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from Gristmill: How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic
Below is a complete listing of the articles in "How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic," a series by Coby Beck containing responses to common skeptical arguments on global warming. Individual articles will appear under multiple headings. There are four separate taxonomies; arguments are divided by:
Stages of Denial
| Scientific Topics | Types of Argument | Levels of Sophistication

This whole presentation is extremely beguiling and was my first point of reference I regarded as "thorough" and believable. How mistaken I was! Every single argument here is set up as a "straw man", as a misrepresentation of the informed skeptic's position, so that it can be debunked as "naive", "uninformed", "misinformed", etc.

Stages of Denial

1. There's nothing happening
1. Inadequate evidence

* There is no evidence
* One record year is not global warming
* The temperature record is simply unreliable
* One hundred years is not enough
* Glaciers have always grown and receded
* Warming is due to the Urban Heat Island effect
* Mauna Loa is a volcano
* The scientists aren't even sure
2. Contradictory evidence
* It's cold today in Wagga Wagga
* Antarctic ice is growing
* The satellites show cooling
* What about mid-century cooling?
* Global warming stopped in 1998
* But the glaciers are not melting
* Antarctic sea ice is increasing
* Observations show climate sensitivity is not very high
* Sea level in the Arctic is falling
* Some sites show cooling
3. No consensus
* Global warming is a hoax
* There is no consensus
* Position statements hide debate
* Consensus is collusion
* Peiser refuted Oreskes

2. We don't know why it's happening
1. Models don't work

* We cannot trust unproven computer models
* The models don't have clouds
* If aerosols are blocking the sun, the south should warm faster
* Observations show climate sensitivity is not very high
2. Prediction is impossible
* We can't even predict the weather next week
* Chaotic systems are not predictable
3. We can't be sure
* Hansen has been wrong before
* If we can't understand the past, how can we understand the present?
* The scientists aren't even sure
* They predicted global cooling in the 1970s

3. Climate change is natural
1. It happened before

* It was warmer during the Holocene Climatic Optimum
* The medieval warm period was just as warm as today
* Greenland used to be green
* Global warming is nothing new!
* The hockey stick is broken
* Vineland was full of grapes
2. It's part of a natural change

* Current global warming is just part of a natural cycle
* Mars and Pluto are warming too
* CO2 in the air comes mostly from volcanoes
* The null hypothesis says global warming is natural
* Climate is always changing
* Natural emissions dwarf human emissions
* The CO2 rise is natural
* We are just recovering from the LIA
3. It's not caused by CO2

* Climate scientists dodge the subject of water vapor
* Water vapor accounts for almost all of the greenhouse effect
* There is no proof that CO2 is causing global warming
* Mars and Pluto are warming too
* CO2 doesn't lead, it lags
* What about mid-century cooling?
* Geological history does not support CO2's importance
* Historically, CO2 never caused temperature change
* It's the sun, stupid

4. Climate change is not bad

1. The effects are good

* What's wrong with warmer weather?
2. The effects are minor
3. Change is normal


5. Climate change can't be stopped

1. Too late

* Kyoto is a big effort for almost nothing
2. It's someone else's problem

* Why should the U.S. join Kyoto when China and India haven't?
* The U.S. is a net CO2 sink
3. Economically infeasible

* Climate change mitigation would lead to disaster

Scientific Topics

1. Temperature
* There is no evidence
* The temperature record is simply unreliable
* One hundred years is not enough
* Current global warming is just part of a natural cycle
* What's wrong with warmer weather?
* It's cold today in Wagga Wagga
* Warming is due to the Urban Heat Island effect
* The satellites show cooling
* Global warming stopped in 1998
* They predicted global cooling in the 1970s
* Some sites show cooling

2. Atmosphere

3. Extreme events

1. Temperature records

* One record year is not global warming
* It's cold today in Wagga Wagga
2. Storms
3. Droughts

4. Cryosphere

1. Glaciers

* Glaciers have always grown and receded
* But the glaciers are not melting
2. Sea ice
* Antarctic sea ice is increasing
3. Ice sheets
* Antarctic ice is growing
* Greenland used to be green

5. Oceans
* Sea level in the Arctic is falling

6. Modeling

1. Scenarios

* Kyoto is a big effort for almost nothing
* Hansen has been wrong before
2. Uncertainties
* We can't even predict the weather next week
* Chaotic systems are not predictable
* We cannot trust unproven computer models
* The models don't have clouds

7. Climate forcings

1. Solar influences

* Mars and Pluto are warming too
* It's the sun, stupid
2. Greenhouse gases

* Climate scientists dodge the subject of water vapor
* Water vapor accounts for almost all of the greenhouse effect
* There is no proof that CO2 is causing global warming
* CO2 doesn't lead, it lags
* CO2 in the air comes mostly from volcanoes
* What about mid-century cooling?
* Geological history does not support CO2's importance
* Natural emissions dwarf human emissions
* Mauna Loa is a volcano
* The CO2 rise is natural
* Historically, CO2 never caused temperature change
* The US is a net CO2 sink
* Observations show climate sensitivity is not very high
3. Aerosols

* What about mid-century cooling?
* If aerosols are blocking the sun, the south should warm faster

8. Paleo climate

1. Holocene

* It was warmer during the Holocene Climatic Optimum
* The medieval warm period was just as warm as today
* Greenland used to be green
* The hockey stick is broken
* Vineland was full of grapes
* We are just recovering from the LIA
2. Ice ages

* CO2 doesn't lead, it lags
* Global warming is nothing new!
3. Geologic history

* What's wrong with warmer weather?
* Geological history does not support CO2's importance
* Climate is always changing
* Historically, CO2 never caused temperature change
* If we can't understand the past, how can we understand the present?

