Top 10 Global Warming Denier Arguments Debunked: Part 1

nyc blizzard

Snow in the South, ice gain in Antarctica and scientists seemingly fudging climate data: is the global warming debate over? Definitely.

…But skeptics aren’t on the winning side. Global warming deniers have gleefully seized on recent scandals and misinterpreted data to bolster their collection of arguments, but there are these pesky things called facts that keep getting in the way of their agenda.

But how do you respond to that impassioned neighbor, cranky uncle or annoying cocktail party guest who uses sunspots, Al Gore’s supposed greed and a limited grasp of climate science to claim that global warming isn’t really happening? Presenting the top 10 global warming denier arguments, and the facts that thoroughly debunk them. Today’s installment features numbers 10-6; check back with us Monday for the top 5.

10. It’s all a hoax perpetuated by money-hungry Al Gore

“You fools are being taken for a ride! Al Gore just made all this stuff up about ManBearPig global warming so he can roll in the Benjamins at his mansion.”

Fact: Gore donates all of the proceeds from both the book and DVD of An Inconvenient Truth to environmental causes. He also donated 100% of his Nobel Peace Prize award as well as the salary from his venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, to the Alliance for Climate Protection.

Al Gore isn’t the only target. Some claim that scientists “follow the money right onto the man-made global warming bandwagon.” But most funding for global warming research comes from government grants, and the money is doled out before the results are determined.

Meanwhile, dirty energy companies and anti-climate-action groups shower scientists who are willing to argue against climate change with cash. ExxonMobil was one of the largest sources of funding for such scientists for over a decade, and purported to stop in 2008. Surprise! They lied. Recently released records show that the oil giant paid out $75,000 that year to several climate action opposition groups.

9. But look at all the snow!

“It’s going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries “˜uncle’,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Jim DeMint (R-SC) on February 9th as a fierce winter storm dropped foot after foot of snow on the nation’s capital. “Record snowfall illustrates the obvious: The global warming fraud is without equal in modern science,” trumpeted an editorial in the conservative Washington Times. And let’s not even get started on The Donald.

Right”¦because winter is never cold, and all that snow can’t possibly have anything to do with a near-record amount of moisture in the air. Meteorologist Jeff Masters explains that heavy precipitation events are increasing as the world warms, and guess what – at the freezing point and below, that means snow (and lots of it). Global warming doesn’t mean winter is going to go away.

And guess what? The U.S. isn’t the entire world – it’s only 1.5% of the globe. The Earth’s atmosphere is getting warmer, but different climates will be affected in different ways. Local weather is becoming more volatile across the board due both to warming and normal variability, but while that has translated to more frequent, more severe snow events in North America, Brazil is experiencing a near-record heat wave at the same time.

8. Warming is a good thing

“Break out the grill, swimsuits and daquiri mix – a huge chunk of the world is about to turn into tropical paradise!” Okay, so not everyone using this argument paints such a laughably simplistic picture of supposed global warming benefits, but it’s still bad: many believe that global warming would be good for the Earth – and us.

Some cite fewer winter deaths, an ice-free Northwest Passage and increases in the number of certain species. Others argue that if the climate were to cool instead, even a little bit, a feedback effect would make things worse as growing Arctic snowfields caused more sunlight to reflect away from the ground. And another Ice Age wouldn’t exactly be kind to humanity. But while a few select regions could benefit from a warmer overall climate, most of the world would suffer on a nightmarish scale, and the feedback effect applies to warming as well.

Raging wildfires, extreme water scarcity, expanding deserts, changing ecosystems. Heatwave deaths, the spread of deadly mosquito-borne diseases, growing dead zones in the oceans, death of healthy trees and other vegetation, coral extinction. War. Climate refugees. That’s only a small fraction of the projected consequences, but it’s surely more than enough.

7. Climate change is part of a natural cycle

“How can we, petty little humans that we are, possibly alter something as huge in scope as the planet’s climate? After all, when you think about just how complex the Earth really is, we’re just not that important. So why should we change our habits?”

That might have been true until about two centuries ago, when the Industrial Age came along and we first started burning massive quantities of filthy, CO2-producing coal. Since then, as technology has advanced and our population has multiplied to over 6 billion people, we’ve gotten a bit big for our britches, pushing the limits of just how much pollution we can pump into the air before seeing catastrophic global effects.

There’s no doubt that historically, temperatures and greenhouse gas levels have fluctuated naturally, but those fluctuations are nothing compared to what we’ve seen in the past century (see charts in #6.)

6. Temperature data is unreliable

Skeptics like to claim that temperature records showing a warming trend are unreliable because weather stations are often located in areas that absorb and radiate heat, like rooftops and asphalt parking lots. But in reality, the Urban Heat Island Effect has had a very small influence on temperature readings and climate scientists adjust the data to account for it.

1000-yr-temp-records

All major temperature reconstructions for the past 1,000 years published in peer-reviewed journals show some variability in surface temperatures over centuries (above graph), with a dip in the Little Ice Age – and a huge uptick during the last century. Even if those reconstructions are excluded and we only look at the last 150 years (below graph), there’s a significant rise.

