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Explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation

Scientific skepticism is healthy. Scientists should always challenge themselves to improve their understanding. Yet this isn't what happens with climate change denial. Skeptics vigorously criticise any evidence that supports man-made global warming and yet embrace any argument, op-ed, blog or study that purports to refute global warming. This website gets skeptical about global warming skepticism. Do their arguments have any scientific basis? What does the peer reviewed scientific literature say?

 


2015 SkS Weekly News Roundup #21B

Posted on 23 May 2015 by John Hartz

25 newspapers team up to bring attention to climate change

The Guardian's Keep It In The Ground campaign has centered around publishing climate stories aggressive enough to alienate major oil companies.

Now, it's convinced 25 other global newspapers to gang up together on Big Oil.

The Guardian's partners include the world's influential daily papers including Le Monde, El País, China Daily, the Sydney Morning Herald, India Today, and the Seattle Times.

The newspapers will share each other's articles on climate coverage in an effort to pressure diplomats to craft a stricter new global agreement to reduce emissions at the UN's global summit on climate change on December 11. the Guardian's coverage, already the most activist in its approach, will begin appearing in 25 major newspapers around the world as part of a new content sharing agreement, coordinated by the Global Editors Network.

25 newspapers team up to bring attention to climate change by Jason Abbruzzese, Mashable, May 23, 2015 


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Seeds of Time - preserving food resources in a hot future climate

Posted on 22 May 2015 by John Abraham

So often, we talk about “proving” climate change is happening, or articulating changes we expect in the future from increased extreme weather. We should also talk about adaptation - how can we adapt to a future climate? 

A recent film, being shown in theaters in New York City now and Los Angeles next Friday is a great success story about adaptation; decisions we can make now that may influence the fortunes of future generations. The movie, called Seeds of Time, is directed by Oscar-nominee Sandy McLeod. It is narrated by Dr. Cary Fowler who identifies the challenges agriculture will face with climate change and other potential disasters. Cary was former Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust. Their goal was to put together an international plan to preserve global genetic diversity.

seeds

Photograph courtesy of Ian Savage.

Why is it important to preserve our future food resources? Well in today’s climate, food production is susceptible to extreme weather swings, particularly droughts and floods. Here in the United States, we are suffering through the third major drought since 2011. The costs to this country are billions of dollars. The current California drought is the worst in over 1,200 years

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Congress manufactures doubt and denial in climate change hearing

Posted on 21 May 2015 by dana1981

US Congress periodically holds hearings on issues related to climate change. Because the subject has become a partisan one in America, they generally follow a predictable pattern – Democrats invite science and policy expert witnesses who agree with the expert consensus on human-caused global warming and the need to address it, and Republicans invite witnesses who disagree.

John Christy at the University of Alabama at Huntsville is one of the fewer than 3% of climate scientists who publishes research suggesting that humans aren’t the primary cause of the current global warming. He’s thus become one of Republicans’ favorite expert witnesses.

Last week, the Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing to discuss draft guidance by the the President’s Council on Environmental Quality to include carbon pollution and the effects of climate change in the consideration of environmental impacts of federal projects, as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process. Needless to say, the Republicans on the committee don’t like the idea, as is clear from the hearing highlights and lowlights in the video below.

 Highlights and lowlights from the May 13, 2015 Committee on Natural Resources NEPA hearing.

Christy Manufactures Doubt on Model Accuracy

Given that the hearing was ostensibly about environmental policy, most of the witnesses were policy experts. John Christy was the lone climate scientist invited to testify. His testimony focused on manufacturing doubt about the accuracy of climate models, climate change impacts, and about individual American projects’ contributions to global warming. On the accuracy of climate models, Christy played rather fast and loose with the facts, saying in his written testimony (emphasis added),

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Hotspot Found Again: Warming of the Tropical Troposphere Confirms Climate Model Prediction

Posted on 20 May 2015 by Rob Painting

Key Points:
  • As the Earth warms, the lower atmosphere (troposphere) in the tropics is expected to warm at a faster rate than at the surface. The development of this so-called 'hotspot' is an expectation based on principles of atmospheric physics and is therefore also predicted by climate model simulations.
  • This hotspot in the tropical troposphere is not specific to the increased greenhouse effect resulting from industrial carbon dioxide emissions. It would, for example, also be expected in a hypothetical scenario where warming was due to increased solar output.
  • Despite obvious warming of the atmosphere, it had been difficult to confirm the existence of this hotspot primarily due to analytical deficiencies in accounting for temperature data quality and sampling, i.e. it's suspected to have been a 'measurement problem'.
  • Sherwood & Nishant (2015) is the latest scientific paper published in recent years to resolve this issue. By employing an improved analysis method to remove inherent biases in the data, these researchers have once again confirmed the existence of the tropical tropospheric hotspot. 

