A Field Guide to Climate Change Skeptics

Meet the lukewarmers, the sunspotters, and the Rapture-ready.


Read also: The truth about Climategate, and why we don’t believe science.

fdasdSen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.)

Global warming nonbelievers can be found just about anywhere—from your relatives’ Thanksgiving dinner table to Congress. Learn to tell the lukewarmers from the garden-variety deniers with this handy cheat sheet.

Flat-out deniers: Argue that the world is no warmer today than it was during the Medieval Warm Period of 950 to 1250; fdasfsdaRep. Joe Barton (R-Texas)some accuse scientists of conspiring to put their instruments in hotter areas to skew the readings.

Global-cooling believers: Claim that the planet is actually getting colder (PDF)—and point to increasing winter snow as evidence. See: Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.).

Rep. Joe Read (R-Mont.)Rep. Joe Read (R-Mont.)Mathletes: Live to find faulty math in climate change studies.

Sunspotters: Believe the planet is getting hotter, but blame natural phenomena like water vapor, volcanoes, solar flares, clouds, and cosmic rays—not people. Proposed solution? Install A/C (PDF) or find a nice shade tree. See: Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas).

Lukewarmers: Acknowledge that the Earth is getting hotter, but it’s not a big deal. Others argue that it might even be a good thing: See: Rep. Joe Read (R-Mont.), who said that “global warming is beneficial to the welfare and businessRep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.)Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) climate of Montana.”

The Rapture-ready: Contend that the planet cannot be warming because it was not foretold in the Bible—and even if it were warming, good news! The end times are upon us. See: Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.).

Photos: US Congress; Read: Montana Legislative Information Service

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.