How to talk to a global warming denier
Having dealt with deniers of global warming, who have in many cases been highly aggressive and unprincipled, I have come up with a quick checklist of what one needs to say if faced with a denier of global warming. The following are responses to some of the claims I have heard.
Claim: What's wrong with Siberia becoming 2 degrees hotter?
Answer: Very small proportion of the world's population lives in cold climates, whereas billions live in hot climates. For vast portion of the world's population, global warming means floods, hurricanes, destruction of cities and farmland, and vast loss of life and property.
Claim: Some places in the world are having cold spells.
Answer: Erratic weather events are very much a predicted effect of the destabilization of climate accompanying global warming. Cross-world averages show a consistent upward trend in the world's temperatures.
Claim: Mammoths, termites, etc., have produced lots of methane
Answer: Nothing coming from mammoths or termites begins to compare to the deadly double-punch of uncontrolled carbon emissions and deforestation of rainforests that people have been doing to cause global warming.
Claim: Trees absorb carbon dioxide.
Answer: Which is why raising carbon dioxide emissions while cutting down the rainforest creates carbon dioxide with no trees to absorb it. This carbon dioxide then goes into the oceans, where it makes them acidic and kills the fish, and into the atmosphere, where it reflects the sun's rays bouncing off the earth's surface back to the earth, causing the earth to become hotter.
Claim: A small change in the gases in the atmosphere cannot affect the climate.
Answer: There are many factors that, if changed even a little, would not make possible for life or even universe to exist. The world is exquisitely balanced and can be thrown off balance by very minor changes. And nothing is minor about the vast rise in emissions of carbon gases combined with vast rainforest deforestation.
Claim: Earth has been hotter and colder before.
Answer: At no time in the past was there as much human population as there is now. The heating of the world - along with disastrous erratic climate events brought on by global warming - will result, and already result, in vast loss of life and property, which the previous cycles did not. The accompanying acidification of the oceans and rising of ocean waters compounds the problem.
Claim: Sun spot cycles are responsible for the climate change.
Answer: Sun spot cycles do not begin to explain why there is more CO2 in the atmosphere than in 800,000 years, nor do they begin to explain why oceans are turning to acid. Double-punch of uncontrolled carbon emissions and rainforest deforestation does.
Claim: Natural warming and cooling cycles are responsible for the climate change.
Answer: As previous.
Claim: People cannot affect something as vast as planet Earth.
Answer: Yes they can. Amazon rainforest alone loses the area the size of Greece every six years, and half the world's animal and plant species have been lost in the last two centuries. We are in the middle of the fastest extinction in the history of the planet, all due to human activity. The same is true for global warming.
Claim: Hackers revealed that two scientists at UN were fudging data.
Answer: That two people were doing their work incompetently says nothing about a fact that was known long before these two people had anything to do with it. and that is affirmed not only by scientists who have nothing to do with UN but also by industry leaders who have opposed environmental agenda for many decades.
Claim: Scientists at UN have made up global warming to pursue global domination by a Satanic New World Order conspiracy.
Answer: Scientists knew about global warming since 1980s. The right-wing government of the time wanted nothing to do with it, denying creation of clean-energy solutions that would have cheaply and easily solved the problem. Now, solutions will be that much more difficult, and much irreversible damage has already been done. All thanks to the American Right that denied the truth in the first place and many of whose adherents are continuing to deny it now.
Claim: God will fix this.
Answer: People created this problem, people must solve this problem. It is not fair to ask God or Gaia or any other agency to clean up our mess.
Claim: There is no global warming. These are the end times.
Answer: People have choice as to what world to have, and for how long to have it. It is only the end times if you make these the end times by destroying life on earth. The stance of destroying the planet will not earn you any favor with God or with any power with any concept of righteousness. And if you continue this stance, you have everything to fear for your soul if the end times ever are to arrive.
Claim: Global warming is a giant hoax.
Answer: In fact, it is denial of global warming that has been a vast hoax perpetrated by Republican governments, Texas Oil, and conmen who deny the validity of science while benefiting from it daily as does everyone in the West. This problem was known in 1980s, and it should have been solved, cheaply and easily, in 1980s, through creation of high-intelligence, high-technology clean energy solutions. Instead it was denied, and now because it has been denied the world is facing great loss of life, great loss of property, and irreversible damage, none of which had to be if this problem had not been denied and been acted upon when it was discovered.
Claim: It would be expensive to do anything about it / people would have to lose what they have.
Answer: No, people would not have to lose what they have. In fact, there are technically and economically sound technologies that can provide all of people's present and much more energy and water needs through processes that are not destructive to the environment or are much less destructive than current technologies. Some of these technologies carry vast economic benefit, both short-term and long-term, along with their environmental benefit, while delivering greater convenience and utility than technologies of today. And these technologies can be put into place by the private sector as easily as they can be put into place by the government, resulting both in job and prosperity growth in the present and significant gains in efficiency over the long term.
Claim: You can talk the talk, what are you doing to walk the walk?
Answer: Check http://www.adda-enterprises.com/HTNwebsite/home.htm
Other answers with data are available at http://www.grist.org/article/series/skeptics/