Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.


Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Support

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest MeWe

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe

Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...

New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts


Global warming deniers are an endangered species

Posted on 22 July 2015 by dana1981

At the end of this year there will be a critically important international climate change conference in Paris. At this conference, nations will attempt to reach an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow global warming.

Over the past few months there’s been a flood of big climate-related news, most of which will help build support and pressure for a strong agreement to curb global warming at the Paris conference. The political and social climate is shifting, and those in denial about human-caused climate change are struggling to adapt.

Scientific research underscores climate risks

John Abraham recently reported on two separate studies published in Nature andNature Climate Change, both of which found that global warming is intensifying several types of extreme weather. California is in the midst of a drought unprecedented in over a millennium, a heat wave is killing thousands of people in India and Pakistan, another has been baking Europe, and it seems as though half of North America is on fire.

One challenge in generating public support for tackling climate change is in the perception that its consequences are distant in time and space. People tend tobelieve that climate change will impact others in the future, but not themselves, and not now. As we see more examples of extreme weather, and the evidence for a climate connection strengthens, more people may begin to consider climate action a higher priority.

More research is warning of climate change causing major threats to ocean ecosystems and consequently to humans as well. A recent study found that we’re headed towards a climate state similar to those that saw sea levels 6 meters higher in the past. Further sea level rise is a foregone conclusion; the questions we now face are how much more of a rise we’ll trigger, and crucially, how fast it will happen. Meanwhile, the oceans are warming faster than predicted, and 2015 is on pace to shatter the global temperature record that was set just last year.

At the same time, social science research is showing that most climate ‘skepticism’ actually results not from rigorous scientific skepticism, but rather from conspiratorial thinking. As the opposition to climate science and solutions more clearly boils down to psychology and ideology, fewer people will find the associated arguments convincing.

The pope and grassroots volunteers call for action

The case for climate action received a big boost when the pope made the moral case for the need for urgent climate action, writing in his encyclical,

Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us. The issue is one which dramatically affects us, for it has to do with the ultimate meaning of our earthly sojourn.

Support for climate action among faith groups has been gradually building, and the pope’s encyclical is the most influential call for stewardship of the climate to date.

The grassroots climate group Citizens’ Climate Lobby used the pope’s message in many of its meetings between 800 of the group’s volunteers and 500 congressional offices last month. Interestingly, while many conservative policymakers are dismissive of the expert consensus on human-caused global warming in public, such behavior was noted in less than 10% of these private meetings. As the executive director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby wrote,

In meeting after meeting with Republican offices, the unspoken agreement seemed to be: “Let’s not argue about the science; let’s talk about solutions and where we might find common ground.”

There appears to be some bipartisan support for climate action behind the scenes. The challenge is in translating those private stances to the public positions of conservative lawmakers, but with support from faith and military groups and clearer climate consequences for their constituents, it’s an inevitability, sooner or later.

Denial isn’t paying off anymore

We recently learned that fossil fuel companies have known about the climate impacts of their products for over three decades. For example, Exxon decided against developing a natural gas field in Indonesia in 1981 because of the potentially large carbon dioxide release and associated climate impacts. The company nevertheless spent more than $30m over the next 30 years on think tanks and researchers that promoted climate denial. When asked about this discovery, Exxon spokesman Richard Keil said,

We have been factoring the likelihood of some kind of carbon tax into our business planning since 2007. We do not fund or support those who deny the reality of climate change.

Click here to read the rest

0 0

Printable Version  |  Link to this page


Comments 1 to 9:

  1. I wonder if there'll be a telethon... 'Save the Climate Change Deniers! These special creatures are rapidly vanishing from the Earth as rising temperatures and melting ice make their natural habitat increasingly unsustainable. 'Skeptics', as they are also affectionately known, need an environment of ignorance and doubt in order to thrive. The increasing obviousness of global climate change is having a devastating impact on 'skeptic' populations all over the world. Please help us save these rare organisms, before it's too late!"

    1 0
  2. Unfortunately, how do you influence people like Rupert Murdoch whose media outlets constantly promote anti-Climate Change messages and right wing think tanks that drive the anti-Climate Change policies and arguments of neoconservative politicians? They seem to believe and actively argue that Climate Change is bunk and is a part of some huge conspiracy. Unfortunately, although their numbers are small, they have a much greater influence upon the general public view because of their media reach, their ability to dominate the political debate, and their ability to distort and confuse the scientific message. For these people, it would take one of the major ice sheets in Greenland or West Antarctica to slip into the ocean and significantly increase the sea level in a short period of time. It seems the prospect of an ice free Arctic doesn't phase them, and the many photos of widespread glacier retreat over the last 30 years also doesn't convince them. They just trot out another cherry picked counter example. In fact, with some of them, even a sudden rise in sea level due to an ice sheet slipping into the sea wouldn't convince them, and even if it did, they would plead ignorance and say: "Oh we didn't know".

