Talk:Global warming controversy

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Article milestones
DateProcessResult
February 22, 2007Articles for deletionSpeedily kept
June 12, 2008Articles for deletionKept

Semi-protected edit request on 11 April 2019[edit]

I am not asking for personal permisison to edit, but I think there should be more visual representation of studies that find GW is not as bad as is claimed, if at all. 144.92.115.109 (talk) 16:50, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

(Closing edit request as it's a general comment) – Þjarkur (talk) 16:57, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Please see WP:FALSEBALANCE and WP:DUE. Prinsgezinde (talk) 17:34, 29 April 2019 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 2 May 2019[edit]

For Example, the top two contributors for Climate Change public interests’ groups between 2017-2018 came in around $25 Billion in donations to Democrats (OpenSecrets.org, 2018). For the top two Private Lobbying groups for Oil & Gas between 2012-2018 was about $16 Billion.

It is hard to know what to make of this inchoate request. But even were it better explicated, I fail to see how this topic would fit with the topic of this Wikipedia page. M.boli (talk) 17:43, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

Misleading statement[edit]

The following statement is misleading: The authors found that 3974 of the abstracts expressed a position on anthropogenic global warming, and that 97.1% of those endorsed the consensus that humans are causing global warming. The authors found that of the 11,944 abstracts, 3896 endorsed that consensus, 7930 took no position on it, 78 rejected the consensus, and 40 expressed uncertainty about it. That was 97% of the 3974 NOT 97% of all 11,944. The actual percentages are:

  • Agree 32%
  • Disagree 0.6%
  • No Opinion 66%

Looks very different now, doesn't it? When writing, keep in mind that there are lies, damned lies and statistics... Please either remove the misleading statement or provide the correct numbers. IMO the article in general is not balanced. TheDoDahMan (talk) 05:09, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

You need to provide a reliable source that backs up your analysis. And note that reliable source means a news article, not an opinion piece in mainstream media, or a peer-reviewed article in an academic journal or a university textbook. Blogs and editorials don't count. TFD (talk) 05:15, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
References! You just have to calculate percentages. It is not an "analysis". It is careful reading of the results in the reference that is given.TheDoDahMan (talk) 05:39, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
The article is not misleading. It wasn't a poll of people. Had this been, for example, a poll question then yes a large percentage of "no opinion" would be important. But it was a sample of abstracts, most of which did not try to answer a particular question. The article is correct, of the abstracts that happened to express a view, 97% expressed that view.---- M.boli (talk) 12:02, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
It is misleading. It implies that 97% of those polled agree, which they do not. If you check the references provided, at least one of them criticise this particular study.TheDoDahMan (talk) 15:06, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
You’ve just been told it wasn’t a poll. Was it a poll, or not? Roxy, the dog. wooF 15:14, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
So its not a poll. Its still deeply flawed and misleading. Let's call in a stats expert.TheDoDahMan (talk) 15:18, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
It has been explained to you perfectly well in this thread. Which part don’t you understand? Roxy, the dog. wooF 15:25, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Um... we say right in the quote you provided, "97.1% of those"... "of those" is those that took a position. That's not misleading; it is accurate and consistent with the language in the source. VQuakr (talk) 15:29, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

"global warming" or "climate change" or both?[edit]

The opening lede paragraphs include seven references to "global warming" and four references to "climate change". While in casual parlance, this terms are often used as synonyms, they aren't exactly the same, and we ought to be a bit more circumspect. I fully understand the terminology has changed over the past few decades, with references to "global warming" prevalent earlier in the periods and the gradual shift to the use of "climate change" later in the period, but we ought to talk through exactly how this article should be written.

The title suggests that the subject is "global warming". It may well be that we don't literally mean "global warming" in the sense that the only item of interest is the changing global temperatures, and instead is a placeholder for the broader concept of "climate change", but if that's what we mean, we ought to say so explicitly.

Furthermore, in some cases we use the term "global warming" to specifically mean the temperature record as opposed to all climactic activity. Confusingly, in some cases we are using the term "climate change" when we are talking about the narrower subject of temperature rather than the broader subject of climactic activity. For example the opening sentence of the third paragraph uses the "climate change" phrase but is clearly talking about temperature:

Political and popular debate concerning the existence and cause of climate change includes the reasons for the increase seen in the instrumental temperature record, whether the warming trend exceeds normal climatic variations, and whether human activities have contributed significantly to it.


The fourth paragraph starts with "global warming" but seems like a discussion of the broader issue of "climate change".

Treating these terms as interchangeable leads to the silly statement that: "there is a scientific consensus that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity.".

Nobody with a brain disputes that climate change is happening so that opening graph is meaningless. In contrast, many thoughtful people question how significant global warming has been in recent decades and how much of the measured change is caused by human activity.

