Top Ten Good Skeptical Arguments Against Global Warming: Roy Spencer, PhD

Picture: Victor Korniyenko (CC)

Picture: Victor Korniyenko (CC)

Climatologist, author, and former NASA scientist Dr. Roy Spencer offers ten good skeptical arguments against global warming. Raw Story published a response to this via The Guardian, if you’d like to read it.

via Top Ten Good Skeptical Arguments « Roy Spencer, PhD.

As suggested by a friend, I’m following up my Top Ten bad global warming arguments list with a Top Ten good arguments list. These are in no particular order, and I might have missed something important.

These ten were just off the top of my head….there’s no telling what might be lingering deeper in my brain.

I have avoided specific alternative causal mechanisms of natural climate change, because I view them individually as speculative. But taken as a whole, they represent a class of unknowns that can’t be just swept under the rug just because we don’t understand them.

For some reason, all of these ended up being phrased as questions, rather than statements.

1) No Recent Warming. If global warming science is so “settled”, why did global warming stop over 15 years ago (in most temperature datasets), contrary to all “consensus” predictions?

2) Natural or Manmade? If we don’t know how much of the warming in the longer term (say last 50 years) is natural, then how can we know how much is manmade?

3) IPCC Politics and Beliefs. Why does it take a political body (the IPCC) to tell us what scientists “believe”? And when did scientists’ “beliefs” translate into proof? And when was scientific truth determined by a vote…especially when those allowed to vote are from the Global Warming Believers Party?


69 Comments on "Top Ten Good Skeptical Arguments Against Global Warming: Roy Spencer, PhD"

  1. I dont think we are contributing all of the things to blame for climate change but we definitely are accelerating it. And its not just about global warming we need to look at increasing amounts of acidification in our oceans and high levels of toxic chemicals and heavy metals in our atmosphere, water, and top soils. So many climate change deniers only want to focus on the greenhousr gas aspect like its the only thing going on.

    • I think deforestation is a bigger cause and a bigger threat.

      • Agreed less and less trees and plants that actually remove the carbon from the air that we put in is a huge factor

      • Oginikwe | May 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm |

        Yes. All those vast forests were the lungs of the planet.

      • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness | May 8, 2014 at 2:42 pm |

        The destruction of prairie and savannah systems were even worse. Those ecosystems actually sequestered carbon, turning it into rich topsoil. Unfortunately, that made much of them first to fall under the plow.

    • Chad Burke | May 9, 2014 at 12:16 am |

      Intelligent people( what you call deniers) concern themselves with the CO2 issue because it has been the focal point of the AGW crowd. This is where the false science is centered. This is where they’ve created a commodities market out of literal thin air and this is where they will tax and regulate our economy to death, all of which wouldn’t help the problem if there was one. I agree that the real environmental problems have more to do with contamination, but climate change is the one being shoved down our collective throat so naturally it needs to be exposed and discarded first.

      • Tehehe.


        Oh the irony.

        You seriously have been watching way too much fox news or CNN….

        Mass deforestation (which plants scrub CO2 from the atmosphere) and destruction of other plant systems all while at the same time pumping hundreds of millions of tons of CO2, methane, CFC’s and other green houses gases in your mind has no effect?

        Please tell me where you get this “intelligence” from? What from the indoctrination center that people refer to as the education system here in the US? Or maybe from your favorite mainstream media news channel? Or maybe from some corporate funded climate change study?

        You have got to be joking me…..

        • Chad Burke | May 9, 2014 at 12:38 am |

          Scientific journals, researchers who have denounced the IPCC and some who’ve left the IPCC in objection to their agenda driven mock science. Facts are out there, you just have to look.

          • Im not for IPCC or anything they have put out so please do show me where I have said anything about them?

            You think i trust anything the government says about anything?