    These people have a much greater influence than their numbers would suggest because of their wealth and the powerful vested interests that back them. It is due to them that the 97% scientific consensus related to Climate Change is not matched in the public view. With honest reporting in the popular media, then the consensus between the two would be much closer. How you achieve balanced reporting to the wider public that reflects the scientific consensus is the problem.

    In short, while the scientific argument is clear, the problem is to overcome the political argument which can be summarise as follows:

    Climate Change Denial by a Few Powerful Vested Interests + Political Ideology => Public Confusion => Polarised Politics => No Political Consensus => No Effective Action to Minimise the Impact of Climate Change.

    0 0
  3. Irreversible rapid climate change and ocean acidification is under way, largely due to past greenhouse gas emissions by technological systems using fossil fuels. That is the stark reality regardless of what people believe. Policies that aim to reduce the rate of emissions as rapidly as possible are to be welcomed even though all that will do is slow down global warming slightly. It can not stop the increase in warming and the associated deleterious consequences. The wiset thing to do is to follow the lead of the Netherlands, London and New York in carrying out works to cope with the sea level rise. There are many activities that can be embraced to aid adapting to climate change and ocean acidification given wider understanding of physical reality rather than the hype of those who stand to lose financially if remedial actions are undertaken.

    1 0
  4. I predict more interest in formula-e and TESLA stocks...

    0 0
  5. Is this article actually suggesting that global warming deniers are getting less common? I find that difficult to believe. I've always believed that, until global warming gets so bad that nobody can ignore it or dismiss it as a natural cycle or an illusion, we will always have global warming deniers.

    With all the recent news about climate change, I'd say that AGW deniers are getting angrier and more aggresive because of it, and are not struggling to stay in denial at all.

    0 0
  6. The global warming denier hides as the global warming negotiator,... hence Bjorn Lomborg still being offered University status at Flinders University to spruik his idea that fossil fuels should be allowed to warm our kids earth by 3 degrees instead of 2... 

    He doesn't deny global warming, you must understand, ..just asks why fossil fuels shouldn't be allowed a bit more breathing room to continue making profits for a little bit more!

    (Like an ear worm he will make you sing along if given airplay!!)

    The global warming denier is Abbott hiding as, of course- this is politics, the negotiator! Wow, strategy and stuff.... just watch Holloywood and vote for, yeh! Beer is in the fridge and we've got hotdogs yay!

    0 0
  7. anticorncon6, yes the article is suggesting that global warming deniers are getting less common. This is backed up by surveys. There is an old saying that new scientific paradigms are never 'accepted'... it's just that all of their detractors eventually die out. We're seeing the same thing with global warming... disbelief of the physics is disproportionately found amongst the elderly.

    As to when they will finally die out completely... I'd say that we will continue to have global warming deniers until the fossil fuel interests funding the disinformation campaign lose their financial clout. Then the new moneyed interests will tell the deniers that they all believed in global warming all along, and so shall it be. Should be less than twenty years before the start of the 'great conversion'.

    0 0
  8. In Australia, Climate Change denial does pay. Australia is one of the world's largest coal exporters, a significant proportion of it's power generation comes from coal, and coal products are an important component the national income that underpins Australia's wealth. As a result, attitudes towards climate change follows party lines, with one party, Labor, promoting it as a serious issue and the other, Liberal/National Party, while giving it token support, take a "lukewarmer" position. This is the reason that the Government has implemented it's clayton's climate change policy, "Direct Action" and has attacked the climate advisory bodies, climate change funding arrangements for developing needed technologies, and promoted many climate change deniers to important positions upon it's economic advisory bodies.

    The reason for this is actually quite simple. One of the main Liberal/National party policy think tanks is the Institute of Public Affairs (the IPA). It is Australia's equivalent of the George C Marshall Institute. The IPA, along with other Liberal Party policy think tanks like the Menzies Research Centre and the H. R. Nicholls Society, all actively promote Climate Change denial. Scientists like climate change deniers, Ian Plimer and Bob Carter are attached to the IPA, providing advice related to climate change policy. Plimer is also an important member of the Mining Council of Australia, having been it's chairman, and he influences it's political stance. Gina Reinhart, Australia's wealthiest person, who made her money from huge mining projects, is also related to the IPA. She funded a Christopher Monkton speaking tour of Australia, at the height of the ETS/Carbon Tax debate when Labor tried to introduce an ETS. The IPA is also an important source of climate change denial material and underpins the political stance of Murdoch media outlets who reach around 83% of the Australian population, where right wing commentators like Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine, and Piers Ackereman, and right wing shock jocks like Alan Jones and Ray Hadley, disseminate IPA inspired climate change denial material to their readers and listeners.

