Schulte's paper (going on DailyTech's account) places great emphasis on the fact that only one paper endorses 'catastrophic climate change'. This is a classic straw man argument. Oreskes' 2004 paper never refers to an imminent catastrophe. Neither do the IPCC nor do the Academies of Science from 11 countries that endorse the consensus position that most of the warming over the last 50 years is likely due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.
Even more fuss is made over the large percentage of neutral studies. Ironically, Oreskes emphasised the same point in 2004 when she published The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change. Nowadays, earth science papers are rarely found explicitly endorsing plate tectonics as the theory is established and taken for granted. The fact that so many studies on climate change don't bother to endorse the consensus position is significant because scientists have largely moved from what's causing global warming onto discussing details of the problem (eg - how fast, how soon, impacts, etc).
What of the 6% of papers that reject AGW? The most appropriate approach would be to see what these papers actually say. Schulte's paper is yet to be published so the full list is not available (please contact me if you have more info). Monckton does mention several studies which one assumes are the "cream of the crop". Deltoid also has its readers categorising peer review studies since 2003. The papers purported to reject the consensus can be divided into several categories:
Two of the papers conduct no actual scientific research but merely review social aspects of climate science. I'm baffled as to why they would be included other than to "boost the numbers":
Three papers focus on specific aspects of climate change but don't actually reject the consensus:
There are some papers that conduct original research and reject the consensus. It's useful to look at the actual arguments they present to reject AGW:
UPDATE 20 Sep 2007: paper not to be published. Apparently, the news that Schulte's paper would be published was grossly exagerated as editor Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen has confirmed Energy and Environment will not be publishing the paper:
"His survey of papers critical of the consensus was a bit patchy and nothing new, as you point out. it was not what was of interest to me; nothing has been published."
UPDATE 24 Mar 2008: Apparently Energy and Environment have reversed their policy and published the Schulte paper.
UPDATE 25 Mar 2008: Chris Monckton posts his side of the story on DeSmogBlog. in response to John Mashey's critique of Schulte's paper.
|The Skeptical Science website by Skeptical Science is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.|