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Articles by Coby Beck

Former musician, turned tree planter, turned software engineer. Same old story... I have been blogging about climate change since 2006 at A Few Things Ill Considered.

Featured Article

Below is a complete listing of the articles in “How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic,” a series by Coby Beck containing responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming. There are four separate taxonomies; arguments are divided by:

Stages of Denial, Scientific Topics, Types of Argument, and Levels of Sophistication.

Individual articles will appear under multiple headings and may even appear in multiple subcategories in the same heading.

Stages of Denial

There’s nothing happeningInadequate evidence:There is no evidenceOne record year is not global warmingThe temperature record is simply unreliableOne hundred years is not enoughGlaciers have always grown and recededWarming is due to the Urban Heat Island effectMauna Loa is a volcanoThe scientists aren’t even sure

Contradictory evidence:It’s cold today in Wagga WaggaAntarctic ice is growingThe satellites show coolingWhat about mid-century cooling?Global warming stopped in 1998But the glaciers are not meltingAntarctic sea ice is increasingObservations show climate sensitivity is not very highSea level in the Arctic is fallingSome sites show cooling

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All Articles

  • A look at the non-experts speaking at Heartland Institute's denialist sideshow

    Denialists have their heads in the sand
    When the science behind Gore's CO2 "hockey stick" slaps you down, there's nothing like indulging in old-fashioned denialism.

    What is to be done when the world's leading experts in a field come together in the largest, most extensively peer-reviewed inquiry in the history of science and arrive at a conclusion that is diametrically opposed to your own long-held worldview? Most of us would reevaluate our ideas so they actually mesh with reality. That's called learning.

    But if you are the staunchly "free market," anti-regulation think tank called the Heartland Institute and the conclusion is that humanity must cooperate to get the world out of a worsening climate crisis ... well, then what you do is simply manufacture a conclusion that is more to your liking.

    Make no mistake, this is what the Heartland Institute's "International Conference on Climate Change" is all about. Set to begin Sunday in New York, the gathering's guest list includes the standard roster of "scientist-denialists" -- a large group of "experts" who have never published a single peer-reviewed study in their lives, along with a handful of fringe researchers who do (though rarely) publish in the field of climate science. The conference tagline is: "Global Warming: was it ever really a crisis?" and the conclusion is predetermined. "Was it ever a crisis?" ... as if it isn't right now.

    By conception, the Heartland gathering seeks to establish itself as an authoritative gathering of genuine experts in climate science. The claim the Heartland Institute makes is pretty simple: "more than 70 of the world's elite scientists specializing in climate issues" will be there.

    So, Heartland says to the unsuspecting, the experts are all coming to this event, and they all say there is nothing to worry about. That actually makes the whole charade pretty easy to unmask.

    We don't have to examine every particular scientific or pseudo-scientific argument that will be advanced during the conference (that's been done repeatedly), because the whole thrust of this conference is about who is attending, not what they are saying.

  • Hansen wants the skeptics thrown in jail–Did James Hansen really want to try the climate skeptics?

    (Part of the How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic guide)   Objection: In his June 23, 2008 testimony before the United States Congress, James Hansen called for the punishment of climate change skeptics for “crimes against humanity.” This is a mockery of free speech, the antithesis of scientific investigation, and a clear indication that […]

  • Was there another breathless announcement of another phony record, and another quiet retraction?

    (Part of the How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic guide) Objection: In October 2008, Al Gore’s science adviser, James Hansen announced yet another “hottest” month on record. After all the alarmist banner headlines sank in, yet another “correction” quietly contradicted this, and October was not particularly warm after all. This is yet another example […]

  • Oil refineries are full of asbestos, not just carbon

    I received this article about the connection between mesothelioma cancer and oil refineries via email along with a request to share it. As we continue to rely on oil, some will face worse consequences than losing their shirts. The original article is posted below: If you’ve been following the widespread coverage related to the upcoming […]