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Is there a scientific consensus on global warming?

What the science says...

Select a level... Basic Intermediate Advanced

97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming.

Climate Myth...

There is no consensus
The Petition Project features over 31,000 scientists signing the petition stating "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide will, in the forseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere ...". (Petition Project)

Science achieves a consensus when scientists stop arguing.  When a question is first asked – like ‘what would happen if we put a load more CO2 in the atmosphere?’ – there may be many hypotheses about cause and effect. Over a period of time, each idea is tested and retested – the processes of the scientific method – because all scientists know that reputation and kudos go to those who find the right answer (and everyone else becomes an irrelevant footnote in the history of science).  Nearly all hypotheses will fall by the wayside during this testing period, because only one is going to answer the question properly, without leaving all kinds of odd dangling bits that don’t quite add up. Bad theories are usually rather untidy.

But the testing period must come to an end. Gradually, the focus of investigation narrows down to those avenues that continue to make sense, that still add up, and quite often a good theory will reveal additional answers, or make powerful predictions, that add substance to the theory.

So a consensus in science is different from a political one. There is no vote. Scientists just give up arguing because the sheer weight of consistent evidence is too compelling, the tide too strong to swim against any longer. Scientists change their minds on the basis of the evidence, and a consensus emerges over time. Not only do scientists stop arguing, they also start relying on each other's work. All science depends on that which precedes it, and when one scientist builds on the work of another, he acknowledges the work of others through citations. The work that forms the foundation of climate change science is cited with great frequency by many other scientists, demonstrating that the theory is widely accepted - and relied upon.

In the scientific field of climate studies – which is informed by many different disciplines – the consensus is demonstrated by the number of scientists who have stopped arguing about what is causing climate change – and that’s nearly all of them.  A survey of 928 peer-reviewed abstracts on the subject 'global climate change' published between 1993 and 2003 shows that not a single paper rejected the consensus position that global warming is man caused (Oreskes 2004). 

A follow-up study by the Skeptical Science team of over 12,000 peer-reviewed abstracts on the subjects of 'global warming' and 'global climate change' published between 1991 and 2011 found that of the papers taking a position on the cause of global warming, over 97% agreed that humans are causing it (Cook 2013).  The scientific authors of the papers were also contacted and asked to rate their own papers, and again over 97% whose papers took a position on the cause said humans are causing global warming.

consensus pie chart

Lead author John Cook created a short video abstract summarizing the study:

Several studies have confirmed that “...the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes”. (Doran 2009). In other words, more than 97% of scientists working in the disciplines contributing to studies of our climate, accept that climate change is almost certainly being caused by human activities.

We should also consider official scientific bodies and what they think about climate change. There are no national or major scientific institutions anywhere in the world that dispute the theory of anthropogenic climate change. Not one.

In the field of climate science, the consensus is unequivocal: human activities are causing climate change.

 

Basic rebuttal written by GPWayne

Last updated on 1 August 2013 by gpwayne. View Archives

Printable Version  |  Offline PDF Version  |  Link to this page

Related Arguments

Further reading

Further viewing

The "Climate Denial Crock of the Week" video series examines the list of "32,000 leading skeptical scientists."

Naomi Oreskes gives a thorough presentation of the development of our scientific understanding of anthropogenic global warming:

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to Joe Crouch for his efforts in tracking down scientific organizations endorsing the consensus as well as links to their public statements.

Update

On 21 Jan 2012, we revised 'the skeptic argument' with a minor quote formatting correction.

Comments

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Comments 51 to 100 out of 505:

  1. frankbi
    I was referring to all the peer-reviewed papers, and the blogs that link to them. Legitimate or not, there is an awful lot of dissent. The conference you mention was more like a rally from what I have read about it. I really don't consider that dissent, although a few of it's speakers did post their papers on-line. I have read many papers on-line that are skeptical but not actually in opposition to the AGW hypothesis. Do you consider these to be dissenters?
  2. Frankbi,
    I believe the number 19 originally came from Andy Revkin's Dotearth blog. Andy Revkin later said that he had gotten emails from other scientists saying that there were several dozen more in attendence. Granted, its not 19,000, but its not 19 either.

    Beyond that, the 19,000 scientists are not all in climate related field, but apparently the Scientific American did some "crude extrapolating" and found roughly 200 climate researchers in the bunch. Again, not 19,000, but still a respectable number.

