Global warming doubters grasping at straws

Over at the excellent libertarian blog Clasically Liberal, CLS points to a story in the Edmonton Journal to try to poke hole in the claim that there is a scientific consensus on global warming:

Only about one in three Alberta earth scientists and engineers believe the culprit behind climate change has been identified, a new poll reported today.

The expert jury is divided, with 26 per cent attributing global warming to human activity like burning fossil fuels and 27 per cent blaming other causes such as volcanoes, sunspots, earth crust movements and natural evolution of the planet.

A 99-per-cent majority believes the climate is changing. But 45 per cent blame both human and natural influences, and 68 per cent disagree with the popular statement that “the debate on the scientific causes of recent climate change is settled.”

Full Story: Edmonton Journal.

I know it’s lazy/sloppy to use Wikipedia as a reference, but check here for a list of national and international scientific organizations who’s official position is that human actions are very likely the cause of global warming. The article also notes: “With the July 2007 release of the revised statement by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, no remaining scientific body of national or international standing is known to reject the basic findings of human influence on recent climate.” (Emphasis mine.)

If you think the Edmonton study pokes any holes in the claim that there is a scientific consensus, perhaps you should also read the Wikipedia entry on scientific consensus.

(Classically Liberal link via OVO)

For some better environmentalist iconoclasm, see A Tale of Two Scientific Consensuses.

Update: See here for polling of climate scientists about what they believe about global warming.

8 Comments

  1. If you really want to attack the scientific consensus, you might want to look at Alex Cockburn’s criticism of peer review: http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/reviewofbooks_article/4357

    Or perhaps use big pharma’s manipulation of the FDA re: anti-depressants as a case study:

    http://www.badscience.net/

  2. If there were only one hundred scientists in the whole world, how many scientists agreeing on something does it take to make that something objectively true?

    You see my point.

  3. Two scientific consensuses? Try following the money to see which one is subsidized by the polluters. I’ll bet you won’t be surprised.

    For action, there is a reaction. Release tons of toxins into the environment and it will react in a number of unpredictable ways.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean that there are variables beyond our control, like cosmic radiation, meteors, etc. But we do have a great deal of control over what we do to the Earth.

    Here is a true story:

    I attended a holiday party of a friend of mine. An older gentleman in his sixties or seventies was a research scientist for a large American pharmaceuticals company. At one point in his career, to pay the bills, he took a job for Big Tobacco. He stated that the tobacco company he worked for had paid him and others to “fix” a study to “prove” that cigarettes didn’t cause cancer. He expressed guilt for his actions.

    I told him that if he had not taken the job, someone else would have. There are no shortage of people willing to do such things, because that is the nature of our society.

    Anyway, if you have enough money, you can “prove” anything.

    For awhile.

  4. No Trevor, I don’t see your point.

    TiamatsV – here’s a Newsweek story that covers much of the same ground: http://www.newsweek.com/id/32482/page/1

  5. This debate grows more tiresome and boring every time.

    Pollution, whether it causes ‘global warming’ or not, doesn’t seem like the best thing.

    So what can we do about it? Okay, so bio-fuels don’t seem sustainable at this point, but what about GMOs?

    Would you consider genetically modified crops a viable alternative for bio-fuels? Would you still consider GMOs ‘bad’ if nobody intended them for animal (or human) consumption?

    I apologize if these questions seem like old-hat to you folks. I haven’t really looked into the whole bio-fuel + global warming issue.

  6. I’m actually all for GMO, in principle. My biggest reservations don’t even come from its use as a food, but from other issues, such as this one: http://www.mindfully.org/GE/2003/Monsanto-Bt-Corn-Philippines16jan03.htm

  7. Klintron: what is objectively true is not dependant, at all, to how many scientists are in consensus about it. The proof is that there are objectively true things that no scientists know about yet, but they remain objectively true. Arguing that global warming (or anything else) is true because there is scientific consensus is an automatic fail.

    I read about global climate change on a regular basis. I read lengthy pieces and short pieces, pieces arguing about what’s happening, pieces arguing why. Pieces by people with axes to grind and people who appear to be objective. I see no consensus, but as I said that doesn’t matter when it comes to the objective truth. For myself, I am doubtful that human activity has caused global climate change. I am partially convinced that global climate change is occuring in a way that it hasn’t in the past little while (geologically speaking). I am supremely skeptical of my ability to make heads or tails of it and am thus thankful I’m not in a decision making position on the topic.

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