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By Gus van Horn, cross-posted from the Gus Van Horn blog



There is an in the New York Times by self-proclaimed ex-skeptic of global warming and former used-car salesman Gregg Easterbrook that proclaims that global warming is no longer scientifically controversial. (Yes, his past life is irrelevant here, but I couldn't resist delivering a well-deserved cheap-shot.)

This (non-climate) scientist begs to differ. Consider Easterbrook's idea of a definitive argument in favor of man-induced global warming.

That research is now in, and it shows a strong scientific consensus that an artificially warming world is a real phenomenon posing real danger:


The American Geophysical Union and American Meteorological Society in 2003 both declared that signs of global warming had become compelling.


In 2004 the
American Association for the Advancement of Science
said that there was no longer any "substantive disagreement in the scientific community" that artificial global warming is happening.


In 2005, the National Academy of Sciences joined the science academies of Britain, China, Germany, Japan and other nations in a joint statement saying, "There is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring."


This year Mr. Karl of the climatic data center said research now supports "a substantial human impact on global temperature increases."


And this month the Climate Change Science Program, the Bush administration's coordinating agency for global-warming research, declared it had found "clear evidence of human influences on the climate system."


Case closed. [link added]

So the liberal media, already known as a giant echo chamber, has now adopted, to bolster its appeals to authority, the argument, "If it weren't true, it wouldn't be so loud."

A layman can be forgiven for taking the word of a scientist or, in this case, a bunch of organizations that purport to speak on the behalf of so many scientists.

But someone who hangs a shingle out as an expert on "global warming" cannot. He has a responsibility to determine whether there really is such a consensus and on what scientific facts that consensus is based. He should furthermore report these very things, laundry lists of organizations with impressive names be damned.

And if there is not a consensus, or it is not based on scientific fact, such an "expert" risks becoming part of the real story -- a massive fabrication -- by failing to report that.

I haven't time to investigate every last institution and person in the above litany, but I know offhand that the AAAS, as the parent of a prestigious journal, Science, is, as such, suspect when it says anything about global warming. I blogged about this awhile back.

(One question: If a view is
explicitly
backed by 1% of all papers and is implicitly backed by a third, how is it a "consensus" view?) So Peiser contests findings published in
Science
. Fair enough.
Science
should at least give him a hearing, right? And if he's right, shouldn't these results be published?

Dr [benny] Peiser submitted his findings to Science in January, and was asked to edit his paper for publication - but has now been told that his results have been rejected on the grounds that the points he make had been "widely dispersed on the internet".

Let's grant that the findings could be described as "widely dispersed on the internet." But the other results have the credibility of publication in a major peer-reviewed scientific journal, while Peiser's can be dismissed as "junk from the internet" until they are subjected to the same rigorous scrutiny. Furthermore, since scientists generally depend upon data vetted by their peers rather than "junk from the internet," rejection of this study on such flimsy grounds is a disservice to those scientists who read the contested article in Science. They will remain under the mistaken impression that Oreskes is correct until Peiser is published.So at least one of Easterbrook's authorities is probably not quite being honest. Would it be too terribly surprising if other major associations of scientists have also placed political goals over objective truth? How many non-leftist scientists, exactly, are there? (Creationists do not count. They're not scientists.)

And as to Easterbrook himself, consider that just yesterday, I blogged about how ABC shouted from the rooftops that, "[A]ll but a handful of hurricane experts now agree this worsening bears the fingerprints of man-made global warming," while a real live expert calmly laid out facts and arguments plainly to the contrary. Would it be too far-fetched to believe that Easterbrook is doing basically the same thing? Not to me. Not when his "evidence" consists of appeals to authorities of whom at least one is known to be non-objective about the very issue he is writing about.

-- CAV



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