    The Oregon Petition isn't worth much anyhow.
  3. Robert S:

    Well, I couldn't find any concrete mention of any figures above 19... only some mentions of climate inactivists claiming there were "hundreds" of scientists there. Given that there were ~500 people in total, I wonder why they couldn't be more specific.

    In the meantime, Heartland Institute included a list of climate skeptic "co-authors" which included Mann, Rahmstorf, Keeling, and other well-known global warming theory _proponents_. And many scientists are angry about this:
    http://tinyurl.com/6zjxy4
  4. #52, Robert S., I don't know where you got 200 climate researchers were there, but there are over 20,000 climate scientists in the U.S. alone according to the AGU, so even there were 200 in attendance, and assuming they were all skeptics, that's still only about 1%.
    That would qualify as an overwhelming consensus in my book.
  5. Phillippe I don't see where you get the idea that the rate of increase of CO2 is unprecedented, or even relevent. It is supposed to be atmospheric content that makes the difference and by those standards we are not at or near anything extreme. So that argument doesn't work.

    But I guess that is another thread.
  6. since the topic in this forum is "the consensus" I thought I'd forward this
    http://www.desmogblog.com/500-scientists-with-documented-doubts...
  7. Paledriver (54),

    You misunderstood me:

    Frankbi said this "Remember the claim that there were 19,000 scientists disputing global warming? During the New York denialist conference ("2008 International Conference on Climate Change"), it turned out there were only _19_ scientists. Looks like the number 19,000 is off by a factor of 1,000."

    I responded to that point with this "Beyond that, the 19,000 scientists are not all in climate related field, but apparently the Scientific American did some "crude extrapolating" and found roughly 200 climate researchers in the bunch. Again, not 19,000, but still a respectable number."

    The 200 were supposedly from the OISM petition.

    And the link in your post at 56 is basically the same thing as frankbi's link at 53.
  8. Robert S.
    I did understand you. What I'm saying is
    #1, you don't know that the 200 that were, supposedly, there all disagree with the consensus
    and
    #2, 200 is an insignificant number when you realize that there are over 20,000 in the U.S. alone, and that this convention drew, I believe they claim, from all over the world.
  9. No, you didn't, and still do not, understand me.

    You said "I don't know where you got 200 climate researchers were there, but there are over 20,000 climate scientists in the U.S. alone according to the AGU, so even there were 200 in attendance"

    The 200 figure came from Scientific American when they looked at the OISM petition. There is nothing to attend regarding the OISM petition because it is a petition. You must be talking about the Heartland Conference.

    And I have been unable to find any concrete mention of 20,000 climate scientists in "the U.S. alone". The best I can find is an Eli Rabbett post in which Eli mentions 13,746 AGU members in climate related fields with a spread like this (quoting from Eli's blog):

    "-1956 Atomspheric
    -1564 Biogeochemistry
    -334 Cryosphere
    -751 Global climate change
    -4736 Hydrology
    -2326 Ocean sciences
    -634 Paleoclimate
    -2004 Volcanology (you can argue here if you want)"

    If you add foreign members, the number reaches 19,340. Now I understand what you are saying about the numbers, but please, don't make things up to prove your point.

    Though I never did think science was much of a popularity contest.
  10. what did I make up? My memory was a little muddy, my age perhaps, but the basic point is still there. There are about 20000ish members of the A.G.U. alone who are climate scientists, ergo 200 is about 1% or insignificant.
    And since we were talking about the conference, I naturally supposed you were too.
    It would have been better for you if you had, rather than that hoax of a petition.
  11. "what did I make up?"

    This: "there are over 20,000 climate scientists in the U.S. alone according to the AGU". Though I give you the benefit of the doubt (it is a big difference, however!)

    Anyhow, the comparison doesn't make sense --the OISM petition is Americans only, while the 20,000 includes foreign AGU members. And I don't know that I would call all of them "climate scientists": Some biogeochemists might be, majority probably are not, though they likely understand a part of the process, most volcanologists aren't climate scientists, etc... The actual number of *climate scientists* is probably much lower than 20,000 (or the 13,000 American AGU members).

    Then again, like I said above, I never thought science worked through popular opinion.

    "It would have been better for you if you had, rather than that hoax of a petition."

