Best sources for getting informed about global warming?

I’m thinking of doing a series of blog posts on global warming. Part of the reason is this: If someone tells me they don’t believe in evolution, it’s easy for me to tell them where to start their reading. I tell them to read Richard Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth, Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True, and the website TalkOrigins.org. And TalkOrigins is perhaps my favorite of these, because it’s free and easily available to anyone with an internet connection. But I don’t know of  quick online guide to global warming, analogous to Talk Origins. I couldn’t single-handedly create that, but I could do a series of blog posts analogous to Less Wrong’s sequences.

Before I try to do that, though, I want to know what else is out there, so that I don’t end up needlessly replicating someone else’s effort, or ignoring a resource that’s superior in every way to what I would write. Googling a bit, the Real Climate Wiki looks promising, but I don’t know it well enough to know if I should recommend it to others. Wikipedia has been a valuable source of info about global warming for me, but is hampered somewhat by neutral point of view policies and the like. What else is there?

  • http://lifetheuniverseandonebrow.blogspot.com/ One Brow
  • ischemgeek

    I found a book by Spencer Weart called The Discovery of Global Warming excellent. It’s short, entertaining, accurate, and further, emphasizes that the theory of global warming is not some fad. It comes with its own online resources, too.

  • http://ivorytowermetaphysics.com Greggorey

    “Climate Change” by Emily Boyd is an excellent books. As is skepticalscience.com (the talk origins equivalent).

  • Timid Atheist

    Try the New Scientist website, they have a specific page dedicated to Climate Change Questions and Answers.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11462-climate-change-a-guide-for-the-perplexed.html

  • propater
  • JJ

    Instead of starting with the wiki section, I’d go to the “Start Here” page at realclimate.org. The entire site is really good. It can take you from the basics all the way through the minutia of the statistical analysis involved.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

  • RC

    “… Wikipedia has been a valuable source of info about global warming for me, but is hampered somewhat by neutral point of view policies…” Really?? I would strongly suggest there has literally been nothing neutral about Wikipedia on the topic of global warming, you need only check out Larry Solomon’s “Wikipropaganda: Spinning green” http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/224785/wikipropaganda/lawrence-solomon for the alternative view on how biased that site has been.

    By all means, do check out the above-mentioned pages suggested by the other commenters. But consider those all promote the idea that man-caused global warming is settled science. Compare and contrast them with what you find at web sites like SEPP ( http://sepp.org/ ), ClimateDepot ( http://www.climatedepot.com/ ), JunkScience ( http://junkscience.com/ ), WUWT ( http://wattsupwiththat.com/ ), and Donna LaFramboise’s ( http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/ ). For more technical discussions, see Steve McIntyre’s site ( http://climateaudit.org/ ) and a multi-thousand page rebuttal to the IPCC’s assessments at “Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the NONgovernmental International Panel on Climate Change” and the related “2011 Interim Report” ( http://www.nipccreport.org/reports/2009/2009report.html and http://www.nipccreport.org/reports/2011/2011report.html )

    Again, check out BOTH sides of the issue, and then watch out for people who will howl in protest over that, saying skeptic scientists are crooks. Ask such protesters what their proof is, and beware of shallow, guilt-by-association accusations. Be sure to ask for irrefutable proof that such skeptics received money in exchange for fabricated false climate assessments. When told that a scientific consensus exists on the science of man-caused global warming, be sure to ask specifically where the numbers of scientists on each side has been quantified, and who had the authority to undertake this count. If you are told that a leaked memo proves the skeptics operate in a manner like the old ‘shills’ of the tobacco industry, ask to see the memo in its full context. When the accusers fail to provide it, ask why such critically important evidence is not readily found.

    In short, ask questions when somebody tells you NOT to listen to critics, and then can’t explain how such critics have been disproved.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.hallquist Chris Hallquist

    RC,

    You’re sort of missing the point in a couple of ways. First of all, I don’t mind reading a couple books from the other side, but life is short and I’m unlikely to read thousands of pages of it, especially not on the recommendation of one random blog commenter. Indeed, I’m unlikely to read thousands of pages in favor of the mainstream view either, if I can avoid it. The point is that I’m looking for resources for nonspecialists. Your recommending I read something that’s thousands of pages long shows a lack of respect for my time.

    Second, what I’m really interested in is sources about the science, not accusations of fraud against the representatives of the fringe. Even then, the issue is not so much scientists explicitly exchanged money in favor of fabricating false claims, but that it’s well-established that research funded by corporations is more likely to reach conclusions favorable to those corporations.

    Finally, your demand for “irrefutable proof” smacks of setting the bar of evidence for views you dislike impossibly high, which is also a common tactic among creationists. It doesn’t make your side look good, to say the least.

    • RC

      Chris,

      Thanks for the reply, but in doing so it appears you’ve tipped your hand to reveal that you are not genuinely interested in even skimming through sources that contradict your preconceived notion about man-caused global warming. In case you haven’t noticed, the sources (plural) I recommend all have nice short summaries for nonspecialists. This becomes abundantly obvious when you take even a short time to LOOK at them.

