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How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic

I want to share a fantastic treasure trove of valuable information from Grist. This assembled list represents a handy guide for any of us to keep close by for ‘fill in the blank’ kinds of arguments regarding climate change. As I heard on Democracy Now this week, the Corporate News is still calling this unprecedented weather, Extreme Weather. Headlines, reports, the ‘crawl’ do not connect the dots with Global Warming.

This has gotten personal for me. I have a niece in Cedar Rapids, IA, with two little girls. I found out that they had moved all of their precious belonging up to the top floor, packed up and moved to higher ground at a friend’s home. I googled for articles on connecting the Iowa flood to Climate Change and Global Warming and got nothing.

I have family in the Midwest, and coincidentally relations who are Republican apologists. I know that the kinds of climate skeptics addressed in these hundreds of articles could be from any one of them. The belief in authoritarian framing seems unwavering. It is daunting, but the relentlessness of ‘extreme weather’ is providing the basis for us being able to raise the issue over and over with the skeptics. The Grist article opening and outline follows. Even though I may have gone past fair use limits, I wanted to give the complete outline, stripped of all of the links to make the rationale, the categories apparent. Go to the original source for the complete series list.

Below is a complete listing of the articles in "How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic," a series by Coby Beck containing responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming. There are four separate taxonomies; arguments are divided by:

Individual articles will appear under multiple headings and may even appear in multiple subcategories in the same heading.

Stages of Denial

  1. There's nothing happening
    1. Inadequate evidence
    2. Contradictory evidence
    3. No consensus
  2. We don't know why it's happening
    1. Models don't work
    2. Prediction is impossible
    3. We can't be sure
  3. Climate change is natural
    1. It happened before
    2. It's part of a natural change
    3. It's not caused by CO2
  4. Climate change is not bad
    1. The effects are good
    2. The effects are minor
    3. Change is normal
  5. Climate change can't be stopped
    1. Too late
    2. It's someone else's problem
    3. Economically infeasible

Scientific Topics

  1. Temperature
  2. Atmosphere
  3. Extreme events
    1. Temperature records
    2. Storms
    3. Droughts
  1. Cryosphere
    1. Sea ice
    2. Ice sheets
  1. Oceans
  1. Modeling
    1. Uncertainties
  1. Climate forcings
    1. Greenhouse gases
    2. Aerosols
  1. Paleo climate
    1. Ice ages
    2. Geologic history
  1. Scientific process

Types of Argument

  1. Uninformed
  2. Misinformed
  3. Cherry Picking
  4. Urban Myths
  5. FUD
  6. Non Scientific
  7. Underdog Theories
  8. Crackpottery

Levels of Sophistication

  1. Silly
  2. Naive
  3. Specious
  4. Scientific

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