          • Chad Burke | May 9, 2014 at 12:47 am |

            Well our govt, along with most others is making a major push for global warming, legislation, cap and trade etc. All of which do nothing to address the problem even if it were real. Why would you still believe the fake science they’re pushing if you don’t trust them. Look up Richard Tol and Richard Lindzen for starters. Tol just left IPCC because the data doesn’t support what they are concluding and reporting.

          • Global warming? Ok strawman.

            Its called climate change…. and I have never once looked at their report with anything but a skeptical mindset.

            If you are so science illiterate and lack common sense to think contributions I listed above have no effect then this conversation is over.

            Its too time consuming to reverse indoctrination and propaganda effects and you cant teach common sense. Im not going to sit here and give a science class on how global weather works and how green house gasses work with solar radiation or what a little something called homeostasis is or what the ozone does or any of the other many things that you would be required to have at least basic knowledge in to have some sort of intellectual debate about this subject.

            Good day. Feel free to respond. I will not though because this is wasting my time.

          • Chad Burke | May 9, 2014 at 1:19 am |

            Give me a lesson, please. You do realize it only became climate change when global warming quit happening. You think a few random words make you look smart? Look, I can do that too; how’s your grasp of the urban island heat effect? How about isotopic analysis of carbon? Can you even tell me why its important? Didn’t think so. When you don’t respond we’ll all know its because you don’t have the answers.

          • I’m not taking either side, but it didn’t just recently become “climate change.” That’s been the standard term for a long time:

          • Chad Burke | May 9, 2014 at 11:37 am |

            The common nomenclature for the agenda was global warming throughout the 90’s up until about 2005. Since 1997 there has been no mean temp increase. As the years started to stack up, global warming became too easy to denounce and the buzz word was shifted to climate change. Additional benefit; any possible scenario can be blamed on climate change. Just because the phrase was around 60 years ago does not mean it was the commonly used term, which it absolutely wasn’t up until the past ten years or so.

          • That’s false, but I can see why it’s perceived that way. Climate change refers to any type of climate change, including global warming. IF there’s global warming and it ceases, it shouldn’t be surprising that people revert to the general term, IF there are still other long-term changes. There’s plenty about this that deserves skepticism, but it’s not the terminology.

      • Indulis Bernsteins | May 10, 2014 at 8:38 am |

        I think you will find that most people concerned with climate change don’t actually want a commodities market, that a tax was far more preferable (just like we tax other harmful behaviours to make them less desirable). The “carbon market” is an approach which is the only way to get the support of Big Money (or if not actual support, at least less opposition).

  2. Ted Heistman | May 8, 2014 at 10:05 am |

    This is a really good article Matt, thank you. I was wondering a few of these myself. I never trusted the models, either.

    This is what I tell Climate Change alarmists (to deaf ears) :
    “I lost a lb last week. If I continue to lose weight at this rate, within four short years I will have disappeared. should I be worried?”

    Personally, I feel Humans have altered the climate, but I think the doom and gloom is way exaggerated.

    • Ted Heistman | May 8, 2014 at 10:06 am |

      Come to think about it, the modelers want me to be alarmed even if I gain a lb the next week.

      • This is cause for concern. Current modeling suggests 2lb net weight gain next week, 4lb the following week, 8lbs the next….perhaps it’s best to invest in some elastic sweatpants and 5XL shirts and get busy typing before your fingers get too fat. Sorry to bring the bad news….but it’s science.

    • Lookinfor Buford | May 8, 2014 at 11:51 am |

      The ‘models’ are the entire foundation for their claims. And you are right not to trust them. Which means you are a ‘climate denier’. Funny how that works, right.

      • Ted Heistman | May 8, 2014 at 11:58 am |

        Yeah, I have kind of a nuanced view, though. I think a warming trend might be good, even if its caused by pollution. I’ve lived in New York and I’ve lived in Florida, and Florida has way more critters per square foot. Any given puddle in Florida, has a bass in it, frogs, probably a dozen blue gills, two species of turtles and countless other things. In upstate New York, in the Adirondack mountains, you get out in the middle of the woods in a lake, you often don’t see much at all.

