2011-05-20 14:28:13Other website mentions of SkS
John Cook


Posting external references to SkS in this thread, just to keep them all in the one spot. Good to know what people are saying, good and bad. But note - if it's a website reposting an SkS blog post, post the link at Reposts and coverage of SkS articles.

2011-05-20 14:29:02Cardinal Pell's climate hot air
John Cook



He has repeated the talking points of climate sceptics that have been thoroughly refuted by climate scientists by reference to the peer-reviewed science (this is aggregated on the excellent website SkepticalScience run by Australian physicist John Cook, himself a committed Christian).

2011-05-20 15:02:22SkepticalScience.com Educates My Students
John Cook



I used John Cook’s SkepticalScience.com as the student resource for this semester’s research papers.  As you will see from the four example papers highlighted on this blog, information found at SkepticalScience.com is accessible to the typical college student and likely to the general public.

2011-06-07 21:25:26Stop checking the facts: “Your Internet search has just helped kill the planet”
John Cook



This could explain a few things. Greens are against searching for information. To save the planet, only follow safe links from Joe Romm, Andrew Revkin, John Cook and RealClimate. Searching bad. Vewwy vewwy bad

We're in good company :-)

2011-06-15 04:04:01
Andy S


In contrast to RealClimate and Skeptical Science, which are focused tightly on science questions, this initiative appears to be trying to both clarify the state of the science on global warming and, in the same breath, promote policies that could curb emissions of greenhouse gases.

Nice to be mentioned as one one of the two top science blogs!

From Dot Earth

2011-06-30 08:45:46Australia's place in the global web of climate denial
John Cook



Writing in The Age today, John Cook, founder of the blog Skeptical Science, explains the methods Professor Carter uses to confuse readers, such as employing half-truths, cherry-picking data and conveniently ignoring other multiple lines of evidence.

2011-06-30 10:23:42Myth and evidence about climate change
John Cook



John Cook of the organization Skeptical Science has compiled the best available evidence that comprehensively examines the global-warming hypothesis from multiple lines of inquiry. The consensus of the evidence is the same as the consensus of the scientists: the structure of our atmosphere is changing, and the change is caused by us.

Comment at June 25, 2011 at 5:46 pm:

John Cook is not a climate scientist but he is a clever propagandist, exemplified by the name of his website. He is very selective and disingenuous.

2011-06-30 10:27:56Dealing in Doubt: The Climate Denial Industry and Climate Science
John Cook


Report by Greenpeace on fossil funding with quote on front cover:

‘Scepticism is not believing what someone tells you, investigating all the information before
coming to a conclusion. Scepticism is a good thing. Global warming scepticism is not that.
It’s the complete opposite of that. It’s coming to a preconceived conclusion and cherry-
picking the information that backs up your opinion. Global warming scepticism isn’t
scepticism at all.’
John Cook of Skepticalscience.com

I cringe at that quote, I was rambling in a phone interview - much easier to be coherent when you choose your words carefully and edit them on the computer.

2011-07-01 09:43:27It's time to rise above the Monckton sideshow
John Cook



Similarly, many skeptics' arguments have been evaluated on the Queensland-based website. Like Lord Monckton, its author John Cook is not a professional climate scientist. The difference is that Mr Cook compiled his website with the help of working scientists, rather than just concluding they are scam artists.

2011-07-20 07:12:24Heartland Institute launches a 'closed' climate change wiki
John Cook



I also sought a contribution from John Cook, who runs the popular SkepticalScience website, which prides itself in "explaining climate change science and rebutting global warming misinformation". Cook looked around Climatewiki and felt that the page on "Radiation" - also lifted from Climate Change Reconsidered - failed to mention "several crucial papers" on the subject. He offered the following addition:

Satellites measuring infrared radiation coming from Earth find less heat escaping to space over the last few decades, at those exact wavelengths that carbon dioxide absorbs energy (Harries 2001, Griggs 2004, Chen 2007). Harries (2001) described this as "...direct experimental evidence for a significant increase in the Earth's greenhouse effect".
If less heat is escaping to space, we should observe more returning to the Earth's surface. This has been observed (Philipona 2004, Evans 2006, Wang 2009). Evans (2006) concluded: "This experimental data should effectively end the argument by skeptics that no experimental evidence exists for the connection between greenhouse gas increases in the atmosphere and global warming."