Figure 1 - Temperature of the atmosphere, by latitude and atmospheric pressure, from 1959-2012. Units are in degrees C per decade. Lower pressure corresponds to greater height in the atmosphere. Note the 'hotspot' above the equator centred about 300 hPa (about 9 km from the surface). The blue region at the top is the cooling stratosphere - confirmation of another prediction of the increased greenhouse effect. Image from Sherwood & Nishant (2015). 

Why should there be a 'hotspot' in the atmosphere above the tropics?  

Because most of Earth's incoming energy from the sun is received in the tropics, strong evaporation there removes a lot of heat from the ocean surface. This heat is hidden (latent) as it is used to convert water from a liquid to a gaseous form. Readers are probably familiar with this process as it is the same one in which we are cooled when sweat evaporates off our bodies during strenuous exercise. Our skin cools as heat is used up in the act of evaporating away the sweat.   

Strong evaporative uplift occurs near the equator due to the intense solar heating of the ocean there, and this forces the evaporated water (water vapour) to ascend up through the atmosphere. Because the temperature in the atmosphere decreases with increasing height (known as the lapse rate), this has the effect of cooling water vapor until it reaches a point where it condenses back into a liquid form (forming clouds and rainfall) - liberating the hidden (latent) heat into the upper atmosphere. With the great bulk of atmospheric moisture being concentrated in the tropics, this ongoing process should lead to greater warming in the tropical troposphere than at the surface.

Mark Richardson has a nice video animation of this process at about the 3 minute mark in his University of Queensland Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Denial 101 lecture on the structure of the atmosphere.

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12 comments


2015 SkS Weekly News Roundup #21A

Posted on 19 May 2015 by John Hartz

California joins other states, provinces in climate change agreement

Gov. Jerry Brown signed an agreement Tuesday with leaders from 11 other states and countries pledging cooperation to battle climate change.

“This global challenge requires bold action on the part of governments everywhere,” Brown said in a statement. “It’s time to be decisive. It’s time to act.”

The agreement includes the states of Oregon, Washington and Vermont, as well as the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario in Canada, the states of Baja California and Jalisco in Mexico, and the British country of Wales. Also involved are states and provinces in Brazil, Germany, and Spain.

California joins other states, provinces in climate change agreement by Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times, May 19, 2015


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My Research with Steve

Posted on 19 May 2015 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from ClimateSight

Almost four years ago I took a job as a summer student of Dr. Steve Easterbrook, in the software engineering lab of the University of Toronto. This was my first time taking part in research, but also my first time living away from home and my first time using a Unix terminal (both of which are challenging, but immensely rewarding, life skills).

While working with Steve I discovered that climate model output is really pretty (an opinion which hasn’t changed in the four years since) and that climate models are really hard to install (that hasn’t changed either).

At Steve’s suggestion I got a hold of the code for various climate models and started to pick it apart. By the end of the summer I had created a series of standardised diagrams showing the software architecture of each model.

These diagrams proved to be really useful communication tools: we presented our work at AGU the following December, and at NCAR about a year after that, to very positive feedback. Many climate modellers we met at these conferences were pleased to have a software diagram of the model they used (which is very useful to show during presentations), but they were generally more interested in the diagrams for other models, to see how other research groups used different software structures to solve the same problems. “I had no idea they did it like that,” was a remark I heard more than a few times.

Between my undergrad and PhD, I went back to Toronto for a month where I analysed the model code more rigorously. We made a new set of diagrams which was more accurate: the code was sorted into components based on dependency structure, and the area of each component in a given diagram was exactly proportional to the line count of its source code.

