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Restoring Integrity in Climate Science

What Climate Sceptics Actually Say

The growth of WUWT, and skeptics blogs generally over the last few years, is a miracle.

But we need to consolidate our understanding of climate science.

It's a nuisance to have to constantly remind the warmists of references one keeps losing sight of, or slightly doubts the validity of. We need the best quality. We need it all together in one place. We need it easily referenced and understandable by non-specialists. We need to have one place we can refer all warmists, when they claim that it's proven that CO2 is rising because of us and is having a warming effect. And we need to know that we are all behind it, because we all have the opportunity of contributing to it.

Exactly what Wikipedia should provide. But because of the prevalent AGW cult, and William Connolley at Wikipedia, it does not. And whilst the good news is that Connolley has been topic-banned, I don't think this is enough for us. I think we still need our own wiki. I have believed in this for a while. And when contributor Shen at Climate Audit set up a MediaWiki platform precisely for this, I was delighted, and started to build up a proper wiki. Shen was somewhat distant, but largely supportive. I must have started some 30-40 pages, some of which had reached quite a reasonable standard, when it suddenly disappeared into the great blue yonder. This was a catastrophe, especially since, unlike my normal practice, I had not saved pages elsewhere. I had prepared everything with a view to publicising it on WUWT and opening it up for lots of contributors, by building up a skeleton structure as best I could. Richard Ritter helped me too, and it looked as if we were really going to be able to open things up and reach a high standard, when poof! it disappeared. Richard planned to start a new platform, but by now my time was completely taken up elsewhere and it was impossible, once again, to build.

However, my experience taught me a lot.

Firstly, we need a sceptics-only wiki. We need a setup where only proven sceptics can edit or set up the front pages - even while all can contribute to comments. Warmists have Wikipedia and they simply cannot complain - we have a lot of work to do, to right the balance.

Secondly, it would be good to have a MediaWiki platform again - but I do not have the technical expertise to set up such a platform - so the first crowdsource request is for someone who can do this.

Thirdly, it would be good to

At WUWT and similar blogs we have a fantastic tool to hand, if we can command it with integrity. Crowd sourcing.

The vision is for a small wiki or blog, built simply to answer the 119 "scientific answers" to the "skeptic arguments" at John Cook's Skeptical Science pages. So in addition to his two columns, a third column is needed: "What Climate Skeptics Actually Say". John Cook has done an excellent job, in his way, and runs the most courteous and accessible of all the warmist blogs going. I used to frequent his blog when I was a warmist myself. But as we know generally, all the official "answers to skeptics" are straw men, or answers that leave out vital parts of the evidence, or answers to issues that belong to the skeptic fringe and do not really matter regarding the catastrophic anthropogenic climate change delusion, and restoring proper science.

I think it is worth while just concentrating on answers to Skeptical Science, for these reasons:
(1) Skeptical Science is a clean, well-formatted blog with an index page; each topic page (at the Intermediate level) has a good list of references; skeptics as well as warmists can post there; it is generally courteous and easy to follow. It is a good model.
(2) A blog or wiki set up in direct response could be referenced by the Our Climate app, which would be especially appropriate since, as we know, John Cook has turned his pages into an app there too.
(3) A website with answers to 119 issues is neither too big to manage, nor so small it cannot do justice to key issues. And by using a similar format, answering point-for-point, this will in itself draw a degree of interest and status.
(4) The Royal Society "Climate Change Controversies" is in short pdf format, with only 8 points that are all straw men.
(5) The BBC "Climate Skepticism" likewise only answers the "top ten" briefly and with nowhere to respond.
(6) New Scientist's "Climate change: A guide for the perplexed" is a bit better. It sets out some 30 skeptics' issues and provides answers and space to comment (if one is a paid-up subscriber). But it is still not as detailed as Gristmill, RealClimate, or Skeptical Science. But it is still small compared with Skeptical Science. And less accessible.
(7) Gristmill's "How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic" is a tour-de-force by one interested individual. But it is revoltingly snide in its tone, dividing its categories of arguments into Stages of Denial, Scientific Topics, Types of Argument (Uninformed, Misinformed, Cherrypicking, Urban Myth, FUD, Non-Scientific, Underdog theories and Crackpottery), and Levels of Sophistication (Silly, Naive, Specious, and Scientific). It has few references and little space for meaningful skeptic contributions to the threads.
(8) RealClimate has perhaps the biggest collection of some 400 scientific articles, covering nearly 20 "Themes" including "Responses to common contrarian arguments" which includes some 50 articles. RC is frequently quoted as the prime authority, and indeed, it's readable, accessible. But we all know how useless it is to even begin to post there, to challenge them.

Now if this project is to work, and be used and recognized, it needs to refine the best of our collective wisdom as skeptics. It needs a platform, and it needs a strong hand in charge, capable of giving editorial rights to appropriate people. I strongly believe we do not want warmists as contributors for this project; I think we know the warmist arguments and tactics well enough by now, and there are other places where warmists can post, as well as Wikipedia and RC where warmists rule completely. This way people can build up answers good enough to be backed by the whole climate skeptics' community, without being worn out by constant distractions. I hope that many capable and knowledgeable skeptics would contribute, effectively constructing a document, a statement, which the whole community that is skeptical of CAGW can own. And I would hope that pages can be featured regularly by blogs like WUWT, to keep drawing interest and contributors.

I am not in a position to oversee this project, to moderate, confer appropriate editorial status, or to provide a website platform. I hope that there are readers here who would be willing to step forward, to do this "barn-raising" to good standards. For starters, readers might like to write draft articles - choose one or more of the numbered issues below - first come, first serve, but all skeptics "of good standing" will be able to edit and rewrite later. Prove you are of good standing by drafting a good piece, and you will be given editorial rights for all articles, when the pages are set up.

  "Skeptic Argument" What official Science Says
(at Skeptical Science)
What Climate Skeptics Actually Say
1
"It's the sun" The sun’s output has barely changed since 1970 and is irrelevant to recent global warming.  
2
"Climate's changed before" Climate reacts to whatever forces it to change at the time; humans are now the dominant forcing.  
3
"There is no consensus" 97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming.  
4
"It's cooling" The last decade 2000-2009 was the hottest on record.  
5
"Models are unreliable" Models successfully reproduce temperatures since 1900 globally, by land, in the air and the ocean.  
6
"Temp record is unreliable" The warming trend is the same in rural and urban areas, measured by thermometers and satellites.  
7
"It hasn't warmed since 1998" 2005 was the hottest year globally, and 2009 the second hottest.  
8
"Ice age predicted in the 70s" The vast majority of climate papers in the 1970s predicted warming.  
9
"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.  
10
"Antarctica is gaining ice" Satellites measure Antarctica losing land ice at an accelerating rate.  
11
"CO2 lags temperature" Recent CO2 increase has caused recent warming without any time lag.  
12
"It's not bad" Negative impacts of global warming on agriculture, health & environment far outweigh any positives.  
13
"Al Gore got it wrong" Al Gore book is quite accurate, and far more accurate than contrarian books.  
14
"It's cosmic rays" Cosmic rays show no trend over the last 30 years & have had little impact on recent global warming.  
15
"It's freaking cold!" A local cold day has nothing to do with the long-term trend of increasing global temperatures.  
16
"Hurricanes aren't linked to global warming" There is increasing evidence that hurricanes are getting stronger due to global warming.  
17
"1934 - hottest year on record" 1934 was one of the hottest years in the US, not globally.  
18
"Hockey stick is broken" Recent studies agree that recent global temperatures are unprecedented in the last 1000 years.  
19
"Mars is warming" Mars is not warming globally.  
20
"It's Urban Heat Island effect" Urban and rural regions show the same warming trend.  
21
"It's just a natural cycle" Ancient natural cycles are irrelevant for attributing recent global warming to humans.  
22
"Arctic icemelt is a natural cycle" Thick arctic sea ice is undergoing a rapid retreat.  
23
"Sea level rise is exaggerated" A variety of different measurements find steadily rising sea levels over the past century.  
24
"Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas" Rising CO2 increases atmospheric water vapor, which makes global warming much worse.  
25
"Other planets are warming" Mars and Jupiter are not warming, and anyway the sun has recently been cooling slightly.  
26
"Greenland was green" Other parts of the earth got colder when Greenland got warmer.  
27
"Oceans are cooling" The most recent ocean measurements show consistent warming.  
28
"Climategate CRU emails suggest conspiracy" Several investigations have cleared scientists of any wrongdoing in the media-hyped email incident.  
29
"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.  
30
"Climate sensitivity is low" Net positive feedback is confirmed by many different lines of evidence.  
31
"CO2 effect is weak" The strong CO2 effect has been observed by many different measurements.  
32
"It cooled mid-century" Mid-century cooling involved aerosols and is irrelevant for recent global warming.  
33
"We're coming out of the Little Ice Age" The sun was warming up then, but the sun hasn’t been warming since 1970.  
34
"Glaciers are growing" Most glaciers are retreating, posing a serious problem for millions who rely on glaciers for water.  
35
"There's no empirical evidence" There are multiple lines of direct observations that humans are causing global warming.  
36
"It warmed before 1940 when CO2 was low" Early 20th century warming is due to several causes, including rising CO2.  
37
"Satellites show no warming in the troposphere" The most recent satellite data show that the earth as a whole is warming.  
38
"Polar bear numbers are increasing" Polar bears are in danger of extinction as well as many other species.  
39
"Mt. Kilimanjaro's ice loss is due to land use" Most glaciers are in rapid retreat worldwide, notwithstanding a few complicated cases.  
40
"IPCC does not represent a scientific consensus" The IPCC summarizes the recent research by leading scientific experts.  
41
"Extreme weather isn't caused by global warming" Extreme weather events are being made more frequent and worse by global warming.  
42
"CO2 is not a pollutant" Excess CO2 emissions will lead to hotter conditions that will stress and even kill crops.  
43
"There's no correlation between CO2 and temperature" There is long-term correlation between CO2 and global temperature; other effects are short-term.  
44
"Greenland is gaining ice" Greenland on the whole is losing ice, as confirmed by satellite measurement.  
45
"CO2 was higher in the past" When CO2 was higher in the past, the sun was cooler.  
46
"Scientists can't even predict weather" Weather and climate are different; climate predictions do not need weather detail.  
47
"There's no tropospheric hot spot" We see a clear "short-term hot spot" - there's various evidence for a "long-term hot spot".  
48
"Neptune is warming" And the sun is cooling.  
49
"Jupiter is warming" Jupiter is not warming, and anyway the sun is cooling.  
50
"It's Pacific Decadal Oscillation" The PDO shows no trend, and therefore the PDO is not responsible for the trend of global warming.  
51
"Volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans" Humans emit 100 times more CO2 than volcanoes.  
52
"CO2 effect is saturated" Direct measurements find that rising CO2 is trapping more heat.  
53
"Pluto is warming" And the sun has been recently cooling.  
54
"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.  
55
"Animals and plants can adapt to global warming" Global warming will cause mass extinctions of species that cannot adapt on short time scales.  
56
"Medieval Warm Period was warmer" Globally averaged temperature now is higher than global temperature in medieval times.  
57
"It's the ocean" The oceans are warming and moreover are becoming more acidic, threatening the food chain.  
58
"CO2 measurements are suspect" CO2 levels are measured by hundreds of stations across the globe, all reporting the same trend.  
59
"It's El Niño" El Nino has no trend and so is not responsible for the trend of global warming.  
60
"Ocean acidification isn't serious" Past history shows that when CO2 rises quickly, there was mass extinctions of coral reefs.  
61
"Arctic sea ice has recovered" Thick arctic sea ice is in rapid retreat.  
62
"Solar Cycle Length proves its the sun" The sun has not warmed since 1970 and so cannot be driving global warming.  
63
"Less than half of published scientists endorse global warming" Around 97% of climate experts agree that humans are causing global warming.  
64
"2nd law of thermo-dynamics contradicts greenhouse theory" The 2nd law of thermodynamics is consistent with the greenhouse effect which is directly observed.  
65
"Dropped stations introduce warming bias" If the dropped stations had been kept, the temperature would actually be slightly higher.  
66
"It's aerosols" Aerosols have been masking global warming, which would be worse otherwise.  
67
"It's microsite influences" Microsite influences on temperature changes are minimal; good and bad sites show the same trend.  
68
"CO2 has a short residence time" Excess CO2 from human emissions has a long residence time of over 100 years  
69
"2009-2010 winter saw record cold spells" A cold day in Chicago in winter has nothing to do with the trend of global warming.  
70
"It's a climate regime shift" There is no evidence that climate has chaotic “regimes” on a long-term basis.  
71
"Humans are too insignificant to affect global climate" Humans are small but powerful, and human CO2 emissions are causing global warming.  
72
"It's not happening" Recent global warming is occurring and is due to humans.  
73
"Greenhouse effect has been falsified" The greenhouse effect is standard physics and confirmed by observations.  
74
"It's land use" Land use plays a minor role in climate change, although carbon sequestration may help to mitigate.  
75
"IPCC were wrong about Himalayan glaciers" Glaciers are in rapid retreat worldwide, despite 1 error in 1 paragraph in a 1000 page IPCC report.  
76
"The science isn't settled" That human CO2 is causing global warming is known with high certainty & confirmed by observations.  
77
"It's methane" Methane plays a minor role in global warming but could get much worse if permafrost starts to melt.  
78
"500 scientists refute the consensus" Around 97% of climate experts agree that humans are causing global warming.  
79
"Mike's Nature trick to 'hide the decline'" Michael Mann was quoted out of context, and nothing was hidden.  
80
"Sea level rise predictions are exaggerated" Sea level rise is now increasing faster than predicted due to unexpectedly rapid ice melting.  
81
"Naomi Oreskes' study on consensus was flawed" Benny Peiser, the Oreskes critic, retracted his criticism.  
82
"CO2 is not increasing" CO2 is increasing rapidly, and is reaching levels not seen on the earth for millions of years.  
83
"Phil Jones says no global warming since 1995" Phil Jones was misquoted.  
84
"CO2 is coming from the ocean" The ocean is absorbing massive amounts of CO2, and is becoming more acidic as a result.  
85
"Ice isn't melting" Ice is melting at an accelerating rate at both poles and in glaciers all over the world.  
86
"Lindzen and Choi find low climate sensitivity" Lindzen and Choi’s paper is viewed as unacceptably flawed by other climatologists.  
87
"It's not us" Multiple sets of independent observations find a human fingerprint on climate change.  
88
"It's albedo" Albedo change in the Arctic, due to receding ice, is increasing global warming.  
89
"Record snowfall disproves global warming" Warming leads to increased evaporation and precipitation, which falls as increased snow in winter.  
90
"Hansen's 1988 prediction was wrong" Jim Hansen had several possible scenarios; his mid-level scenario B was right.  
91
"Over 31,000 scientists signed the OISM Petition Project" The 'OISM petition' was signed by only a few climatologists.  
92
"The sun is getting hotter" The sun has just had the deepest solar minimum in 100 years.  
93
"Solar cycles cause global warming" Over recent decades, the sun has been slightly cooling & is irrelevant to recent global warming.  
94
"Springs aren't advancing" Hundreds of flowers across the UK are flowering earlier now than any time in 250 years.  
95
"It's waste heat" Greenhouse warming is adding 100 times more heat to the climate than waste heat.  
96
"Water levels correlate with sunspots" This detail is irrelevant to the observation of global warming caused by humans.  
97
"IPCC were wrong about Amazon rainforests" The IPCC statement on Amazon rainforests was correct, and was incorrectly reported in some media.  
98
"CO2 is not the only driver of climate" CO2 is the main driver of climate change.  
99
"Mauna Loa is a volcano" The global trend is calculated from hundreds of CO2 measuring stations and confirmed by satellites.  
100
"Climate is chaotic and cannot be predicted" Weather is chaotic but climate is driven by Earth's energy imbalance, which is more predictable.  
101
"Water vapor in the stratosphere stopped global warming" This possibility just means that future global warming could be even worse.  
102
"Scientists retracted claim that sea levels are rising" The Siddall 2009 paper was retracted because its predicted sea level rise was too low.  
103
"Trenberth can't account for the lack of warming" Trenberth is talking about the details of energy flow, not whether global warming is happening.  
104
"Tree-rings diverge from temperature after 1960" This is a detail that is complex, local, and irrelevant to the observed global warming trend.  
105
"CO2 was higher in the late Ordovician" The sun was much cooler during the Ordovician.  
106
"Southern sea ice is increasing" Antarctic sea ice has grown in recent decades despite the Southern Ocean warming at the same time.  
107
"Melting ice isn't warming the Arctic" Melting ice leads to more sunlight being absorbed by water, thus heating the Arctic.  
108
"[Hulme says] IPCC consensus was phoney" Ironically, it's those who are mispresenting Hulme's paper that are the ones being misleading.  
109
"Global temperatures dropped sharply in 2007" But global temperatures rose sharply in 2009, to the second hottest level.  
110
"CO2 emissions do not correlate with CO2 concentration" That humans are causing the rise in atmospheric CO2 is confirmed by multiple isotopic analyses.  
111
"It's ozone" Ozone has only a small effect.  
112
"It's CFCs" CFCs contribute at a small level.  
113
"A drop in volcanic activity caused warming" Volcanoes have had no warming effect in recent global warming - if anything, a cooling effect.  
114
"It's global brightening" This is a complex aerosol effect with unclear temperature significance.  
115
"Warming causes CO2 rise" Recent warming is due to rising CO2.  
116
"Antarctica is too cold to lose ice" Glaciers are sliding faster into the ocean because ice shelves are thinning due to warming oceans.  
117
"It's satellite microwave transmissions" Satellite transmissions are extremely small and irrelevant.  
118
"We didn't have global warming during the Industrial Revolution" CO2 emissions were much smaller 100 years ago.  
119
"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.  
120 "IPCC is alarmist" The IPCC summarizes the recent research by leading scientific experts.  
121 "Humidity is falling" Multiple lines of independent evidence indicate humidity is rising and provides positive feedback.  
122 "IPCC overestimate temperature rise" Monckton used the IPCC equation in an inappropriate manner.  
123 "Breathing contributes to CO2 buildup" By breathing out, we are simply returning to the air the same CO2 that was there to begin with.  
124 "DMI show cooling Arctic" While summer maximums have showed little trend, the annual average Arctic temperature has risen sharply in recent decades.  
125 "It's CFCs" CFCs contribute at a small level.  
126 "Positive feedback means runaway warming" Positive feedback won't lead to runaway warming; diminishing returns on feedback cycles limit the amplification.  
127 "Satellite error inflated Great Lakes temperatures" Temperature errors in the Great Lakes region are not used in any global temperature records.  
128 "Royal Society embraces skepticism" The Royal Society still strongly state that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming.  
129 "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.