The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism
Posted on 8 December 2010 by John Cook
Scientific skepticism is healthy. In fact, science by its very nature is skeptical. Genuine skepticism means considering the full body of evidence before coming to a conclusion. However, when you take a close look at arguments expressing climate ‘skepticism’, what you often observe is cherry picking of pieces of evidence while rejecting any data that don’t fit the desired picture. This isn’t skepticism. It is ignoring facts and the science.
The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism looks at both the evidence that human activity is causing global warming and the ways that climate ‘skeptic’ arguments can mislead by presenting only small pieces of the puzzle rather than the full picture.
The Guide explains the science in brief, plain language without getting too technical. For those who wish to dig deeper into the science, more detailed treatments can be found at the following pages (often presented with varying levels of complexity from Basic to Advanced):
- Human CO2 emissions is tiny compared to natural emissions
- Global warming stopped in 1998
- It's cooling
- Climate sensitivity is low
- Climate has changed in the past
- CO2 lags temperature
- CO2 doesn't cause much warming
- The warming trend is due to microsite influences
- The temperature record is unreliable
- The hockey stick is broken
- Global warming is a good thing
- Climategate shows there's a conspiracy among climate scientists
- There's no scientific consensus
How people are using the Guide
The Guide is being used by teacher associations, museums, websites, student groups and other organisations. Read some of the examples of how the Guide is being used.
To translate the Guide into another language, there is a two-column Word document plus a PDF Overview of the Guide to mark each section for translators. Please download the Word document and email me back the document with translated text. But first contact me to ensure noone else is already working on your language.
Skeptical Science Forum
The Guide is likely to provoke lots of questions and discussion. Rather than restrict all the discussion to a single blog post, I've created a Skeptical Science forum where individual issues can be examined in detail in their own discussion threads. If you have any questions about any part of the Guide, feel free to post your questions or comments on the Skeptical Science Forum.
Of course, the same Comments Policy guidelines apply in the forum as elsewhere at Skeptical Science - no ad hominem attacks, no politics, no profanity or inflammatory comments. And discussion is to stay on topics raised in the Guide. Down the track, I may add a general forum so any climate issues can be brought up for discussion. Whether that happens will depend on people's behaviour in this forum... so play nice! :-)