Climate change and dinner parties: a guide

A somewhat humorous guide to conducting discussions on climate change in a social setting

Guest essay by Tilak K. Doshi

It was not long ago when the rule for polite conversation at dinner parties was to avoid religion or politics. If one could not find a neutral topic, then the suggestion was to “talk about the weather”. Alas, this is no long applicable, as the weather — like politics and religion — has become a controversial topic. Indeed, any freak or extreme weather event is almost invariably accompanied by a knowing nod and reference to climate change.

Belief in global warming has itself become a quasi-religion, and one is faced with the obvious choice between enlightened affirmation or “anti-science” denial. For those not willing to be bound by this binary straight-jacket, here is a list of reasonable positions to hold in any dinner party or social gathering of moderately well-informed people. Consider it as your passport to intelligent polite conversation while remaining true to a fair reading of a difficult and complex problem.

• “97% cannot be wrong”
This is perhaps the most misleading statement perpetrated by climate change alarmists. We are constantly told that there is a “consensus” of scientific opinion that human-caused climate changes are occurring and that radical changes in policy and behavior are required. A classic example is President Obama’s tweet: “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” The sub-text is obvious: “who are you to challenge this?”.
So, what exactly do scientists agree on?

The answer is that climate science experts have a variety of opinions, ranging from “the climate always changes” and “humans have some impact on climate” to “we are going to have catastrophic climate change if we don’t go all out to replace fossil fuels”. Most climate scientists would agree with the first two statements while expressing serious reservations, if not strong disagreement, with the third.

So, whenever one comes across the “97% consensus” reference, the best counter would be to first express agreement to the obvious while calling for sober reflection on the question as to “what is to be done”. Appropriate policy responses need to be consider all economic costs and benefits and their distribution across the population. Your dinner companions will not be able to fault you on this reasonable position.

• Extreme weather: told you so
Hardly any week passes by these days without some media report about extreme weather events and their alleged link to global warming. Yet there is little or no evidence linking specific weather events to climate change. This is the position held not only by many reputable scientists but by the large group of scientists involved in the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). According to the IPCC,

“…overall, there is no evidence that extreme weather events, or climate variability, has increased, in a global sense, through the 20th century…”.

The weather and the climate change are two different phenomena, one contingent and short-term, the other cumulative and long run (exceeding 30 years). The links between the two are tenuous and causality is difficult to prove under our current state of knowledge. The adage “one swallow does not a summer make” not only will remind your fellow dinner party guests about this basic distinction, but will score you brownie points with respect to your literary bent.

• The axis of evil: coal, oil and gas
In these days when “green” is a measure of one’s virtue, and all out support (at tax-payers’ expense) for solar and wind energy an enlightened position to hold, the truth is far less convenient. The development of human civilization is also a story of the development of fossil fuels. From the use of wood, straw and cow-dung since time immemorial, the extraordinary growth of fossil fuels beginning with coal mining and the industrial revolution in the 19th century has provided cheap and reliable energy for the needs of ordinary people around the globe. It has saved forests and alleviated backbreaking human effort, delivering higher standards of living for those lucky to go up the energy consumption chain.

The chief economic advisor to the Indian government Arvind Subramanian recently stated that India, like other developing countries, cannot allow the narrative of “carbon imperialism” to come in the way of realistic planning. The latter would include adopting the best technology in the use of cheap coal for power generation, increasing the use of cleaner fossil fuels such as natural gas, and recognizing the hidden costs of intermittency of newer technologies such as wind and solar power.

After the vast investments by Germany on these newer technologies in its rush to phase out nuclear power, its leading news magazine Der Spiegel ran a story about the country’s energy poverty subtitled “How Electricity Became a Luxury Good”. This example will come in handy if you are speaking to a visiting guest from the West. You will have made it clear that not only we in the East might have a legitimately different perspective, but even among the OECD countries there are serious unresolved issues with dramatically reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

• The end of the world: “what about our children?”
Emotional blackmail is not an uncommon occurrence at dinner parties, and this is a line often used by the alarmists. But your dinner party interlocuter cannot hide behind a blanket charge of “catastrophe”. The best current models that link climate change and economic impacts come up with costs of 10% or less of the global gross domestic product by the year 2100 and beyond. As the University of Chicago economist John Cochrane puts it, “that’s a lot of money but that’s a lot of years too”. Between now and then, it may well be smarter to ensure high economic growth and healthy R&D budgets for new technologies to adapt to climate change.

It is not just climate change that is the source of Armageddon scenarios. What about nuclear war by a rogue state, a super-colossal volcanic eruption, or a global pandemic as antibiotics lose out in the struggle against constantly evolving viruses? “Buy insurance”, your dinner party friend might counter, possibly with a smirk. Well, as anyone with a limited budget would be aware, buying insurance at high premiums for all sorts of potentially catastrophic risks will lead you to soon run out of money. Your dinner party friend will be reminded that global warming policy must compete for scarce resources with policies to mitigate other credible threats to human welfare including the scourges of malaria, dirty water and child malnutrition afflicting the human condition now.

By now, you will have come out of your dinner party conversations as a reasonable observer of the climate change debate in an Eastern context. You will have imparted much-needed moderation to some of your more excitable, band-wagon dinner party friends. Who knows, you might even get a date, or if already married, your partner will love you even more for your fine (meteorological) mind.

An earlier version of this story was originally published in the Asia Times on September 29th, 2017: 

Dr. Tilak K. Doshi is a consultant in energy economics, and is the author of “Singapore in a Post-Kyoto World: Energy, Environment and the Economy” published by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Singapore, 2015).

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Johann Wundersamer
July 15, 2018 4:22 am

“carbon imperialism”. Wow.

Well said.

Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
July 15, 2018 8:09 am

Climate commenter, Hunter, often uses the similar, “climate imperialism”

Hot under the collar
July 15, 2018 4:48 am

Or you could just point out that they are talking bollocks! ; )

Hot under the collar
Reply to  Hot under the collar
July 15, 2018 4:57 am
Reply to  Hot under the collar
July 15, 2018 9:49 am

Stick his submarine where it hurts… it.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Hot under the collar
July 15, 2018 3:54 pm

@Hot under the collar
Musk then called the diver a ‘pedo’. What a class act…

Reply to  Hot under the collar
July 15, 2018 5:04 am

Yes but if you do that you’ll just entrench your guests’ opinions even more solidly. And, you’ll never get asked to anyone else’s dinner parties.

As stated in the article above, the idea is to look like a reasonable dispassionate observer. Then you get to plant the seeds of doubt in your interlocutors. You will still have friends, their opinion of you will rise, and you will have weakened support for CAGW alarmism.

Reply to  commieBob
July 15, 2018 5:23 am


Reply to  David Middleton
July 17, 2018 11:08 am

but whats the ultimate question?

Reply to  commieBob
July 15, 2018 7:12 am

“you’ll never get asked to anyone else’s dinner parties”

I don’t need to be invited to this sort of person’s dinner parties.

R Taylor
Reply to  Hivemind
July 15, 2018 11:46 am

Yes, conversation tends to be tedious with those who don’t comprehend or refuse to acknowledge that carbon-di-taxable is a political entity.

Tarquin Wombat-Carruthers
Reply to  Hivemind
July 19, 2018 3:37 pm

Agree. But there may be a small possibility of converting their confident ignorance to informed uncertainty!

Reply to  commieBob
July 15, 2018 10:19 am

It’s very difficult to change people’s minds without first succeeding at changing their hearts.

Pat Frank
Reply to  commieBob
July 15, 2018 10:55 am

I’m pretty tired of tiptoeing around others’ fatuous sensibilities.

Polite language is fine. Equivocation and circumlocution is not.

If someone raises the issue of “climate change” with me, I treat them the same way I’d treat someone who proselytizes me about religion. I smile, I’m polite, the factual gloves come off.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  commieBob
July 15, 2018 9:40 pm

I would talk about math and physics. First the difference between Celsius and Kelvin. Next the enthalpy of the oceans vs that of the atmosphere. I think it would be worthwhile to spend some time on the the formulae relating ECS to CO2 content and the nature of logarithmic relationships and how they differ from exponential and linear relationships. Move on to the Stefan–Boltzmann law. At that point if they are still awake we can start on the time value of money.

Reply to  Hot under the collar
July 15, 2018 5:24 am

It’s only 97% bollocks.

Reply to  David Middleton
July 15, 2018 6:06 am


Obama’s tweet: “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.”

♫ 97% of the world doesn’t believe you.. ♪

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
July 15, 2018 6:24 am

♫ 97% of the world doesn’t listen .. ♪

paul courtney
Reply to  David Middleton
July 15, 2018 8:37 am

Careful, David Middleton. Some will accuse you of being a damn “lukewarmer” because you say such a high percent (3%) is not bollocks. When I go to dinner parties, I’m prepared to go as high as 5%, just to seem reasonable. And 95% bollocks is still-as the CliSci’s call it- pretty robust!

Gunga Din
Reply to  paul courtney
July 15, 2018 12:31 pm

Who would continue to eat a burger after they realized that it contained 97%, 95% or even just 1% bulls—?

Roger Knights
Reply to  Gunga Din
July 15, 2018 2:20 pm

Japanese scientists have invented a 100% poop-burger:

My comment on that thread: “Want flies with that?”

Gunga Din
Reply to  Roger Knights
July 15, 2018 2:34 pm

I know some people love sushi, raw fish. The thought never appealed to me.
But if people want a “poop-buger”, my dog can supply their wants.
(Maybe all of us dog owners should form a company to meet the demand?
All profits going to animal shelters, of course. THINK OF THE PUPPIES!)

Steven Fraser
Reply to  Roger Knights
July 15, 2018 3:39 pm


Reply to  Roger Knights
July 15, 2018 4:46 pm

Groan . . . . .

Reply to  paul courtney
July 15, 2018 1:10 pm

If I include error bars, only 94-100% is bollocks…. 97% +/-3%… 😎

And… I am a “lukewarmer”… because that’s what a low climate sensitivity does.

Gunga Din
Reply to  David Middleton
July 15, 2018 2:54 pm

Our atmosphere, our oceans, all do something to keep our nights from dropping into subzero temperatures. CO2 is part of our atmosphere.
Might the CO2 Man produces have an effect? Sure. But hardly the effect Mann (et al) have prophesied.
“No harm. No Fouling”.

paul courtney
Reply to  David Middleton
July 15, 2018 5:17 pm

Include error bars?! Well, whatever you are, you’re obviously not a climate statistician. My warm regards.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Hot under the collar
July 15, 2018 5:53 am

The easy way:

“Or you could just point out that they are talking bollocks! ; )”

Hot under,

Ever told your boss BOLD

don’t come to work anymore, pay my salary anyway, stop talking bollocks.

July 15, 2018 5:05 am

The climate is changing and it is not in the direction AGW predicts. All of the indicators are down. I have said if low average value solar parameters are met following 10+ years of sub solar activity in general modified by the geo magnetic field in sync with solar that a more significant climate impact would occur.

My theory is so easy to understand. Not some long winded complicated contradictory theory full of outs and put off to some meaningless time in the future.

It says in a sentence or two that very low solar modified by the geo magnetic field will result in global cooling due to a decrease in overall sea surface temperatures (less UV light) and a slight increase in the albedo (due to an increase in major explosive volcanic activity ,increase in global cloud/snow coverage.

That due to an increase in galactic cosmic rays, tied to a very weak solar wind/AP index.

It is easy to understand and it says this year is the transitional year.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Salvatore Del Prete
July 15, 2018 6:12 am

Long winding road. But


DJ Meredith
July 15, 2018 5:19 am

Note that the link to the “How Electricity Became a Luxury Good” is an article from 2013… I think a better perspective on Germany’s power cost to consumers is found here, with a breakdown of the some 30cents/kwh cost.

Clear to me the switch to “renewable” is a switch to more expensive any way you paint it.

Honest liberty
Reply to  DJ Meredith
July 16, 2018 8:41 am

Global eugenics. Period.
The dark occultists who run the show purposely choose carbon as it serves both exoteric and esoteric goals, simultaneously.
1. As luciferian initiates or those who but into the literal interpretation, light bearer, they love the beast 666 and hate the father figure who imposed moral rules to obey. So choosing a base element carbon, with 6 protons, 6 electrons, and 6 neutrons serves the obvious esoteric, occulted meaning.
2. The 1-2 punch is that being carbon based life forms, carbon is essential as is carbon dioxide. This is a direct attack on life itself, materially and immaterially. This is a trick of the sophists; word play and devious language. Purposeful distortion of reality. They hate humanity, they hate God, so they would rather rule in hell than serve on Earth. Therefore, attack life itself and pervert reality to get the useless eaters, the profane, to self-mutilate. Think about this. They have bamboozled humanity to attack itself all based on a notion that we are evil.

It’s a great con when you think about the mind control involved and it’s already been laid out how this is population reduction scheme, but there is much more behind the scenes to the way these people operate. Many of you likely think I’m off because I throw the word Satanist around,the but look at their words and actions. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Satanic simplified to mean (in the context I use it) the personal ego above all else and above God, that’s it. Pure, unbridled selfishness and conceit. Disgust for rules and hatred for a supposed God that forced them to live within the bounds of spiritual morality.
Once information (however ridiculous it sounds) is understood then the pattern of these actors.
People think the rituals of old died with the ancients but the reality is staring us all in the face.
That’s why I push for more balance of perspective here because so many are strict materialist, logically driven but download the spiritual as mere fantasy. Well what part of this universe doesn’t have balance?

Bruce Ploetz
July 15, 2018 5:25 am

“OK, put your money where your mouth is – remove everything from this table that is tainted by Carbon Pollution – meat, METHANE got to go, but before the vegans get too excited all that lettuce was grown with diesel agricultural equipment, shipped in a diesel powered refrigerated truck. Oops, it’s all corrupted, no food for you.”

Reply to  Bruce Ploetz
July 15, 2018 9:28 am

Ask dinner guests to not be like Al Gore and Di Caprio, and practice what they preach. Start with something simple like banning drive-through windows to eliminate all the cars idling for no good reason. Millions of gallons of fuel wasted each day waiting in line for fast food or coffee. Completely unnecessary and bad for Gaia. That gets the imagination going, and nearly every modern contrivance can be pegged to fossil fuels from there… doesn’t take long before they realize what life would be like.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Bruce Ploetz
July 15, 2018 10:53 am

They’d also have to remove all their clothes as well. Wait – that’s a different kind of party… 😉

July 15, 2018 5:28 am

viruses should be bacteria

Coeur de Lion
July 15, 2018 5:29 am

I offer a £100 bet that arctic ice will bottom out on September at a larger figure than last year. Haven’t been taken up yet.

Reply to  Coeur de Lion
July 15, 2018 8:19 am

Take a look at Greenland’s SMB chart.
It has barely declined through the seasonal low.
Northern Hemisphere snow cover was above the standard deviation band last August and at the high-side into October.
Now it has been above since April.
Something about reflecting the Sun’s energy to outer space.
Bob Hoye

Roger Knights
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
July 15, 2018 9:19 am

If only Intrade were still in operation, you’d find a taker for that bet within a week. It ran about ten concomitant climate bets.

Phil Rae
July 15, 2018 5:52 am

Great! Tilak & I shared a platform together discussing energy and climate change at an event in Singapore back in 2012. Obviously, we still share the same perspectives on the subject.

July 15, 2018 5:56 am

I agree. Telling everyone that the whole thing is a scam gets you nowhere.

I like to pop into the conversation the fact that pre – industrial revolution all energy came from biomass, wind power, water plus a bit of solar in the production of salt.

We grew crops, fed it to horses and oxon and extracted the energy. We also fed it to slaves for the same purpose. Energy was an expensive commodity particularly in the slave area, with land being the premium source for it with a lot of energy being expended in the harvesting.

I gets people thinking and there is no need to point out that a return to that situation would be counterproductive.

July 15, 2018 6:09 am

My dinner party guests don’t have conversations about climate. They’re too busy enjoying the Minke whale with grated Puffin.

George Daddis
July 15, 2018 6:10 am

I think the author let the “alarmists” at the dinner party off to easy with respect to the the “97 % consensus”, a mainstay of many polite believers.