Here is the diagram we made for the GFDL-ESM2M model, which is developed at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton:

Figure 2 of Alexander et al., 2015

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Why the 97 per cent consensus on climate change still gets challenged

Posted on 18 May 2015 by Andy Skuce

Here are some excerpts from an article I wrote for the magazine Corporate Knights, published on May 14, 2015. Some references and links have been added at the end.

In 2004, science historian Naomi Oreskes published a short paper in the journal Science concluding there was an overwhelming consensus in the scientific literature that global warming was caused by humans.

After the paper’s release, there was some unexpectedly hostile reaction. This prompted Oreskes and her colleague Erik Conway to go even deeper with their research, leading to the publication of the book Merchants of Doubt. It documents how a small group of scientists with links to industry were able to sow doubt about the scientific consensus and delay effective policy on DDT, tobacco, acid rain and, now, global warming.

Fast forward to two years ago: a team of volunteer researchers (myself included) associated with the website Skeptical Science decide to update and extend Oreskes’ research. Led by University of Queensland researcher John Cook, we analyzed the abstracts of about 12,000 scientific papers extracted from a large database of articles, using the search terms “global warming” and “global climate change.” The articles had been published over a 21-year period, from 1991 to 2011.

As an independent check on our results, we also sent emails to the more than 8,500 scientist authors of these articles. (These were the scientists whose e-mail addresses we were able to track down). We asked them to rate their own papers for endorsement or rejection of man-made global warming.

Both approaches yielded a very similar result: 97 per cent of the scientific literature that expresses an opinion on climate change endorses the expert consensus view that it is man-made. The results were published in May 2013 in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

We were astonished by the positive reception. Mention of the paper was tweeted by U.S. President Barack Obama, Al Gore and Elon Musk, among others. Obama later referenced it in a speech at the University of Queensland, while U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has referred to the 97 per cent consensus in recent speeches. John Oliver based an episode of his HBO comedy show Last Week Tonight around it, a clip viewed online more than five million times.

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30 comments


2015 SkS Weekly Digest #20

Posted on 17 May 2015 by John Hartz

SkS Highlights

Lukewarmers – the third stage of climate denial, gambling on snake eyes by Dana generated the highest number of comments among the articles posted on SkS this past week. John Abraham's New study finds a hot spot in the atmosphere garnered the second highest number of comments. 

El Niño Watch

The rise and rise of the 2015 El Niño by Agus Santoso, Andréa S. Taschetto, Matthew England, and Shayne McGregor, The Conversation, May 12, 2015

Toon of the Week

 2015 Toon 20

Hat tip to I Heart Climate Scientists

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2015 SkS Weekly News Roundup #20B

Posted on 16 May 2015 by John Hartz

Bjorn Lomborg’s consensus approach is blind to inequality

Bjorn Lomborg is, undoubtedly, seriously concerned with poverty and inequality. Both in the work of the Copenhagen Consensus Center (CCC) and in his popular writings, this is a common theme. He has championed some very progressive ideas, including eradicating barriers to international migration. Unfortunately, he has also used rather distorted arguments and evidence about inequality to attack some of his favourite bugbears, such as subsidies for renewable energy.

The problem is that the central methodology of Lomborg and the CCC is at best blind to inequality and, in its application, could actually increase it. Moreover, there are good arguments to suggest that if we take a broader view of inequality to include intergenerational equality, the CCC methodology is not even equality-blind; it is equality-averse.

Bjorn Lomborg’s consensus approach is blind to inequality by Graham K Brown, The Conversation AU, May 14, 205


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New study finds a hot spot in the atmosphere

Posted on 15 May 2015 by John Abraham

A new study, just published in Environmental Research Letters by Steven Sherwood and Nidhi Nashant, has answered a number of questions about the rate at which the Earth is warming. Once again, the mainstream science regarding warming of the atmosphere is shown to be correct. This new study also helps to answer a debate amongst a number of scientists about temperature variations throughout different parts of the atmosphere.

When someone says “The Earth is warming”, the first questions to ask are (1) what parts of the Earth? and (2) over what time period? The Earth’s climate system is large; it includes oceans, the atmosphere, land surface, ice areas, etc.

