflective aerosols and absorbing aerosols. While these changes lead to more sunlight hitting the surface, they also have a cooling effect due to clouds trapping less warmth and absorbing aerosols absorbing less sunlight. The net effect of global brightening is considerably smaller than the forcing from CO2.
127 “Positive feedback means runaway warming” Positive feedback won’t lead to runaway warming; diminishing returns on feedback cycles limit the amplification. Positive feedback means that a system reacts to a stimulus by reinforcing that stimulus, so the stimulus builds up, and the output builds up, and the stimulus builds up… However, this only leads to a “runaway” instability if the reinforcement is strong enough. If it’s not, as in the case with the enhanced greenhouse effect, the feedback can give rise to a definite, but stable, increase over the original stimulus.
128 “Greenland has only lost a tiny fraction of its ice mass” Greenland’s ice loss is accelerating & will add metres of sea level rise in upcoming centuries. Multiple lines of evidence indicate Greenland’s ice loss is accelerating and will contribute sea level rise in the order of metres over the next few centuries.
129 “Satellite error inflated Great Lakes temperatures” Temperature errors in the Great Lakes region are not used in any global temperature records. Temperature errors in the Great Lakes region are not incorporated in any of the global mean temperature records. In particular, there is no connection to the satellite microwave temperature analyses by RSS and UAH, which use entirely different sensors operating in a quite different portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.
130 “It’s satellite microwave transmissions” Satellite transmissions are extremely small and irrelevant. A generous estimate of the energy generated by satellites is around 1 million times too small to cause global warming.
131 “Royal Society embraces skepticism” The Royal Society still strongly state that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming. The Royal Society states that “There is strong evidence that changes in greenhouse gas concentrations due to human activity are the dominant cause of the global warming that has taken place over the last half century” and “The decade 2000-2009 was, globally, around 0.15 °C warmer than the decade 1990-1999″. They are not denying anthropogenic global warming.
132 “We didn’t have global warming during the Industrial Revolution” CO2 emissions were much smaller 100 years ago. Global CO2 emissions during the Industrial Revolution were a fraction of the CO2 we are currently emitting now.
133 “It’s only a few degrees” A few degrees of global warming has a huge impact on ice sheets, sea levels and other aspects of climate. A few degrees of global warming has a huge impact on ice sheets, sea levels and other aspects of climate.
134 “CO2 only causes 35% of global warming” On top of CO2 warming, other pollutants such as methane and black carbon cause additional warming 65% as much as CO2. The Nature commentary by Penner et al. on which this argument is based actually says that on top of the global warming caused by carbon dioxide, other short-lived pollutants (such as methane and black carbon) cause an additional warming approximately 65% as much as CO2, and other short-lived pollutants (such as aerosols) also cause some cooling. However, claiming that CO2 has only caused 35% of global warming is a gross misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the paper.
135 “Skeptics were kept out of the IPCC?” Official records, Editors and emails suggest CRU scientists acted in the spirit if not the letter of IPCC rules. The Independent Climate Change Email Review investigated the CRU scientists’ actions as IPCC authors. Official records, Review Editors, and even the emails themselves suggest the CRU scientists acted in the spirit if not the letter of the IPCC rules. Anyway, the relevant texts were team responsibilities.
136 “CRU tampered with temperature data” An independent inquiry went back to primary data sources and were able to replicate CRU’s results. The Independent Climate Change Email Review went back to primary data sources and were able to replicate CRU’s results. This means not only was CRU not hiding anything, but it had nothing to hide. Though CRU neglected to provide an exact list of temperature stations, it could not have hid or tampered with data.
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24 Responses to Simple rebuttals to denier talking points — with links to the full climate science

  1. Dennis says:

    Joe, the links from the rebuttals are relative and don’t point to the lengthy rebuttals on skepticalscience.com

  2. Anne says:

    Someone should do a similar project that speaks to objections to climate change based on religious beliefs. Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, for example, has been able to communicate with religious groups effectively through her experiences in her marriage to evangelical pastor Andrew Farley. They even co-wrote a book together, A Climate for Change — http://www.climateforchangethebook.com — that helps to bridge the gap between a world view where “God” controls everything on Earth, and another that has “faith” that science can measure the human impact on Earth’s ecosystems and be used as a tool for understanding the human predicament we’re creating. In an audio interview I heard recently, Hayhoe claimed she’s been able to address each and every argument raised by the evangelical “disbelievers” causing them to take pause and rethink their views. She also made an insightful point — that there is still a slow burn of resentment among those who believe in ‘creationism’ towards scientists who have put forth evolution and Darwinism. In my view, a well orchestrated, well thought out approach to bring religious communities together with scientists to encourage dialogue and exchanges of information and viewpoints would be a fruitful exercise.