He correctly started by introducing Obama’s quote that 97% of scientists say it (Climate Change/Global Warming) is real, manmade and dangerous. The rational and polite responses include:

– Real? Of course Climate Change (Global Warming) is real; 25 thousand years ago the site of this dinner party was under 2 miles of ice. A couple of hundred years ago George Washington was able to march his entire army across the ice that extended from Sandy Hook NJ to lower Manhattan. (A large salt water bay of the Atlantic.)

– Man made? What anthropogenic drivers caused the glaciers to recede or caused the reversal of the Little Ice Age?

– Dangerous? No study of “consensus”, no matter how flawed, concluded the warming was dangerous; they merely asked if it is warmer now than it was in the late 1800s. (Obama and Holdren made that one up out of whole cloth.)

– If by chance the dinner party was among STEM academics or practitioners you might even get into the ridiculous procedures and statistics of the Doran and Zimmerman study, where they announced the desired conclusion of the study (to confirm Oreskes and others’ estimates of “consensus”) when asking for responses, and then whittled down the original 10,000 requests and 3,000 responses from geoscientists, to less than 80 (people with the title of Climate Scientist and who published recently in a Climate Science Journal) when they finally got the conclusion they initially said they were striving for.

Reply to  George Daddis
July 15, 2018 6:36 am

The two questions were 1) has it warmed or cooled since ~1850 and 2) have human activities played a significant role?

Their survey intentionally excluded private sector geoscientists. They only surveyed academic and government geoscientists. Almost everyone answered “warmed” to the first question. Only 47% of government/academic economic geologists answered “yes” to the second question and only 63% of meteorologists answered “yes.”

Recent surveys of the American Meteorological Society found that only 52% of atmospheric scientists thought humans were responsible for >50% of the warming since 1850, only 67% thought humans were responsible for >50% of the warming since 1950. Views on how dangerous this was varied widely, as did views about ways to address the issue.

The 97% claim is a Goebbels-esque lie.

Hocus Locus
Reply to  David Middleton
July 15, 2018 7:57 am

The 97% claim is a Goebbels-esque lie.

The canard from USATV adverts in the 70s was
Four out of five dentists surveyed recommend sugarless gum, for their patients who chew gum.

The fifth dentist was later found face down in the river. He had begun to drop hints that he had been coerced to give a contrary position in order to improve the ‘look’ of the study. His death was ruled a suicide. I’ve long imagined a metal band with the name The Fifth Dentist. And I’m not alone.

Reply to  George Daddis
July 15, 2018 7:25 am

My usual response to the 97% issue is that I’m among the 97% that believes CO2 is a GHG and that incremental CO2 has a finite effect on the surface temperature. I’m also among the majority of scientists who accepts the scientific method as the only proper arbiter of what is and what is not science, therefore, I reject the unverifiable claims of the IPCC’s that the effect from CO2 emissions will be catastrophic when in fact, all evidence points to the increase as being beneficial, even if the warming effect was as large as they claim.

Kalifornia Kook
Reply to  George Daddis
July 15, 2018 7:56 am

You don’t need to change their minds at the dinner table. You need to sow doubt. Appearing moderate means they are more likely to listen to you, and rehash the conversation later in their minds.
Being a pedant is rarely an argument winner. Take it from a pedant (me). You attract more flies with honey than vinegar – or something like that.

Reply to  Kalifornia Kook
July 15, 2018 10:28 am

A change of heart almost always must precede a change of mind.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  drednicolson
July 16, 2018 7:03 am

In the soil of thine heart, plant naught but the rose of love.

J Hope
Reply to  Kalifornia Kook
July 20, 2018 10:08 am

I agree.

Dudley Horscroft
July 15, 2018 6:10 am

1. Point out that that 97% was estimated many years ago and as more data has been obtained many scientists have modified their opinions.
2. Point out that science never stays the same, and give the example of phlogiston, where there was a 100% agreement that burning was the release of phlogiston. This held for over 100 years, but was then shown to be false by Lavoisier and in a few years all but one scientist (Joseph Priestly) had changed their minds.
3. Point out that the experiments to determine the climate sensitivity have gradually reduced the value and so far more CO2 will have to be released to attain the 2 degree increase in temperature.
4. Point out that the supposed “climate catastrophe” supposed to be the result of increase of CO2 based on the temperature of Venus is now known to be a misapprehension. The surface temperature of Venus is a result of volcanism and the high air temperatures of Venus are the result if compression of air – think dry adiabatic lapse rate. At high levels in the Venusian atmosphere, at air pressures the same as on earth, the temperature is also the same.
5. Point out that while many predictions have been made by the early climate scientists re the effects of increased CO2, virtually all have been falsified. In particular, the projections of increased temperature have been found to be approximately double, or more than double, than what has been experienced.
6. You can probably think up many more points, but the most important is that climate scientists have made some major blunders – think Mann’s Hockey Stick. Check up a bit on his statistical errors.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
July 15, 2018 6:36 am

Folks needs narratives so:

This held for over 100 years, but was then shown to be false by Lavoisier

BUT in a few years all but one scientist (Joseph Priestly)

had changed their minds!

Ben of Houston
Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
July 15, 2018 4:07 pm

The 97% is much better countered by saying “We agreed that it exists”, and then going into attribution, degrees, effects, and what to do about it. That’s aided by it being a completely true statement. The 97% survey boiled down to “does climate change exist”, saying nothing about CO2, degree, harm, or mitigation.

July 15, 2018 6:23 am

Just ask the people at the table what the correct temperature is and why. Better still ask them to write it on a piece of paper and then defend their number. Voila: instant climate hustle experience

Reply to  huls
July 15, 2018 1:13 pm

The closest thing to a coherent answer is, “Cooler than it is.” IOW, there is no coherent answer to that question.

