Human Dimensions of Global Warming


Flames with the words 'Climate Wars' across them
"So-called 'global warming' is just a secret ploy by wacko tree-huggers to make America energy independent, clean our air and water, improve the fuel efficiency of our vehicles, kick-start 21st-century industries, and make our cities safer and more livable. Don’t let them get away with it." Chip Giller, founder of

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) synthesizes the work of thousands of professional climate scientists and publishes their consensus findings every five years or so. With virtually no dissent amongst the contributing scientists, the IPCC concludes that climate change is happening, that it is getting worse, and that it will get even worse in the future. It also finds that this climate change is the result of human activities. The facts are clear and incontrovertible.

Why is it then that, if there is no disagreement amongst the experts, a large proportion of the public seems to think that climate change is not real? Why do many people think that climate scientists disagree about climate change? Why do so many people trust politicians and radio talk show hosts more than climate scientists as reliable sources of information on climate science?

This lesson will explore these questions. It will look at climate change skeptics and deniers, ardent climate change believers, and middle-of-the-road climate change pragmatists. It will demonstrate that powerful vested interests manufacture uncertainty, and it will take a close look at the Climategate “scandal” and its impact on public perceptions of climate scientists. War is hell.

What will we learn?

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • describe the difference between climate skeptics and climate deniers;
  • describe the five lines of argument used by climate skeptics;
  • describe the three characterics of arguments used by climate alarmists;
  • describe the positions taken by climate centrists;
  • describe how climate deniers manufacture doubt about climate change;
  • describe Climategate, its short-term impacts, and potential long-term impacts;
  • employ verb consistency and avoid commonly over- or misused words and phrases.

What is due for Lesson 11?

Lesson 11 will take us one week to complete. Please refer to the Calendar in Canvas for specific time frames and due dates. Specific directions for the assignments below can be found within this lesson.

Complete the following steps to complete Lesson 11:

  • Work through Lesson 11 in this web site.
  • Complete the Required Reading Assignments.
  • Complete the Writing Symposium Quiz in Canvas.
  • Complete the Lesson 11 Reading Reflections in Canvas.


If you have questions, please feel free to post them to the Ask a Question about Lesson 11 forum. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help a classmate.