Claims of a consensus was an early sign climate science was political. It was used to support official science of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in a public relations campaign to offset and divert from bad science, inadequate data, and incorrect assumptions. It’s in use again as the science of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis fails and people are not persuaded.
Many scientists were fooled, including James Lovelock, a central figure to environmentalism with his Gaia hypothesis. In 2007 he said,
“Before this century is over, billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic.”
Recently he revised his view;
“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened.”
“We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now.”
How could a reputable scientist be so wrong?
Some words have different meanings for the public than for professionals. For example, calling someone a skeptic is considered derogatory, yet it’s a necessity for a scientist. When warming became climate change skeptics became deniers, a nasty ambiguous word. It means you refuse to acknowledge information, but it’s specifically used for a few who deny the holocaust, arguably the most horrendous event in history.
There’s a negative implication to the word consensus. If you’re not part of it you’re out-of-step, stupid, antisocial, or all three. There’s no consensus in science. Even in politics it’s rare to assign a number to a consensus. Apparently to pretend credibility current users say there’s a 97 percent consensus about IPCC climate science.
Numerical measures of the consensus argument appeared early in climate As I recall, approximately 6000 people associated with the IPCC represented the original consensus. That number decreased to 2500 today, but they’re still the consensus according to RealClimate, the web site about which Michael Mann wrote in a 2004 email,
“…the important thing is to make sure they’re loosing (sic) the PR battle. That’s what the site is about.”
A 16 December 2004 entry asks,
“Is there really “consensus” in the scientific community on the reality of anthropogenic climate change?”
Evidence used was the now discredited study of Naomi Oreske that claimed of 928 articles selected objectively by a three word google search, 100 percent supported IPCC science.
We’ve used the term “consensus” here a bit recently without ever really defining what we mean by it. In normal practice, there is no great need to define it – no science depends on it. But it’s useful to record the core that most scientists agree on, for public presentation. The consensus that exists is that of the IPCC reports, in particular the working group I report (there are three WG’s. By “IPCC”, people tend to mean WG I).
This admits consensus is unnecessary in science, but necessary for climate science “for public presentation” or propaganda.
It’s another circular argument that pervade IPCC science and politics. For example, they hypothesize that CO2 causes temperature increase, program a computer model accordingly, then say the model proves that CO2 increase causes temperature increase. RealClimate says,
“The main points that most would agree on as “the consensus” are:
1.The earth is getting warmer (0.6 /- 0.2 oC in the past century; 0.1 0.17 oC/decade over the last 30 years (see update)) [ch 2]
2.People are causing this [ch 12] (see update)
3.If GHG emissions continue, the warming will continue and indeed accelerate [ch 9]
4.(This will be a problem and we ought to do something about it)
I’ve put those four points in rough order of certainty. The last one is in brackets because whilst many would agree, many others (who agree with 1-3) would not, at least without qualification. It’s probably not a part of the core consensus in the way 1-3 are.”
So the consensus is their IPCC Reports.
Here are the facts of the consensus today.
1.The rise of 0.6°C has an error of ±0.2°C or 33 percent – which is scientifically meaningless. Phil Jones a senior member of the IPCC produced the number. The earth is not warming any more.
2.The only evidence people are the cause is in their computer models.
3. Temperature increase precedes CO2 increase in every single record anywhere, except in their computer models.
4.An application of the precautionary principle.
RealClimate said about consensus,
“In normal practice, there is no great need to define it – no science depends on it.”
But climate science of the IPCC and the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at East Anglia was not normal practice: a political consensus was their only hope. As Michael Crichton said,
Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.
Sounds familiar; the science is settled, and the debate is over because there’s a consensus.