When scientists use the phrase “global warming” they are often talking about increases to the amount of energy stored in oceans or increases to the temperature of the atmosphere closest to the ground. By either of these measures, climate change has led to a progressive increase in temperatures over the past four decades. But what about other parts of the climate system? What is happening to them?

One important area to consider is the troposphere. It is the bottom portion of the atmosphere where most weather occurs. Tropospheric temperatures can be taken by satellites, by weather balloons, or other instruments. In the past, both satellites and weather balloons reported no warming or even a cooling.

However, that original work was shown to be faulty and now even the most strident sceptics admit that the troposphere is warming. But obtaining an accurate estimate of the rate of warming is difficult. Changes to instruments, errors in measurements, short term fluctuations all can conspire to hide the “real” temperature.

This is where the new study comes in. The authors develop a new method to account for natural variability, long-term trends, and instruments in the temperature measurement. They make three conclusions.

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2015 SkS Weekly News Roundup #20A

Posted on 14 May 2015 by John Hartz

A climate-modeling strategy that won’t hurt the climate

It is perhaps the most daunting challenge facing experts in both the fields of climate and computer science — creating a supercomputer that can accurately model the future of the planet in a set of equations and how the forces ofclimate change will affect it. It is a task that would require running an immense set of calculations for several weeks and then recalculating them hundreds of times with different variables.

Such machines will need to be more than 100 times faster than today’s most powerful supercomputers, and ironically, such an effort to better understand the threat of climate change could actually contribute to global warming. If such a computer were built using today’s technologies, a so-called exascale computer would consume electricity equivalent to 200,000 homes and might cost $20 million or more annually to operate.

For that reason, scientists planning the construction of these ultrafast machines have been stalled while they wait for yet-to-emerge low-power computing techniques capable of significantly reducing the power requirements for an exascale computer.

A Climate-Modeling Strategy That Won’t Hurt the Climate by John Markoff, New York Times, May 11, 2015


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The Debunking Handbook in Icelandic

Posted on 14 May 2015 by Guest Author

This is a guest post by Heiðar Guðnason.

Whenever a hot topic or current events are discussed, especially in the comment section of social media newspapers there seems to be a tendency to make blatant and uncritical remarks. Some people even go so far as claiming that they have their own private opinions, not realizing they also act on them. This kind of mindset and the statements that follow are all too common in today´s social media. The “Hrakningahandbók” (Debunkers Handbook) serves as a guide not only to help debunk such statements but also to make one aware of his or her innate prejudices.

It helps applying a critical mindset whenever reviewing or making statements – not to accept them without proper arguments. However, this process or critical mindset is not always easy. Take for example when there is no scientific consensus or certain views go against one's worldview. It is when confronted with these kinds of threats that critical thinking is at its most importance, not jumping on the cherry picking bandwagon just because the arguments go against what you already believe.

The “true” debunkers' agenda is not to undermine or dispute opinions whenever they see fit, but to keep an open mind – including innate beliefs – weighing in the evidence and making an informed decision. If you cannot make a judgement on proper grounds, postpone it – that’s what being a skeptic is all about. Follow the arguments wherever they may lead, and realizing that scientific criticism is not a negative thing but a truth seeking protocol that ensures that better ideas come out on top. This critical mindset not only applies on other people´s ideas but also your own; sometimes you have to debunk yourself and this handbook can provide the tools.

There may come a time when opinions, statements or arguments need to be debunked, whether they be your own or someone else’s.  Some opinions are of such nature that they are simply dangerous, e.g. those regarding vaccinations. In such cases, when people’s health literally depend on people making an informed decision the “Hrakningahandbók” may indeed save lives. When confronted with such cases, in order to succeed you need all the tools at your disposal, which makes the handbook valuable.

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Lukewarmers – the third stage of climate denial, gambling on snake eyes

Posted on 13 May 2015 by dana1981

It’s the hottest trend in climate denial. Long gone are the days when people can publicly deny that the planet is warming or that humans are responsible without facing widespread mockery. Those who oppose taking serious action to curb global warming have mostly shifted to Stage 3 in the 5 stages of climate denial.

