A Few Things Ill Considered

A layman's take on the science of Global Warming featuring a guide on How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic.

Monday, October 23, 2006

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New Guides by Category Coming


Welcome to Crooks and Liars readers! I fear this is a poor introductory page for my humble blog. What I am mostly about is providing succint, scientifically supported rebuttals to the numerous and generally spurious objections to the well founded scientific case for human caused climate change, aka anthropogenic global warming. The side bar link "How to Talk to a Sceptic" is where it started, the cross referenced index of the arguments below is a working draft, but very complete except for formatting, the site continues to be developed.

Thanks for visiting, I hope you find useful information here, comments welcome on old or new threads, suggestions appreciated!
[End update, original post follows]

David Roberts of the Grist environmental website recently invited me to reproduce the How to Talk to a Sceptic Guide, and otherwise contribute, to the Gristmill blog. I accepted and will begin doing so probably this week. I will keep things going here too though, it is kick seeing the visitor stats growing (ok, not exactly Google numbers, but good enough for me!)

As well as being able to reach more people at this critical time in the debate, I am taking advantage of the opportunity to revisit each article and more importantly to roll out a new and improved Guides by Category page. I also hope this will be the motivation I have been missing to fill in some holes, both from recent developments and old but overlooked standbys.

Included below is a draft of the categorization. I would appreciate feedback before I make it into a proper page with a short preamble and links to the earlier versions that will take the place of this link in the sidebar. I especially need more details in the Argument Sources section, it was an undeveloped add-on.

(I should note that I still have every intention of making the whole thing a wiki and adding other related resources. )

Guides by Categories

Categories are: Stages of Denial, Scientific Topics, Types of Argument, Levels of Sophistication, Argument Sources.

Stages of Denial

  1. There's nothing happening
    1. Inadequate Evidence
    2. Contradictory Evidence
    3. No Consensus

  2. We Don't Know Why It's Happening
    1. Models Don't Work
    2. Prediction is Impossible
    3. We Can't Be Sure

  3. Climate Change is Natural
    1. It Happened Before

    2. It's Part of a Natural Change

    3. It's Not Caused By CO2

  4. Climate Change is Not Bad
    1. The Effects are Good
    2. The Effects are Minor
    3. Change is Normal
  5. Climate Change Can't be Stopped
    1. Too Late
    2. It's Someone Else's Problem
    3. Economically Infeasible

Scientific Topics

  1. Temperature

  2. Atmosphere

  3. Extreme Events

    1. Temperature Records

    2. Storms

    3. Droughts

  4. Cryosphere

    1. Glaciers

    2. Sea Ice

    3. Ice Sheets

  5. Oceans

  6. Modeling

    1. Scenarios

    2. Uncertainties

  7. Climate Forcings

    1. Solar Influences

    2. Greenhouse Gases

    3. Aerosols

  8. Paleo Climate

    1. Holocene

    2. Ice Ages

    3. Geologic History

  9. Scientific Process

Types of Argument

  1. Uninformed

  2. Misinformed

  3. Cherry Picking

  4. Urban Myths

  5. FUD

  6. Non Scientific

  7. Underdog Theories

  8. Crackpottery

Levels of Sophistication

  1. Silly

  2. Naive

  3. Specious

  4. Scientific

Argument Sources

  1. CO2 Science

  2. Junkscience

  3. Competitive Enterprise Institute

  4. Wall Street Journal

  5. Patrick Michaels

  6. Richard Lindzen

  7. Bob Carter

  8. Bill Gray

  9. Tim Ball

  10. James Inhofe



  • At October 24, 2006 1:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Coby,

    I personally like very much the "Stages of Denial" way of putting things.


  • At October 24, 2006 3:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A cahnce for me to post for the dirst time on your excellent site.

    You might consider something along the statistics/probability/ maths line, as this is often used in discussions on forums. Eli Rabett has some good material on his blog.
    On the argument sources, you really should include Steve McI's Climate Audit, even though it is a bear pit, Prometheus & Climate Science, for well-focussed discussion of important details.
    There are also some good discussion groups on a variey of open forums which your readers might enjoy, for example the Google discussion page, or UKww.
    I check your site regularly and often use your arguments in my own discussions on CC; keep up the good work.

  • At October 24, 2006 10:08 AM, Blogger coby said…


    Thanks, I like that one too, and that will roughly be the order I present them on Gristmill.