* Chen, C., Harries, J., Brindley, H., & Ringer, M. (2007). Spectral signatures of climate change in the Earth's infrared spectrum between 1970 and 2006. Retrieved October 13, 2009, from European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) website.
* Evans W. F. J., Puckrin E. (2006), Measurements of the Radiative Surface Forcing of Climate, P1.7, AMS 18th Conference on Climate Variability and Change.
* Griggs, J. A., Harries, J. E. (2004). Comparison of spectrally resolved outgoing longwave data between 1970 and present, Proc. SPIE, Vol. 5543, 164.
Harries, J. E., et al (2001). Increases in greenhouse forcing inferred from the outgoing longwave radiation spectra of the Earth in 1970 and 1997. Nature, 410, 355 357.
* Philipona, R., Dürr, B., Marty, C., Ohmura, A. and Wild, M. (2004). Radiative forcing -measured at Earth's surface - corroborate the increasing greenhouse effect. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L03202.
* Wang, K., Liang, S., (2009), Global atmospheric downward longwave radiation over land surface under all-sky conditions from 1973 to 2008. Journal of Geophysical Research, 114 (D19).

2011-07-26 17:03:26The folly of debating science sceptics
John Cook



Article requires rego so I've posted below:

The folly of debating science sceptics

Australian scientists say stepping into a debate with a sceptic is a waste of time. They are looking for more effective ways to communicate.

A debate on climate change held at the National Press Club last week would have been a perilous undertaking for any scientist, says Professor Dave Griggs, director of Monash Sustainability Institute.

Griggs, who is also chief executive of the non-profit ClimateWorks Australia, said the debate format was unsuitable for communicating complex information. “It’s so easy for a sceptic to say, ‘Climate change has been caused by the sun’. And we say, ‘No, it hasn’t’. And they say, ‘Yes, it has’…” he explained. 

“Then we need to go into a 10-minute explanation of why it’s not being caused by the sun, but of course, you don’t get 10 minutes in a debate. By the time you’ve said, ‘I can prove it is’, ‘I can prove it isn’t’, you’re off to the next question.” Griggs said the quandary was discussed often among the nation’s climate-change scientists, who had become deeply frustrated in recent years by the growing media traction of so-called denialists.

Out of that frustration, he and 12 prominent colleagues formed Climate Scientists Australia two years ago, to help lift the influence of peer-reviewed science on national policy. The group gives regular briefings at state and federal parliaments to business leaders and others.

“We don’t have a political agenda. We’re not a lobby group, we’re not advocating for any policy. We just want whatever policy that is decided to be made on the basis of the best science, and not the science that you hear in the media,” said Griggs.Climate Scientists Australia is just one example of the groups scientists are forming to hit back against sceptics, especially online.

A few months ago, scientists at the University of Western Australia (UWA) launched Shaping Tomorrow’s World, a web site to inspire discussion about climate, energy, and resources, including peak oil and food insecurity issues. “There is a very active group of scientists not only at UWA but nationwide who have started to hold so-called climate ‘sceptics’ accountable for their actions,” said UWA psychology Professor Stephan Lewandowsky.

“One platform for this has been The Conversation. We also have climatescienceWA.org, which is a portal for climate-related information within the UWA web tree. “So [our] approach is two-pronged: On the one hand, encourage constructive discussion of solutions that build on an evidence-based scientific background, and on the other hand, hold accountable those who create distractions by non-scientific and ethically dubious means.”

Last month, the newly branded Science and Technology group, representing 68,000 scientists and technologists, launched a Respect the Science campaign, also with a fact-based web site. A University of Queensland physics graduate is running another portal – Skeptical Science. It includes a section called “Monckton Myths” about the claims by one of the most cited climate-change sceptics.

Christopher Monckton was, of course, one of the debaters at last week’s press club event. As Campus Review reported in a previous story, his appearance was highly controversial. The federal government’s top climate science advisor, Professor Will Steffen, of the Australian National University, said the press club was partaking in shoddy journalism, not least because Monckton’s claims – especially that human activity is not contributing to climate change – have been repeatedly debunked.

At the debate, CR asked Monckton why he had not submitted his own research to a quality, peer-reviewed journal. His response was to cite Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered, a paper he penned in 2008 for the quarterly newsletter, American Physics and Society. However, the publication clearly states on its web site that the Monckton paper has not undergone scientific peer review. Griggs wished good luck to any scientist who was prepared to debate a sceptic, but said other formats were more effective.