  • Stage 1: Deny the problem exists
  • Stage 2: Deny we’re the cause
  • Stage 3: Deny it’s a problem
  • Stage 4: Deny we can solve it
  • Stage 5: It’s too late

Each of the 5 stages shares one main characteristic – all can be used to argue against efforts and policies to slow global warming. If the planet isn’t warming, or if we’re not causing it, or if it’s not a problem, or if we can’t solve it, or if it’s too late, in each case there’s no reason to implement climate policies. 

People who favor the status quo will often bounce back and forth between the various stages of climate denial. However, as Stages 1 and 2 have become increasingly untenable, Stage 3 has become more popular.

As a result, so-called “Lukewarmers” have emerged. This group believes that the climate is relatively insensitive to the increasing greenhouse effect, and hence that climate change will proceed slowly enough as to not be a serious concern in the near future. This group has also become known as “Luckwarmers,” because they essentially want to gamble our future on the small chance that the best possible case scenario will come to fruition.

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What do volcanic eruptions mean for the climate?

Posted on 12 May 2015 by Guest Author

This is a re-post by Robert McSweeney & Roz Pidcock from Carbon Brief

Having lain dormant for over 40 years, the Calbuco volcano last night erupted twice within the space of a few hours. The blast sent a  huge cloud of ash over southern Chile.

Carbon Brief has asked a number of experts what volcano eruptions mean for the climate, and whether or not we can expect this latest event to have global consequences.

Cooling effect

Volcanic eruptions can affect climate in  two main ways.

First, they release the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, contributing to warming of the atmosphere. But the effect is very small. Emissions from volcanoes since 1750 are  thought to be at least 100 times smaller than those from fossil fuel burning.

Second, sulphur dioxide contained in the ash cloud can produce a cooling effect, explains Prof Jim McQuaid, professor of atmospheric composition at the University of Leeds:

"Sulphur dioxide is quickly converted into sulphate  aerosol which then alongside the fine volcanic ash forms a partial barrier to incoming solar radiation"

You can see this in the NASA video below that maps movements of particles in the Earth's atmosphere. At around 2 minutes in you can see the impact of the volcanic eruption in Madagascar, just off the eastern coast of Africa.

Airborne particles in Earth's atmosphere. Credit: NASA

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Ice loss in west Antarctica is speeding up

Posted on 11 May 2015 by John Abraham

As I’ve previously noted, one of the most challenging problems in climate science deals with how to measure the Earth’s system. Whether ocean temperatures, atmospheric temperatures, sea level, ice extent or other characteristics, measurements have to be made with sufficient accuracy and geographical coverage so that we can calculate long-term trends. In some parts of the planet, the measurements are particularly daunting because of the ruggedness of the terrain and the hostility of the environment.

This brings us to a new study just published on Antarctic ice loss by Christopher Harig and Frederik Simons of Princeton. They work in the Princeton Polar Ice program. This study used satellite measurements to determine the rate of mass loss from this large ice sheet.

The ice sheet has two parts, a stable and large eastern part and a smaller and less stable western portion. The impact of climate change on these portions is different. The western part is losing mass at an increasing rate over the past years. In the east, however, the information is less clear. Increased precipitation (snowfall) is adding to the ice there, even while portions of the ice are warming.

The satellite method that these authors used actually measures the gravitational pull of the ice on two orbiting satellites. The huge ice sheet has such a large mass that it attracts objects toward it. As the ice melts and flows into the oceans, the attraction decreases – it is this change that is measured. The satellites are part of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) project.

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2015 SkS Weekly Digest #19

Posted on 10 May 2015 by John Hartz

SkS Highlights

The good folk at edX (who host our online course Making Sense of Climate Science Denial) generously organised a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) for me this week. The AMA was scheduled to start at 7 am here in Brisbane. When I woke up at 6 am and loaded the AMA webpage on Reddit, 2000 comments had already been posted! So I gulped down a coffee and in the short time available, belted out as many answers as I could as quickly as possible (while linking to relevant videos from our MOOC). Here are a selection of my answers, grouped into categories: 

Ask Me Anything about Climate Science Denial by John Cook

El Niño Watch

The world is headed into an El Nino event – potentially a big one – which will lift global temperatures and likely exacerbate bushfires and drought in eastern Australia, climate specialists say.

Fairfax Media understands that Australia's Bureau of Meteorology will announce next Tuesday that the El Niño event is all but certain.

