WC recognizes that, among his readers at least, arguing for the reality of anthropogenic climate change is preaching to the choir. But we all have friends and acquaintances who keep making the same, mistaken arguments against the reality of climate change. WC thought it might be worthwhile to provide you with rebuttals to some of the common ones. In particular, in the face of overwhelming evidence of a warming planet, all but the Flat Earthers now seem to have admitted the place is warming, but deny humans are too blame.
Keep in mind most of the deniers are using arguments made by the fossil fuel industry, who are much more interested in profits than in trivialities like saving the planet. But let’s look at the arguments.
Big Fib #1: Current climate change is the result of natural climate cycles.
This is Donald Trump’s favorite, that the planet has warmed and cooled before, that were warming up from the Ice Age, that it’s all natural cycles.
Nope. The deniers have advanced three arguments:
First, over the past few decades, energy from the sun has been going down , not up, so if changes in the sun’s energy drove our temperature, we should be getting cooler, not warmer.
Others argue that we’re getting warmer because we’re recovering from the last ice age. But ice ages — and the warm periods in between — are caused by the Earth’s orbital cycles, and according to those cycles, the next event on our geologic calendar is another ice age, not more warming.
We can also rule out volcanoes, which do produce heat-trapping gases, but volcanoes, on average, produce less than 1 percent of the CO2 that humans produce burning fossil fuels. And big eruptions, when they happen, ejects ash and sulfur, which cool the Earth instead of warming it.
On the other hand, we know CO2 is a greenhouse gas. A high school chemistry student can prove it. And we know CO2 levels in the atmosphere are climbing steeply. Unless you are Donald Trump or one of his worshippers, those are facts, that’s reality, and reality still matters.
It’s not any natural cycle. The climate change we’re experiencing now definitely isn’t natural. Science knows what all the natural planet heating mechanisms are. And have shown they are not responsible for what is happening. It’s a fib.
Big Fib #2: Scientists are split on whether humans are causing the warming
“Each side has their scientists,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch “Old Turtleneck” McConnell (R-Ky.) told Politico in 2014. Trump echoed that false rhetoric on “60 Minutes” in October 2018, telling Lesley Stahl, “We have scientists that disagree” with human-caused global warming.”
In reality, more than 97 percent of climate scientists agree that global warming is happening and that humans are causing it. At least 18 scientific societies in the United States, from the American Geophysical Union to the American Medical Association, have issued official statements on climate change, each saying human-generated CO2 is to blame. And it’s been more than 50 years since U.S. scientists first raised the alarm about the dangers of climate change with the president — at the time, Lyndon B. Johnson. The public confusion has been manufactured by the fossil fuel industry and ideologues. There is no significant dispute in the science community.
And when you examine the scientists who deny anthropogenic climate change, few of them are climatologists and most of them are paid shills for the fossil fuel industry. The Koch Brothers, whose wealth is tied to fossil fuels, are a case in point. The Koch Family Foundations have spent $127,006,756 directly financing 92 groups that have attacked climate change science and policy solutions, from 1997-2017.
If 97% of the people in the theater tell you the place is on fire, and the 3% who deny it work for the arsonists, who are you going to believe?