“We will respond to sceptics, but we will do that in a considered way and in a format where we think we can get the information across. Of course, then we’re always accused of, ‘Well, you don’t debate me, so I must be right’. You can’t win,” he said. In related news, the CSIRO has awarded one of its top modelling experts with a five-year grant to build a research team examining climate influence on Australia.

Recipient Dr Wenju Cai has been the lead author and co-author of some 40 peer-reviewed papers on climate-related science.In a CSIRO press statement, chief executive Dr Megan Clark said there had “never been a greater need for Australian science to secure its knowledge base with expanded observations and modelling expertise”.

2011-08-06 14:38:08Stick to the actual climate scientists
John Cook


Barry Bickmore publishes an op-ed in the Deseret News. I like that he uses links to SkS when talking about consensus and climate sensitivity - that's the kind of link kudos search engine marketers dream of:


Hicken first cites a Gallup poll indicating only about 51 percent of the public is worried about global warming. But since when are scientific debates settled in the public arena? Multiple studies have shown that about 97 percent of actively publishing climate researchers believe humans are significantly affecting the global climate, so for the people actually involved in the scientific debate, there is a very, very high degree of agreement.

But why is there so much agreement? Is it because, as one journalist quoted in Hicken's article implied, the climate scientists are behaving like "sheep?" Although there are many unanswered questions and grey areas in climate science, the one question that matters most for humans is how sensitive the global climate is to additions of greenhouse gases.

It turns out that scientists have estimated climate sensitivity in at least nine different ways, involving different techniques and data, which all have given about the same answer. That answer is that the most likely value is somewhere around a rise of 3 degrees Celsius in the global average temperature for a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and it is very unlikely that climate sensitivity is low enough that we don't have to worry about it.

2011-08-12 11:45:58
Andy S


Rob Painting's Oceans post on Richard Dawkins and Joe Romm. It's a pity that the Dawkins repost does not mention Skeptical Science.

2011-08-17 09:09:26Wikipedia and the SkS consensus graphic
John Cook




2011-10-10 14:22:05Climate Progress features SkS "Fingerprints" graphs
Tom Smerling


Nice shout out at

Eight Must-Have Charts Summarize the Evidence for a “Human Fingerprint” on Recent Climate Change


"Last year, physicist John Cook, who runs the must-read website Skeptical Science, published “The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism.” It’s a good introduction to global warming science and skepticism.

He sent me the 8 figures of the “human fingerprints on climate change,” which I repost below."

Quibbles:   The quality of the graphics is so-so unfortunately, and I would have liked to have see the SkS credit higher up.      Still, a nice piece.

2011-10-21 03:28:21Critique of Sks in comment at an AGU blog
Tom Smerling


Ouch.   Overall, I think SkS does a masterful job of straddling the hard science and public communication worlds.   And I never take individual malcontents too seriously.  

But this comment -- from an AGU Blogosphere blog -- might be worth some reflection; I've heard it from others.    I wonder if there is any way to help those like "Roger" -- whose eyes glaze over at all the technical stuff -- feel more "at home" at SkS.   

Could the option to choose between basic/intermediate/advanced rebuttals, somehow be expanded to the blog postings, or other aspects?     Just a thought. 

The excerpt is from a longer comment by roger @#17, commenting on a blog posting by geologist Callan Bentley that includes the Hassol/Somerville "jargon table" from their October article in Physics Today, "Communicating the Science of Climate Change."   (highlighting added)

"Scientists are enamored of their extensive Latinate vocabularies, and they love having their hard-earned Latinate vocabularies enamored by others. In other words, when I use big words, people will think I’m really smart.

Let’s take the sore subject of Climate Science. “Enough with the Climate Science lectures already,” says Your Average Joe. Why? Because their scientific jargon doesn’t make any sense. Visit http://www.skepticalscience.com/ and see how long you last there.    The climate scientists over there aren’t writing for the general public, they’re writing to impress each other. Their articles aren’t going to motivate Your Average Joe to do anything but go on to another website."

2011-10-22 18:52:46


Yeah, that's why I keep asking for a target of 8th-grade reading level, which is what is normal for public information. But it's actually a lot of work to express what can be subtle ideas in that way; it can usually be done, but takes real commitment to the goal.

In my opinion, most of the SkS articles could benefit from re-writes.