        • Lookinfor Buford | May 8, 2014 at 12:01 pm |

          I think China and Siberia do a good enough job of proving that point.

  3. Eric Mcoo | May 8, 2014 at 10:08 am |

    Physicists vs the global warming industry

    Cap and trade may be the biggest transfer of wealth from poor to rich in history.

    • Craig Bickford | May 8, 2014 at 4:13 pm |

      Cap and trade and any massive societal shift because of Agenda 21 are the point of this, regardless if the global warming is real it would seem. The truth about whether the issue is really solvable by human shifts in our societies and activities is irrelevant, the social planners of various culture have shown themselves for what they are in this day and age finally, and they are the ruthless psychopaths their distant relatives or ideological compatriots were 5000 years ago. The Tragedy and Hope community has done a lot of work on this over the years, so at this point why anyone would believe anything our ‘elect’ tell us is sheer madness or extreme ignorance. Babylon’s Woe coming home to roost

      • Eric Mcoo | May 8, 2014 at 4:39 pm |

        Yes, exactly. More than that, cap and trade is planned to be the next derivative bubble (following mortgages).

  4. lilbear68 | May 8, 2014 at 11:00 am |

    its very hard to get true un-biased science today as the scientists today are whores for their funding and will slant findings to sympathize with who ever writes the check.
    excellent example is the bee and behive reports have pretty much faded away after Monsanto bought the main lab that does apiary studies

    • Oginikwe | May 8, 2014 at 1:25 pm |

      It’s worse than you think.
      Read “Trust Us, We’re Experts!” and “Toxic Sludge is Good for You” by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber.

  5. Being skeptical of the “global warming industry” is becoming a fringe theory, like a “truther”, these days. Still, I’m skeptical of any scientific body(or actually political body) that aims at “consensus” in such a relatively short amount of time. They use alarmist rhetoric, have not been transparent about their data and have pushed skeptical legitimate scientists to the fringe just for questioning their conclusions. Then they start in with carbon tax stuff and it gets even more fishy.
    Where have all these green folks been when industry has been shamelessly polluting our air and water for years, and continue to do so? I guess there is no money in removing the mercury from the river behind my house.
    Also, where is the geologic perspective on this data. So many mass extinctions on this planet and cataclysmic climate change in extremely short periods of time….were they the result of human industry?

    • Craig Bickford | May 8, 2014 at 3:44 pm |

      The only people who think a truther position is fringe are persons who cannot understand basic fundamental physical laws like gravity and the conservation of mass, or bother to look up the melting point of steel on a wikiperdia site, which is to say like 95% of the West apparently. So it’s understandable that people would not want to even look at the data and simple apply the ad verecundium fallacy to all their information gathering efforts, meaning just get their knowledge and understanding from a authoritative source without any means or inclination to check those ‘facts’. If people cannot think correctly there isn’t a hope in the world they will be getting much of anything done about these issues.

  6. Liam_McGonagle | May 8, 2014 at 11:41 am |

    You mean including the straw man argument of calling it global “warming” instead of anthropogenic climate change?

    • I was quoting the article I never use global warming because its far more than just straw man shit like that as you said

    • Oginikwe | May 8, 2014 at 1:23 pm |

      Climate chaos seems to be more appropriate.

    • Craig Bickford | May 8, 2014 at 3:33 pm |

      Well put.

    • Craig Bickford | May 8, 2014 at 3:35 pm |

      We are also not saving the Earth, we would be saving our species and some animal species as well. This notion that we are saving the earth is completely absurd. The fucking planet will be here in 10 million years even if the climate goes to hell and we are all dead, providing it isn’t hit by a massive rogue planetoid or the sun doesn’t go super nova, or some other massively disastrous exo-planetary event.

  7. BuzzCoastin | May 8, 2014 at 12:42 pm |

    in the public debate about climate change/global warming
    the believers & nonbelievers live & work in the same ways
    use poluting energy the same ways
    the major differences between them being
    their belifes

    • Indulis Bernsteins | May 10, 2014 at 8:50 am |

      With the difference being that AGW deniers are happy to just keep us all going on the same road “pedal to the metal” until our society and economy drive over the cliff, and the scientists and the people who believe them are trying to change our energy systems before its too late. Big difference I think.

  8. terrasodium | May 8, 2014 at 1:08 pm |

    In a post-industrial age, the “to big to fail” institutions and foundations enjoy pushing this issue on both ends of the alarmist and denier spectrum, ordo ab chao will be the bankroll of the future ,and they are happy to take any order and fill it for a price, who pays? and what will it cost ? when we have the new system of economic laws that prohibite enviromental impacts from non-scientific uses, then the real debt will be held by the large corporations , directorship of all lands air and water at a corporate profit using legal enforced coercive privilage , The anthropogens are controling the changing winds , can you smell the patents.

  9. Climate Change isn’t a new topic or aspect of climate science…in the 1950’s Global Dimming was a term used in climate science to describe the cooling effect caused by a 4% reduction in irradiance of the earths surface. Greenhouse Gasses and Carbon Particles released from India’s industrial regions were directly linked to the infamous Ethiopian Droughts in the 1980’s. It was discovered that the Carbon in the atmosphere accumulated water molecules and shifted the rain belts out of Ethiopia… that’s just one example (among many) of early climate science linking climate change to human activity.

  10. Oginikwe | May 8, 2014 at 1:33 pm |

    Thank you, Matt, for including the link to the response.

  11. Roy Spencer has been working in the Intelligent Design side of the Climate Denial field long enough to have his own entry on RationalWiki.

    Commenters on Spencer’s site are already picking the article apart for his repetition of already debunked statements, and I won’t bother to repeat their efforts. There’s some comedy to be read there.


  13. Clearly Everyone’s paid off, no exceptions.

  14. How is #8 a good argument? CO2 is a greenhouse gas and a key indicator/instigator of climate change. It’s only danger is in it’s ability to trap solar radiation. Anyone thinking it’s more or less toxic than any other inert gas is just suffering from an ignorance of basic chemistry. If you try to breath 100% C02 you’re going to suffocate, so don’t do that. If you breath 100% 02 long enough you eventually die as well–all things in moderation.

    I’m all for climate change skepticism, but if that’s one of his good arguments then I’m guessing his PhD isn’t in any scientific field.

    • OK, I guess CO2 isn’t technically an inert gas, I was thinking of it’s use in welding, but biologically speaking it’s non reactive, unlike O2.

    • Chad Burke | May 9, 2014 at 1:03 am |

      He’s just arguing that the demonization of co2 is ridiculous. The Clean Air act defining it as pollution is particularly stupid as we are all now breaking the law with each breath.

  15. lilbear68 | May 8, 2014 at 3:08 pm |

    apples and oranges
    scientists are whores for their funding.
    Monsanto bought the lab to silence them in what ever method worked.
    altho ill agree Monsanto are bastards and need to get some serious penalties for their activities. but then the congress are whores for their funding too and they wont give it up easily.
    lol the longer I look at the world the more I see im surrounded by whores and I cant afford any of them.

  16. Poe’s Law in action. See what you’ve done, Cameron?

    • Hmm I didn’t know there was a name for that. Thanks. There are many other iterations of text-based misunderstanding, but few have names, and fewer are as well fleshed out.

  17. Vandemonian | May 8, 2014 at 3:35 pm |

    Dr Roy Spencer is on the board of the George C. Marshall Institute (GMI) which is a “non-profit” organization funded by the profits from oil and gas interests and right-wing funders…enough said.

    • Dingbert | May 8, 2014 at 9:58 pm |

      Oh, the irony of that think-tank naming itself after George C. Marshall. You know, the Truman and FDR appointed welfare-state designer who called Maoists “old-fashioned agrarian reformers” and who had two near-libelous books written about him by Joe McCarthy.

