They call this a consensus?


Financial Post – June 2, 2007

What an interesting article. The author begins by saying that his original intent when starting a series of articles was to write about the dissenters of global warming. His belief was that most scientists believed that global warming induced by human activity was occurring and he wanted to give a voice to those few dissenters that remained.  He was sure that they weren’t the kooks that everyone was calling him. He appears to have run into a problem – there are a lot of dissenters in the scientific community!  Of course, if you listen to statements by former Vice President Al Gore and the IPCC you wouldn’t arrive at that opinion.

“Only an insignificant fraction of scientists deny the global warming crisis. The time for debate is over. The science is settled.”

So said Al Gore … in 1992. Amazingly, he made his claims despite much evidence of their falsity. A Gallup poll at the time reported that 53% of scientists actively involved in global climate research did not believe global warming had occurred; 30% weren’t sure; and only 17% believed global warming had begun. Even a Greenpeace poll showed 47% of climatologists didn’t think a runaway greenhouse effect was imminent; only 36% thought it possible and a mere 13% thought it probable.

the list of distinguished scientists who question the IPCC grows daily, as does the number of emails I receive, many from scientists who express gratitude for my series.

Somewhere along the way, I stopped believing that a scientific consensus exists on climate change. Certainly there is no consensus at the very top echelons of scientists — the ranks from which I have been drawing my subjects — and certainly there is no consensus among astrophysicists and other solar scientists, several of whom I have profiled. If anything, the majority view among these subsets of the scientific community may run in the opposite direction. Not only do most of my interviewees either discount or disparage the conventional wisdom as represented by the IPCC, many say their peers generally consider it to have little or no credibility. In one case, a top scientist told me that, to his knowledge, no respected scientist in his field accepts the IPCC position. [Editor’s note: my formatting]

An IPCC reviewer does not assess the IPCC’s comprehensive findings. He might only review one small part of one study that later becomes one small input to the published IPCC report. Far from endorsing the IPCC reports, some reviewers, offended at what they considered a sham review process, have demanded that the IPCC remove their names from the list of reviewers. One even threatened legal action when the IPCC refused.

A great many scientists, without doubt, are four-square in their support of the IPCC. A great many others are not.

…claimed some 17,800 scientists in opposition to the Kyoto Protocol.

…U.S.-based National Registry of Environmental Professionals, an accrediting organization whose 12,000 environmental practitioners have standing with U.S. government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. In a November, 2006, survey of its members, it found that only 59% think human activities are largely responsible for the warming that has occurred, and only 39% make their priority the curbing of carbon emissions. And 71% believe the increase in hurricanes is likely natural, not easily attributed to human activities.

Man-made global warming deserves study, the World Federation of Scientists believes, but so do other serious climatic concerns. So do 14 other planetary emergencies.

You can read the entire article here.

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6 thoughts on “They call this a consensus?”

  1. Bolo says:

    “Even a Greenpeace poll showed 47% of climatologists didn’t think a runaway greenhouse effect was imminent; only 36% thought it possible and a mere 13% thought it probable.”

    Does the author of this piece know that there is a huge difference between “global warming/climate change” and a “runaway greenhouse effect?” The former means that climate patterns shift, with a probably increase in the global mean temperature. The latter means that Earth becomes like Venus.

    Gigantic difference.

  2. Nick Anthis says:

    In a recent comment on one of my posts, you wrote “In fact, in a recent study of scientists only 39% felt that carbon dioxide reductions were a priority.”

    First of all, the survey that you mention is from the National Registry of Environmental Professionals, which is not an organization of climate scientists or even environmental scientists. Regardless, if we look at the results of their survey (found here), it’s a little different than you let on. For example, “59 percent respond that current climactic activity exceeding norms calibrated by over 100 years of weather data collection can be, in large part, attributed to human activity.” Also, “58 percent of those practitioners surveyed think the U.S. is in a position to begin taking concrete public policy steps that have a good chance of slowing the negative effects of global warming. 67 percent report they think the U.S. Government is NOT doing enough to address the effects of global warming.” And, “53 percent of professionals polled consider international agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol, provide a solid framework from which large volume energy producing countries like the U.S. can play a positive role in combating the effects of global climate change.”

    Most importantly, though, this 39% number you give is complete and total bullshit. The question was “Which human activity would you say should be regulated the most to generate an effective public policy response to global warming?” 38.6% of respondents answered “carbon emissions as a whole.” The remaining 61.4% gave a variety of other answers, including “energy production”, “modes of transportation”, “deforestation”, “ocean pollution”, and “air pollution”. This in no way implies that “only 39% [of scientists] felt that carbon dioxide reductions were a priority.” Did you even look at the survey?

  3. muckdog says:

    The IPCC seems like a political tool at this point.

    But everyone will have to agree to disagree. There will be no consensus on this. For those worried about global warming, feel free to cut back on your energy use. Don’t let me stop you.

  4. Haley Carter Jr. says:

    Is the climate warming, no matter what the cause? If yes, what can be done to stop it, or at least slow it down? If we can only slow it down, what can we do to adapt to a warm climate? If you think it’s not warming, how much are you willing to risk on being right?

  5. admin says:

    Haley – I think you have nailed the issue. If the climate is changing and the cause is natural then it is almost preposterous to believe that we can (or should) change it. Based on the research that I have cited on this site, that is not a foregone conclusion but we just don’t know since we don’t understand our climate well enough.

    If the climate is changing due to human causes then we need to effectively value its cost of changing and make an intelligent decision as to which is worse – the cause or the cure.

  6. Wish it was getting a bit warming in the UK. We are seeing more extreme weather though.

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