2011-11-23 22:55:02Feedback on Powershift talk
John Cook


I was in a bit of a funk after my talk at the Powershift AYCC Summit - all the other speakers were inspirational with lots of "woooh" moments, while mine was all "increased greenhouse effect" and "lines of evidence" with narry a "woooh" moment - had me wondering if I'd not pitched the talk with my audience and context in mind. So was encouraging to read this feedback of the event:

My preferred speakers were:

John Cook: John Cook is founder of the world-leading climate information website,Skeptical Science, and a 2011 Eureka Prize winner. I particularly enjoyed his lecture about the climate science. John’s aim is to debunk, through Skeptical Science, all the myths developed by those opposing climate action. John’s presentation was instructive, entertaining and right to the point. This laid the scientific foundation of the event. Example: global warming is caused by the sun. The short answer in fact is that over the last 30 years of global warming, the sun has shown a slight cooling trend. Sun and climate are going in opposite directions. This has led a number of scientists to conclude independently from each other that the sun cannot be the cause of recent global warming. So climate change is a fact. Global warming is happening. What can we do about it?


2011-11-27 06:42:24Mother Nature Network mention of SkS
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

Russell McLendon

How to discuss climate change with your uncle during the holidays

If your holiday dinner conversation turns into a debate over global warming, here are a few tips for staying cool while standing up for science.

Tue, Nov 22 2011 at 2:23 PM EST

Family at Thanksgiving dinner Photo: Ryan McVay/Getty Images
Most people know better than to bring up politics, religion or climatology in polite company. It's a recipe for arguments, or at least for awkwardness.

Quick Poll

Do you try to reason with climate change skeptics?

Your vote was recorded.
I am one of those "skeptics." Climate change isn't real!
Poll results are not scientific.
But when families get together for big holiday meals like Thanksgiving and Christmas, that recipe is often dusted off anyway. And whether it's your nephew demonizing the Tea Party, your niece deifying Tim Tebow, or your aunt and uncle arguing about polar bears, no one wants squabbling to overshadow gobbling at a holiday feast.
Still, not all taboo topics are the same. Fuzzier issues like politics and religion are often sensitive, since they're largely matters of opinion and faith. But climate science is a little different, thanks to the "science" part. It's one thing to bite your tongue while a relative rants about taxes or morality, but what if the conversation turns to coral bleaching or glacier loss? Is it worth risking an argument to set the record straight?
In most cases, probably not. It's not like your relative is addressing the United Nations, and you might just come off as uptight and self-righteous for trying to squelch dissent. If your uncle had two glasses of wine and wants to grumble about Al Gore, you're probably better off letting him. Otherwise, you could just end up convincing him even further that environmentalists want to control his life.
But that's not to say you should never speak up for science at family gatherings. Polite enlightenment is possible; it just requires being knowledgeable and confident without seeming nitpicky or condescending. And even if you can do that, it still depends on your audience, which may have little patience for a science lesson.
If you decide it's worth the risks, though — maybe your uncle can be open-minded, or you know your cousin will back you up — here's a quick guide for explaining climate change without raining on everyone's parade:
1. Don't blow hot air: Whether you're debating your uncle or a stranger, it helps to know what you're talking about. Doing your homework will help ensure you always have a response ready without resorting to hyperbole. Below are a few examples of claims you might hear from a climate-change denier, along with a rebuttal to each (and links to more comprehensive lists). If you want a cheat sheet, consider printing out this guide or loading it on your smartphone for easy reference.
  • "There's no evidence of global warming, and computer models are unreliable."

Scientists don't need computer models to tell them global warming is under way. For that, they can look to surface-temperature records, satellite data, ice-sheet borehole analysis, measurements of sea-level rise and sea-ice extent, and observations of permafrost loss and glacier melting. Computer models are helpful for predicting future climate patterns, and they're becoming increasingly accurate, but they're hardly the only evidence we have.

  • "Global temperatures stopped rising in 1998."

This argument has lost some steam lately, especially since 2005 and 2010 tied as the hottest years on record. But it was never very convincing to begin with, since it implies that only a linear year-to-year rise indicates a trend. 1998 was hot, but it's considered an outlier because a strong El Niño skewed it even hotter. This graph shows yearly variability of global temperature anomalies (thin line) as well as as the "smoothed" average (bold line) from 1880 to 2010:


  • "Glaciers are actually growing."