    • Chad Burke | May 9, 2014 at 12:22 am |

      By that logic, we should discard all of the work of researchers at liberal universities,as well as those receiving government or UN grants as these institutions are just as devout in their support of AGW.

  18. Craig Bickford | May 8, 2014 at 3:56 pm |

    It’s a Fabian socialist utopia crack pot theology…again. There is virtually no difference between this and the other experiments with collectivization, which have always ended well for everyone involved (sarcasm). It’s another methodology for centralized control, on a massive scale. I frankly don’t see how no one can see this for what it is, Pol Pot’s urbanized program to empty out the rural areas, remove the communism and substitute some Eco BS totalitarian socialism dressed up to look like a world government that will shove all the secondary costs down the throats of 95%, and the massive Plutocratic polluting interests stay the same, with a ‘buy your way out’ system to administrated the costs, which of course will be passed on to the consumer captive populations. Then when we are comfortably entrenched in this new paradigm, we can really develpe and out source a terrorism futures market like they wanted to do after 911, and we can all play house with another generation of made up Muslim/Eco/Communist/Anarachist/Hun terrorist threats. Bread and circus in the safe zones and false flag a go go on the periphery for the LULZ. Death and taxes, it’s the same old funding scheme with the same old operating system updated for the 21st century.

    • Craig Bickford | May 8, 2014 at 4:05 pm |

      Now please note, I am not actually denying climate change, I am merely wondering if we should question the alleged causes as stated by our intelligentsia and glitterati whoring masters, and whether we should really be thinking about constructing the mother of all regulatory systems to administrate and mitigate a issue that we didn’t’ cause and possibly did not contribute to solely. I didn’t’ fucking industrialize the West, and now the East. Stop making shit motherfuckers, and stop buying useless shit people and we can go back to tee pees and spears, I’m fine with that. But I’m not going to be collectivized so that sophistry spewing Gore and all his wolves in sheep’s clothing friends can turn me into their next sustainable resource, or should I say any more than I already am. Gore can suck it also for his straight up propagandist position on climate change and hypocritical posture on saving the eco-system with his families connections to Oil.,8599,55826,00.html

      • Well, you know that the UN knows it has no real power and never will, being composed of sovereign states operating in a political and cultural landscape defined by their diversity. Which includes, you know, their capacity for a) doing fucked up shit, and b) completely ignoring anybody that tells – or even suggests – that they do differently, even if they themselves are members of that body. There’s just so many examples of this (and the UN’s general ineptitude) that they’re barely worth mentioning. I don’t think enough people realize this though – i.e., that if it’s a global conspiracy it’s terribly ineffective – nor do they realize that things like A21 (and the Rios, etc.) may amount to the briefest glimmer of the global power players doing something semi-responsible: sitting back and going, “Shit! There are really obvious problems that come along with globalization and development! Wtf can we do!?” Despite the obvious paradoxes for someone who’s pretty into political and personal autonomy, I actually think in this instance the aforementioned inefficacy amounts to something actually tragic.

        As for some of your other points, of course we should question. But questioning doesn’t necessarily mean adopting an absurd counter-stance in the face of reliable evidence from reliable sources (not that you have, just sayin’). Especially when that counter-stance obviously serves the interest of a large and powerful group of folks who don’t have our well being in mind.

        As per some of your other arguments, we have to deal with other people’s problems all the time – it sucks but that’s the way it is. They are, by default, our problems if they’re still around when we show up. If someone leaves a door open during winter, bitching about the open door won’t keep the cold out.

