Climate Change Skepticism

There are people who are partial or full skeptics of anthropogenic (caused by humans) global warming ranging from people who acknowledge that global warming is taking place, but that it does not pose a major threat to people soon enough to be of any concern, to people who completely deny that the climate is warming at all and some of those people consider it to be an extremely elaborate scam involving thousands of people.

There are also people (the most common skeptics) that acknowledge that global warming is taking place, but that it is not anthropogenic.

Table of Contents

  1. Home Page (Climate Change)
  2. Common Global Warming Skeptic Arguments and My Thoughts
  3. Prominent Climate Change Skeptics
  4. Credibility of Climate Change Science

Common Global Warming Skeptic Arguments and My Thoughts

Formatting: Global Warming Denier Argument | What it Means

  • 1934 was the warmest year on record.

Response: 1934 was the warmest year on record in the United States (Source), not the world. Weather varies significantly with location, climate change pertains to the global climate. The United States alone is only a fraction of the globe.

  • Water vapour is a much more effective greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Response: This is true, but that does not mean that excessive amounts of carbon dioxide aren’t being emitted into the atmosphere. Global warming causes more evaporation, and evaporation is the conversion of liquid water into water vapour, therefore, more warming equals more water vapour greenhouse gas releases which results in even more warming.

  • Humans and animals exhale CO2, how could it be a problem?

Response: Carbon dioxide itself is not the problem, but excessive amounts of it results in excessive warming. Normal carbon dioxide levels help to keep the earth warm enough.

  • The climate has changed before (This is one of the most common arguments).

Response: That does not mean that it cannot change again, nor that humans cannot affect it. This time, it is humans changing it and not natural processes, what is important is that scientists have successfully linked carbon dioxide emissions and higher than pre-industrial revolution CO2 levels to warming. Scroll up to the CO2 vs temperature graph above. As a matter of fact, the fact that there have been multiple ice ages and global warming periods in the past suggests that the climate can change again, as it did in the past.

  • Scientists can’t predict weather, therefore I don’t trust them to predict global warming.

Response: This argument insinuates that scientists predict changes in mostly consistent weather patterns using the same methods as daily and weekly weather prediction. There is a difference. Climate science is different from meteorology.

What matters is what has been happening since mankind started burning fossil fuels: Temperature data from the past 120 years shows that the earth has been warming since the industrial revolution and it hasn’t showed any signs that it will stop, therefore, this not a weather prediction issue, it is based on accurate historic facts.

Climatology is not the same science as meteorology. Climate is the average of weather data over a 30 year period. Each 30 year average is actually very consistent, and shows an upward temperature trend. Even though weather varies from year to year, the 30 year average still normally works out to be almost the same as the previous one.

I said almost because the climate is changing. In simpler terms, each successive 30 year temperature average has been warmer since the industrial revolution and carbon dioxide levels as well. What matters most is the strong correlation between CO2 levels and temperature. They follow each other very closely in the CO2 vs temperature graph above.

Also, global warming is not wildly variable as is weather, and it is not just a prediction but the fact that more carbon dioxide always resulted in higher temperatures in the past means that the earth will warm more as carbon dioxide levels increase especially because of population growth.

Recently, there have been record-breaking, low winter temperatures, therefore, how could the world be warming?

Response: There is a clear difference between weather and climate. Weather refers to what the weather is at this moment. Climate is what weather averages out to over a 30-year period.

Climate change is the change of average weather patterns. Despite unusual winters, the weather is not usually that cold. Global warming pertains to average temperature increases world-wide. Not fluctuations that took place in only a year in a particular country, that is not global. If the weather in a country happens to be cold at the moment, that doesn’t mean that the entire world has gotten colder, that means that country’s weather happens to be cold at the moment, not the climate.

Here is an analogy to clarify: Jamaica’s climate is sunny, meaning that the weather is usually sunny. However, the weather as I am typing this article is currently cloudy. Saying that global warming is not real because a part of the world experienced an unusually cold winter, and for only one year, is like denying that Jamaica’s climate is sunny because today’s weather is cloudy.

A country’s climate is the average of weather patterns over an extended period of time (30 years). Climates don’t vary like weather do, they usually remain the same. This is why climate change is a concern.

Prominent Climate Change Science Skeptics

  • Glenn Beck – FOX News show host.
  • John Coleman. Founder of The Cable Network and The Weather Channel.
  • Stu Ostro, the senior director of weather communications at The Weather Channel. He no longer denies global warming.

His comments on his perspective change: Youtube Video

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Credibility of Climate Change Science and the Scientific Consensus

List of scientific organizations (I haven’t added all of them yet) which agree that global warming is taking place, the:

The links below takes you to each organization’s climate change page.

Skeptical Science – examining the science of global warming skepticism.