There are about 160,000 glaciers on Earth, and since scientists can't monitor them all collectively, they study groups of "reference glaciers." According to the World Glacier Monitoring Service, the average reference glacier has lost 12 meters (39 feet) of water-equivalent thickness since 1980. Some glaciers are stable, and a few are even growing, but many that provide key freshwater supplies are melting at an alarming rate. As glaciologist Bruce Molnia told MNN in 2010, warming affects low-elevation glaciers first, since temperatures are cooler in the mountains. "The lower the elevation of origin, the more dire the time period when the glacier will be affected," Molnia said.

  • "The climate has changed before, so we can't be blamed for changing it now."

Earth's climate has changed lots of times without human help, but does that really mean humans are incapable of changing it? As Skeptical Science points out, that's "like arguing that humans can't start bushfires because in the past they've happened naturally." When the climate changed eons ago, it was because something made it change — extra sunshine warmed it up, volcanic clouds cooled it down. We know carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, and we're now releasing those gases at a record pace. And the main problem is that modern-day climate change is happening faster than in the past, potentially outpacing some species' ability to adapt.

  • "Global warming is good for humans."

CO2 does help plant growth, and warmer weather can initially boost crops in northern regions. But this view ignores widespread, long-term dangers in favor of scattered, short-term benefits. Climate change encourages extreme weather — including longer droughts in some places and bigger storms in others — that can decimate crops, and it also helps some pests expand their range. Global warming poses too many threats to list here, but they include: the loss of fisheries and marine ecosystems to ocean acidification; the loss of coastal communities to rising seas; the loss of freshwater supplies due to melting glaciers; and increased conflict due to droughts, floods and famine.

For a full list of responses to these and other climate claims, check out this 2009 report by the University of Oregon's Climate Leadership Initiative, this guide for "How to talk to a climate skeptic" by journalist Coby Beck, and this list of arguments and myths by Skeptical Science. A wealth of information about climate change can also be found at NOAA's climate.gov as well as climate.nasa.gov and epa.gov/climatechange.
2. Don't be insulting: There's no going back from ad hominem attacks. Don't treat your uncle like he's dumb, and don't be rude or condescending. Admit it when you don't know something; give your uncle credit when he's right. This will help your credibility, and maybe even help prevent a holiday fracas with your family.
3. Cite your sources: No one expects you to bring a bibliography to Thanksgiving, but it would help if you could at least rattle off a few reputable sources of your information. That shouldn't be too hard, since most major scientific organizations around the world have reached a consensus that global warming is real and human activity contributes to it. NOAA, NASA and the EPA are good places to start, as is the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (which, coincidentally, is holding a big climate summit next week in South Africa). Be respectful of your uncle's sources, too, but if he brings up "Climategate," feel free to point out it's been debunked.
(UPDATE: As MNN's Karl Burkart reports, a new campaign dubbed "Hackergate" has just surfaced two years after Climategate. Nothing revelatory has emerged from the newly leaked emails so far, but if your uncle wants to press the issue, just remind him that climate change has been confirmed by far more scientists than the ones who wrote these emails — and they haven't actually been discredited, either.)
4. Don't mix science and politics: Climate change will never be solved without broad, coordinated political action, but that doesn't mean it needs to start at your dinner table. Opposition to climate science is largely born from deeply entrenched political attitudes about government regulation, so subjects like cap and trade are often even more sensitive than the polar ice caps. Try to keep the conversation light-hearted, or at least civil, and steer it away from politics if you can.
5. Take a break: Your family is a captive audience during a holiday meal, so don't bore them with endless bickering. Even if your uncle wants to keep debating solar flares and the heat-island effect, spare your relatives and suggest continuing the discussion later, maybe via email so you can both provide links to your sources.
However you decide to handle a climate-change denier at the dinner table, don't forget the reason you're both sitting there. Holiday meals are a celebration of family and friends, and you shouldn't let a scientific debate kill the good vibes. It's a smart strategy to apply elsewhere, too — if you can explain global warming without losing your cool, you might give environmentalists everywhere something to be thankful for.
2011-12-20 11:44:41Plimer vs Plimer is getting coverage
Glenn Tamblyn


In an article here PlimervsPlimer gets a mention

2012-02-06 06:54:03Total heat content graph
John Cook


Peter Gleick uses our total heat content without attribution (but we like Peter so that's cool):


2012-02-06 07:12:07
Alex C


Then again, he did reference us in a hyperlink just before, so we'll let it slide for now ;-)

2012-02-15 11:01:22Blog post about an automatic plugin for identifying misinformation
John Cook


Mentions SkS and our firefox add-on, wishes there was a more general version: