Responses to climate change scepticism


in Politics, Science, The environment

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.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Anon July 27, 2007 at 10:01 am

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

Milan July 27, 2007 at 2:52 pm

This interview with Amory Lovins is also well worth a look.

. August 7, 2007 at 4:33 pm

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.

. August 27, 2007 at 4:22 pm

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.

. November 13, 2007 at 12:29 pm

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.

Anon November 21, 2007 at 3:43 pm

Climate science: Sceptical about bias
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website

Milan April 6, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Unfortunately, the site redesign broke all the links to the Skeptic series. There has been a pretty big outcry, so I am hoping they will fix things soon.

Milan April 20, 2009 at 12:32 pm

The link is fixed. Huzzah!

. November 17, 2009 at 11:40 pm

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