Hocus Locus
July 15, 2018 6:32 am
Hocus Locus
Reply to  Hocus Locus
July 15, 2018 6:55 am

Dinner for one, please James
madam is stuck on climate
she still thinks that I ‘deny’ it
such silly and empty claims.

[Would it threaten Discourse if the editing time window were increased?]

July 15, 2018 6:35 am

The “dinner party” crowd (code for hand-wringing lefty upper middle class NPR /New Yorker types) now engage in moral preening and competitive virtue signalling as a status symbol, based in media-manufactured guilt about their whiteness and wealth. It’s FASHIONABLE for them to dog-whistle their “enlightened” leftism by gassing about “global warming.” Meanwhile, out in the Real World, we Deplorables roll our eyes at the fabricated nonsense and go buy a new F-150!

Robert Austin
July 15, 2018 7:04 am

The problem is that even if you are circumspect in your questioning of the climate change dogma, many are psychologically invested in climate change catastrophe. They simply do not want the world to discover that there is no man made climate change problem. My wife and I lost a group of friends at just such a dinner party. I liked these people but knowing that their politics were somewhat left of mine, I for years avoided hot topics. But finally their comments about climate change stirred me to question them. I tried the mild skeptical approach of stating that I had followed the subject for years and that in my opinion the science was immature and forecasts of climate disaster were not warranted. They claimed to have also followed the science so I asked them some simple questions to elucidate the extent of their knowledge such as who is Jim Hansen and who is Michael Mann. They really knew nothing beyond Al Gore. I was accustomed to being treated with disdain for my skepticism so it was water off my back but my wife became really angry at the supercilious way they dismissed me. I was willing to keep up the friendship, maybe I could communicate better on another day but my wife was so disgusted with their arrogance that we dropped the group from our circle of friends.

Reply to  Robert Austin
July 15, 2018 7:18 am

Regarding the 97 percent, just ask what is their peer-reviewed source for that statistic. They will not know. None of them have ever heard of Anderegg or Doran and Zimmerman, or know that those studies never pretended to measure the opinions of all scientists.

Reply to  Robert Austin
July 15, 2018 7:59 am

Robert, several years ago at a Christmas party we had attended for years we had a similar incident. Since we live in a town where the majority are far left of center I had not been allowed by my wife to engage in any political discussions, including climate. Well that night someone pushed me on what I thought about the news media. It actually started out about the reliability of what we were told by the news media. Which led to climate, which led to radical Islam. All I did was state my experience (40 years of dealing with all levels of the news media). I didn’t argue facts but just asked the person that started the discussion questions about the various issues. Before it was over I had half the party yelling at me and the other half leaving because they didn’t want to be in the same room. My wife ended up very angry about how I was treated. Her biggest issue was how little anyone of them actually listened to what I said and how little they obviously knew about the topics yet were telling me how wrong I was.

Reply to  Edwin
July 15, 2018 8:14 am

You can take solace in the fact that unfounded self righteous indignation. temper tantrums, the failure to acknowledge truth and disparaging the messenger is the behavior of a immature child who isn’t getting their way.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  co2isnotevil
July 16, 2018 7:16 am


I would add that it is really “self-righteous moral indignation”. The selling of the meme includes that it is a moral issue, and “anyone who doesn’t agree with me” is immoral. Spinning “climate action” as a moral imperative automatically places objectors on uncertain ground. Most people are worried about being accused of being immoral, even inadvertently. Exploiting this sensible behaviour (cautious introspection) is a favourite of the self-righteous.

Removing “climate” from being a scientific topic to being a moral one is a brilliant, if unethical move. If the science is weak, so are the moral positions. If the science is flawed, so are the moral decisions flowing from it. If the science is flat wrong or faked, the moral decisions are immoral.

When it comes to dinner parties, few people have a vocabulary outside the discourse in the common media. They literally do not have the words to go with an independent investigation of the truth. Most people are too lazy to investigate it themselves anyway. Why should they? In reality we have to trust other people, a lot, in our lives. If they lie to us, even cleverly, then we suffer the consequences. C’est la vie.

Being lazy has its downsides.

J Mac
Reply to  Edwin
July 15, 2018 9:43 am

You can lead people to knowledge… but you can’t make them think.

Leo Smith
Reply to  J Mac
July 15, 2018 10:48 am

Ah. I feel a song coming on…

J Hope
Reply to  J Mac
July 20, 2018 10:10 am

Great quote!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Edwin
July 15, 2018 9:58 am

Liberals don’t like being corrected. They think they have everything all figured out and don’t appreciate being told they don’t.

July 15, 2018 7:12 am

Yes, politics and religion are touchy topics at a dinner party, but doesn’t this already cover climate alarmism?

Pamela Gray
July 15, 2018 7:27 am

My go to quiet response when AGW’s latest warning is expressed is this:”ohhhhh”. It is simultaneously attentive and dismissive. The best way to combat idiotic beliefs is to force the speaker to sit with their idiocy.

July 15, 2018 7:44 am

Climate change true believers aren’t amenable to reason and don’t seem particularly interested in any dissent.

Evan Jones
July 15, 2018 8:12 am

A classic example is President Obama’s tweet: “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” The sub-text is obvious: “who are you to challenge this?”.

It is a standard-issue false dichotomy, in accordance with the doctrine and training I received forty years hence.

A high percentage agree that Climate change is real and partially due to man. But according to many (even including the IPCC), the effects in the coming decades are heavily net-positive for the environment.

On neither the Cook nor Orestes questionnaires is “danger” addressed in any manner, whatever.

The Reverend Badger
July 15, 2018 8:24 am

This whole thread goes wrong right from the beginning. If you want to keep the dinner party conversation nice I suggest you START by only inviting people who you know agree with you. This makes things a lot easier. No need to confront difficult issues, try to address the truth or reality just get ALL those present singing from the same song sheet.

So vet your guests VERY CAREFULLY. It can be embarrasing to ask someone to leave simply because they have a minority viewpoint which your other guests don’t agree with. It can be even more embarrasing if they leave without being asked.

Of course there may be situations where you are not entirely sure what your guests think. This can be easily resolved by carefully quizzing them before you issue the invite. Ask searching / probing questions to find out exactly where they lie on the spectrum and allocate your invitations accordingly.

Be prepared for your carefully laid plans to fail when actually at the dinner table however. It is not unknown to find the conversation veering into an area which you didn’t exactly cover as pre-vetted since the topic can veer away from the main points at any time. In such case it is good to have someone you trust already prepared to act. It could be you, your partner or a trusted friend. They can interrupt the conversation and politely remind the errant guest of the “rules” and, in extrme cases, do the “asked to leave” bit.

Careful consideration of all these points should ensure a smooth and successful dining experience where nobody has their personal ivory tower challenged more than a tad.

My dinner parties are never like this though but then again I do believe that CO2 in the atmosphere has a cooling efffect and that most of the truth about the way the atmosphere really works can be found in the work of Nikolov, Zeller and Doug Cotton.

It is possible my polite dinner party ideas may be applicable elsewhere.

Curious George
Reply to  The Reverend Badger
July 15, 2018 11:15 am

Should a dinner party be a safe space? Should we abolish both?

Hokey Schtick
July 15, 2018 8:26 am

Who cares what they think or say. Just tell the truth and let the poor dears deal with it.

July 15, 2018 8:28 am

That is not the best answer to the “97% can’t be wrong” argument.
The best answer is:
“Yeah, and 97% of rocket scientists, many of whom had designed the space shuttle, thought that Challenger wouldn’t blow up during launch, 97% of scientists and engineers thought that Columbia would land safely despite the impact on launch, 97% of German engineers would have believed the paint on the surface of the Hindenburg was perfectly safe, 97% engineers who built the St Francis Dam were sure it was fine, 97% of engineers who designed the Tacoma Narrows bridge thought it was perfectly safe, 97% of all the men who designed and built the Titanic thought it could survive a collision with an iceberg…. So despite many times having 97% of all the experts agreeing that something they built, while sure they understood all of the variables, was built in a way that nature could not prove them wrong in their estimations of performance… they were wrong.

Nature does not care about your consensus.”

Leo Smith
Reply to  Jeremy
July 15, 2018 10:49 am

Actually the engineers were seriously worried in both cases of the space shuttle, but were overridden by politics

Reply to  Leo Smith
July 15, 2018 11:12 am

Only 1 engineer spoke up to defend the notion that there was any reason to fear the SRB o-rings would be a problem in those temperatures. The “consensus” was they were safe to fly.

Only the minority of engineers believed that Columbia’s re-entry should be delayed, all data they could take from the ground and in-space convinced them they were safe to return. The “consensus” was they could return safely, without any special maneuvers to protect their wing (which would have been a very do-able maneuver that they DID NOT try).

You are wrong.

Jim Masterson
Reply to  Jeremy
July 15, 2018 1:52 pm

Only 1 engineer spoke up to defend the notion that there was any reason to fear the SRB o-rings would be a problem in those temperatures. The “consensus” was they were safe to fly.

This is not exactly true. A few years before I retired from my aerospace firm, we all had to view a reenactment film of the hours leading up to the Challenger loss. Essentially it centered around the telephone call between NASA and Morton-Thiokol. Two engineers (ostensibly Bob Ebeling and Roger Boisjoly) refused to approve the launch. They said that they wouldn’t approve the launch because the temperature was below their 40 degree F cutoff.

Initially, the Morton-Thiokol management agreed that the launch should be delayed. During the call, it was obvious that NASA wanted to launch. The mission schedule had been delayed twice and the three previous launches had been scrubbed. The NASA engineers asked specific questions as to why 40 degrees F was picked, what data showed the requirement, etc.

The Morton-Thiokol management became worried and asked for a few minutes off-line. In the reenactment, they ordered their engineers to approve the launch. In actuality, they continued the conference call without their engineers present. In any case and over the objections of the Morton-Thiokol engineers, the launch was approved.

In the reenactment, one engineer said he didn’t want to watch the launch. “The shuttle is going to blow up on the pad.”

But they did watch the launch. When the shuttle lifted off, one engineer turned to the other and said, “Well, we dodged that bullet.” The reenactment ends there.

I’m surprised our management allowed this film to be shown. It’s obvious that the problem was management not supporting their engineers–especially when the engineers turned out to be right.


Reply to  Jeremy
July 15, 2018 10:52 am

To be fair, the Titanic would have survived a head-on collision. It was the third watch on the bridge attempting in panic to reverse engines and turn at the same time that exposed the entire front port side of the ship, where the ‘berg tore a breach too large for the watertight compartment system to handle.

Reply to  drednicolson
July 15, 2018 11:18 am

Human error is part of nature.

Reply to  Jeremy
July 15, 2018 1:15 pm

And an integral part of being human.

July 15, 2018 8:39 am

I tell people settled science is really boring. Climate science is very interesting.

Massachusetts Mark
July 15, 2018 9:08 am

Antibiotics aren’t used on viruses

Reply to  Massachusetts Mark
July 15, 2018 11:48 am

My father told us in the late 40’s that certain alternative medicine specialists were using penicillin to treat everyone who had a cold.

