Answering Climate Change Skeptics, Naomi Oreskes





The interactive transcript could not be loaded.



Rating is available when the video has been rented.
This feature is not available right now. Please try again later.
Published on Mar 3, 2010

A presentation based off of her recent book, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscure the Truth about Climate Change. Naomi Oreskes, author and professor of history and science studies, University of California, San Diego.

From the University of Rhode Island's Spring 2010 Vetlesen Lecture Series, People and Planet Global Environmental Change. March 2, 2010.

Help us caption & translate this video!


  • Category

  • License

    • Standard YouTube License

Comments • 1,461

Marshall Duncan
Before listening to this entire lecture, go to the end at 59:10 and listen to the parting, emphatic quotes. These should be enough to make a reasonable person question the competence (and perhaps even the sanity of this woman). I quote: "A demand for scientific proof is always a formula for inaction and delay and usually the first reaction of the guilty. The proper basis for such circumstances is, of course, quite simply, that which is reasonable in the circumstances - or, as Bill Nuremburg put it in a candid moment talking about acid rain, 'You just know in your heart that you can't throw 25 million tons a year of sulfates into the Northeast forests and not expect some consequences.'" Let me get this straight. She's saying those who want to follow the scientific method which has given us so much truth through the centuries and led us away from blind religious belief, are by nature of impure motives - i.e. "guilty"? Wow. That sounds like the Dark Lord of the Sith talking. Then she backs the idea up with the acid rain example. But the acid rain scare of the 1970s and 80s was fully debunked. Sulfur dioxide was never found to be the cause of dying forests or high acidity in lakes. That's why you don't hear about the issue anymore. So Bill Nuremburg was dead wrong and the fact that she'd quote him now is unbelievable. Her attitude seethes of religious fanaticism.
View all 15 replies
Lora Who
Thanks. Avoided her babbling hyperbole (she's selling her book) and jumped to 59:10 as you suggested. You are indeed so right.
Artur Sixpence
+Marshall Duncan Hmm, as far as I can see she was quoting someone in a very relevant way to highlight the parallels between vested interest in both the case of the tobacco industry and climate change science denial on behalf of the fossil fuel and associated industries. And thank you to you also for your time.
Hide replies
What is more likely? That the small human contribution to the atmosphere of a gas that is essential for life will stop the next ice age by overriding a climate governed primarily by the influence of the sun. OR That the climate will continue to cyclically fluctuate as it has for billions of years. I'll let you decide.
View all 11 replies
+Giancarlo Pace That's funny. You begin your lecture by citing the 97% consensus MYTH. That tells me all I need to know about how thoroughly and honestly you've studied this issue. "It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don't buy into anthropogenic global warming." --Stanley B. Goldenberg, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hurricane Research Division "There's nothing we can do to stop it (climate change). Scientifically, it is sheer absurdity to think we can get a nice climate by turning a CO2 adjustment knob." --Klaus-Eckart Puls, German meteorologist and physicist "Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us. One day I started checking the facts and data – first I started with a sense of doubt but then I became outraged when I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements. To this day I still feel shame that as a scientist I made presentations of their science without first checking it." --Klaus-Eckart Puls, German meteorologist and physicist "One must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore" --IPCC official, Ottmar Edenhofer, November 18, 2010 "No matter if the science of global warming is all phony, climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world." --Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment
Giancarlo Pace
It is more likely that 97% of climate scientists know it well, and they also take the trouble to explain it. Despite the amount to CO2 put by humans in the atmosphere being a small fraction of the total CO2, it breaks a delicate balance which has a visible effect on the climate, which is bad for humans. Please, do try to understand, it takes patience and time, but it is possible even without being a trained scientist. If you do not have time and patience, please do consider not to have strong opinions on difficult things which are crucial.
Hide replies
This was a lot of talk about feeling and opinions and very litle fact. The beneficiaries of global warming myth will be the banks and The finance sector.
View all 8 replies
But if we has more co2 then plants would grow more!! Our problem are more like poison and GMO! That will destroy our planet!
Plants need energy and co2 to grow, so when you have more of co2 would not the plant grow more and faster?
Hide replies
William Partridge
naomi oreskes you are incredible but at least we know you are scientificly a total ignoramus and a viscious totalitarian commo
View all 3 replies
Pragmatism Pugilism
+AnotherGlenn "Scientists wouldn't lie unless they were paid to and/or were members" Do you think it is more likely that every climate scientist in every country is paid off, or that the same people that created doubt about the science of tobacco are creating doubt about climate science among people who are not scientists? Even self-described climate skeptic funded in-part by the Koch brothers found that the earth is warming and that CO2 as the cause is the best data match. The business world is also factoring in global warming - insurance companies have said that historic patterns are no longer predictive and are taking into account the increased damaged caused by risen sea-levels, etc.
+Pragmatism Pugilism Scientists wouldn't lie unless they were paid to and/or were members of societies like the masons, wherein the members presumably think of the masses as being cattle. Sadly, I would guess that I am in agreement with the masons much of the time.
Hide replies
