Study: Climate Sceptics Know More About Climate Science Than Believers

cartoonIn my opinion no one … should close the road to free philosophizing about mundane and physical things, as if everything had already been discovered and revealed with certainty. Nor should it be considered rash not to be satisfied with those opinions which have become common. No one should be scorned in physical disputes for not holding to the opinions which happen to please other people best. ‚Äì-Galileo Galilei’s timeless warning in his famous Letter to Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany (1615)

Are global warming skeptics simply ignorant about climate science? Not so, says a forthcoming paper in the journal Advances in Political Psychology by Yale Professor Dan Kahan. He finds that skeptics score about the same (in fact slightly better) on climate science questions. The study asked 2,000 respondents nine questions about where they thought scientists stand on climate science. On average, skeptics got about 4.5 questions correct, whereas manmade warming believers got about 4 questions right. –Maxim Lott, Fox News, 12 February 2015

Scientists are facing a crisis of trust. Increasingly, Americans believe that what’s called science is actually political posturing. —Editorial, Mercury News, 13 February 2015

Global warming has been blamed for the Arab Spring, the current conflicts in Syria and Sudan, etc. They haven’t said anything about what’s going on in the Ukraine yet. A paper published in PNAS in 2009 bluntly declared that “Warming Increases The Risk of Civil War in Africa.” The problem is that the conflicts that are cited as examples of the phenomenon are located in areas known for both frequent conflict prior to the current warming period and for historical patterns of extreme climates similar to those seen today. It would appear that those believing that climate change is a contributor to conflict may be intuitively making sense, but they do not appear to have numbers on their side. —The Lukewarmer’s Way, 13 February 2015

There is much uncertainty in estimates about ocean warming and its changing heat content. Sea surface temperature (SST) have shown no significant trend since 1998 and possible explanations for it are many. Once ‚Äì when it was rising between the 1970s and the 1990s – SST was one of the prime metrics to measure ‘global warming’ deemed important because the greater heat capacity of the oceans would mean it would absorb more heat than the flighty atmosphere. When it became obvious that surface temperatures did not show the increases some expected it was replaced by ocean warming. –David Whitehouse, Global Warming Policy Forum, 10 February 2015

Encouraging progress at climate change talks points to the likelihood of an overall accord being reached at the Paris conference in December, but the deal is unlikely to adequately fight global warming, a top IPCC official said Sunday. Jean-Pascal Van Ypersal, the Belgian deputy vice president of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told AFP: “I am optimistic. We will have an accord in Paris.” But the goal of limiting the global temperature increase to just two degrees Celsius remains elusive, and Van Ypersal said it appeared the world is not ready to do what is needed to deliver that essential target. –Christian Spillmann, Associated Press, 15 February 2015