Reply to  Massachusetts Mark
July 15, 2018 6:04 pm

Always dangerous to pull examples from outside one’s field of expertise. Unfortunately such mistakes undermine the credibility of the author to less critical readers. Not like it’s hard to remember antivirals for viruses, and antibacterials for bacterial infections. It’s kinda there, right in the name 🙂

Roger Knights
July 15, 2018 9:13 am

I suggest that some organization like OTA or SEPP or Heartland or … print paperback-book-with (4.5 inches) booklets containing our side’s points and counterpoint vs. warmists’ claims. Such already exist—and could be modified and improved. Here’s a link to Jo Nova’s “Skeptic’s Handbook”: It could / should be given away in the millions.

A man’s inner jacket breast pocket is 4.75 inches wide, and could hold half a dozen such booklets, assuming they’re no more tax 24 pages each. Merely handing over the booklet and requesting one’s opponent to comment on it after he’s read it would keep things calm and get them on a higher level when the next meeting occurs.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Roger Knights
July 15, 2018 2:07 pm

PS: Steve Gorham’s “Mad … World of Climatism” is something that could be mined (with permission), as well as other punchy books. There should be shorty links provided to allow readers to drill deeper.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Roger Knights
July 15, 2018 4:32 pm

Another thought: Put many books and articles, including graphics and active links, onto a thumb drive and hand those out to promote climate change skepticism!! Those drives cost only $2 or so wholesale, right?

Roger Knights
Reply to  Roger Knights
July 16, 2018 10:00 pm

PS: Or onto a CD-ROM or DVD.

July 15, 2018 10:08 am

“Global warming hysteria is promoted by scoundrels and believed by imbeciles.”

There is no point in discussing issue with imbeciles, especially issues like global warming alarmism.

The best thing you can say to warmists is to politely ask them to never vote, and never have children.

The world and the human gene pool will benefit from their sacrifice.

Regards, Allan 🙂


When I compare recent generations to my father’s generation, aka the Great Generation, it is clear that the population is getting much stupider. Based on fundamentals, this will continue until we have a Darwin event and the stupidest die off.

The Great Generation fought and won WW2, won the Peace, and then won the Cold War. This enabled the current feeble-minded generations to flourish, and the Millennials and the Snowflakes are the culmination of this regressive process.

I recently posted this premise. It does not JUST apply to global warming alarmism – it applies to all the many manias of the idiot political left.

“Global warming hysteria is promoted by scoundrels and believed by imbeciles.”
– Allan MacRae

Crispin in Waterloo
July 16, 2018 7:35 am

There you go making sense again. Better watch your six.

July 15, 2018 10:41 am

” Extreme weather: told you so Hardly any week passes by these days without some media report about extreme weather events and their alleged link to global warming.”

Indeed – Lead op-ed in today’s [Sunday’s] Los Angeles Times (LAT’s is the nation’s 4th largest newspaper – over a million read Sunday’s): Climate change is behind the global heat wave. Why won’t the media say it? — Despite clear evidence, reporters rarely tie extreme weather to global warming

When you stop laughing at those insane claims . .

First of all, I assume that the author, (ass’t prof at UC Santa Barbara), is implying ACC, and AGW – why don’t they ever say what they mean?

“Last week’s heat wave brought record temperatures to S CA.” Bla bla bla –

What caused this three day heat wave, back in July 1981 – Downtown LA (all 3 are still standing records)?

July 24, 1891 – 103
July 25, 1891 – 109 – Also till standing as the all time record high for the month of July.
July 26, 1891 – 102

No UHI effect back then, either (those darn horse farts). Of course, he’s lying from the start; journalists are carrying the water for these kooks every day of the week (Hey dude – they even published your ridiculous op-ed today).

But here’s where he looses the entire thing, in my view:

“Scientists have been churning out evidence of human-caused climate change for more than a century.”

Besides that being incorrect – the evidence thing – what’s this ‘century’ thing? Is not the ‘consensus’ that since somewhere between 1950 and the 1970’s CO2 had risen enough such that an observable/measurable human footprint on GW, AGW, could be found. I don’t imagine that more than a handful of the loudest alarmist scientists – would actually go on record saying that there was any evidence that AGW was causing – altering – making worse, etc – other forms of climate prior to the birth of AGW during that period.

Footnote – When speaking of CC/GW, etc – we so-called skeptics should always distinguish between naturally occurring CC/GW and ACC/AGW. My first response to anyone bringing up CC, is “Do you mean man-made global warming; being some additional warming over and above naturally occurring? Or, do you mean CC, other than the Earth’s normal constant, and dramatic, CC — that being caused by some bit of additional warming – that man-made bit?”

That almost always reveals that they know nothing about the Earth’s climate history – except the past few decades (which are unlike anything the Earth has ever experience before’); in other words, they forgot everything that they learned in 7th, or 8th grade general science – or geology.

michael hart
July 15, 2018 10:54 am

“…or a global pandemic as antibiotics lose out in the struggle against constantly evolving viruses?”

As a medicinal chemist, I may be able to help when the world finally wanst to spend money on new antibiotics rather than pi$$ it down the drain on worse than we thought climate-catastrophe models. But you don’t treat viral infections with antibiotics.

Tilak Doshi
Reply to  michael hart
July 15, 2018 6:43 pm

Thanks for pointing out the mistake ‘re virus and antibiotics. I am aware of this but mistakenly used the term virus instead of bacteria. Other commentators also pointed out this mistake.