Those poor kids look like they are sponging up all this utter pseudoscientific crap that this dogmatic dolt is shoveling out. She is a historian and from her talk, clearly knows nothing at all about climate science. A shill for Obama's EPA, this woman has cast dispersion's on real scientists in her book "Merchants of Doubt" which is chock-full of hate-filled bile, straw men and red herrings. Oreskes is one of the growing band of charlatans who have published a "study" claiming a "consensus" on climate science. Dr. Benny Peiser re-ran her survey in 2005 and found dramatically different results. Only 13 of 1,117 papers (1%) explicitly endorse the alleged “consensus” on anthropogenic global warming. All the other "97% consensus" studies were equally as fraudulent as hers. The woman appears to be completely oblivious of the fact that science is not done by a 'vote' in any case.
View all 4 replies
+1000frolly So i watched 'Merchants of Doubt' and I Doubt you did. Then i found your dated and childish comment. So I googled Peiser vs Oreskes and the first few search results were from ALMOST A DECADE AGO. Most results discredited Peiser. You frolly are just another chamber of commerce booster who wants business as usual so you can say 'fuckyou earth; i am going shopping'.
James Nation
+1000frolly Utterly....Predictable.
Hide replies
Bill .WattsUpWithThat
Question Global Warming Ice Core Correlation proven false 97% Consensus proven false Hockey stick proven false Historical Temperature Records are unreliable. Historical Temperature Records are manipulated and Diverge from Satellite data Evidence of data falsification and intimidation from scientist
Real UFO Videos
Climate deniers need to ask themselves why our planet is spewing gigatons of methane, year after year, since 2007. WE are responsible for the methane release. And if we don't stop the methane release? 6th extinction will happen. And the majority will die. Deniers or not. Oil companies and crooked politicians are the responsible culprits. Not us. We had electric cars in the early 1900's. Oil companies killed them. Since 1950? The scientific community knew we had exceeded the carbon output of the last extinction. And they knew it could lead to methane releases. Unfortunately? Our governments held the truth from us. Now we are all headed towards dire consequences. And many scientists are claiming this is a run-away greenhouse event. Meaning our planet could end up like Venus. Carbon atmosphere. No oxygen. Super hot surface. No life.
View all 24 replies
+Joe the mailman OK i'll 'borrow' Excuse number 4 from the 'how to talk to deniers'' manual ~ Does one year constitute 'Climate' ? And also number '8' ~ The whole of the Earth was not synchronously warm so does that constitute 'global' warming ? Jeeeeeez.
Joe the mailman
+PrairleDoggedRez Geez, Dog, if you really think anything you've said even approaches a valid argument, you are having a psychotic break from reality. Been occupied with other things the past week or so, so I haven't seen this past month's results, but I do know the hottest 12 consecutive month period in the record was November 1, 2013 through October 31. 2014. It was hotter than 1998, 2005, 2010... how does that fit in with your conspiracy theory ideology, Dog?
Hide replies
1:11:39 What a crock. This women just another ridiculous hypocritical mediocrity. If Bjorn Lomborg is scientifically dishonest the IPCC is too! (In any event I don't know how a non-scientist can be scientifically dishonest!) The IPCC has been claiming to represent the world's top scientists—how that's decided beats me; but it certainly doesn't include head of summary committees being unpublished graduate students—which has happened. They also claim to use only peer-reviewed scientific material when 28% of the citations come from grey literature. This makes them scientifically dishonest as well. She's either stupid or a hypocritical liar. What a twit. In addition Lomborg is an environmental economist, not a scientist. He was completely exonerated by a higher body. The body that found him guilty of scientific dishonesty did not even demonstrate how his book was a scientific work! How can a book when be "scientifically dishonest" when it's a work of social science. It didn't question the science of Global Warming; only the spending priorities in fighting it—this is necessarily subjective and inherently not science! This women is a fool.
View all 22 replies
Joe the mailman
+PrairleDoggedRez Dog, you can't be that dumb a mo' fo', not even though the best part of you ran down your mother's leg. You are not ignorant, you are insane. If you don't already live there, please move to Texas. You'll fit in pretty well, and fry with the other rednecks.
kim weaver
Short attention span, much?  Here is puppy boy from last week, the 25th. "Melting glaciers MELT ie recede they do not flow into the sea ~ you do know this don't you?" So, are you just as certain that it's mass that determines flow rate?  Do you think there might be other factors in addition to mass? This should be good.  
Hide replies
Great speech, though Ms. Oreskes got the origin of the "TANSTAAFL" saying wrong - it originated sometime in the 1930s, and was popularized by Robert Heinlein. The Wikipedia article on the subject nowhere mentions Keynes.
Tiago Silva
This lady is an alarmist. She had 1:13:00 of talk. In that time she could not make a case. She Could have shown their claims, with data, and how it causes such problems. She presented a case not worth the science or the time to listen. She's invoking cognitve dissonance to explain why in several cases, people couldn't foresee problems. Though this is generaly true, does not present a scientific case regarding climate change, proven with data, and why those data are certain, or how does matemathics and data with milions or hundreds of thousands of years. This lady , if she konws anything about science, she would that opinons are not facts. The fact is that there were no explanation on how the data explains the claim. How does CO2 regulates climate? How it did i the past, and how we are adding in to the problem? She presented CO2 from the atmosfere and how it could not be from volcanos... ok,... and. She pointed that it could not be the sun... not convincingly. Were is the plot of sun activity and temperature, and how is not related to one another, in here opinion? I get it, buy the book. Does this lady know that there are Nobel winners, actual scientists that have real information that one can reason with from different sources, and that this lady has none? I'm tring to understant both sides to make my opinion, and she does not make a case, not to mention that the didn't answer the skeptics. One thing she did prove... the skeptics know what they are talking about.
When autoplay is enabled, a suggested video will automatically play next.

Up next

to add this to Watch Later

Add to

Loading playlists...