9. Scientific process
* Global warming is a hoax
* There is no proof that CO2 is causing global warming
* There is no consensus
* The null hypothesis says global warming is natural
* Position statements hide debate
* If we can't understand the past, how can we understand the present?
* The scientists aren't even sure
* Consensus is collusion
* Peiser refuted Oreskes

Types of Argument

1. Uninformed
* There is no evidence
* One record year is not global warming
* One hundred years is not enough
* There is no proof that CO2 is causing global warming
* What's wrong with warmer weather?
* Climate change mitigation would lead to disaster
* There is no consensus
* We cannot trust unproven computer models

2. Misinformed
* It was warmer during the Holocene Climatic Optimum
* The medieval warm period was just as warm as today
* Antarctic ice is growing
* CO2 in the air comes mostly from volcanoes
* Greenland used to be green
* The satellites show cooling
* Natural emissions dwarf human emissions
* It's the sun, stupid
* The U.S. is a net CO2 sink
* But the glaciers are not melting
* Antarctic sea ice is increasing
* They predicted global cooling in the 1970s
* Vineland was full of grapes

3. Cherry Picking
* It's cold today in Wagga Wagga
* Antarctic sea ice is growing
* The satellites show cooling
* Global warming stopped in 1998
* Antarctic sea ice is increasing
* Vineland was full of grapes
* Observations show climate sensitivity is not very high
* The sea level in the Arctic is falling
* Some sites show cooling

4. Urban Myths
* The medieval warm period was just as warm as today
* CO2 in the air comes mostly from volcanoes
* Greenland used to be green
* Hansen has been wrong before
* They predicted global cooling in the 1970s
* Vineland was full of grapes

5. FUD
* The temperature record is simply unreliable
* Glaciers have always grown and receded
* Climate scientists dodge the subject of water vapor
* Water vapor accounts for almost all of the greenhouse effect
* Current global warming is just part of a natural cycle
* Kyoto is a big effort for almost nothing
* Mars and Pluto are warming too
* It's cold today in Wagga Wagga
* CO2 doesn't lead, it lags
* There is no consensus
* Antarctic ice is growing
* Warming is due to the Urban Heat Island effect
* We can't even predict the weather next week
* Chaotic systems are not predictable
* What about mid-century cooling?
* The null hypothesis says global warming is natural
* Geological history does not support CO2's importance
* Climate is always changing
* Natural emissions dwarf human emissions
* Mauna Loa is a volcano
* Global warming is nothing new!
* The CO2 rise is natural
* The hockey stick is broken
* Historically, CO2 never caused temperature change
* The models don't have clouds
* Global warming stopped in 1998
* If we can't understand the past, how can we understand the present?
* If aerosols are blocking the sun, the south should warm faster
* The scientists aren't even sure
* Antarctic sea ice is increasing
* Peiser refuted Oreskes
* Vineland was full of grapes
* Observations show climate sensitivity is not very high
* Sea level in the Arctic is falling
* We are just recovering from the LIA

6. Non Scientific
* Global warming is a hoax
* Kyoto is a big effort for almost nothing
* Why should the U.S. join Kyoto when China and India haven't?
* Hansen has been wrong before
* Position statements hide debate
* The scientists aren't even sure
* Consensus is collusion
* They predicted global cooling in the 1970s

7. Underdog Theories
8. Crackpottery

 

Levels of Sophistication

1. Silly
* There is no evidence
* Global warming is a hoax
* One record year is not global warming
* Climate change mitigation would lead to disaster
* Mars and Pluto are warming too
* Mauna Loa is a volcano

2. Naive
* One hundred years is not enough
* Glaciers have always grown and receded
* Why should the U.S. join Kyoto when China and India haven't?
* It's cold today in Wagga Wagga
* CO2 in the air comes mostly from volcanoes
* We can't even predict the weather next week
* We can not trust unproven computer models
* The satellites show cooling
* Natural emissions dwarf human emissions
* The models don't have clouds
* Global warming stopped in 1998
* It's the sun, stupid
* If we can't understand the past, how can we understand the present?
* The scientists aren't even sure
* Vineland was full of grapes
* Some sites show cooling

3. Specious
* The temperature record is simply unreliable
* Climate scientists dodge the subject of water vapor
* There is no proof that CO2 is causing global warming
* Current global warming is just part of a natural cycle
* It was warmer during the Holocene Climatic Optimum
* The medieval warm period was just as warm as today
* What's wrong with warmer weather?
* Kyoto is a big effort for almost nothing
* CO2 doesn't lead, it lags
* There is no consensus
* Antarctic ice is growing
* Warming is due to the Urban Heat Island effect
* Greenland used to be green
* What about mid-century cooling?
* The null hypothesis says global warming is natural
* Geological history does not support CO2's importance
* Climate is always changing
* Global warming is nothing new!
* The CO2 rise is natural
* Historically, CO2 never caused temperature change
* Hansen has been wrong before
* Position statements hide debate
* But the glaciers are not melting
* If aerosols are blocking the sun, the south should warm faster
* Antarctic sea ice is increasing
* Consensus is collusion
* They predicted global cooling in the 1970s
* Peiser refuted Oreskes
* Vineland was full of grapes

4. Scientific
* Water vapor accounts for almost all of the greenhouse effect
* Chaotic systems are not predictable
* The hockey stick is broken
* Observations show climate sensitivity is not very high
* Sea level in the Arctic is falling
* We are just recovering from the LIA

 

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