    Fergus, thanks for the feedback! The math suggestion is a good one. I will probably hold off on the Argument Sources section for the time being simply because it will be a lot of work to maintain. I think when there is a wiki format and there are more fingers at the keyboard that part could become quite useful. WRT Prometheus and Climate Science, they don't generaly produce the kind of low hanging fruit I target, being much more intelligent sites with legitimate points to present. Aside from the Hockey hokee I don't follow CA enough myself, probably a good inclusion in the near future.

  • At October 24, 2006 10:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh great, another data dump on unsuspecting readers. And still.....Canada's CO2 emissions continue rising year after year after year.

    - Paul G.

  • At October 25, 2006 8:53 AM, Blogger M.J. S. - (Wacki) said…

    wow, congrats Coby.

    This is better than getting your own blog at SEED IMO.

  • At October 25, 2006 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Great work.

    By the time you've finished this I think you'll be 90% of the way to having enough material to publish a book!


  • At October 26, 2006 6:27 AM, Blogger Wag the Dog said…

    Aside from the Hockey hokee I don't follow CA enough myself, probably a good inclusion in the near future.

    You're better off letting Deltoid handle this, as they seem to have the required muscle to thwart the CA noise machine. I notice you list Deltoid as a climate science blog, however currently the hot topic has been the Lancet study estimation of Iraq's death toll. Tim Lambert does not only discuss the latest attacks on climate science on his blog. Perhaps a direct link to the Global Warming sub-category will suffice for now.

  • At October 26, 2006 10:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Paul G., in response to your comment:

    "Oh great, another data dump on unsuspecting readers. And still.....Canada's CO2 emissions continue rising year after year after year."

    That's not the fault of Coby, those at RealClimate.org, and others who are trying to get the government to do something about the problem. It is the fault of many politicians, not to mention the media, who see angering the Alberta oil sector by legislating GHG reductions as a recipe for "Western Alienation" and "economic disaster." As well, the current Conservative government has the fossil fuel industry so far up their ass that any talk of meaningful GHG reductions which do not fall under the reduced "energy intensity" cop-out is silenced.

    People like Coby and those who run RealClimate.org are supplying valuable data and discussion about climate science. They should be consulted on a much more frequent basis by policymakers and the media, people who should turn off the TV during CEI ads and should refrain from reading the unscientific PR crap that comes out of the Fraser Institute cesspool of misinformation.

    -Stephen Berg

  • At October 27, 2006 7:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Stephen, I don't agree that the Cons have the oil industry "up their ass", as you put it. That's the cop out that the enviros always toss up....it must be those evil oil companies that are causing the problem.

    Well it isn't. The Liberals, in power, and with a majority for years, failed to address GHG in any manner whatsoever. If it is so easy to reduce our GHG emissions by 60%, then why hasn't it been done?

    Because reducing GHG by the levels demanded will be hard, very hard. And while the Canadian public supports action on GHG in a theoretical manner, we would toss out any federal government, Con or Lib, who even attempted to raise the price of gas by 25 cents a litre.

    The problem isn't the oil companies or the politicians. It is you and me and most everyone else. We, in a general sense, aren't prepared to make the changes necessary to reduce GHG's.

    Let's at least be honest as to who is to blame here.

    - Paul G.

  • At October 29, 2006 12:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good stuff, Coby, but what we really need is the Ill-Considered search engine, so that we can just tap in a key phrase and get the required answer back in a form that can be cut and pasted just like most of the denial arguments are...


  • At October 29, 2006 7:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ==== gareth said: ====
    Good stuff, Coby, but what we really need is the Ill-Considered search engine, so that we can just tap in a key phrase and get the required answer back in a form that can be cut and pasted just like most of the denial arguments are...

    There's this new thing you might want to try where you can get all the doomsday, fear-mongering, enviro-apocalyptic info you want....it's called Google. :)

    - Paul G.

  • At November 01, 2006 1:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    To accompany the Stages of Denial...
    Have you or anyone else assembled some of the drivers of denial - the fundamental underpinning reasons why people decide to deny AGW?

    For starters, some people might deny because they dislike the implications - they philosophicaly oppose government intervention, or they dislike the look of wind turbines.

    Or, they might deny out of a sense of 'We've seen it all before' e.g. "nuclear armageddon didn't happen"; "AIDS hasn't killed everyone"; "Malthus was wrong in the end" etc

    Or, they may literally diagree with the science, from an informed position (increasingly unlikely!)

    Or they might be paid to deny by vested interests.

    Maybe it requires rather a lot of presumption and reading between the lines, but I'd find this interesting.

  • At November 02, 2006 3:45 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Hi David, thanks for the comment.

    It is an interesting thing to ponder, but you nailed it with your last sentence, it really requires a lot of presumption. And it is ultimately an ad hominum approach...


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