Richard Wright
July 15, 2018 10:55 am

Asking dinner party guests what percent of the atmosphere is actually CO2 can be a lot of fun.

Reply to  Richard Wright
July 15, 2018 12:29 pm

Suggest that the ice cubes in their Charles Shaw Chardonnay – LOL – are affecting their cognitive abilities, much more than CO2 is affecting the climate.

July 15, 2018 11:54 am

Being a Leftist boor means never having to say you’re sorry.

July 15, 2018 12:51 pm

I find a polite response to the 97% claim is always; “Mm, so what do you think of the work of Dr Spencer or Pielke on the subject?”

100% thus questioned so far have returned blank looks.

Joel O’Bryan
July 15, 2018 12:58 pm

IMO The best way to impress your Progressive female guests is to offer them the Dan Aykroyd to Jane Curtain opening response as a counter-point to their inane illogic of consensus climate pseudo-science.

July 15, 2018 1:16 pm

I believe the quote from the IPCC regarding extreme weather is from the IPCC’s second assessment report (SAR / AR2). A better informed advocate would quote from the much more recent AR5 or SREX.

Is there any mechanism for alerting the editors to errors (after publication fact checking) that might result in a correction to the article?

July 15, 2018 1:21 pm

I always point folks to the Doran Zimmerman 97% study and let them read it for themselves, or point them to the Cook study critiques. It becomes very clear the 97% item is just green fantasy.

July 15, 2018 4:24 pm

I don’t try to debate their faith in climate change, but since they think CO2 is bad, I start off by blaming the rise in CO2 on liberal environmentalists. This gets their attention but after I remind them how they completely shut down nuclear energy in 1979 and forced us to build coal fired powered plants instead, they start quieting down. The US had plans to build about 40 more reactors in 1979 that didn’t get built. Think of all the CO2 added to the atmosphere as a result, not to mention all the other pollutants, SO2, NOx, particulate, CO, etc. And remember acid rain? Primitative scrubbing technology in the ’80s coupled with the additional coal fired plants gave us the acid rain problem. I blame environmentalists. Acid rain is no longer a problem since we developed clean coal technology in the ’90s. But I’m not done with them yet! The Montreal Protocol in the early ’90s forced the world to change from R12 to other refrigerants that weren’t as efficient, most of them at a 30% loss of efficiency! That’s 30% more energy needed (i.e. CO2) for every auto, home, office building, store, industry, etc. worldwide! The western world had to comply by 1994 (curiously the same year the IPCC was organized). So environmentalists forced us to put even more CO2 into the air with this edict. They usually change the subject after this.

Reply to  JWG53
July 16, 2018 2:02 pm

An underappreciated debate tactic. Assume the other party’s point for the sake of argument, and simply take it to its ultimate conclusion.

Reed Coray
July 15, 2018 5:33 pm

My suggestion to a “Green” dinner party guest is to tell him/her that you have been doing your part to prevent global warming by sequestering CO2; and for a small fee you’ll upgrade their vacuum thermos bottles by filling the vacuum space with some of your sequestered CO2. That way, (a) he/she can contribute to the sequestering of CO2, and (b) the heat-trapping property of CO2 gas will keep his/her Starbucks’ latte heated for a longer period of time.

Let me know if anyone accepts your offer.

July 15, 2018 9:17 pm

Whenever the topic comes up I direct people to this excellent easy to understand explanation of the science as it stands. From the Royal Society, it is hard fault.

July 15, 2018 11:03 pm

You might also check what’s on that dinner party menu.
How far did it have to come? (transported via the use of fossil fuels)
Where was it grown or raised? Were forests cut down to create that coffee plantation?
Does your drink have bubbles in it? That CO2, you know.
Is your water bottled? Oh, the plastic!

Anyway – one must always be aware of the personal sacrifice needed as well if you are seriously concerned.

Mike Higton
July 16, 2018 3:04 am

When the specific issue of windpower comes up I enjoy asking “Why did we stop using sailing ships to transport goods worldwide? With modern materials the sails and hull could be made very strong and lightweight. Power winches and electronic aids would minimise crew numbers. So why don’t we see any?”

The answers are unavoidable: wind is unreliable, intermittent and weak as a power source.

July 16, 2018 4:08 am

I just tell them there is no WV increase hence no +ve feedback. They soon shut up when they realise they haven’t a clue what the science actually says. Then you can mention ERBE. Lack of troposphere hot spot. LAI. Crop yields increasing.

If they come back with ‘yes, but it is less nutritious’ point out they are eating white bread. etc etc etc

July 16, 2018 4:43 am

“…overall, there is no evidence that extreme weather events, or climate variability, has increased, in a global sense, through the 20th century…”.

The last time I argued about this IPCC’s position at a dinner party, I was asked the reference on IPCC’s site or report but I wasn’t able to do so.

Has anyone a link to this position? Thanks in advance.

Tilak Doshi
Reply to  Zo6
July 16, 2018 8:22 am
Reply to  Tilak Doshi
July 18, 2018 6:50 am


Dr. Strangelove
July 16, 2018 5:35 am

In today’s dinner parties, people talk about everything except science. A far cry from the “science salons” of the 18th century, the Age of Enlightenment. Intellectuals then organize parties and invite scientists to discuss science. The first woman physicist (Emilie du Chatelet) and the first woman math professor (Maria Agnesi) learned science from the salons in their homes.

Chatelet learned astronomy at age 10

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Agnesi gave talks in science salons at age 15

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July 16, 2018 6:33 pm

I just ask them if they know the definition of climate which they usually don’t.
“So you believe in climate change but you don’t know what climate is?”
Then I simply move on…

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