  3. spiritkas says:

    G’day,

    As much as it is good to have the quick intellectual ammo to shoot down the strange errant arguments, I think the key isn’t to convince someone deadset against the matter or try to undo the conditioning/brainwashing they’ve received from the propaganda industrial complex known as the ‘media’ or ‘news’.

    I’m with George Lakoff in smartly reframing the issue. As long as you use their frame, even if you win fights against nonsensical points, you’re loosing the war because you’re working within their frame.

    I think it can feel intellctually dishonest or manipulative, but speakign the truth in its own frame and walking away from talking inside and around their points is ineffective because it is working on their map that lays out a series of arguments one after another like landmines on the path to getting to the truth of the matter. Social capital is long long long exhausted before you can work your way through that maze of stupidity!

    It might be a bit off and sound like that dirty political speak trick, but you just have to talk about something else. If they want to talk about rediculous bouys and temperature readings they heard some guy on the radio talking about as being questionable…you can’t carry around a briefcase of papers or a mouthful of links to websites.

    Talk about what they cannot and do not explain. The BS haux crowd is always pressing on on what they imagine to be the weak spots of climate science…and they are right. Not because the science is weak, but because there are points that are difficult to explain or counterintuitive. They press us on a handful of weak points and to talk about those difficult to communicate points makes us weak because no one freaking understands and the VIEWER who we actually care about talking to walks away confused as they attention wanes long before the misinformation does.

    We need to get on points and simply ignore nonsense, that’s the best thing to do with BS is to step over it, not put your foot into it and talk about what the cow ate.

    Challenge on shifts in disease, challenge on trees dying and killer bees, challenge on the increase from like 10 hurricannes to 30 in a year and on how the average number of extreme weather events is rising. They don’t have an answer and then keep pressing on.

    We have to imprint our frame on people, not just a few arguments. I heard a guy on Democracy Now this morning doing a horrible horrible job, he was talking about an even bein 6 standard deviations away from the norm and spoke about bell curves for 5 minutes of his time. UG!!! We have to convince lay people here! We have to use our own frame!

    Cheers,

    spriritkas

  4. Blaine says:

    Whenever I get told that humans can’t possibly affect something the size of the earth I like to throw out a few numbers…

    We emit (very) roughly 57 trillion tons of CO2 per year…or about:

    …143 million Boeing 747′s
    …78,000 Empire State buildings
    …380 billion human beings…

    Most people are incredulous at this point and usually call me out…which is my opening to showing them some real research.

  5. Joe1347 says:

    Thanks, an excellent and very useful list. Although it seems like many deniers aren’t even bothering with any sort of scientific arguments and instead are asserting the global warming is part of the earths “natural cycles” and we’re now simply in a warming cycle. There’s also the religious element to deal with of how a divine power will protect us from harm ultimately – so we need not worry (about Global Warming). The other one that I keep hearing is that the Climate Scientists are just making it all up just to keep the grant money (from the Government) flowing. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but this is what I run into almost immediately after refuting the first few of the denialists “scientific’ arguments.

    So, how do you deal with the anti-science, religious, anti-government/tea party element that aren’t interested in science based facts? I certainly don’t have a clue.

  6. Blaine says:

    Hmmm. I said tons…meant to say pounds.

    Not enough coffeee yet. Sorry.

  7. #3 totally agree based on my frequent discussions over the years with folks who objected to my reporting of climate science. Most of the “debate” isn’t about information or data, it’s about beliefs, values and identity. Action on climate change (and therefore climate science itself) has been successfully portrayed as a threat to the American way of life.

  8. #113 – “Renewables can’t provide baseload power.”

    Oneliner: Renewables already provide baseload power, and energy storage systems expand that capability.

  9. john atcheson says:

    1.) I’d simplify many of these.

    Number 1, for example should read: The atmosphere has gotten hotter as the sun has gotten cooler.

    2) Yes, freak releases of GHG from volcanoes has caused global warming in the past, and now we’re causing it; one of these past events nearly wiped out life on Earth.

    4) Trends aren’t measured in year-to-year changes — trends are measured in decades and this past decade is the hottest on record.

  10. 350 Now says:

    “Today’s war on climate scientists is worse than under the Bush Administration”
    by Rick Piltz

    http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/2010/12/27/today’s-war-on-climate-scientists-is-worse-than-under-the-bush-administration/

  11. catman306 says:

    Treehugger has picked up Joe’s posting. We can hope that soon MSM will follow. Good job!

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/12/rebut-climate-change-denier-simple-responses.php

  12. Jim Eager says:

    NOAA’s November State of the Climate Analysis is finally out:
    http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2010/11

    - Second warmest November global land-ocean surface average on record, warmest northern hemisphere land-ocean average

    - Warmest November global land surface average on record, second warmest northern hemisphere record

    - Warmest January-November global land-ocean surface average on record

  13. BBHY says:

    Joe1347,

    When they use the “natural cycles” argument is it time to start using their own tactics against them, ie. question their supposed “science” and poke holes in the weakness of their argument:

    “What exactly do you mean ‘natural cycles’? What does that mean? Do you have any evidence for that? Is there any actual theory behind that? What drives these cycles? You can’t just wave your hands and say ‘natural cycles’, that’s not any argument at all! That is simply BS! That means you got nothing! You are just giving up, because you got absolutely nothing!

