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‘Peiser refuted Oreskes’–In a poor piece of work that has been retracted by its author

(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide) Objection: Sure, Oreskes found no one bucking the consensus, but her paper was refuted by Benny Peiser, who did the exact same survey and found very different results. Answer: True, Benny Peiser did attempt a similar study and submitted it as a letter to Science responding to the Oreskes study. But for very good reasons, it was not published. Peiser claimed to find 34 articles in his "reject or doubt the consensus view" category. That's 3 percent of the total, so even taken at face value it doesn't …

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‘Consensus is collusion’–Is climate science maturing, or should we reach for our tinfoil hats?

(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide) Objection: More and more, climate models share all the same assumptions -- so of course they all agree! And every year, fewer scientists dare speak out against the findings of the IPCC, thanks to the pressure to conform. Answer: The growing confluence of model results and the increasingly similar physical representations of the climate system from model to model may well look like sharing code or tweaking 'til things look alike. But it is also perfectly consistent with better and better understanding of the underlying problem, an understanding …

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'Position statements hide debate'

‘Position statements hide debate’–True enough, but that is not the whole picture

(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide) Objection: All those institutional position statements are fine, but by their very nature they paper over debate and obscure the variety of individual positions. The real debate is in the scientific journals. Answer: This is a fair point. Group position statements are designed to present a united front. The best indicator of what individual scientists think is in the current scientific literature, where new and different is the paramount value and scientists are free to express their own ideas, as long as they're supported by data and logic. …

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‘There is no consensus’–If this is not consensus, what would consensus look like?

(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide) Objection: Climate is complicated and there are lots of competing theories and unsolved mysteries. Until this is all worked out, one can't claim there is consensus on global warming theory. Until there is, we should not take any action. This is similar to the "global warming is a hoax" article, but at least here we can narrow down just what the consensus is about. Answer: Sure there are plenty of unsolved problems and active debates in climate science. But if you look at the research papers coming out …

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‘Global warming is a hoax’–I wish James Inhofe were just a hoax …

(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide) Objection: Global warming is a hoax perpetrated by environmental extremists and liberals who want an excuse for more big government (and/or world government via the U.N.). This is a common line, regardless of how ridiculous it is, so it should not go unanswered. Answer: Here is a list of organizations that accept anthropogenic global warming as real and scientifically well-supported: NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS): http://www.giss.nasa.gov/edu/gwdebate/ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/index.htm National Academy of Sciences (NAS): http://books.nap.edu/collections/global_warming/index.html

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‘Some sites show cooling’–But you can’t draw global conclusions from individual sites

(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide) Objection: Some stations, in the U.S. for example, show cooling trends. If there were really global warming, it would be warming everywhere. Answer: Global warming is the long-term increase in globally and seasonally averaged surface temperatures. It is not the case, nor is it expected, that all regions on the planet, let alone all weather stations, will show the same changes in temperature or rainfall patterns. Many stations have shown cooling, and some small regions have shown modest cooling as well. This does not invalidate global warming theory; …

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‘Climate sensitivity is not very high’–Thermal inertia of the oceans means the jury is still out

(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide) Objection: Taking into account the logarithmic effect of CO2 on temperature, the 35 percent increase we have already seen in CO2 concentrations represents about three-quarters of the total forcing to be expected from a CO2 doubling. Since we have warmed about 0.7 degrees Celsius so far, we should only expect about 0.3 degrees more for a doubling from pre-industrial levels, so about 1 degree total, not 3 degrees as the scientists predict. Clearly the climate model sensitivity to CO2 is much too high. Answer: Even without addressing the …

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‘Sea level in the Arctic is falling’–Sea level is a surprisingly complicated thing

(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide) Objection: According to the latest state-of-the-art satellite measurements from over the Arctic, sea levels are falling! Guess all that ice isn't melting after all. Answer: Yes, a new study using Europe's Space Agency's ERS-2 satellite has determined that over the last 10 years, sea level in the Arctic Ocean has been falling at an average rate of about 2 mm/year. This is very new and very interesting news, though it is preliminary and not published in any peer-reviewed journals yet. But even if these results hold up to …

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‘Antarctic sea ice is increasing’–Yes, but …

(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide) Objection: Sure, sea ice is shrinking in the Arctic, but it is growing in the Antarctic. Sounds like natural fluctuations that balance out in the end. Answer: Overall, it is true that sea ice in the Antarctic is increasing. Around the peninsula, where there is a lot of warming [PDF], the ice is retreating. This is the area of the recent and dramatic Larsen B and Ross ice shelf breakups. But the rest of the continent has not shown any clear warming or cooling and sea ice has …

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Plastic trash vortex menaces pacific

Texas size swirling vortex of plastic debris threatens variety of sea life

Truthout: Washington - Old toothbrushes, beach toys and used condoms are part of a vast vortex of plastic trash in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, threatening sea creatures that get tangled in it, eat it or ride on it, a new report says. Because plastic doesn't break down the way organic material does, ocean currents and tides have carried it thousands of miles to an area between Hawaii and the US West Coast, according to the study by the international environmental group Greenpeace." This swirling vortex, which can grow to be about the size of Texas, is not far …

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