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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.

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Myth Deconstruction - Cold (EN)


Deconstructing climate misinformation to identify reasoning errors
Cook, J., Ellerton, P., & Kinkead, D. (2018). Deconstructing climate misinformation to identify reasoning errors. Environmental Research Letters, 13(2), 024018. Link to PDF & Link to Supplement

Step-by-step deconstruction

The table below is inspired by the simplified supplement and may differ slightly from what is shown in the GIF. This is mostly due to make the text fit into the available space which made it necessary to reword some of it.

1 Identify claim It’s cold outside, so global warming isn't happening.
2 Argument structure Premise 1: Some areas of the world are experiencing record cold temperatures.
Conclusion: The Earth is not warming.
3 Inferential Intent


4 Validity INVALID
Conclusion doesn't follow from premise. Global warming doesn't mean that cold will never happen anywhere.
4a Hidden premises Premise 1: Some areas of the world are experiencing record cold temperatures
Premise 2: If the Earth is warming, no areas can experience cooler weather than usual
Conclusion: The earth is not warming.
5 Check premises Premise 1 is true (it's however also an anecdote!).
Premise 2 is false: impossible expectations. The overall planet warming does not mean every part of the planet is warming - some areas can show cooling.
6 Status of claim FALSE
With the added hidden premise, the argument is made valid but contains a false premise.
7 Summary of fallacies Impossible expectations: Global warming doesn't mean that cold events never happen. Instead, it means cold events are less likely to happen over time. Global warming is like rigging the weather dice, making it more likely to get hot days.

Related material

Does cold weather disprove global warming?

Blog post with background information about the myth deconstructions: Myth deconstructions as animated gifs

To learn more about the fallacies used in the myth deconstructions: A history of FLICC: the 5 techniques of science denial

Other versions

Printable Version | Back to Graphics by Skeptical Science

Creative Commons License Skeptical Science Graphics by Skeptical Science is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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