    Our side has evidence from observations and physics and peer reviewed research and all you got is hand waving and ‘natural cycles’. That’s pathetic!”

    Seriously, it is the deniers that must be made to prove their side, (impossible of course, since they are dead wrong). We already have more than sufficient evidence for our side.

  14. BBHY says:

    “Weather is chaotic but climate is driven by Earth’s energy imbalance, which is more predictable.”

    I like to tell people that weather is small scale and climate is large scale. Often things become much more predictable at larger scales. If I dump a load of sand over a cliff, I can’t tell you where each and every grain of sand will go, but I’m certain there is going to be a pile of sand at the bottom of the cliff.

  15. Peter M says:

    When I ask those who have no understanding about climate change- what is happening- they say its a ‘cycle’– ‘its happened before’…then I ask what has caused these ‘cycles’- their response is a big fat zero.

    When I tell them all throughout geologic history, natural cycles of warming and cooling have been largely predicted on the amount of C02 in the atmosphere – they either do not understand the concept – or reply its only a cycle- again.

    Obviously the dumbing down of American has reached its peak – aided by Fox and other right wing propaganda.

  16. Paulm says:

    There’s a couple of sights which show the exponential relation between various data like population, co2′ ice melt, etreme weather. Etc.

    Does anyone have it?

  17. Solar Jim says:

    RE #36 “The sun was warming up then, but the sun hasn’t been warming since 1970.”

    This statement seems inconsistent with the longer explanation concerning the year 1940.

  18. David B. Benson says:

    Not only progressives, but all climate hawks.

  19. bbgonekiwi says:

    #70 et al.

    ‘around 97 percent of climate experts’ – suggest this changes to ‘more than 96% of climate experts’ as it removes the uncertainty of the word ‘around’ and still underlines the fact that the vast majority of experts hold a certain view.

    i agree with those comments who say these fact based approaches aren’t always good for people that aren’t into rational discussion or data; but they are really helpful for people who are, and in e.g. advocacy situations when fronting committees, hearings and for media etc. so very pleased for find this link. keep up the good work!

  20. MapleLeaf says:

    Paulm @16,

    Try this:
    http://www.climate.gov/#understandingClimate

    Also, try this nifty site (which has a SkepticalScience connection):

    http://www.brightstarstemeculavalley.org/science/climate.html

  21. richard sequest says:

    What is the best response to a climate disinformer? Ask this question:

    Why do 97% of climate scientists agree with the consensus opinion that humans are driving climate change?

    There is no logical answer other than they must be right.

  22. Tom Gibbons says:

    A few things I have told people…

    To anything of the “It’s freaking cold” genre: “We swing from 90 above to 20 below from summer to winter. A few degrees of warming will not cancel that. It might make some big changes in rainfall on the fields, though. You know. Like the 100-year floods we have every few years?” (I live in Iowa. Fill in your own weather details.)

    To anything of the “They can’t even predict the weather” genre: “We don’t know the weather in two weeks, but you could predict what will happen on the average next summer without any help from anyone. That average thing? That’s climate.”

    Also to that, an insurance company analogy has seemed helpful. “They know on the average how many life insurance policies they will have to pay each year. They just don’t know who.”

    To any misunderstanding of downward fluctuations within a warming trend: “You know how the temperature sometimes goes back down for a while in April or May? You are still pretty sure that summer is coming.”

    To any confusion about why there would be more water vapor in a warming world: “Remember those hot humid days last summer? And the cold, dry days in the winter? Warm air just holds more moisture.”

    I don’t think I have ever said all that at once, but I just pick out what seems helpful at any given time.

  23. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    It’s a tremendous effort and I dips me lid to the authors, but, alas, I fear that it is futile. The denialists that infest the comments blogs and newspaper letters etc are immune, because intellectually insufficient to the task and ideologically fanatic, to reason and argument. This is a question of religious and quasi-religious belief, so nothing we can do will convince them. We are, as far as the denialists are concerned, the forces of evil, and the science is anathema.

  24. peter whitehead says:

    We have reached a point in democratising our culture where everyone’s opinion is of equal value, except perhaps that celebrities’ opinions are perhaps mnore important than everyone else’s.

    Also popular culture is increasingly about the non-rational; psychics, supernatural events etc. Using the language of the Age of Reason is not going to get to people who think they are surrounded by angels.

    the response to ’97% of climate experts agree…’ is likely to met by ‘who cares what they think? I saw on Fox News…’

    An answer is to say ‘If you don’t accept the concept of experts, then let me fix your car – I think it would go better with vinegar in the tank. My opinion is as good as the so-called experts who built it.’