      You further tip your hand in characterizations of skeptics as a “fringe”, a literally unsupportable talking point invented by the very people who do not want you to look into skeptics’ viewpoints. The obvious question to examine before jumping to the conclusion you ask is “did the research reach the conclusions based on the industry funding, or do industry executives fund already established research and assessments because they agree with them?” Failure to disprove the second point invalidates any faith you have in the first one.

      My demand for “irrefutable proof” smacks of no less than what is required by court hearings. When the accusation is made that skeptic climate scientists lie to the public as a part of a tobacco industry-like conspiracy, and the sole bit of evidence is something the accusers never show in its full context and no other evidence supports the accusation, then this is no ‘creationist tactic’, it is a monstrous fault in the long-term tactic to prompt the public to avoid listening to skeptic scientists. Without that excuse to ignore skeptics, they have no fallback position other than call for a resolution to the contradictory science assessments. The side that suffers the most from this is, of course, the promoters of man-caused global warming. The failure to achieve even the low-set bar of showing evidence to prove the corruption of skeptic scientists is, to say the least, inexplicable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.hallquist Chris Hallquist

    Okay, read the Lawrence Solomon piece and it makes me think other things you’ve linked to are unlikely to be worth my time. Solomon seems not to understand that Wikipedia has a whole bunch of policies governing the quality of the content. In particulary, see the policies Verifiability and No original research. It sounds like Solomon was trying to edit Wikipedia based on private communication with Peiser, which is obviously problematic because no one else can check that.

    • RC

      “…other things you’ve linked to are unlikely to be worth my time…”

      Again with the preconceived notions and unwillingness to read opposing viewpoints? How would you know those are a waste of time if you do not actually look at them? Did you not notice that Solomon said “Oreskes’s conclusions were absurd, and have been WIDELY ridiculed”? This is something you can look up yourself and attempt to correct at Wikipedia on your own if you want, citing those numerous citations you’ll find. What Solomon did was one step more refined, which was to go to the actual source to confirm one element of it, which would have been no doubt cited at his revised entry for all to check for themselves. For you to insinuate that this would have remained a private fact-check borders on ludicrous, given the public way that Dr Peiser conducts himself, clearly seen when you look at his site, http://thegwpf.org/ . His site has nice short summaries for nonspecialists, by the way.

      I read Desmogblog, ThinkProgress, Planet3.0, Greg Laden’s blog and others, and have rummaged through IPCC reports and summaries. I’m more informed as a result. You call for a verification of what Peiser says, yet you seem unwilling to compare what one side says vs the other regarding the accuracy of Oreskes’ paper. I have no such preconceptions, I find nothing but contradictions on my own in this issue, and wonder why so much effort is put out to marginalize critics. Why isn’t this something that causes you concern?

  • http://lifetheuniverseandonebrow.blogspot.com/ One Brow

    RC,

    I don’t think global-warming-denyhing scientists are crooks, they’re just cranks. Every scientific field gets its share of cranks. These cranks are well-funded because their crankery provides political cover for corporate interests (unlike a typical relativity crank, as an example), but accepting funding does not make them dishonest, nor does it make them wrong. They are wrong because of the evidence, and their integrity does not prevent them from being wrong.

    • RC

      OneBrow,

      “….They are wrong because of the evidence…”

      And you are able to prove this…. how?

      • http://lifetheuniverseandonebrow.blogspot.com/ One Brow

        RC,

        I am not evidence. I’m not even a climatologist. I make no claim to being able to personally prove any climate-change-denier wrong, and see nothing to gain by posting a long response to a broad question posed by a person so seemingly unlikely to accept the evidence, regardless of its degree or kind. My point was noting the deniers were not necessarily dishonest in no means meant that they had feasible, defensible positions, and you did not bother to dispute that.

        If you really want to continue the discussion in that vein, I would first request an answer to the question of what evidence you would find convincing. For all I know, you may have no standard, or a standard that is counter-factual or impossible to meet realistically. There is no point in this discussion under such conditions.

  • Beny

    Though global warming is mainstream science, it is still very new. We can’t say for sure what its predictions are. Scientist still fiercely debate about it.

    I would not put it in the same league of Evolution, a 150 years-old well-based and well-documented science, which happens to be one of the pillars of the whole field of biology.

  • lachlano

    Hi Chris, I’m a little behind on my reading, so only just came across this post.

    I wrote a short blog post on why climate change skepticism is nothing like creationism: http://lockster.posterous.com/creationism-and-climate-change-denial

    I wrote a long post on why I’ve come to doubt that we are facing a climate change catastrophe: http://lockster.posterous.com/why-im-a-climate-skeptic

    In brief: the evidence that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are having a warming effect on the climate is very strong. There is actually a real broad consensus about this. But the evidence that this is bringing on a great climate disaster is very thin indeed (mostly modeling). The skepticism is not regarding AGW, it is skepticism that we face a climate change catastrophe.

  • Sam

    Here’s a great website: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/issue/


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