Denial using arguments which have already been refuted.


Global warming denial is denial that global warming (GW) is a problem (or, in some cases, denial that anything should be done about it) using arguments which have already been refuted.

It seems to be a problem mostly in non-scientific establishment circles within the United States.

There are a few legitimate-appearing arguments against global warming which have not yet been addressed; some of these are already-refuted arguments in modified form dredged up for public consumption by very well-funded anti-GW interests, but some may be genuine.


ignoring refutation

GW deniers often reiterate otherwise-legitimate arguments which have already been refuted, dishonestly repeating them as if those arguments had not yet been addressed.

false dilemma

One of the techniques used by GW deniers is to reduce the problem to an all-or-nothing false dilema – either:

  • GW exists and we are causing it and we should take draconian measures to stop it, or else
  • GW doesn’t exist; if it does, it’s not our fault; if it’s our fault, there’s either nothing we can do about it; if there’s something we could do about it, the effects won’t be that bad if we don’t so it’s really not worth the fuss.

Any flaws found in the pro-GW fork become, to them, arguments against the whole thing – making this effectively a staw man misrepresentation of global warming advocacy.”


Nothing ever burns down by itself…

May/June 2005 Issue

“WHEN NOVELIST MICHAEL CRICHTON took the stage before a lunchtime crowd in Washington, D.C., one Friday in late January, the event might have seemed, at first, like one more unremarkable appearance by a popular author with a book to sell. Indeed, Crichton had just such a book, his new thriller, State of Fear. But the content of the novel, the setting of the talk, and the audience who came to listen transformed the Crichton event into something closer to a hybrid of campaign rally and undergraduate seminar. State of Fear is an anti-environmentalist page-turner in which shady ecoterrorists plot catastrophic weather disruptions to stoke unfounded fears about global climate change. However fantastical the book’s story line, its author was received as an expert by the sharply dressed policy wonks crowding into the plush Wohlstetter Conference Center of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI). In his introduction, AEI president and former Reagan budget official Christopher DeMuth praised the author for conveying “serious science with a sense of drama to a popular audience.” The title of the lecture was “Science Policy in the 21st Century.”…

…But it was the emcee, Senator Inhofe, who best represented the spirit of the event. Stating that Crichton’s novel should be “required reading,” the ruddy-faced senator asked for a show of hands to see who had finished it. He attacked the “hockey stick” graph and damned the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment for having “no footnotes or citations,” as indeed the ACIA “overview” report—designed to be a “plain language synthesis” of the fully referenced scientific report—does not. But never mind, Inhofe had done his own research. He whipped out a 1974 issue of Time magazine and, in mocking tones, read from a 30-year-old article that expressed concerns over cooler global temperatures. In a folksy summation, Inhofe again called the notion that humans are causing global warming “a hoax,” and said that those who believe otherwise are “hysterical people, they love hysteria. We’re dealing with religion.” Having thus dismissed some 2,000 scientists, their data sets and temperature records, and evidence of melting glaciers, shrinking islands, and vanishing habitats as so many hysterics, totems, and myths, Inhofe vowed to stick up for the truth, as he sees it, and “fight the battle out on the Senate floor.”

Seated in the front row of the audience, former ExxonMobil lobbyist Randy Randol looked on approvingly.”

From primers to expert links

“We’ve often been asked to provide a one stop link for resources that people can use to get up to speed on the issue of climate change, and so here is a first cut. Unlike our other postings, we’ll amend this as we discover or are pointed to new resources. Different people have different needs and so we will group resources according to the level people start at.

For complete beginners:

NCAR: Weather and climate basics
Oxford University: The basics of climate prediction
Pew Center: Global Warming basics
Wikipedia: Global Warming
NASA: Global Warming update
National Academy of Science: Understanding and Responding to Climate Change
Encyclopedia of Earth: Climate Change Collection
Global Warming FAQ (Tom Rees)
Global Warming: Man or Myth? (Scott Mandia, SUNY Suffolk)

There is a new booklet on Climate Literacy from multiple agencies (NOAA, NSF, AAAS) available here (pdf).

The UK Govt. has a good site on The Science of Climate Change (added Sep 2010).

The portal for climate and climate change of the ZAMG (Zentralaanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Vienna, Austria). (In German) (added Jan 2011)

Those with some knowledge:

The IPCC AR4 Frequently Asked Questions (here (pdf)) are an excellent start. These cover:

RealClimate: Start with our index

Informed, but in need of more detail:

Science: You can’t do better than the IPCC reports themselves (AR4 2007, TAR 2001).