    I know the petition has it's problems, and it isn't exactly a major credible opposition to AGW, but I would hardly call it a hoax
  12. Apparently the number has increased for this new petition. In an article dated Monday, May 19, 2008 it says 31,000 Scientists Debunk Al Gore and Global Warming. Anyone know about this one?
  13. RobetS
    Re: "-2004 Volcanology (you can argue here if you want)"

    Probably the best of all sources listed. They have a better understanding of internal forcing than anyone else other than these groups:
    -4736 Hydrology
    -2326 Ocean sciences

    But where are the astronomers?
  14. If the Caribbean Academy of Sciences and the Royal Irish Academy endorse man made global warming can any person with a conscience still doubt? Mr Hansen from NASA's Goddard Institute thinks the doubters should be punished. Shouldn't they be given the opportunity to recant? Water boarding causes no lasting damage and requires no carbon use whatsoever, unlike burning at the stake, etc.

    Mr. Hansen let slip a prediction for the future. "All the Arctic sea ice will be gone in five to ten years." Going out on a limb, isn't he. He might be alive to reap the ricicule. I've marked my calendar: "Look for hell fire and inundation". For now, I'll keep the beach property.
  15. in response to number 62.
    this was when they claimes 17,000.....".. took a sample of 30 of the 1,400 signatories claiming to hold a Ph.D. in a climate-related science. Of the 26 we were able to identify in various databases, 11 said they still agreed with the petition -- one was an active climate researcher, two others had relevant expertise, and eight signed based on an informal evaluation. Six said they would not sign the petition today, three did not remember any such petition, one had died, and five did not answer repeated messages. Crudely extrapolating, the petition supporters include a core of about 200 climate researchers -- a respectable number, though rather a small fraction of the climatological community.".

    this from when it was first released......"The Marshall Institute co-sponsored with the OISM a deceptive campaign -- known as the Petition Project -- to undermine and discredit the scientific authority of the IPCC and to oppose the Kyoto Protocol. Early in the spring of 1998, thousands of scientists around the country received a mass mailing urging them to sign a petition calling on the government to reject the Kyoto Protocol. The petition was accompanied by other pieces including an article formatted to mimic the journal of the National Academy of Sciences. Subsequent research revealed that the article had not been peer-reviewed, nor published, nor even accepted for publication in that journal and the Academy released a strong statement disclaiming any connection to this effort and reaffirming the reality of climate change. The Petition resurfaced in 2001.".

    and more...."Of 100 names googled, only about 2 percent turn out to be scientists with any training relevant to climatology, usually physics. A small number -- about 15 percent -- were other kinds of scientists or physicians, but with no relevant training. Several in this overall pool of scientists were quite elderly. The remainder were either people with no scientific credentials whatsoever (40 percent), or names that did not appear in the search -- highly improbable nowadays if indeed such people existed."

    so the petition is clearly a fabrication.
  16. paledriver
    I was under the impression that this was a newer petition. Are you saying that this is the same one as the 20k scientists earlier in this thread?
  17. Will Nitschke
    There have been several updates to the link that you posted. Below is the latest one only.

    U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007
    Senate Report Debunks "Consensus"
    UPDATE: More and more scientists continue to declare their dissent of the ‘consensus.’ (LINK)
    Climate Skeptics Reveal ‘Horror Stories’ of Scientific Suppression (NYC Climate Conference Report - Part One of Reports)
    March 6, 2008

    "Many prominent scientists participating and attending were very impressed by the New York City climate conference. Hurricane researcher and Meteorologist Stanley B. Goldenberg of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in Miami praised the Heartland Instituted sponsored conference.

    “The fact is that this conference is evidence that there are numerous respected, established and in many cases world-renowned scientists who have done careful research in various areas of ‘climate change’ that sharply differ with the [UN] IPCC results,” Goldenberg told the New York Times."
  18. Qietman, if you go to the link provided by #62 you'll find it's the same old Petition Project by OISM.
    If you go to my posts 4,8,12,14 and 28 (to begin with) you'll get a start on that petition and the "inhofe 400".
  19. paledriver
    I have been following along but I did not realize that it was the same one because of the number and date. So this petition is still circulating?
  20. paledriver
    I went back and read it again. It seems to be from the same organization but it also seems to be a different petition, they mention one in 2001 with 19k+ signers, and then they talk about 31k signers with 9k+ PHDs.

    It does not really mean anything one way or the other as I don't accept consensus as proof of anything, if I did I would be Hindu or Buddist (I'm sure one of those two have a consensus).
  21. paledriver
    p.s. I put that link in 62 to see if anyone could tell me if it was the same as discussed previously.
  22. Quietman,
    you argument about consensus doesn't relate.
    In science, truth wins out over time. And over time, as more and more data comes in, the consensus on this matter grows.
    As I've said, I'm just a layman but I know that much at least.
  23. paledriver

    I'm not a scientist either, but as a research engineer I made much use of the scientific process. It does not matter how many believe a particular hypothesis is true, only the one that turns out to be right, regardless of how many backers it had. Working in the private sector, I had a lot of trouble getting some of my papers past managers who did not have a clue as to what I was talking about and believed otherwise, but once in the design staff's hands they understood and acted immediately (I have a lot of experience side-stepping managers).

    Let me give you a very good and reletively recent example:

    The late Dr. Rhodes Fairbridge studied the oceans for many years and determined that the sealevel rose and fell in cycles. It was named the Fairbridge cycle in DERISION because the consensus said he was wrong. It is now recognized to be correct and the consensus wrong.

    The hypothesis published in a science magazine in 1966 is the one explained by Dr. Riscard Mackey in his eulogy for Dr. Fairbridge. Again he went against the consensus but I think that he was correct. It was the only climate prediction made (last summer) that turned out to be correct thus far (it predicted low sunspot activity and cooling starting in 2008) and the IPCC, it seems, is finally paying some attention.
  24. paledriver
    I was rereading your post #65. Would you consider the description below qualified in climatology?

    "He obtained a B.A. in Physics and Mathematics with highest distinction in 1963, an M.S. in Astronomy in 1965 and a Ph.D. in Physics, in 1967, all three degrees from the University of Iowa."
  25. As a Ph.D. scientist, I can attest to the fact there is no consensus among scientists on global warming.

    So much so, that the American Physical Society has opened debate on the matter.

    http://www.dailytech.com/Myth+of+Consensus+Explodes+APS+Opens+Global+Warming+Debate/article12403.htm

    But facts like these seldom get in the way of religious fanatics, and anthropogenic global warming is a religion.
  26. Austerlitz
    The blog that you gave the URL for was interesting but I found the actual APS newsletter even more interesting.
  27. Quietman,

    Here is another scientist who writes some compelling arguments against the theory:

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24036736-7583,00.html

    I have not checked his credentials; however, I find his arguments convincing. Of course, the Inquisition will dismiss him, as the consensus has already spoken.
  28. Austerlitz
    Thanks for the link. I have posted it at the LiveScience website in an argument that I'm having with one of the NASA guys who isn't a climatologist. Not being a scientist it's hard to be taken seriously so I appreciate the link.
  29. An outright lie about the American Physical Society

    "The newest denialist talking point
    Physicists reaffirm that human-induced GHGs affect the atmosphere
    Posted by Andrew Dessler (Guest Contributor) at 1:23 PM on 18 Jul 2008
    Read more about: climate | climate science | climate change skepticism | greenhouse-gas emissions | scientific research
    Tools: print | email | + digg | + del.icio.us | + reddit | + stumbleupon

    It goes something like this:

    The American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists, has reversed its stance on climate change and is now proclaiming that many of its members disbelieve in human-induced global warming.

    Of course that's not true. Today a statement appeared on the APS website saying:

    APS Position Remains Unchanged

    The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007:

    "Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate."

    An article at odds with this statement recently appeared in an online newsletter of the APS Forum on Physics and Society, one of 39 units of APS. The header of this newsletter carries the statement that "Opinions expressed are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the APS or of the Forum." This newsletter is not a journal of the APS and it is not peer reviewed.

    For a list of societies that have endorsed the mainstream position on climate change, see this post."

    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/7/18/74618/8261
  30. here's those credentials for you, auster....
    "Who is 'Rocket Scientist' David Evans?
    22 Jul 08

    UPDATED: David Evans has sent along his definition of a rocket scientist. See below for details.

    This title grabbed our attention: Top Rocket Scientist: No evidence C02 causes global warming. And it should. It is a pretty bold statement and the implications would be pretty big news.

