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A Simple Primer On Anthropogenic Global Warming Skepticism

Many people simply don’t understand global warming skeptics. Or, more specifically, they don’t understand AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) skeptics. And, I have to admit that there are many varieties of us, and we have a wide range of skeptical beliefs. Some are just skeptical that man is the primary cause of global warming. Some don’t even believe it is warming. Some believe that it was warming for a couple of hundred years after the “little ice age”, which bottomed out about 400 years ago, but that warming trend ended in the early 1900’s. So, we have a wide range of beliefs. In his excellent article, “Global Warming Skepticism 101“, self-professed AGW skeptic Dr. Roy Spencer offers a basic rundown of AGW skepticism.

I get so many questions from readers about a variety of global warming issues that I thought I would whip up some Q&A for those who want to understand the views of skeptics a little better. I will try to update these with links and additional answers as time permits.

Climate science is complex and the study of it is highly specialized. Nevertheless, there is a common theme that runs through the claims of the global warming establishment, from Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth, to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): Weather and climate events that happen naturally are being increasingly blamed on the activities of humans. So, causation is at the root of most beliefs about global warming and climate change.

As one digs further into the science, the direction of causation also emerges as a key theme, and it is one that can totally change the degree to which it appears humans affect the climate system. In my own area of research I have found that mixing up cause and effect when examining how cloud cover varies with temperature has greatly misled the scientific establishment regarding how sensitive the climate system is to our addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

Not all skeptics believe the same things, though, so some skeptics will object to some of what I have listed below. These represent my opinions, not all of which are necessarily ascribed to by other skeptics. Additional details on many of these issues can be found throughout this website, including a Q&A list I published on April 19, 2009.

The following list, in no particular order, are my responses to common claims and accusations about global warming skeptics. If other scientists or laypersons want me to add to the list, or want to argue for changes, email me and I will update it as appropriate. Please be sure to check back for the latest update (posted above).

He then continues to address many of the conceptions, and misconceptions, that people have about AGW skeptics.

Read the whole article.

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