100-yr-temp-record

When it comes down to it, surface temperature records are far from the only evidence of global warming. Grist notes that borehole analysis, weather balloon temperature data, satellite measurements, glacial melt observations, sea level rise and other indicators can be used completely independently of surface temps.

Don’t miss part 2 in this series, Common Arguments Against Global Warming and Climate Change.

Image: NYC blizzard February 26, 2010 by Sarah Ackerman

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DISCUSSION

15 thoughts on “Top 10 Global Warming Denier Arguments Debunked: Part 1

  1. Oh… and one more thing… about the temperature “reconstructions”…

    Why, oh why, are “reconstructions” necessary to begin with? Place your sensory devices in areas that will measure the true ambient temperature. Someone, somewhere, sat down and calculated an average, a figure to be used for the readings in “urban”areas, to account for things like asphalt, concrete and other heat sink items. Now, forgive me my logical mind, but why in the he!! are you putting sensors in those areas in the first place? Further, the “average” reconstructor figure will inherently have problems with it because it cannot, by definition, accurately predict what each urban area has as heat sinks. Not to speak of the fraud that can happen…

  2. Well, I could do a point by point, but what’s the point? Here it is in a nutshell:

    If Algore “donates” all of his proceeds to charity, how is it he can afford two mansions (or is it 3? I forget) which have a larger “carbon” footprint than most 3rd world countries? Speaking fees you say? And what does he speak about? Global warming? Ahem. I think we can dispense with the camoflage that Algore isn’t in the global warming business for the money…

    And finally, for the critical thinkers out there… We humans are SOOOOOOOOO powerful that we can heat the earth to a point where we will kill off millions of species and humans. Okay, let’s accept the premise for a moment. Now, tell me how come dinosaurs — who were reptiles, cold blooded creatures — ruled the earth so many millions of years ago? How is it that the earth was SO warm, it could support cold blooded creatures ALLLLLLLLLLL by itself with no help from the evil carbon emissions of today??? Before anyone can even get me close to buying into any of the “man-made” global warming nonsense, you’re going to have to come up with a real good answer to that question.

  3. Yeah climategate!! Are you kidding me? I guess you here a story to the point where it confirms your beliefs then don’t follow up to see what happens. Can you say exonerated? People do not understand science at all.

  4. Simplistic, show me the science – and back it up. You can’t model a complex system like the climate any more than I can with any certainty that would stretch beyond a few months, if that. Selective cherry picking of data and badly formulated arguments that ‘headline’ rather than express reasoned, rational thought.

  5. @Rberry, LOL. in order for them to be strawman arguements they would have to not be used by deniers, but they are all of them, I hear them all the time. Their just empty and hold no water because none of deniers’ arguments hold any water. Nobody needs to make up ‘fake arguements’ to make deniers look silly they do that themselves

  6. @pauld what are your reasons, then? Don’t tease us. We can’t read your mind ;)

    @jason the pink text is hyperlinked – in particular, the section in point 8 has lots of links to studies we invite you to read.

    @Michelle – I think you make a good point about people feeling climate change’s effects in their own areas, and how this informs whether they believe it or not. For millions already feeling the impact (drought, storms, changing seasonal patterns, animal migration, pest infestation and on it goes) the reality is impossible to ignore.

  7. Lovely work, Stephanie.

    No. 9 is winding me up no end at the moment (eg. my rant at Donald Trump last week). So much sloppy thinking being bandied around. It’s the weather. The weather! Not for nothing do we have the saying “changeable as the weather”.

    And I’m really struggling to understand how people are saying the things they’re saying. I’m all for healthy debate about evidence and scientific methods and the like – but you can’t simply ignore the science or the arguments behind them.

    They’re there to be challenged (that’s the scientific method – it welcomes challenge!) but the point is they’re definitely, solidly *there*.

  8. These are good arguments – I think that people don’t understand enough about greenhouse gases and climate change. The other sad thing is that a lot of naysayers are unaffected by changes in climate compared to those living in developing countries.

    I have posted several articles on the affects of climate change on my blog including the proliferation of the mountain pine beetle causing massive tracts of dead and dying pine trees which has led to devastating consequences for the ecosystem in British Columbia and beyond.

  9. Pingback: Discusión de algunos argumentos contra el calentamiento global. « Para mis amigos… Blog

  10. Terrible article. Not only does it grab convenient “arguments,” but it has to go further to water them down until they’re nonsense to “debunk” them. The equivalent article to disprove Global Warming could use “facts” like “Hippies wear tinfoil on their heads, which is stupid, thus all global warming believers are hippies with tinfoil on their heads that are stupid.” Please. If anything, this article gives skeptics more firepower.

  11. Pingback: Global Warming - Everything You (Don't) Want to Know About it! | Alternative Energy

  12. Great Stuff.
    However , arguments should have ref.or
    links to further back it up.

    I’ve been trying to share with my facebook
    without success.
    How it’s done?

  13. I have read the “top ten” and have yet to see even one of the main reasons why I am skeptical of global warming alarm ism. Moreover, even the responses to the strawmen arguments set forth above are one-sided and misleading.

  14. Pingback: Top 10 Global Warming Denier Arguments Debunked: Part 1 | EcoSalon | the world cares.com

 

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