I was at a Meetup recently, and someone said some wrong things about climate change. My mother would be so proud: I was able to keep my mouth shut. This person said a few things on the Skeptic Rebuttal One-Liners page.
I was not able to respond because this person called climate change “ideologically-driven science”, and she seemed very skeptical of large corporations. That paradox threw me off. I have never been able to discern what ideology the deniers think that climate change is supposed to be pushing, unless you think trying to understand reality is an “ideology”. So she doubts climate change, which is what a lot of corporations and glibertarian think tanks want, but somehow she’s above ideology. Sure you are.
One of her points was that the climate has changed in the past. That does not mean it cannot be changing now. Or that it can change faster than humans, plants and animals can adapt. Nor does that preclude the possibility that it is caused by humans. One point I have not seen addressed by people who point out that “climate has changed before” is that we are seeing climate changing after we have been emitting CO2 and methane and lots of other stuff for about 100 years. Do you really think that all those chemicals would not have an effect on things? And what are the odds that a century of human emissions happens at the exact same time as a natural warming cycle? I am guessing they are pretty amazing.
She also said that it still gets cold in the winter. Keep in mind, I now live in Texas. A state which has worse droughts and fires every year. People love to point to cold days in winter to cast doubt on climate change. Yet when we have record high after record high in the summer, and droughts and floods to boot, they suddenly get real quiet. Or they jump through hoops to some up with some reason that climate is not getting warmer, or it has nothing to do with carbon emissions. Therefore, we don’t have to change our lifestyles. How convenient.
But she said a new one: Why aren’t we seeing more plants if there is more CO2? There are a few answers to this one: We can produce CO2 faster than new plants can use it. Also: plants require more than just CO2. They need water and land. Due to development and desertification, there is less land. And since one of the effects of climate change is that water is being re-arranged (floods in wet areas, droughts in already-dry areas) there is not always more water available either.
I have a couple more points: We should stop using the term “climate change skeptics”. Most of them are not skeptics. They are deniers. There are some who are professional deniers. But for most people, when you parse out all the BS, it just starts to sound like “I want to keep driving a big truck”. I think you can look at the world from two perspectives: From what you want, or trying to see it as it is.