    So we decided to compile a backgrounder on 'The Top Rocket Scientist."
    Here's the research database entry on David Evans:

    No peer-reviewed articles on climate change

    According to his own resume, Evans has not published a single peer-reviewed research paper on the subject of climate change. Evans published only a single paper in 1987 in his career and it is unrelated to climate change.

    Evans has published an article for the Alabama-based Ludwig von Mises Instutute, a right-wing free-market think tank.

    Evans also published a "background briefing" (pdf) document for the Australian chapter of the Lavoisier Group, a global warming "skeptic" organization with close ties to the mining industry.

    "I am not a climate modeler"

    From 1999 to 2006 Evans worked for the Australian Greenhouse Office designing a carbon accounting system that is used by the Australian Government to calculate its land-use carbon accounts for the Kyoto Protocol. While Evans says (pdf) that "[he] know[s] a heck of a lot about modeling and computers," he states clearly that he is "not a climate modeler."

    Background

    David Evans lives in Australia and gained media attention after an article he wrote titled, No Smoking Hot Spot was published in The Australian in June, 2008.The article claims that climate change is not caused by C02 emissions because there is no evidence of "a hot spot about 10km up in the atmosphere over the tropics." Evan's claim has been thoroughly debunked by Tim Lambert, a computer scientist at the University of New South Wales.

    According to his bio, Evans claims to be a 'Rocket Scientist' and one article claims that he is a 'Top Rocket Scientist.' While Evans background does show that he has a PhD in electrical engineering, there is no evidence that he was ever employed as a rocket scientist.

    Evans answered our inquiry about his claim to being a rocket scientist with the following explanation:
    In US academic and industry parlance, "rocket scientist" means anyone who has completed a PhD in one of the hard sciences at one of the top US institutions. The term arose for people who *could* do rocket science, not those who literally build rockets.Thus the term "rocket scientist" means someone with a PhD in physics, electrical engineering, or mathematics (or perhaps a couple of other closely related disciplines), from MIT, Stanford, Caltech, and maybe a few other institutions.

    I did a PhD in electrical engineering at Stanford in the 1980s. Electrical engineering is your basic high tech degree, because most high technology spawned from electrical information technology. I specialized in signal processing, maths, and statistics.

    The definition provided by Evans would appear to be at odds with the conventional use of the term 'rocket scientist' which according to various sources is "One specializing in the science or study of rockets and their design." For example, here's an entry on Answers.com about Hermann Oberth a famous Rocket Scientist who published a book about rocket travel into outer space in 1932 and is considered one of 3 founding fathers of modern rocketry and astronautics.

    Evans also claims to be "building a word processor for Windows." DeSmogBlog contacted Microsoft Corp. and they have confirmed that he does not work for Microsoft Corporation."
    http://www.desmogblog.com/who-is-rocket-scientist-david-evans
  31. paledriver
    You are talking about two peoples seperated by a common language. American connotation varies state to state and even city to city and you nit pick over the connotation of a word used on the opposite side of the world. A little strange I would say. He used the slang meaning of a rocket scientist in a way that an American would not but how is this term normally used in Australia? Maybe John can tell us.
  32. PS Publishing peer reviewed papers does not a scientist make.
  33. Paledriver,

    There was no outright lie about the APS. No one said their position changed (a strawman argument); rather, that there is debate. Granted, it turns out it was a subset of the APS, but it is still part of the APS.

    Here is the link from the APS website: http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200807/editor.cfm

    Partially quoted herein:
    "With this issue of Physics & Society, we kick off a debate concerning one of the main conclusions of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body which, together with Al Gore, recently won the Nobel Prize for its work concerning climate change research. There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution."

