Global Warming

Published on February 12th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan

12

7 Myths about Climate Change Science [& FUN VIDEOS]

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February 12th, 2010 by

The science of climate change is not really the question at hand anymore. Of course, there is always more to learn, but that highly accelerated climate change is real and that humans are the main cause of that are no longer questionable facts to the large majority of the scientific community. What is questionable is whether or not we will address the issue, or to what degree we will address it, and how much our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, etc. will have to pay the price for our late and limited action.

Of course, outside of the scientific community, many climate change deniers and so-called “skeptics” continue to trick the media and act as if those fundamental issues of climate science are not resolved. As a concise response (with relevant links) to some of the most popular claims put forth by the anti-science climate change deniers, here is a list of 7 myths regarding climate change science.

For more in-depth coverage of a few of these topics, read Dr. Joseph Romm’s “The year climate science caught up with what climate scientists have been saying for years” or follow the links included for each myth.

For a little bit of fun, mainstream media coverage (that also nails some of the major points below), this segment by Rachel Maddow is one of my favorites recently:


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1) It’s cold outside! Climate change is nonsense.

Well, it may be cold outside, but the important thing to remember right now is that it is Winter and even if we get a bit of exceptionally cold weather, that is how weather is. Weather is quite variable, even while the climate is changing, and we can still expect to see record lows from time to time. Research shows, however, that the record lows are increasingly few and far between and half as common now as record highs:


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Additionally, although it may be exceptionally cold in some places in the world, globally it has actually been much warmer than average this winter.


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For more information, see:

Hottest January in UAH satellite record – Human-caused global warming easily overwhelms much-hyped ‘cold snap’

Breaking: 2009 hottest year on record in Southern Hemisphere and tied for second globally

Must-read AP story: Statisticians reject global cooling; Caldeira — ‘To talk about global cooling at the end of the hottest decade the planet has experienced in many thousands of years is ridiculous’

Following third warmest November, December not even close to contiguous U.S. record for cold

Record high temperatures far outpace record lows across U.S.

‘Experts: Cold snap doesn’t disprove global warming’ Duh!

Hansen wants your feedback on ‘If It’s That Warm, How Come It’s So Damned Cold?’: Essay by four NASA scientists explains why 2005 (not 1998) was the hottest year, what caused recent cold snap, and the source of the ‘gullibility; of those ‘so readily convinced of a false conclusion, that the world is really experiencing a cooling trend’

Are meteorologists climate experts? – Columbia Journalism Review asks ‘Why don’t TV weathermen believe in climate change?’

Addressing ‘Global Cooling’

Not Cold Everywhere

2) It’s snowing outside! So much for “global warming”!

Actually, more snow is due to more moisture in the atmosphere, which,… is due to climate change.

Nothing new to climate scientists that we should see increasingly strange weather as the climate changes. Climate change is about more than warmer weather. It is about changes to the whole system and what we are used to.

See:

2010 East Coast Snowfall Blamed on Global Warming?

Preparing For Frankenstorms: ‘The most powerful low pressure system in 140 years of record keeping’ slams the Southwest.

The non-blizzard of 2009 and why the anti-science disinformers try to shout down any talk of a link between climate change and extreme weather

Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate” (report put forth by the Bush Administration)

Massive moisture-driven extreme precipitation during warmest winter in the satellite record

Was the “Blizzard of 2009″ a ‘global warming type’ of record snowfall — or an opportunity for the media to blow the extreme weather story (again)?

Now, also, don’t forget, it’s not snowing in Canada, where it should be for the Winter Olympics, because it’s too warm!

See:

Is that airlifted snow on your Olympic ski mountain, or is your enormous helicopter just happy to see me?

Canada’s mild climate leaves Winter Olympics short of snow

3) “Hockey Stick” Graph is a Big Trick.

Climate science deniers continually want to say that Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” graph is bogus, but the data behind it have continually been backed up scientifically, including by the National Academy of Sciences.

The bottom line is: this graph, scary as it may be, is based on sound science.

See:

Sorry deniers, hockey stick gets longer, stronger: Earth hotter now than in past 2,000 years

Human-caused Arctic warming overtakes 2,000 years of natural cooling, ‘seminal’ study finds

Mann is Off the Hook, So Let’s Look at the Real Crime [Video of Mann]

Rather than being heroes for identifying that the hockey stick graph is a fake (something dozens, if not hundreds, of expert scientists supposedly couldn’t do), the people criticizing the hockey stick graph have actually been uncovered as anti-science disinformers.

4) Global Cooling is What We Should Be Expecting, Not Global Warming.

Climate science deniers continually cite Mojib Latif as publishing research that claims something along those lines. But Dr. Latif, himself, has made it clear that his work does not disprove or go against climate change. Beyond making it clear that his work does not go against “global warming”, he has written a book titled Climate Change: The Point of No Return (The Sustainability Project) and he has said (in an NPR interview), “If my name was not Mojib Latif, my name would be global warming. So I really believe in global warming.” The bottom line: minor cooling within global warming or climate change may occur, but it is just as likely that we will see warming, according to Latif, and, in the long run, climate change is definitely about global warming.

