Questions to ask your climate alarmist friends

published Sep 23, 2019, last modified May 02, 2023

A fun Socratic game to play — to see how much your friends really do know about the climate. (Answers provided within.)

First, you'll have to admit that climate does change.  It's just true.  This is your baseline for the game.

Here's how you play it.  Ask the following questions:

  1. How variable have been the min/max yearly temperatures over the last 10 thousand years?
    • Temperature ranges have shifted over ten degrees since humanity's dawn.  We're still alive.
  2. Why is the current min/max temperature range of the last ten years the very best one ever?
    • No range is "best" — it depends on the goals.  Most ranges that the prehistory of humanity has survived are perfectly okay.
  3. If the current min/max range isn't the best one, should we aim for, and why?  How much energy would we have to stop producing / start producing in order to reach that temperature range?
    • No attainable amount of carbon burn suppression or increase would have a drastic effect in the carbon dioxide on the atmosphere.  Humanity's energy output is dwarfed by the Sun's energy output, and we cannot cover it up either.
  4. How do you know that there's a linear relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature?
    • There isn't.  None has been proven, and most relationships between phenomena are nonlinear / threshold in nature.
    • For all we know, a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could raise temperatures by 3 degrees Celsius, but a further doubling won't cause any raise, or may even make temperatures go down.
    • Existing evidence suggests a logarithmic relation.
  5. Imagine that carbon dioxide levels were two times what they are today.  Suppose this change made plants grow 10% more, and food production rise similarly.  Would this not be a good thing?
    • We are at a historically very, very low atmospheric carbon dioxide level.  It could roughly double and it would still be safe for animal and human life.
    • Plant growth would blow up with more carbon dioxide, because carbon dioxide is plant food.
  6. (First agree that water levels will rise, then ask) How high will sea levels rise over how long a period of time?
  7. (Now they've said the oft-quoted 50 year number, ignore the "how high" then ask) Can't cities build stuff to protect themselves against water rising?
    • When they say coastal cities can't save themselves, ask them if they've heard of the "nether lands", and ask them what they think "nether" means.
    • 5 meter water rise over 50 years is trivial to contain with dams.
    • the average rate of coastal sea-level rise is only about six inches per century, and the rate is not increasing, and has not significantly increased since the 1920s
  8. What's the biggest contributor to temperature swings on Earth?
    • It's the Sun's varying activity and its changing closeness.
    • It's not humans, it's not animals, it's not plants, and it's not Earth's core either.
  9. What solutions do you recommend to prevent all this great climate evil from happening?
    • All their solutions will involve some sort of diktat or dictatorship, most likely requiring global government and / or increasingly centralized economies of control.
  10. Did you come up with those solutions yourself?
    • No.  They are all parroted by media pundits and NGOs who profit from either clicks or government / political "philantrophy" funds.
    • Not entirely coincidentally, all of these organizations get richer, the more people panic and (consequently) obey or give money.
  11. How many people will die, become poorer, or be cold in winter / get sun-stricken in summer, as a consequence of adopting your solutions for climate?
    • Many.  If carbon dioxide reductions make things colder, more people will die in winter, and growing food becomes harder.
    • At around one third of our atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, all plant life ceases to exist — and that means all life.
  12. How many people will gain power over everyone else, as a necessary prerequisite of adopting your solutions?
    • Comparatively very few, but this will be inevitable, as controlling climate is dogmatically accepted to imply controlling people's behavior.
    • People who formerly couldn't prohibit you from doing normal things, like raising cattle, turning on your air conditioning, or driving your favorite care, will suddenly have the power to do that.
    • Everyone's life will become more controlled and poorer as a result.
  13. What should be done to people who refuse to adopt your solutions?
    • Invariably, the answer will be a mixture of taking people's money, or jailing people.  Solutions in both categories have been seriously proposed before.
    • Calmly watch for the responses — they will get creative in trying to deny that they're trying to ruin lives of those who disagree, but you'll be able to follow the logical chain of consequences to what they propose.
  14. So, if these climate scientists are using real science, why is it that every climate catastrophe prediction over the last 50 years been 100% wrong?
  15. Tell me: which scientists are we supposed to listen to?  The scientists who keep telling us there's an impending climate catastropheOr the scientists that say this is just not so?
    • The fact that “change” isn’t always bad. The Earth’s climate today, with CO2 levels around 410 ppmv (up from about 365 ppmv when the Petition was written), is, by all reasonable measures, much better than it was when CO2 was only 280 to 285 ppmv, during the chilly “pre-industrial” Little Ice Age.

    • The fact that the much-hyped “1.5 °C of warming,” which the IPCC has proposed as the target beyond which the Earth must not be allowed to warm, doesn’t actually mean 1.5 °C of warming. It actually means only about 0.5 °C of warming, because what they call “1.5 °C” is referenced to an estimate of the average temperature during the chilly Little Ice Age, rather than to current temperatures, to make the number sound bigger.

    • The strong evidence that there's nothing at all unusual about the modest warming which the Earth has experienced over the last century. The current “Modern Climate Optimum” is very similar to the Medieval Warm Period and the Roman Climate Optimum, and probably cooler than the mid-Holocene Warm Period, and most of the Eemian interglacial.

    • The fact that CO2 emissions have major, proven benefits, both for human agriculture and for natural ecosystems.

    • The fact that, even though CO2 levels have been rising monotonically for over two-thirds of a century, the supposed major harms from CO2 emissions are all  still merely hypothetical (and mostly implausible). None of the hypothesized major harms imagined as consequences of rising CO2 levels are actually happening.

    • The fact that the Earth is “greening,” deserts are retreating, and Africans are returning to the land in the arid Sahel, because a higher atmospheric CO2 level helps plants grow, and helps make them more water-efficient and drought-hardy.

    • The fact that even National Geographic, which heavily promotes the climate scare, nevertheless admits that anthropogenic climate change is greening deserts (though they didn't mention that it's the CO2 that's responsible).

    • The facts about the CO2 “fertilization effect,” and why commercial greenhouse operators use “CO2 generators” to elevate CO2 levels in their greenhouses to 3× to 4× outdoor levels: because it is tremendously beneficial to the plants.

    • The fact that higher outdoor CO2 levels are helping to make famines rare, for the first time in human history.

    • The fact that sea-level is rising no faster now than it was nine decades ago, when CO2 levels were more than 100 ppmv lower.

      Sea-level rise is supposedly the worst of the negative effects of anthropogenic global warming, but the measurements prove that’s nonsense. Here’s a particularly high-quality, 110-year measurement record at Honolulu, showing a very typical sea-level trend. Sea-level is rising about 1½ mm/year (6 inches per century), with no acceleration in nine decades or more:

  16. Why should anyone other than you pay the cost of your solutions, especially when it seems like all the predicted catastrophes were completely made up?
  17. What if climate change is actually a good thing?

Have more questions? Send them my way!

Would you like to know more?  Here is a very interesting lecture.