World headed for an El Nino and it could be a big one, scientists say by Peter Hannam, Sydney Morning Herald, May 8, 2015

Toon of the Week

 2015 Toon 19

Hat tip to I Heart Climate Scientists

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17 comments


Monthly global carbon dioxide tops 400ppm for first time

Posted on 9 May 2015 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Roz Pidcock at Carbon Brief

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today announced that the monthly global average concentration of carbon dioxide surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) in March 2015 for the first time since measurements began.

The average carbon dioxide concentration across the globe was 400.83 ppm, reported NOAA.

If this news sounds familiar, it might be because this isn't the first time you've heard scientists mention the 400 ppm mark in recent years.

In the spring of 2012, NOAA reported all of its Arctic stations were measuring local concentrations of more than 400 ppm.

In 2013, the daily carbon dioxide concentration surpassed 400 ppm mark at the Mauna Loa Observatory, where scientists have been monitoring levels since the 1950s.

But March 2015 is the first time the average carbon dioxide concentration right across the globe has been more than 400 ppm for an entire month.

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 At 22.03.29

Global monthly carbon dioxide concentration. The dashed red line represents monthly mean values while the black line has had the seasonal cycle removed. Source: NOAA/ESRL

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2015 SkS Weekly News Roundup #19B

Posted on 8 May 2015 by John Hartz

2C warming goal is a ‘defence line’, governments told

The international goal to limit global warming to 2C should be “stringently defended”, UN climate negotiators will be told next month.

Even this level of temperature rise would put the world’s poor at “very high risk” of climate impacts and “less warming would be preferable”.

These were some of the key messages from two years of talks between more than 70 country representatives and scientists, published by the UN this week.

Countries agreed on the 2C threshold in 2009, but the necessary policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions have proved elusive.

Few expect that a global climate deal due to be struck in Paris this December will set the world on a 2C path, beyond which scientists say floods, droughts and rising sea levels will become more common.

Instead, diplomats talk of keeping 2C “within reach” and creating an enduring framework to ratchet up ambition in future.

2C warming goal is a ‘defence line’, governments told by Megan Darby, Responding to Climate Change (RTCC), May 7, 2015


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What if Climate Change is Real? Katharine Hayhoe TEDx at Texas Tech

Posted on 8 May 2015 by Guest Author

Katharine Hayhoe recently gave a TEDx talk at Texas Tech University.  See if you can count how many myths she debunked from the Skeptical Science database.

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6 comments


Ask Me Anything about Climate Science Denial

Posted on 7 May 2015 by John Cook

The good folk at edX (who host our online course Making Sense of Climate Science Denial) generously organised a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) for me this week. The AMA was scheduled to start at 7 am here in Brisbane. When I woke up at 6 am and loaded the AMA webpage on Reddit, 2000 comments had already been posted! So I gulped down a coffee and in the short time available, belted out as many answers as I could as quickly as possible (while linking to relevant videos from our MOOC). Here are a selection of my answers, grouped into categories:

Psychology of climate science denial

Q: What are the main reasons someone would deny climate change?

A: The main driver of climate science denial is political ideology. Some people don't like the solutions to climate change that involve regulation of polluting industries. Not liking the solutions, they deny there's a problem in the first place. A number of empirical studies (including my own PhD research) have found an extremely strong correlation between conservative political ideology and denial of science. And randomised experiments have demonstrated a causal relationship between the two.

This is extremely important to understand. You can't respond to science denial without understanding what's driving it. We examine this in Scott Mandia's lecture https://youtu.be/fq5PtLnquew

Q: Do you think the psychology behind climate science denial can also explain other types of science denial?

A: A general principle is that people reject scientific evidence that they perceive threatens their worldview. So while different factors drive denial of different areas of science, often you will find the mechanisms are similar. For example, religious ideology drives rejection of evolution science in similar ways to political ideology driving rejection of climate science. Another thing that different types of science denial have in common is they all share the 5 characteristics of denial, as examined in this video from our course: https://youtu.be/wXA777yUndQ

Q: How can you tell the difference between willful ignorance (or maybe not ignorance but disagreement) based on an agenda, and legitimate disagreement based on really misunderstanding data, or surface level policy disagreement?

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