See:

Must-read AP story: Statisticians reject global cooling; Caldeira — ‘To talk about global cooling at the end of the hottest decade the planet has experienced in many thousands of years is ridiculous’

FoxNews, WattsUpWithThat push falsehood-filled Daily Mail article on global cooling that utterly misquotes, misrepresents work of Mojib Latif and NSIDC

Exclusive: Dr. Mojib Latif sets the record straight on what his work says about global warming and what it doesn’t say about global cooling

Exclusive interview with Dr. Mojib Latif, the man who confused the NY Times and New Scientist, the man who moved George Will and math-challenged Morano to extreme disinformation

5) Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is always in the atmosphere and is a good thing.

Yes, CO2 is always in the atmosphere, but not at this level! And too much of anything can be bad. Too much water can kill you. Similarly, too much CO2 doesn’t help life on Earth but hurts it.

See:

World carbon dioxide levels jump 2.3 ppm in 2008 to highest in 650,000 — if not 20 million — years

Science: CO2 levels haven’t been this high for 15 million years, when it was 5° to 10°F warmer and seas were 75 to 120 feet higher — ‘We have shown that this dramatic rise in sea level is associated with an increase in CO2 levels of about 100 ppm.’

The year climate science caught up with what top scientists have been saying privately for years

6) Antarctica is cooling.

Guess what, Antarctica, which should be cooling despite “global warming”, is actually warming as well! Not what scientists were expecting or hoping to find.

See:

Antarctica has warmed significantly over past 50 years, revisited

Large Antarctic glacier thinning 4 times faster than it was 10 years ago: ‘Nothing in the natural world is lost at an accelerating exponential rate like this glacier.’

Satellite data stunner: ‘Our data suggest that EAST Antarctica is losing mass…. Antarctica may soon be contributing significantly more to global sea-level rise.’

Nature: ‘Dynamic thinning of Greenland and Antarctic ice-sheet ocean margins is more sensitive, pervasive, enduring and important than previously realized.’

7) Climate Scientists are Like Mobsters Trying to Take Over the World Through Illegal Actions behind Closed Doors — “Climategate”

I almost didn’t even put this on the list, because it is so ridiculous. Ridiculous as it may be, though, it got a ton of attention, so here it is.

In the biggest climate science attack of late, people claimed that the emails of climate scientists that criminals hacked proved that climate science was full of crap, but in the end we found out that just wasn’t the case! Further research into the subject, not cherry-picked quotes taken out of context by the criminals, showed that the science is as strong as ever.

See:

Must read AP analysis of stolen emails: An ‘exhaustive review’ shows ‘the exchanges don’t undercut the vast body of evidence showing the world is warming because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.’

Debunking Misinformation About Stolen Climate Emails

1700 UK scientists come forward to reaffirm climate science

‘Climate emails hacked by spies’

Extra Videos

For a little more on “How we know humans are changing the climate and Why climate change is a clear and present danger,” watch these interviews with leading climate scientists:


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Or watch a full 90-minute presentation by Dr. Christopher Field, Dr. Michael MacCracken and Dr. Joseph Romm directly prior to these one-on-one interviews here.

Image Credit: kevindooley via flickr under a CC license

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



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  • Humpty Smith

    As a fan of the scientific method, wouldn’t you support the idea that all of this controversy should be examined to see how it fits in with the current climate model? Your point is that ignorance and political motivations have allowed many people to be misled. A point that you make while doing the exact same thing. If “most” agree it does not seem very scientific. After all, “most” scientists have agreed throughout history on their current understanding of the world we live in only to be dissuaded later. Our “scientific” understanding in the 1950′s was scoffed at by the 1970′s, and that understanding was scoffed at in the 1990′s, which was in turn scoffed at today. In fact, at no point in history, has “science” had a complete understanding of just about anything or else we would 1) not be conducting further research and 2) not be required to alter previous understandings every few years. Lets all put political mischief and special interest behind us, or you are no better than those you discredit. Scare tactics are the domain of the ignorant.

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  • http://usnaturalandorganic.com charles

    This subject is just like many in the past. There is two side to the story. And, both sides seem have an agenda that they are willing to force onto the people. The fact is that the climate of the Earth changes all the time and im not talking about changes in seasons. Lets face it the planet has been much warmer and cooler in the past before cars, factories, etc. and even before humans. However, this does not mean that humans are not having an impact. I do feel that people do need to take notice of how and what is being consumed. Then, as people pay attention to how much energy they use and other factors then return to a more natural way of living the problems will correct themselves. Nevertheless, this was an excellent post with lots of good info. Thanks for the effort.

  • Pingback: 7 Myths about Climate Change Science [& FUN VIDEOS] « Green Commentaries Around the Web

  • http://stuartbramhall.aegauthorblogs.com Stuart Bramhall

    Great post. I really like the way you unpack the latest oil industry/mainstream media disinformation. I think the ultimate goal of this ridculous debate is to make people through up their hands and decide it is too complicated for ordinary people to understand. Unfortunately it seems quite a successful strategy. People withdraw from trying to do anything and go back to watching TV. When I run across people who are taken in by climate change sceptism. I use the probability argument:
    1. we all agree global temperatures and extreme weather events are increasing.
    2. climate scientists admit there may be some other cause than human activity.
    3. they have calculated the odds that it is caused by something else – but this probability is so extremely low it is virtually impossible.
    People here in New Zealand are great gamblers (on horse and dog races) and they readily understand odds and probability.

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