History: Spencer Weart’s “Discovery of Global Warming” (AIP)

Art: Robert Rohde’s “Global Warming Art

Informed, but seeking serious discussion of common contrarian talking points:

All of the below links have indexed debunks of most of the common points of confusion:

Please feel free to suggest other suitable resources, particularly in different languages, and we’ll try to keep this list up to date.”

Settled science

“This site provides information on over 2400 climate scientists and authors who have signed public statement on climate change. This includes both statements calling for action to cut greenhouse gas emissions as well as ones that argue against such action.

Each name has a link to the person’s web page at a university or national research lab, where one was found. I used Google Scholar to look up what each author had published on climate, and how widely cited their work is. This information lets us compare the credibility of those arguing against curbs on greenhouse emissions versus those supporting them.

The upshot of this comparison is that the climate change “skeptic” position has very few authors with any standing as climate scientists.
While there have been several public declarations challenging the basic science or the need for any response like emission reductions, including some with a large number of names, the great proportion of those signers turn out to have little or no qualifications on this topic.”

Clearing the PR pollution that clouds climate science.

“The DeSmogBlog Project began in January 2006 and quickly became the world’s number one source for accurate, fact based information regarding global warming misinformation campaigns.

Our articles and stories are routinely highlighted in the world’s most popular news blogs: New York Times DotEarth, Huffington Post, Daily Kos, ThinkProgress, and Treehugger, to name a few. DeSmogBlog has won the Canadian Public Relation Society’s Leadership in Communcation award, and was voted Canada’s “Best Group Blog” by their peers.

The successes of the DeSmogBlog have attracted the attention of the media in North America and the UK.  Our work has generated stories in major traditional media outlets including The New York Times, The UK Guardian, BBC, The Globe and Mail, Associated Press and CBC. In our capacity as research experts in global warming misinformation campaigns we have assisted major media such as ABC News, Associated Press, BBC World Service and The Globe and Mail in the development of global warming story ideas and content.

The DeSmogBlog team is led by Jim Hoggan, founder of James Hoggan & Associates, one of Canada’s leading public relations firms. By training a lawyer, by inclination a ski instructor and cyclist, Jim Hoggan believes that integrity and public relations should not be at odds – that a good public reputation generally flows from a record of responsible actions. His client list includes real estate development companies, high tech firms, pharmaceutical, forest industry giants, resorts and academic institutions. He is also a Board Member of the David Suzuki Foundation.

You can go here to read Jim’s popular DeSmogBlog manifesto: Slamming the Climate Skeptic Scam.

The DeSmogBlog team is especially grateful to our founding benefactor John Lefebvre, a lawyer, internet entrepreneur and past-president of NETeller, a firm that has been providing secure online transactions since 1999. John has been outspoken, uncompromising and courageous in challenging those who would muddy the climate change debate, and he has enabled and inspired the same standard on the blog.”

Climate Science Rapid Response Team (CSRRT)

NAME: Climate Science Rapid Response Team (CSRRT)

WHO & WHAT: The CSSRT is a match-making service between top scientists and members of the media and office holders and their staffs from various levels of government. Our group consists of dozens of leading scientists who wish to improve communication about climate change. The group is committed to providing rapid, high-quality information to media and government officials. Our members have expertise in virtually all areas of climate science and they are available to share their current understanding in a fairly rapid time frame.

HOW IT WORKS: Inquirers will use the form on the Website to identify themselves and to send their questions along with the desired timeframe of the response. That information will immediately be sent to three people: Dr. John Abraham, Dr. Ray Weymann, and Prof. Scott Mandia. These three “match-makers” will immediately notify up to three scientists with the most appropriate expertise. One scientist or one of the three CSRRT match-makers will then respond directly to the inquirer with the correct science information.

WHY WE DO IT: There is a sharp divide between what scientists know about climate change and what the public knows. The scientists of the CSSRT understand that better communication can narrow this gap. The media is in the best position to deliver accurate science information to the general public and to our elected leaders but only if they are provided with that information. The CSRRT is committed to delivering that service We are advocates for science education

Cornwall 2050 Climate Change – Mitigation: Let’s Get Greener Together

Kabin is taking part in Greener Together, an environmental project aimed at reducing personal CO2 emissions from energy use, transport and waste. We would be glad if you or any of your colleagues would like to take part.

The project involves a six month study into changes we can make to how we live. You would be asked to make one or more pledges to reduce your carbon dioxide emissions or waste.

I am the designated ‘eco-operator’ for this project at Kabin, and will do my best to support you throughout the project. All you need is a willingness to make changes aimed at reducing your impact on the climate.

Climate change affects us all and by working together now we can reduce our impact for future generations. Greener Together – the co-operative way is all about working together to make a difference.

Full details of the project are at

If you are interested, either contact me on with any questions, or register directly at

When you register, please make sure to select “Social Economy & Co-operative Development Cornwall Limited (KABIN)” as the participating organisation.

Please pass this on to any colleagues who may be interested.

Clayton Elliott

Cornwall 2050 Energy Security: Energy Expert Visits Cornwall

Paul Mobbs, author of “Energy Beyond Oil” on a short speaking tour of Cornwall.

It is safe to say that the era of cheap oil is over and we see the effects of rising fuel costs all around us – not least on our television screens – the news footage of Ethiopia is reminiscent of the terrible famine of the 80s. Oil prices are obviously not the only reason for food shortages, but our almost total dependence on oil for food production, transport and home energy needs to be reversed, and fast.

Paul Mobbs, author of ‘Energy beyond Oil’ a comprehensive account of our oil addiction and how we can recover from it, will be visiting Cornwall to give three talks, hosted by local Transition Groups.

From 7.00pm each evening he will be presenting at:

2nd July – W.I. Hall, Webber Street, Falmouth
3rd July – Shire Rooms, Bodmin
4th July – Wesley Hall, Helston

Paul is an engineer and one of the founders of the Free Range Network – ‘a disorganisation of environmental activists, scientists, technicians and community workers’.

They have instigated the ‘Free Range Energy Beyond Oil Project’ which aims to provide the public with relevant information on how to reduce the impact of the impending energy shortages.

Paul himself ‘walks his talk’. He travels by public transport, does not own appliances such as mobile phones, he and his family eat local food and minimise their energy consumption. He debunks the myth that more is better and makes you happier.

Transition towns and climate friendly communities in Cornwall are working towards a low carbon future by encouraging localism and attempting to rebuild resilience into our communities.

It is not so long ago that communities such as Bodmin and Truro grew food within the town, either in market gardens, allotments or back gardens. Many people are eager to do so again, thereby increasing self-sufficiency, improving food quality and creating community cohesion.

All the events are free, with entry by donation only. Come along and bring your friends for what is not just an informative but a very important presentation! It might just give you some ideas about how our families and communities might cope as oil prices continue to rise.


Falmouth event:

      Lindsay Southcombe at

      or Lorely Lloyd at

Bodmin event

    Traci Lewis 07870 268654 or Mark Norman 0781 7293448


      John Marshall at

For more information visit:

Cornwall 2050 Climate Change – Adaptation: Climate Change is about adapting as well as cutting carbon

Natural processes have changed our climate throughout Earth’s history. But the changes we are experiencing now – with eleven of the planet’s warmest years since 1850 all occurring since 1995 – represent the preliminary results of an unprecedented global experiment that mankind has been conducting since the industrial revolution. Even if, as a species, we took the concerted actions needed to halt that experiment today, the results must continue to roll in for many decades to come.

The slow mixing and feedback of the greenhouse gases we have already released and the inertia of the planetary climate system mean that we are committed to at least 40 years of increasing climate change. We are locked into the laboratory. That fact merely underlines the urgent need for radical cuts in greenhouse gas emissions right now, to head off a climate catastrophe in the second half of this century. But it also means that we need to face up to the more immediate changes that we cannot now avoid.

This article introduces the issues from the perspective of new guidance to adapting our homes to be resilient to the changing climate.

The science has been developed, tested, refined, debated and explained repeatedly so that none of us can claim to be unaware that carbon released from the burning of coal, oil and gas – as well as other gases from land use and industry – has been steadily accumulating in our atmosphere to warm the air, land, sea and ice.

The 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the most authoritative and meticulous piecing together and assessment of scientific knowledge ever seen on the topic – concluded that the world will see an average temperature increase of between 1.1°C and 6.4°C over the lifetime of many born at the start of this century – with the best estimates at between 1.8°C and 4.0°C. Even at the very lowest end of the ‘best estimate’ range, this will be more than two and a half times the 0.7°C rise we saw over the 20th century; and, at the upper end, the global temperature rise will be comparable to the dramatic shift at the end of an ice age. But we are already out of the ice age – and have been for all of the 10,000 years or so of human civilisation.

So, we are moving into uncharted territory and, to mix metaphors, will be building on decidedly shaky foundations if we choose to ignore the simple fact that the future will be different to the past – or to bank on the temperature rise being limited to ‘just’ one or two degrees. Even if the change were large enough to cause the Gulf Stream to switch off completely (and the best science says this becomes a significant risk with increasing carbon emissions into the 22nd century, but not sooner), the local cooling for the western parts of the British Isles would be far outweighed by the increasing temperatures from the global heating.

This realisation – that unprecedented change is already in play and is unavoidable for at least 40 years – has fundamental implications for how we manage the impacts on our natural environment, our economy and our public services. It will determine how (not whether) we make the urgent transition to local, national and global systems that do not (cannot) depend on cheap and plentiful oil and avoid pitching our atmosphere, land and oceans beyond the irreversible tipping points which science is beginning to reveal.

This has direct impacts on something much closer to home – how we design, build or renovate our houses, workplaces and public buildings: buildings that should be able to stand up and function for sixty to a hundred years or more, given the conditions we expect over their lifetime.

Our built environment needs to deliver on two immediate priorities: sustainable and low carbon on one hand and “fit for purpose,” climate resilience on the other. In reality, of course, these are merely two faces of the same imperative: to see our economy, society and environment as closely linked parts of one system, where actions always have consequences and feedback. Nothing could be more wasteful of resources and damaging to the environment than constantly having to scrap or patch up poorly designed and constructed buildings as we belatedly face up to the increasing temperatures, wind speeds, rain penetration, land slippage, erosion and flooding which we should be planning for now.

The South West Climate Impacts Partnership published “Warming to the Idea”, its assessment of how climate change could impact on our region in 2003. Drawing on the work of the UK Climate Impacts Programme and the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research – one of the world’s premier centres of scientific expertise, based in Exeter – SWCCIP concluded that we should be planning to adapt to unavoidable impacts. By the 2050s, these include: much drier (15% – 30%) and hotter (1.5°C – 3.5°C) summers, with drier soils; and much wetter (5% – 15%) and warmer (1.0°C – 2.0°C) winters – with heavier rainfall, more frequent storms and stronger wind speeds. These and other climate changes, such as flooding, have implications for buildings and insurance.

SWCCIP exists to investigate, inform and advise on the impacts of climate change in South West England, to influence the strategies and plans of key partners and stakeholders and, through dialogue and research with priority sectors, develop and share practical adaptation strategies which respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by these impacts. With sector groups working on housing and construction as well as farming, biodiversity, business, local government and tourism, the partnership has a network of over 500 organisations.

The Hadley Centre, UKCIP and partnerships such as SWCCIP are helping to develop the tools we need to plan for adaptation. Following the most recent IPCC assessment at the global level, the next set of UK guidance comes later this year, with a new set of UK 21st Century Climate Change Scenarios (also known as UKCIP08). The fifth generation of national scenarios, UKCIP08 will describe how our climate is expected to change at national and regional scales over the rest of this century – and in far more detail than the current UKCIP02 scenarios. The suite of UKCIP tools allow planners and other decision makers in the public, private and non-profit sectors to gauge how the factors that are most important to them will be impacted by changing climate variables – and how to build this knowledge into their plans and investments.

Much of the work of regional partnerships, UKCIP and national research initiatives has focused on specific sectors of the economy. The built environment, for example, has been the subject of the Building Knowledge for a Changing Climate project, Adaptation by Design guidance from the Town and Country Planning Association – and a series of projects from the Three Regions Climate Change Group.

Although the work of TRCCG focuses on the south eastern areas of England, its findings and recommendations are highly relevant across the UK and have been endorsed by other regional partnerships, including SWCCIP, and UKCIP. The first study, in 2005, devised a simple checklist and guidance for design teams to use in new build projects, addressing the location and site layout of the building, its structure, ventilation and cooling, drainage and water services and the outdoor spaces and connectivity. A case study companion followed in 2007, giving examples of good adaptation practice from the UK and abroad. And earlier this year, the group published new guidance to ensure good climate resilience among existing housing stock. The Your home in a changing climate report shows that it is possible and cost effective to improve our existing housing stock’s resilience to climate change and that mitigation (low carbon) and adaptation (climate resilience) can be successfully integrated. Fundamental to this will be developing the skill set among housing professionals, so that adaptation opportunities can be identified and designed in or retrofitted in at the earliest opportunity.

The document can be downloaded from the TRCCG website, which also provides case studies showing how to retrofit a typical home, flat and block of flats to cope with some of the expected impacts of climate change.

With this wealth of guidance and the acceptance that change is both inevitable and manageable, the time has never been better – or more pressing – for us ensure that our buildings remain fit for purpose in a new climate while making deep cuts in the carbon emissions that threaten even greater change further down the line.


Author: Mark Goldthorpe has been working in sustainable development and climate change for 15 years, including developing and managing environmental business services for the Environment Centre in Southampton ( and the policy, guidance, training and stakeholder engagement programmes of the South East Climate Change Partnership ( He is currently Climate Change Masters Co-ordinator at the University of Exeter, based in the Department of Geography on the Tremough campus in Cornwall (