    Personally, I think you do your self a disservice quoting a smear site (desmogblog.com) that only seeks to discredit and personally attack those who argue against anthropogenic warming. Arguing semantics about "rocket scientist"? Contacting Microsoft Corp. because he says he is "building a word processor for Windows"? Is this disgraceful behavior all the Inquisition has to offer?
  34. I missed that windows comment entirely. Writing a program for windows is not the same as writing for microsoft. It means to run on the windows O/S rather than on a unix or Linux or Mac O/S. Most likely using an MS language for compatibility like visual basic.
  35. Consensus: lit. to think alike or to be in general agreement with others.
    If most people think the same thing then it has got to be true hasn't it?
    Even when what they think is based on an incomplete understanding of the thing they are discussing?
    But hey, everybody is entitled to an opinion surely?
    And doesn't that include scientists on both sides?
    As stated by someone else..consensus is NOT science.
    Opinion is NOT science.
    Science is about hard, repeatably demonstrable, irrefutable, facts.
  36. "... very probably likely to be primarily ..." ... that sure convinces me!
  37. From this weeks "Skeptic of the week":

    "In particular I am referring to the arrogance, the activities aimed at shutting down debate; the outright fabrications; the mindless defense of bogus science; and the politicisation of the IPCC process and the science process itself."

    LOL - I Love it!
  38. #83. Yes that claim WAS made..."The American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists, has reversed its stance on climate change and is now proclaiming that many of its members disbelieve in human-induced global warming. "
    from Daily Tech..
    so you got it wrong, again.
    and Mizimi, scientists have come to a consensus BECAUSE of the haed, irrefutable facts. and it's a growing consensus because of there continues to be more hard, irrefutable evidence uncovered.
    meanwhile, the other side consists mostly of former big tobacco schills who once told us there is no science to link smoking with lung cancer.
    remember that when you're picking your team.
  39. #88 Yes we have a lot of facts, some hard, some soft (paleoproxies for example), some incorporated into models and some unable to be included in detail (clouds and water vapour); do we know all the facts or even enough to make decisions that will adversely affect the lives of millions of people? Are those models sufficiently close to reality to act upon?
    Ah but, you will no doubt say, global warming will affect millions of people too.........according to those imprecise models. Recent GMT history says different.
    I don't disbelieve in human induced warming, I just don't accept the projected figures because it doesn't appear to be happening at the rate predicted, and those models are unable to incorporate components that have a major impact on the resultant. So why would I trust them?
  40. #88
    Can you provide some links for your claims?
    Thanks in advance.
  41. Re: Post #77 from Austerlitz - if you pin your hopes on 'skeptics' like David Evans, maybe you should see this article (by David Evans) posted on the Lavoisier Group website (Australian 'skeptics' org with links to the coal industry, among others).

    http://www.lavoisier.com.au/articles/greenhouse-science/climate-change/evansd2007-12.php

    See the 5th from last paragraph, starting 'I emphasise that we are making a bet...'. Evans estimates that the likelihood that CO2 emissions are the dominant cause of global warming is only 20%, not 90% as per the IPCC estimate. Note the wording - 'dominant' cause.

    I understand Richard Lindzen is now also similarly lukewarm on the odds. Maybe others could confirm.

    If there was only a 20% chance of your house burning down, would you go without insurance?

    With skeptics like that, who needs believers?

    P.S. I am not a scientist (published or otherwise), but a risk management professional. I am curious as to what the risk appetite of those participating in the global warming debate is - just how much risk of dangerous climate change is acceptable?
  42. #88:

    Exactly right. I don't have a problem with a few skeptics stating their opinion. I do have a problem, however, with gross distortions and dishonest rhetoric. In this case, a single APS member and editor of one of their many non-peer-reviewed newsletters decided to post his opinion and some material. It gets widely reported among the denialsphere as "The American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists, has reversed its stance on climate change". There is a clear and concerted effort to blow every fabric of data well out of proportion, whether it's of scientific nature or in this case, activities of an APS member. This is the reason why many climatologists don't have a lot of respect for the arguments from many of those who call themselves climate "skeptics".

    Dr. John Holdren (recently selected as Obama's science advisor), describes it best. He had a good op-ed piece earlier this year with an even better follow-up.

    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/12/22/12217/584
  43. Holdren, like Hansen, is a known alarmist. These are the people that call skeptics deniers. In science you propose a hypothesis and test that hypothesis in a manner that other scientists can reproduce. You DO NOT call the other scientists that disagree with you "deniers" because they happen to disagree, especially when they provide evidence to disprove your hypothesis.
  44. Re: "If there was only a 20% chance of your house burning down, would you go without insurance?"

