Global warming denial

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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 dilemma – 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 straw man misrepresentation of global warming advocacy.

winner-take-all thinking

GW deniers tend to take a combative approach to the discussion, trying to undermine GW's credibility without actually addressing the matters of fact it raises; this is in turn fed upon and encouraged by those who like to keep debates stirred up rather than seeking to resolve them.

To counter this, GW proponents might make a set of specific proposals regarding what should be done under various conditions, where the conditions are stated in terms which can be measured. For example, "If a forecast is made which everyone agrees was done using sound methodology, and that forecast shows global temperatures averaging more than 5 degrees above normal over the next 25 years, then we as should be willing to spend at least X dollars of global resources, divided proportionally among the signatory countries by GNP, towards either reversing the temperature change itself or at least ameliorating the effects of said change on the most vulnerable members of our global habitat (to be divided amongst humans and non-humans according to a formula set out in Appendix C etc. etc.)"

Although the core GW deniers might carefully overlook these proposals and shift the debate back to their preferred grounds, it could help clarify the situation for people who are honestly confused about the issue.

irrelevant accusations

GW deniers often accuse GW advocates of being "alarmists" or fearmongers. This is a bogus accusation on the following levels:

  • It again deflects attention away from a discussion of the facts (which could be resolved) into a claim of nefarious motives, which is not relevant when the accused have presented extensive facts to back up their assertions
  • It is a form of ad hominem attack, i.e. calling the arguer's credibility into question rather than addressing the content.
  • Fearmongery is only a valid accusation when fear is being used to get people to obey or support a particular group or individual (a technique used shamelessly by the anti-GW Bush II administration). This accusation is more difficult to deflect, though it seems clearly wrong to me. -W..




Denialist Organizations / Projects

Denialist-friendly Media



  • Wikipedia (Climate change denial)
  • ConservapediaConservapedia is an unreliable source. (GW denial): very brief page claiming that GW is a political tool of "a powerful liberal special interest group: the environmental lobby." (Who funds the environmental lobby? Who makes money from environmentalism?)
    • Global Warming frames the debate as largely political, with the data not supporting the idea that there's anything to worry about (as of 2007-08-04; verified 2008-02-10)
  • dKosopedia (no article as of 2008-02-10)
  • SourceWatch (no article as of 2008-02-10)


filed links


Anti-GW Sentiments

to file

For twenty years you and the other faithful lapdogs of industry have dutifully parroted the sophistry fed to you by the fossil fuel crowd and by free-market ideologues. As the evidence mounted, you moved on to the next set of bogus arguments... and you blame scientists for being dishonest?
Also, the claim that there is no scientific consensus on global warming is a myth; see The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change

Debunking Myths