A short guide on how science works and when to believe It. Some Australian politicians and ordinary people in our community are still doubtful about climate change. While some deny that the planet is warming, or accept the warming but deny the link to greenhouse gases, many are just doubtful and confused: they don't really know what to think.
This is a serious problem. It would be a huge relief to discover that the scientists have got it all wrong. But the science of global warming is now quite clear and we urgently need to respond. Doubt and confusion only sap our will to act, which is exactly what the powerful fossil fuel lobby wants.
If you find sceptics' arguments persuasive, but still have an open mind, here are a number of resources to help clear up the confusion.
If however you're sure the scientists are wrong and climate change is definitely not a problem, then please submit your paper here and await your Nobel Prize. Or seek help.
This website gets skeptical about global warming skepticism. Do their arguments have any scientific basis? What does the peer reviewed scientific literature say? Read on >>Climate change: what the scientists say
A short, simple summary of the science of climate change, with links for more information. Read on >>
A short, non-technical summary
change science by Heather Hughes. Based on The Scientific Basis for Scepticism about Global Warming by former Sutherland CAN member, the late Dr Frederick C. Bell. Read on >>
An expert from Monash University and World Vision answers 21 climate sceptic claims. Read on >>
Clear, concise responses to more than 50 of the most common sceptical arguments on global warming. Arguments are classified by stages of denial, scientific topics, types of argument and levels of sophistication. Read on >>
Climate change deniers depend on ten-second sound bites that serve to muddy and confuse the complex issues of climate change. The Crock of the Week video series takes these talking points one by one and breaks them down for the intelligent layperson who lacks the time to wade through the thicket of information. Watch on Youtube >>
of Australia's leading politicians such as Tony Abbott and Senator Nick
Minchin have variously dismissed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as "alarmist" or fuelling a
left-wing conspiracy to "de-industrialise" modern society. ...So is the IPCC really that kooky? Read on >>
Christopher Monckton, Third
Viscount of Brenchley attracted a great deal of media attention for his lecture
tour in Australia in 2010. But Monckton’s presentation has been rebutted in
detail by Professor John Abraham of the University of St Thomas. Watch the video >>
Leon Ashby's Climate Sceptics Party presentation "Why an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is not necessary" presents a range of evidence that appears to support his view that rising CO2 is not a problem and could even be a good thing.
Having searched in vain for an online investigation of Ashby’s claims, I compiled this critique.
Ian Plimer's Heaven and Earth
If you've read or heard about this book and think it deserves some credence, consider what others have said about it.
Prof Ian Enting from University of Melbourne has provided a detailed, point-by-point critique (46-page PDF)
Wikipedia has a good summary highlighting the difference between the book's reception in the media and its reviews by scientists. Here is a selection of the latter:
- Prof David Karoly on ABC Science Show: Are Plimer's claims justified and based on science? ...The book is impressive and possibly interesting, but very disappointing. ...It's disappointing because a senior professor should not have produced such a book with so many errors, so many internal inconsistencies, and with no sources for its graphs.
- Prof Barry Brook: I’ve been critical of Ian’s views before ...Ian’s assertions about man’s role in climate change were naive, reflected a poor understanding of climate science, and relied on recycled and distorted arguments that had been repeatedly refuted. ...[A]fter reading [Heaven and Earth], I find that nothing has fundamentally changed.
- Tim Lambert: Ian Plimer's approach to climate science in Heaven Earth is unscientific. ...He accepts any factoid that supports his conclusion and rejects any evidence that contradicts his conclusion.
And what about the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change? These 23 individuals from 15 countries, including a handful of scientists, disagree. Led by physicist S. Fred Singer—best known for his denial of the dangers of secondhand smoke—they argue the reverse: "Natural causes are very likely to be the dominant cause" of climate change. Read more in Scientific American >>
- Youtube: "I've just completed Mike's Nature trick... to hide the decline" Does trick really mean "clever technique"? Try this Google Scholar search for scientific papers with "trick" in the title. OK, but the "decline" is the "global cooling" sceptics allege occurred in the last ten years, right? Wrong. The email dates from 1999, and refers to an apparent temperature decline since the 1960s shown in tree rings, which does not match the record from weather stations and other sources. And this supposed secret was published in 1998. Watch on Youtube >>
- Scientific American: A slew of emails stolen from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit highlight definite character flaws among some climate scientists ...Sadly for the potential fate of human civilization, rumors of the demise of climate change have been much exaggerated. Read on >>
- Nature: "UEA scientists sharply
criticized ...papers that question the uniqueness of
recent global warming ...and vowed to keep at least the first paper out of the ...IPCC. Whatever the e-mail authors may have said to one another in
(supposed) privacy, however, what matters is how they acted. And the
fact is that, in the end, neither they nor the IPCC suppressed
anything: when the assessment report was published in 2007 it
referenced and discussed both papers." Read more >>
So why do climate sceptics - or climate denialists, or climate action delayers - maintain their denial?
Because they are camouflaging their politics as scientific debate. Watch video >>