Check out Skeptical Science for more debunking of popular Global Warming Skeptic arguments. John Cook is a web programmer who followed a similar journey to mine. Here is a bit of his story.
My interest in global warming began when I drew a cartoon spoof of the TV show 24 that wondered what Jack Bauer would do if Al Gore was President and global warming was the “threat du jour”. I watched An Inconvenient Truth for research which I found thought provoking although I didn’t know what to make of all the science.
I then got into some discussions with a family member and diehard skeptic who handed me a speech by Senator Inhofe. It was fairly light on actual science but some research revealed the arguments were misleading and flawed which surprised me – I thought such a prominent spokesman for global warming skeptism would’ve done his homework more thoroughly.
Since then, I’ve scoured the original peer reviewed studies in an attempt to get past the political agendas and cherry picking. When I think I’ve worked out the truth of a particular issue, I find websites and blogs that hold the opposite view and present my case. This kind of vigorous discussion is an ideal way to highlight any flaws in my logic and gaps in my research. I’ve come to the conclusion that global warming is being driven by manmade CO2 emissions but I hope to be wrong and research each skeptic argument, in a strange way hoping to be convinced by it. I’m still yet to meet a skeptic argument that is even vaguely convincing.
I’ve noticed two patterns in global warming skepticism. Firstly, many reasons for disbelieving in anthroporphic global warming (AGW) seems to be political rather than scientific. Eg – it’s all a liberal plot to spread socialism and destroy capitalism (or sometimes just plain dislike for Al Gore). As one person put it, “the cheerleaders for doing something about global warming seem to be largely the cheerleaders for many causes of which I disapprove”.
But beneath the politics is a more elemental instinct – an aversion to alarmism. We’ve been burnt before. The media predicted an ice age in the 70’s which never eventuated. Y2K was going to destroy society – it was barely a hiccup. And I won’t deny there are alarmists in the global warming camp. Urgent cries that the ice sheets are on the verge of sliding into the sea. Hysteric predictions that Manhattan will soon be underwater. Or emotional pleas to save those cute little polar bears. Sadly, alarmists seem to be the loudest voices in the global warming debate. But that doesn’t change the science underneath.