    Also, the IPA, through it's journal, provides climate change material to its readers, and it's latest effort comes in the form of a book called "Climate Change - the Facts 2014" with contributions from Ian Plimer, Richard Lindzen, Bob Carter, Nigel Lawson, Bill Kininmonth, Willie Soon, Christopher Monckton, Garth Paltridge, Richard Tol, Brian Fisher, Bob Carter, Donna Laframboise, Anthony Watts, Alan Moran amongst others and other climate change deniers. Also, this book seems to form the basis of Matt Ridley's latest essay in June's Quadrant magazine "How the Climate Wars Undermine Science", where John Cook's Consensus Project is discredited, (in their eyes), by referring to it as being biased and unrepresentative.

    Now I don't know about you, but, I don't think that climate change deniers are being marginalised in Australia. If anything, they are still pre-eminent due to the IPA's political and media reach. Trying to take effective action to tackle climate change in Australia has already seen the toppling of two prime minsters and a leader of the Liberal Party who did think that the issue was important. It will be a significant issue in the next election but whether the electorate will embrace it, after a fear campaign related to the hip pocket nerve and xenophobic fears related to asylum seekers, is questionable.

    While it is easier to have a debate with like minded people; what is happening in Australia, while the Sydney Morning Herald and the Guardian do present material properly conveying the 97% consensus; demonstrates why climate change advocates need to be more engaged with the climate change deniers from the IPA, the Murdoch press, and the right wing shock jock community, because, at the moment the denier/lukewarmer argument is still pre-eminent and not getting it's proper voice with Australia's public.

    0 0
  9. CO2 is a “trace gas” in air, insignificant by definition. It absorbs 1/7th as much IR, heat energy, from sunlight as water vapor which has 188 times as many molecules capturing 1200 times as much heat making 99.8% of all "global warming." CO2 does only 0.2% of it. For this we should destroy our economy?

    There is no "greenhouse effect" in an atmosphere. A greenhouse has a solid, clear cover that traps heat. The atmosphere does not trap heat as gas molecules cannot form surfaces to work as greenhouses. Molecules must be in contact, as in liquids and solids to form surfaces.

    The Medieval Warming from 800 AD to 1300 AD Micheal Mann erased for his "hockey stick" was several Fahrenheit degrees warmer than anything "global warmers" fear. It was 500 years of world peace and abundance, the longest in history.

    Vostock Ice Core data analysis show CO2 increases follow temperature by 800 years 19 times in 450,000 years. Thus temperature change is cause and CO2 change is effect. This alone refutes the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis.

    Methane is called "a greenhouse gas 20 to 500 times more potent than CO2," by Heidi Cullen and Jim Hansen, but it is not per the energy absorption chart at the American Meteorological Society. It has an absorption profile very similar to nitrogen which is classified "transparent" to IR, heat waves and is only present to 18 ppm. "Green vegans" blame methane in cow flatulence for global warming in their war against eating meat.

    Carbon combustion generates 80% of our energy. Control and taxing of carbon would give the elected ruling class more power and money than anything since the Magna Carta of 1215 AD.

    Most scientists and science educators work for tax supported institutions. They are eager to help government raise more money for them and they love being seen as "saving the planet."

    Google "Two Minute Conservative" for clarity.

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Welcome to Skeptical Science. Thank you for taking the time to share with us.  Skeptical Science is a user forum wherein the science of climate change can be discussed from the standpoint of the science itself.  Ideology and politics get checked at the keyboard.

    Please take the time to review the Comments Policy and ensure future comments are in full compliance with it.  Thanks for your understanding and compliance in this matter.

    In particular, please note all comments must be on topic andno sloganeering. "Gish Gallops" of talking points will be deleted. Use the search function to find an appropriate topic but read the topic first. All of your points were long debunked myths. If you wish to challenge this, you need to provide data and references to back your viewpoint. I strongly urge you to get your information from informed and reliable sources.

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.

The Consensus Project Website


(free to republish)

© Copyright 2022 John Cook
Home | Translations | About Us | Privacy | Contact Us