2011-04-24 19:16:03Treehugger transcript #1: The difference between genuine skeptics and climate deniers
John Cook

I did an audio recording for Treehugger who turned it into a video a week or so ago. They then offered to do a series of videos (which surprised me as I thought I was rubbish in that first video). So I thought I'd do a series not just explaining the science but more importantly, explaining denier tactics. So I'm writing short transcripts for 6 videos, the series called "Understanding Climate Denial". Will try to post most of the transcripts tonight so feedback very welcome. Note - they asked that it's easy to match the words with visuals so keep that in mind in your feedback.

The difference between genuine skeptics and climate deniers

In the charged discussions about climate, the words skeptic and denier get thrown around. But what do these words actually mean? A genuine skeptic considers all the evidence in their search for the truth. Deniers, on the other hand, refuse to accept any evidence that conflicts with their previously held views.

How do you tell the difference between a genuine skeptic and a climate denier? A genuine skeptic considers the full body of evidence. They look at sea level rise, tripling over the last century. They consider the warming oceans, which over the last half century have been building up heat at a rate of 2 and a half Hiroshima bombs per second. They observe glaciers retreating all over the world, threatening the drinking water of hundreds of millions of people. Ice sheets from Greenland in the north to Antarctica in the south are losing hundreds of billions of tonnes of ice every year. Seasons are shifting, flowers are opening earlier each year and animals are migrating towards the poles.

A genuine skeptic looks at all this evidence from across the globe and concludes global warming is unequivocal. A denier sees cold weather out their window and concludes global warming isn't happening.

Scientific skepticism is a good thing. Our understanding of what's happening to our climate must depend on observations and measurements. A genuine skeptic considers the full body of evidence and how it all fits together.

2011-04-27 07:35:05
Peter Miesler


I'd add that I think curiousity; a desire to learn; willingness to admit to being wrong; and allowing new information to change one's perspectives are also trademarks of a true skeptic