Almost all scientific experts agree that the world's climate is changing because of human activities, and that the effects of changing climate pose many threats to humans and other life. Experts disagree only about some details of the changes occurring now and in the future and their exact consequences.
But there are many groups and individuals who deny that the climate is changing significantly, deny that it is changing due to human activities, or deny that the consequences for humans are significant. They assert that the scientific experts are either incompetent or corrupt (or both). Some of these groups and individuals are purely ideologically driven whilst some are supported by interests (such as the fossil fuel industry) who see themselves as having much to lose from effective action on climate change (such as a move away from fossil fuels).
There are also groups and individuals setting out to counter AGW denialist claims with scientifically-accurate information, and some (such as desmog blog's denier database) identifying denialists and their affliations.
However the beliefs of committed denialists can be firmly entrenched and attempting to change them by providing more accurate information may be ineffective or even counter-productive. The field of science communication studies and attempts to provide solutions for this problem.
- 1 General
- 2 Internet
- 3 People
- 4 Legal harassment of climate scientists
- 5 Examples
Global Warming Disinformation Database desmog blog
- search and browse our extensive research on the individuals and organizations that have helped to delay and distract the public and our elected leaders from taking needed action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and fight global warming.
If climate scientists are in it for the money, they’re doing it wrong John Timmer; Ars Technica; 28 Feb 2011
- One of the more unfortunate memes that makes an appearance whenever climate science is discussed is the accusation that, by hyping their results, climate scientists are ensuring themselves steady paychecks, and may even be enriching themselves. So, are there big bucks to be had in climate science?
Scientists try to replicate climate denier findings and fail Suzanne Jacobs; Grist; 26 Aug 2015
- A group of researchers just tried to replicate 38 peer-reviewed studies that support skeptic talking points, and surprise! They ran into some trouble.
- In a paper published last week in the journal Theoretical and Applied Climatology, the researchers reported a number of problems with the 38 studies, including questionable physics and incomplete data sets. They also found that some of the studies were published in peer-reviewed journals that didn’t specialize in climate science, and therefore probably didn’t have the proper experts looking over the work.
Learning from mistakes in climate research Rasmus E. Benestad, Dana Nuccitelli, Stephan Lewandowsky, Katharine Hayhoe, Hans Olav Hygen, Rob van Dorland, John Cook; Theoretical and Applied Climatology; 20 Aug 2015
- Among papers stating a position on anthropogenic global warming (AGW), 97 % endorse AGW. What is happening with the 2 % of papers that reject AGW? We examine a selection of papers rejecting AGW. An analytical tool has been developed to replicate and test the results and methods used in these studies; our replication reveals a number of methodological flaws, and a pattern of common mistakes emerges that is not visible when looking at single isolated cases. Thus, real-life scientific disputes in some cases can be resolved, and we can learn from mistakes. A common denominator seems to be missing contextual information or ignoring information that does not fit the conclusions, be it other relevant work or related geophysical data. In many cases, shortcomings are due to insufficient model evaluation, leading to results that are not universally valid but rather are an artifact of a particular experimental setup. Other typical weaknesses include false dichotomies, inappropriate statistical methods, or basing conclusions on misconceived or incomplete physics. We also argue that science is never settled and that both mainstream and contrarian papers must be subject to sustained scrutiny. The merit of replication is highlighted and we discuss how the quality of the scientific literature may benefit from replication.
- a site providing expert scientific review of climate stories in media
Note to Breitbart: Earth Is Not Cooling, Climate Change Is Real and Please Stop Using Our Video to Mislead Americans The Weather Channel; 9 Dec 2016 (YouTube)
- Global warming is not expected to end anytime soon, despite what Breitbart.com wrote in an article published last week.
- Though we would prefer to focus on our usual coverage of weather and climate science, in this case we felt it important to add our two cents — especially because a video clip from weather.com (La Niña in Pacific Affects Weather in New England) was prominently featured at the top of the Breitbart article. Breitbart had the legal right to use this clip as part of a content-sharing agreement with another company, but there should be no assumption that The Weather Company endorses the article associated with it. The Breitbart article – a prime example of cherry picking, or pulling a single item out of context to build a misleading case – includes this statement: "The last three years may eventually come to be seen as the final death rattle of the global warming scare." In fact, thousands of researchers and scientific societies are in agreement that greenhouse gases produced by human activity are warming the planet’s climate and will keep doing so.
The Climate Change Discussion group is a common source of denialist posts and contributors.
Climate change: this is the worst scientific scandal of our generation Christopher Booker; Daily Telegraph; 28 Nov 2009
- Our hopelessly compromised scientific establishment cannot be allowed to get away with the Climategate whitewash, says Christopher Booker.
- Based on Climategate stolen emails.
- Also carried by InfoWars
No one ever says it, but in many ways global warming will be a good thing Bjorn Lomborg; Daily Telegraph; 5 May 2016
- Last week, a study in the prestigious journal Nature revealed just how much CO₂ increases have greened the Earth over the past three decades. Because CO₂ acts as a fertilizer, as much as half of all vegetated land is persistently greener today. This ought to be a cause for great joy. Instead, the BBC focused on warning that the paper shouldn’t make us stop worrying about global warming, with threats like melting glaciers and more severe tropical storms. Many other major news outlets did not even report on the study.
- 14 scientists analyzed the article and estimated its overall scientific credibility to be ‘low’ to 'very low'.
Analysis of Matt Ridley and Benny Peiser’s “Your Complete Guide to the Climate Debate” Climate Feedback (via Internet Archive); 27 Nov 2015
- The opinion piece in the WSJ by Matt Ridley & Benny Peiser contains numerous false statements, cherry-picked evidence, and misleading assertions about climate science. It attempts to surround the hard facts about climate change with clouds of uncertainty, even though these facts are agreed to by the scientific academies of every major country in the world and the vast majority of the world’s climate scientists.
- Facts and/or studies are cherry picked or placed out of context to support the main claim that global warming is not as bad as we feared. For example the assertion that 1.5C of warming would be “beneficial” is one that very few scientists or economists agree with, and is contradicted by the overwhelming weight of evidence in the IPCC’s reports showing that the adverse impacts from climate change will far outweigh the benefits from carbon-dioxide induced greening and other heat-related effects.
- WSJ article is paywalled
Scientists respond to Matt Ridley’s climate change claims Carbon Brief; 7 Dec 2015
- Ridley has  gained prominence for writing regularly about climate change, describing himself as a “lukewarmer“.
- As part of a recent three-part documentary series called Changing Climate for BBC Radio 4, Roger Harrabin, the BBC’s environment analyst, interviewed Matt Ridley, among a number of other people. The Open University has published many of the interviews online, both as recordings and full transcripts.
- The Harrabin-Ridley transcript is arguably the most in-depth interview with the peer in the public domain on the topics of climate change and energy. Ridley makes a wide range of claims throughout, touching on subjects from ocean acidification and climate sensitivity through to energy subsidies and the “benefits” of global warming.
- Recognising Ridley’s media prominence and influence with regard to climate change, Carbon Brief recently sent a copy of the transcript to various scientists and energy policy experts and asked them to respond to his claims by annotating the document with their comments and observations.
- The document below includes responses from the following (in alphabetical order):
- Prof Richard Allan, professor of climate science at the University of Reading
- Prof Richard Betts, head of climate impacts in the Met Office Hadley Centre
- Prof Piers Forster, professor of physical climate change at the University of Leeds
- Prof Jean-Pierre Gattuso, research professor at the Université Pierre-et-Marie Curie’s Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche
- Prof Sir Andy Haines, professor of public health and primary care at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
- Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute
- Dr Chris Hope, reader in policy modelling at the University of Cambridge
- Dr Sari Kovatz, director of the National Institute for Health Research’s Health Protection Research Unit in Environmental Change and Health
- Prof Ranga Myneni, professor at the Boston University’s department of earth and environment
- Dr Gavin A Schmidt, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
- Prof Jim Watson, professor of energy policy at Sussex University’s Science Policy Research Unit
Matt Ridley interview scribd
- part of the Carbon Brief page, which can be viewed separately on scribd
Matt Ridley wants to gamble the Earth’s future because he won’t learn from the past Dana Nuccitelli; The Guardian; 21 Jan 2015
- ... writer Matt Ridley ... complaining, “Rather than attack my arguments, my critics like to attack my motives.” That’s undoubtedly because when an individual keeps repeating the same myths over and over again, people eventually grow tired of debunking those myths and naturally question the motives of the individual who keeps making them.
- Let’s look at a few examples from Ridley’s latest article. ...
Peer-Reviewed Survey Finds Majority Of Scientists Skeptical Of Global Warming Crisis
- Only 36 percent of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis, according to a survey reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies.
- relies on:
Science or Science Fiction? Professionals’ Discursive Construction of Climate Change Lianne M. Lefsrud, Renate E. Meyer; Organisational Studies; 19 Nov 2012
- examines attitudes of 1077 professional engineers and geoscientists in the Canadian petroleum industry
- We find that virtually all respondents (99.4%) agree that the climate is changing. However, there is considerable disagreement as to cause, consequences, and lines of action
James Taylor misinterprets study by 180 degrees Climate Science Watch; 14 Feb 2013
- In a Forbes op-ed, James Taylor takes a study that prominently reveals the anti-science influence of oil and gas companies, and spins it to suggest that serious, substantive disagreement exists among relevant scientists on climate change. This could not be further from the truth, as evidenced by the very study he cites, as well as numerous other studies that have surveyed climate scientists.
NASA Data: Global Warming Not Causing Any Polar Ice Retreat
Updated NASA Data: Global Warming Not Causing Any Polar Ice Retreat James Taylor; Forbes; 19 May 2015
- Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps in 1979. Since the end of 2012, moreover, total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average. The updated data contradict one of the most frequently asserted global warming claims – that global warming is causing the polar ice caps to recede.
(Also at Climate Change Dispatch)
- Nine scientists analyzed the article and estimated that its overall scientific credibility was very low
- This article has been read more than 660,000 times since it was published in May, making it Forbes’s most read article on climate in 2015. So how accurate was it?
- Not accurate at all. According to the reviewers, this article contains numerous factual errors and flawed logic. The author fails to distinguish between sea and land ice, and the Arctic and Antarctic. Taylor’s conclusion, which contradicts the observed signal of global warming on polar ice, is misleading.
This is climate skeptics’ latest argument about melting polar ice — and why it’s wrong Chris Mooney; Washington Post; 27 May 2015
- I came across numerous citations of a much-read article at Forbes by James Taylor, titled “Updated NASA Data: Global warming not causing any polar ice retreat.”
- There are many problems with this claim. In effect — and as we’ll see — Taylor is falling into a long climate “skeptic” tradition of pointing toward growing sea ice around Antarctica, and thereby suggesting that this trend undermines broader concerns about polar ice melt, or climate change in general. It doesn’t.
How Forbes got it wrong: The real climate change data from NASA The Manufacturer; 2 Jun 2015
- A new Forbes article which claimed that polar ice coverage has not changed since 1979 has been revealed to be based off misrepresented data.
- The problem is however, it did no such thing.
- The Manufacturer contacted NASA for comment on the article, which has been viewed more than 280,000 times. But the organisation flatly denied that it was the source of the “new data”.
- “The article does not reference any NASA data source. The article links to a single graph posted on a University of Illinois website to support its claims. NASA has not released any new or updated data that supports these claims,” stated Stephen Cole, a Communications Officer from NASA.
- James Taylor, the author of the Forbes article, who also works for a conservative think-tank called the Heartland Institute, appears to have invented the NASA connection for this data in an attempt to give it authenticity.
