How to respond to: How to talk to a climate skeptic

Confusing title, I know. But in due time it shall all make sense.

Some of you may know of a website called Gristmill (or Grist). It’s labeled with the caption “Environmental News & Commentary.” Sounds pretty awesome, eh?

They have a series there entitled “How To Talk to a Climate Skeptic,” with replies to common arguements used by those such as muah, most with slanted and/or distorted statements of the  actual skeptical position. I checked it out today and was treated to a new article ‘debunking’ the cooling of the past year.

Here’s his version of the skeptical view:

Objection: Temperatures plummeted over the last year (2007-2008). If you look at this data from the Met Office Hadley Centre you can clearly see that in one year alone global temperatures dropped .6°C, an amount equal to the entire warming over the 20th century claimed by the IPCC.

All very true. But I don’t think any of us thought that this collossal cooling would actually stay that  way. That seems to be what he’s implying. What is important is that we’ve heated maybe .2 degrees Celcius since then, and August remained steady, meaning we’re still significantly cooler than just a year ago.

This argument represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the difference between weather and climate. Climate is generally defined as the weather conditions averaged over a long period, usually around 30 years.

Sounds reasonable. So, let’s make sense of this. CO2 started increasing greatly around 1940. Temperature’s fell for about 30-35 years during this increase. Then temperature rose for around 20-25 years, right in line with CO2, from the late 70’s to the year 2002. (excluding the outlier of the 98 EL Nino) Since then, for almost 7 years, temperatures have been falling.

Wow. Now that’s some really solid evidence of CO2 being super duperty important. 40 years of cooling, 25 years of warming. Talking about aerosols is for a different time. But those are the facts. And these people actually ridicule us for not declaring an imminent climate catastrophe?

There’s more in the article that could be commented on, but one thing needs attention.

And before you let anyone argue that the uncertainty about today I just described just means we need to wait 10 more years, please recall that we have done that and more already.

Well, my friend, during this ten years the Earth has cooled. But no, you’re right, we should ignore that, but focus on 20 years of correlation. Let’s also ignore that the correlated warming was no where near a catastrophic level.

Twenty years ago James Hansen was telling the U.S. senate that warming was real, significant, and anthropogenic (human caused) and the projections he provided have been largely borne out by what has been observed.

Ah, defending James Hansen’s prediction of 20 years ago. So easy to refute, you wonder why they still do it.

The yellow line is if CO2 was held constant, which it hasn’t. The orange line is closest to our actual emmissions scenario, and it’s way off from actual temperatures (bottom red line). The Earth heated for only 10 years following his testimony, and it’s been falling since for 10 years. Dope predictions, dude.

The skeptics have already made us wait,

While we’ve been in cooling trend.

and the three IPCC assessments that came out in the meantime have been more and more emphatic in their conclusions.

And each time they look more wrong in their forecast for a climate crisis.

The wait is over, the trend is clear and the cause is well understood.

On the contrare, the wait is not over, the trend is not clear, and the cause is partially, not completely, understood. All three points are, and have, been demonstrably proven.


One Response to How to respond to: How to talk to a climate skeptic

  1. AGWDoubter says:

    I always figured that this article was proof that people form opinions before having the facts in front of them, other wise would they need such hand-holding to defend their views?

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