        Finally: yeah – I’m on your side about forced collectivization, and ensuring that our sustainable future doesn’t include slavery of any sort. But so far the climate change “debate” is playing an overlooked role in that. Failing to heed warnings and sewing doubt (and willful disbelief) among the general population ensures that we’re less able to make the adjustments necessary to mitigate the effects of global climate change. Being that power finds its footholds in vulnerability, nothing will make us so commonly vulnerable as the human cost of these effects. The UN can’t and won’t be able to ‘step in’ then, if it’s anything like it is now. But someone will, probably a little closer to home. I feel pretty strongly that the threat doesn’t lie in admitting we might have some agency here and living accordingly (in teepees, sure, which sounds nice to me), but pretending that we don’t and keeping going as if all this were a passing scare.

      • Chad Burke | May 9, 2014 at 12:54 am |

        Don’t see how cap and trade fixes anything even if AGW theory were true(its not.). All it does is create a commodity and make those on the inside more money.

        • Indulis Bernsteins | May 10, 2014 at 8:52 am |

          Don’t confuse the problem with serious discussion about possible solutions. Once the distracting twits can be taken out of the conversation, the adults in the room can start to make decisions.

  19. Jason Chrisite | May 8, 2014 at 7:11 pm |

    I only see three listed?

  20. marshall | May 8, 2014 at 8:29 pm |

    Hitler. There, it’s settled.

  21. Chad Burke | May 9, 2014 at 12:33 am |

    Simple fact there has been no increase in mean global temp for 17 years now. The IPCC report even admits it. They just left it out of their summary, which is what gets reported on. As of today, 2014 is the coldest year on record in the United States. Regional highs and lows do not matter. Hurricane and Tornado activity are also at record lows over the past couple years. Also how do you explain the AGW research vessel that got trapped in the ice in Antarctica this year, along with the two breakers sent to rescue it? Why didn’t their models see that coming?

  22. misinformation | May 9, 2014 at 1:24 am |

    Though the interwebs can be difficult to suck the nuance from, I’m going out on a limb and guessing that the last two responses you gave were aimed at sarcastic comments.

  23. Number1Framer | May 9, 2014 at 1:59 am |

    The fact that climate change has any debate surrounding it whatsoever as it pertains to sustainability and lifestyle changes is something I’ve never understood. As far as making personal choices that are sustainable (or at least having them open to us), and using renewable resources, shouldn’t a sensible society just be doing those things anyway regardless of if the planet is being trashed or not? How do you argue with the logic of using the economy (carbon taxes, etc) to sweep something as real and tangible as the Earth itself under the rug? I’m not a Libertarian or advocate of the mythological “free-market,” but if our economy wasn’t already a giant sham, I think these sustainable choices would already have won out because who wouldn’t adopt choices that are clearly better for all? The big corporate interests know this and turn it into another wedge issue for us to bitch over. I say the sooner the world economy collapses, the better for all species in the long term (even if we lose a few billion people along the way).

  24. I really don’t want to get into this debate, but why is “2014 is the coldest year on record” a less useful data point than “2013 is the (7th) Hottest year on record”. That was a fearmongered point i heard a lot last year. I know.. I know, trends are the most important, but it seems like the acceptable response to each of these statements is drastically different.

    I’m just going to keep believing my unbased assumption that the Earth’s poles are shifting, and we’re entering the chaotic climate time of that shift. I don’t know if i’ve just been paying more attention to the climate(in an observational sense) but It’s seemed to be much more erratic in the more recent years.

  25. Indulis Bernsteins | May 10, 2014 at 8:34 am |

    Oh for Pete’s sake, you would think that a smart PhD would recognise that just like there are seasons every year, there are multiyear “seasons” in climate which are well understood and mapped (La Nina, El Nino etc).

    So you can’t cherry pick a high temp year and then a year in the normal low part of the cycle to “prove” that temperatures are falling. That’d be like proving that an ice age is coming next year by picking a summer day compared to a winter day.

    Search for “Going Down the Up Escalator” and take a look for yourself. Global temperature is going up and down in multi-year cycles as it has for a long time, but is steadily, stealthily, sickeningly trending upwards.

    Is there any process for Universities to revoke PhDs, based on lack of common sense?

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