Climate Change Denial Is a Threat to National Security Phil Plait; Bad Astronomy; 26 May 2016
- ...look at an op-ed in Forbes magazine written by Heartland Institute’s James Taylor (yes, that Heartland Institute). Taylor has a history of cherry-picking and distorting results from real climate scientists, and he’s doing the same thing here.
- In the op-ed, he claims that global warming has not caused global sea ice retreat. This is a gross distortion of reality. The truth is that in the arctic we’re seeing record low levels of sea ice year after year, including just this year, when in March the North Pole saw the lowest maximum ice extent on record.
Work of prominent climate change denier was funded by energy industry Suzanne Goldenberg; Guardian; 21 Feb 2015
- A prominent academic and climate change denier’s work was funded almost entirely by the energy industry, receiving more than $1.2m from companies, lobby groups and oil billionaires over more than a decade, newly released documents show. Over the last 14 years Willie Soon, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, received a total of $1.25m from Exxon Mobil, Southern Company, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and a foundation run by the ultra-conservative Koch brothers, the documents obtained by Greenpeace through freedom of information filings show.
Legal harassment of climate scientists
Climate scientists are under attack from frivolous lawsuits Lauren Kurtz; Guardian; 7 Jul 2016
- Climate Science Legal Defense Fund is forced to defend climate scientists against constant frivolous lawsuits. On June 14th, an Arizona court ruled that thousands of emails from two prominent climate scientists must be turned over to the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E), a group that disputes the 97% expert consensus on human-caused climate change and argues against action to confront it. E&E and its attorneys are funded by Peabody Coal, Arch Coal, and Alpha Natural Resources, coal corporations with billions of dollars in revenue.
Scientists: Here's What Really Causes Climate Change (And It Has Nothing To Do With Human Beings) James Barrett; The Daily Wire; 24 Feb 2017
- A new study produced by a University of Wisconsin-Madison geoscientist and Northwestern astrophysicist presents an explanation of the fluctuations of the earth's temperatures that global warming alarmists are going to make sure to bury: The cycle of changes in the climate over the millennia is a result of changes in the amount of solar radiation, in part caused by small changes in the orbits of Earth and Mars.
From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a ‘chaotic solar system’ Terry Devitt; University of Wisconsin-Madison news; 22 Feb 2017
- The variations, playing out over many millions of years, produce big changes in our planet’s climate — changes that can be reflected in the rocks that record Earth’s history
- (The Daily Wire article actually quotes this)
Based on paper:
A simple rule to determine which insolation cycles lead to interglacials P. C. Tzedakis, M. Crucifix, T. Mitsui, E. W. Wolff; Nature; 23 Feb 2017
- The pacing of glacial–interglacial cycles during the Quaternary period (the past 2.6 million years) is attributed to astronomically driven changes in high-latitude insolation. However, it has not been clear how astronomical forcing translates into the observed sequence of interglacials. Here we show that before one million years ago interglacials occurred when the energy related to summer insolation exceeded a simple threshold, about every 41,000 years. Over the past one million years, fewer of these insolation peaks resulted in deglaciation (that is, more insolation peaks were ‘skipped’), implying that the energy threshold for deglaciation had risen, which led to longer glacials. However, as a glacial lengthens, the energy needed for deglaciation decreases. A statistical model that combines these observations correctly predicts every complete deglaciation of the past million years and shows that the sequence of interglacials that has occurred is one of a small set of possibilities. The model accounts for the dominance of obliquity-paced glacial–interglacial cycles early in the Quaternary and for the change in their frequency about one million years ago. We propose that the appearance of larger ice sheets over the past million years was a consequence of an increase in the deglaciation threshold and in the number of skipped insolation peaks.
Educators Decry Conservative Group's Climate 'Propaganda' Sent to Schoolteachers Phil McKenna; Inside Climate News; 10 Apr 2017
- Teaching material sent by Heartland Institute to thousands of teachers denies climate science, aims to teach a 'debate.'