Responses to climate change scepticism

Thanks to a tip off from a new friend, I found this comprehensive collection of rebuttals written by Coby Beck and featured on the Grist website, which is itself well worth a look. The articles are sorted as follows:

  • Stages of Denial
  • Scientific Topics
  • Types of Argument
  • Levels of Sophistication

Whatever your beliefs, and whatever the case you want to make, you will find some points to engage with here.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

11 thoughts on “Responses to climate change scepticism”

  1. None of those work against someone who acknowledges the reality of climate change, but thinks mitigation would cost more than adaptation.

  2. Understanding Public Complacency About Climate Change

    Adults’ mental models of climate change violate conservation of matter

    John D. Sterman, Linda Booth Sweeney

    Public attitudes about climate change reveal a contradiction. Surveys show most
    Americans believe climate change poses serious risks but also that reductions in greenhouse gas
    (GHG) emissions sufficient to stabilize atmospheric GHG concentrations or net radiative forcing
    can be deferred until there is greater evidence that climate change is harmful. US policymakers
    likewise argue it is prudent to wait and see whether climate change will cause substantial
    economic harm before undertaking policies to reduce emissions. Such wait-and-see policies
    erroneously presume climate change can be reversed quickly should harm become evident,
    underestimating substantial delays in the climate’s response to anthropogenic forcing. We report
    experiments with highly educated adults—graduate students at MIT—showing widespread
    misunderstanding of the fundamental stock and flow relationships, including mass balance
    principles, that lead to long response delays. GHG emissions are now about twice the rate of
    GHG removal from the atmosphere. GHG concentrations will therefore continue to rise even if
    emissions fall, stabilizing only when emissions equal removal. In contrast, results show most
    subjects believe atmospheric GHG concentrations can be stabilized while emissions into the
    atmosphere continuously exceed the removal of GHGs from it. These beliefs—analogous to
    arguing a bathtub filled faster than it drains will never overflow—support wait-and-see policies
    but violate conservation of matter. Low public support for mitigation policies may be based more
    on misconceptions of climate dynamics than high discount rates or uncertainty about the risks of
    harmful climate change.

  3. If Grist’s How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic series doesn’t fully scratch your skepticism itch, check out Skeptical Science, a well-organized site devoted to tracking climate skeptic arguments and rebutting them.

  4. Climate scepticism: The top 10

    What are some of the reasons why “climate sceptics” dispute the evidence that human activities such as industrial emissions of greenhouse gases and deforestation are bringing potentially dangerous changes to the Earth’s climate?

    As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) finalises its landmark report for 2007, we look at 10 of the arguments most often made against the IPCC consensus, and some of the counter-arguments made by scientists who agree with the IPCC.

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