    Assinine comparison.
  45. #93

    They are called "deniers" when they resort to the type of tactics described in Dr. Holdren's op-ed, the clearly dishonest APS spin described above, repeatedly making multiple dubious claims as catalogued nicely on this website (while arrogantly and falsely asserting it "disproves" AGW and promoting their claims to any willing media outlet), calling global warming a "hoax", or calling the overwhelming majority of climate scientists "alarmists" because they don't like the implications of the science. Holdren makes the distinction between "skeptic" and "denier". Every scientist is a skeptic so that doesn't say much. "Denier" might be to harsh. I'd settle for "contrarian". A comment from another scientist on this issue:

    “They argue not as scientists but as lawyers. When they argue, they pick one piece of the fabric of evidence and blow it up all out of proportion…Their purpose is to confuse.” - Pieter Tans

    #94

    You're right. It's conservatively more like 90%-95%. Personally, I thought it was time to act when IPCC2 presented the "more likely than not" conclusion regarding "most of the observed warming" before moving on to "likely" and "very likely". Of course, mitigating actions carry their own risk. If we decided to cut emissions 95% in 5 years, it would very likely cause severe economic damage. However, every objective economic study on mitigation proposals made so far suggest relatively affordable net economic costs in comparison with the risks this century (even the relatively conservative estimates) if we don't act. A few studies result in net gains - and most studies don't consider the economic benefits of decreased reliance on foreign fossil fuels and some of the avoided massive economic costs of climate change. Thus, it's ironic that those preaching gloom and doom on the economy call many scientists "alarmists".
  46. Re: post #94 - 'Assinine comparison': how so?

    It may be an oversimplification to describe anthropogenic climate change as a house fire and cuts to emissions as insurance, but with odds like this, would you go on with business as usual, or might you be inclined to make changes at reasonable cost, ahead of absolute certainty?

    Re: post #94: add geopolitical stability to the list of spin-off benefits. No need for a war for oil.
  47. Risky at 15:09 PM on 1 January, 2009
    Re: post #94 - 'Assinine comparison': how so?

    Because your house CAN burn down, it is possible. This is very different from AGW since AGW is
    1. Hypothetical, based on poorly written fortran code.
    2. Historically false, If the CO2 was the powerful GHG it is claimed to be there would be no life on this planet. Upper Mesozoic and early Cenezoic had a constant extremely high level of CO2. Life flourished, our ancestors appear at the PETM, ie. it is the climate we evolved in. On the flip side, we nearly went extinct along with our Neandertal ancestors in H4 (glacial maximum) ***. It is COLD not hot that causes extinctions. So while warming will cause a few adjustments it would not be the catastrophe prophesized by algore and his followers.

    The alarmists base their science on the concept of equilibrium and deny that the earth goes through cycles and yet they call skeptical scientists "deniers". Skeptics realize that we are undergoing climate change, it is not AGW, it is not GW, it IS climate change, plain and simple. The amount of AGW added to this change is meaningless. All I have asked since day 1 is to see proof of this catastrophic GW. None has been provided, only that there is CC, no GW other than what is expected by natural cycles such as the PDO, Sun spot cycles and plate tectonics.

    *** "Neanderthal Extinction by Competitive Exclusion"
    William E. Banks1*, Francesco d’Errico1,2, A. Townsend Peterson3, Masa Kageyama4, Adriana Sima4,
    Maria-Fernanda Sa´nchez-Gon i5

    There is a link to the above paper at the bottom of the article: Competition, Not Climate Change, Led To
    Neanderthal Extinction, Study Shows
    ScienceDaily (Dec. 30, 2008)

    For alternate reasons for climate change see (under arguments heading at the top of this page) The PDO and Volcano and sensitivity articles. Or you can just assume the alarmist position (fingers firmly in ears and eyes shut) and ignore the arguments entirely. To deny the facts is to show ignorance, that is not what science is about, that attitude belongs firmly in religion and politics.
  48. correction to 97:
    Neandertal ancestors s/b Neandertal cousins because the debate on admixture indicates that they were not ancestral to H. sapiens.
  49. NewYorkJ
    They are called "deniers" because they are skeptics, plain and simple. This is what happens to science when fanatics reach a level of majority, we return to the dark age when dissent is punishable, in this case by infantile name calling.
  50. Re:
    “They argue not as scientists but as lawyers. When they argue, they pick one piece of the fabric of evidence and blow it up all out of proportion…Their purpose is to confuse.” - Pieter Tans

    This describes the AGW alarmist to a T.

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