I know it's easier to point out problems than to identify solutions. However, one of the purposes of the lead paragraphs is to clarify the scope of the subject, and we ought to find a way to clarify whether this article is about global warming or about climate change, and that discussion may well include a discussion of the overlap as well as the differences between the two concepts.--S Philbrick(Talk) 15:05, 1 June 2019 (UTC)

The good news is that "there is a scientific consensus that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity" is not silly. It is correct, and would be equally true with "global warming" in place of "climate change." There is not ambiguity between the two concepts, because in the present day the climate change comes from a radiative imbalance which is warming.
The lede sentences of this article spell out clearly: this article is about the public debate, not about "how significant global warming has been in recent decades and how much of the measured change is caused by human activity." — M.boli (talk) 00:44, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
M.boli, The reason it is silly is that the climate is changing all the time, and has been changing for literally billions of years. Most of those changes, for obvious reasons, have nothing to do with human activity. The climate is changing now, and there is evidence that some of the changes are due to human activity. The phrase "is caused by human activity" means that human activity, and nothing else is responsible for changes to climate, which is literally laughable. It may well be correct to say that the ever-changing climate is experiencing additional changes in recent decades which scientists trace to human activity, but the sentence as stated is silly.
Additionally, the term "climate change" refers to a host of phenomena other than temperature changes. For example, changes in AMO and PDO, sea level increases, alleged changes in cyclone frequency and severity, changes in aggregate rainfall, changes in local rainfall patterns, snow fall changes, glaciation changes and more. Again, in casual parlance, the terms are often used interchangeably, but that doesn't mean we need to be so sloppy.
You might be correct if you assert that many in the public mistakenly confuse the two terms, but we aren't required to mirror that confusion—our goal should be to summarize the issues, which may include pointing out the flawed conflation, but doesn't mean we have to make the same error. S Philbrick(Talk) 02:20, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
"Joe missing work today because of his cancer treatment." Maybe Joe is actually being treated for the effects of the steroids today. Also, earlier in life Joe had a melanoma which was cured, how do we know you aren't referring to that bout with cancer? And technically speaking, most people have some cancer cells all the time. Please be more specific!
Wikipedia isn't litigating global warming vs. climate change within this article. Nobody is confused by "there is a scientific consensus that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity" is just as clear as "Joe is missing work today and it is caused by his cancer." If you want to litigate Joe's cancer, there are other places. — M.boli (talk) 12:20, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
And if you wanted to swap the language in that sentence which offends you, I don't think it would hurt anything either. M.boli (talk) 12:44, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
Nobody is confused by "there is a scientific consensus that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity" that's also my impression. If the article was more general about climatology, it probably would have a different name and scope such as "climate variation", "ice age", etc... I do find "climate change" suboptimal but it has come to mostly mean the same as "global warming" and I think that the use of "global warning" in the current title is enough to eliminate possible confusion. —PaleoNeonate – 02:02, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
M.boli, I had been mulling over an analogy but I like your cancer analogy. I'm in complete agreement that in casual conversation, someone might refer to "cancer treatment", and the other parties to the conversation are likely to understand that this is a placeholder for a number of issues some of which might not technically be "cancer treatment". I'm fine with that in casual conversation — I'll even go further and say that if someone hearing that conversation challenged them on the terminology and suggested that they really meant something else, that person is being unreasonable. However, Wikipedia is not a casual conversation. We understand (and probably hope) that statements in Wikipedia will be copied and used elsewhere, hopefully with the understanding that while it's the encyclopedia that anyone can edit, there are editors working hard to make sure information is supported by reliable sources, so the statement is an attempt to be correct not just approximate.
One could have an article about climate change controversy, because there are controversies about many aspects of climate change issues. Off the top of my head, some issues which are clearly part of climate change but do not squarely fit in with the narrower topic of global warming include:
  • thermohaline circulation
  • glacial advance, retreat and aggregate mass balance
  • pollen distribution
  • cloud cover
  • rainfall, in the aggregate, and by location
  • cyclone frequency and severity
  • tornado frequency, severity, timing and location
  • crop growth
  • sea ice extent and mass
  • sea level
If this article had gone into some depth on all aspects of climate change controversies I would be arguing that it ought to say climate change throughout. However, With the exception of a very short paragraph on Arctic ice, the bulk of this article talks about the narrower subject of warming. I'm perfectly fine with that, except that if the article is going to be about global warming, it ought to use that term. If it's going to be about climate change in general, it needs substantial expansion. Obviously, the easier approach is to keep the article largely as is and change the lead slightly.
I don't suggest mindlessly doing a search and replace, as even an article about global warming might properly refer to climate change if only to express the observation that global warming is an important part of, although properly a subset of climate change.
I will work up a list of all references to both terms in the lead paragraphs along with my recommendation. S Philbrick(Talk) 15:09, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
It seems like a harmless change, and I do understand your point. I just replaced three instances of climate change in the lede section. Two became global warming, one became climate will change because that is what the sentence was talking about. I may have missed some, most of the occurrences were in references and wiki-links. (Misfortunately I neglected to put an edit summary on the first edit. I hope whoever has this page on the watch list also notices the talk page discussion!) — M.boli (talk) 16:52, 3 June 2019 (UTC)
M.boli, I posted below before fully looking at your edits. I'll look now. S Philbrick(Talk) 20:39, 4 June 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── The following is a summary of my proposed edits, along with a rationale:

Count Existing wording Proposed wording comments
1 This article is about the public debate over scientific conclusions on climate change. This article is about the public debate over scientific conclusions on global warming reflect the article subject
2 For denial, dismissal or unwarranted doubt of the scientific consensus, see climate change denial. For denial, dismissal or unwarranted doubt of the scientific consensus, see global warming denial. I initially considered leaving this as a term of art but I see that the article on the subject treats the terms as almost interchangeable, so I think it will be less confusing if we use the global warming option
3 The global warming controversy... <same>
4 ...whether global warming is occurring... <same>
5 ...scientific consensus that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity. scientific consensus that global warming is happening and is caused by human activity. reflect the article subject
6 Disputes over the key scientific facts of global warming are more prevalent... <same>
7 Political and popular debate concerning the existence and cause of climate change includes the reasons for the increase seen in the instrumental temperature record, whether the warming trend exceeds normal climatic variations Political and popular debate concerning the existence and cause of global warming includes the reasons for the increase seen in the instrumental temperature record, whether the warming trend exceeds normal climatic variations Note that the sentence goes on to talk about temperature and warming and nothing else. (The use of "climatic" is fine)
8 Public disputes that also reflect scientific debate include estimates of how responsive the climate system might be to any given level of greenhouse gases (climate sensitivity), how the climate will change at local and regional scales, ... Public disputes that also reflect scientific debate include estimates of how responsive warming might be to any given level of greenhouse gases (climate sensitivity), how the temperature will change at local and regional scales, "climate sensitivity" not changed because it is a technical term and correct in this context. (As a curious aside, it's a measure of temperature not climate but that's for the scientist to deal with.)
9 ...and what the consequences of global warming will be. <same>
10 Global warming remains an issue of widespread political debate... <same>
11 ...such as human responsibility for global warming,... <same>
12 ...—an ideological phenomenon categorised by academics and scientists as climate change denial. —an ideological phenomenon categorised by academics and scientists as global warming denial. I initially considered leaving this as a term of art but I see that the article on the subject treats the terms as almost interchangeable, so I think it will be less confusing if we use the global warming option
13 The sources of funding for those involved with climate science... <same> no change needed
14 Climate scientists, especially in the United States,... <same> no change needed
15 Legal cases regarding global warming, its effects,... <same> no change needed
16 ...the scientific consensus on global warming. <same> no change needed
My reading is that climate change denial is a term of art for good reason. Climate change denial encompasses a lot of material about the reality and effects of the currently changing climate and the appropriate responses to it, not just the narrow question about radiative imbalance.
My quick thoughts on your list:
  • 1 (hatnote) it would be OK to change it, not needed but not harmful.
  • 2 (hatnote) as noted, I think climate change denial is the appropriate term, and (as you note) a term of art.
  • 5 I think this is one that I changed
  • 7 I think this is one that I changed
  • 8 (climate sensitivity) how the climate system will change. I think saying how responsive warming might be is misleading, but I see what you are trying to fix. Can I propose something like how the Earth's average temperature will respond?
  • 8 (climate sensitivity) how the climate will change at local and regional scales is exactly correct. How the temperature will change at local and regional scales is wrong.
  • 12 I still think climate change denial is correct.
What do you think? M.boli (talk) 14:38, 8 June 2019 (UTC)

Merge with Public opinion on global warming[edit]

We have two articles on the same thing. At Public opinion on global warming it says

Public opinion on global warming is the aggregate of attitudes or beliefs held by the adult population concerning the science, economics, and politics of global warming. It is affected by media coverage of climate change.


and here the scope is described as

The global warming controversy concerns the public debate over whether global warming is occurring, how much has occurred in modern times, what has caused it, what its effects will be, whether any action should be taken to curb it, and if so what that action should be.

Is there an reason to not merge these? NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 16:04, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

Public opinion on global warming should probably not have even been created since it is 8 years younger, but I agree the content is "similar" with this page being about twice as big. IMO Public opinion on global warming should be skimmed with the best bits incorporated into this page before deleting it. Ckruschke (talk) 19:24, 15 July 2019 (UTC)Ckruschke
Looking at the two articles I don't see much overlap. Roughly speaking, Public opinion on global warming seems to be a social science / public opinion research thing. While this article Global warming controversy seems to cover the substance of the public debate.
The main topic overlap may be the first section of the Controversy article: public opinion. It contains a {{main}} macro pointing over the Opinion article. This section also seems to be out of date. So I'd vote for shortening and updating the public opinion section.
Might it also make sense to update the lede sentences to make the distinction more clear? — M.boli (talk) 19:39, 15 July 2019 (UTC)