Global warming deniers beware: New Scientist debunks all

As surprising as it will likely seem, I, in fact, don’t know everything about global warming. Of course, I couldn’t tell you how a fax machine works, either, but I also believe in their existence.

So on occasion when people give me goofball alternative ideas to global warming, I’m not intellectually equipped to give the solid, conversation-ending rebuke I so desire. So I’m forced with calling them a “moron” which is in its own way satisfying, but generally regarded as not intellectual.

Luckily for me, New Scientist Environment has come through with everything I need to know with “Climate change: A guide for the perplexed”.

“With so much at stake, it is right that climate science is subjected to the most intense scrutiny. What does not help is for the real issues to be muddied by discredited arguments or wild theories,” writes Michael Le Page, who impressively put it all together. “So for those who are not sure what to believe, here is our round-up of the 26 most common climate myths and misconceptions.”

Here are a couple to get you started:

“They predicted global cooling in the 1970s”

Yes they did. But it was a highly debated position in the science community and eventually the main proponent of the concept of global cooling admitted he wasn’t sure what the future would bring.

The calls for action to prevent further human-induced global warming, by contrast, are based on an enormous body of research by thousands of scientists over more than a century that has been subjected to intense – and sometimes ferocious – scrutiny. According to the latest IPCC report, it is more than 90% certain that the world is already warming as a result of human activity.

“Many leading scientists question climate change”

No. They don’t. They just don’t. The most you’ll get is disagreement of the future consequences of global warming. There’s just too much evidence, and the “scientists” you do see coming out against it generally have an agenda.

Climate change skeptics sometimes claim that many leading scientists question climate change. Well, it all depends on what you mean by “many” and “leading”. For instance, in April 2006, 60 “leading scientists” signed a letter urging Canada’s new prime minister to review his country’s commitment to the Kyoto protocol.

This appears to be the biggest recent list of skeptics. Yet many, if not most, of the 60 signatories are not actively engaged in studying climate change: some are not scientists at all and at least 15 are retired.

Compare that with the dozens of statements on climate change from various scientific organisations around the world representing tens of thousands of scientists, the consensus position represented by the IPCC reports and the 11,000 signatories to a petition condemning the Bush.

Check out New Scientist’s entire list of 26 climate myths. It’s great reading and will give you some valuable information when faced with those who will tritely try and use mythical reasoning to debunk climate change. Then afterward, ask them how a fax machine works, just for the heck of it.


Crossposted at


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9 responses to “Global warming deniers beware: New Scientist debunks all

  1. Thanks, my big brother keeps insisting that Volcanos spew more than we ever could. Now I can disabuse him of that idea.

  2. You’re right – it’s a terrific series, and it’s nice that New Scientist has put all of those entries in one post.

    My sister and I have had arguments with my dad about what’s responsible for climate change, and what to do about it (if anything – Dad doesn’t think there’s anything that can be done), but we do agree that the earth’s climate is changing, and it’s changing rapidly.

  3. Tart

    So I’m forced with calling them a “moron” which is in its own way satisfying, but generally regarded as not intellectual.

    LOL, but name-calling is fun!


  4. I subscribe to New Scientist and that issue was just delivered to my desk this morning.

  5. mac

    Great post. Thanks for the link, it is a good, well organised and concise source on this topic.

  6. nightshift66

    I found the linked article very informative, but it reminded me of an old theory about how democracies are incapable of planning long-term. In the article, most of the effects aren’t predicted to be severe until after my own lifetime. (I’m 40, BTW.) It is impossible to sell a majority in this country on current sacrifice to avoid future disaster, even when that disaster is an acknowledged certainty (e.g. running out of oil). When it is something more nebulous like climate change, the odds of getting something done early go way down.

  7. burnt toast

    how to deal with a global warming believer:
    Smithsonian Toned Down Exhibit on Arctic

  8. Pingback: Linkmeister

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