In this post, we review how the UN’s highly influential Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that climate change since the 1950s is “mostly human-caused”. We argue that this conclusion was premature and scientifically unjustified. This essay was originally published on Medium.com on 23rd September, 2019.
It is widely believed that “90-95% of scientists agree on climate change”. This is technically true if you define “agree on climate change” to mean “agree that the climate is changing”. We would be included in that 90-95% of scientists. Indeed, the very subject of this website is about climate change.
However, many people mistakenly assume that 90-95% of scientists agree that recent climate change is “mostly human-caused”. The reality is that there is a wide range of views among the scientific community about the causes of recent climate change. Many scientists agree with that view, but many do not!
In this post, we explain how this mistaken idea became embedded in the public conscience, and what is known about the true views of the scientific community on climate change.
In this post, we look at the popular “Merchants of Doubt” conspiracy theory promoted by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway in their 2010 book. They claim to have proven, “how a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming”.
Oreskes & Conway’s conspiracy theory is remarkably popular among those trying to dismiss anybody who disagrees with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s statements on climate change. The book is even cited favourably in academic publications. However, as we discuss in this post, it is remarkably illogical and inconsistent and doesn’t stand up to critical scrutiny.
We haven’t had a new post since 2014, but while the blog hasn’t been very active, we have been very busy continuing our climate research. So, in case anyone is wondering how our work is going, here’s a short progress report of what we’ve been doing since 2014.
There is a popular perception that climate scientists are in almost unanimous agreement that increasing CO2 concentrations are causing dangerous man-made global warming, and that we need to urgently reduce our “carbon footprint”.
However, while there are many prominent climate scientists who believe this, there is actually a wide range of opinions on man-made global warming amongst the scientific community. Some scientists believe there has been man-made global warming, but that the media descriptions are seriously exaggerated, and that it isn’t an urgent issue. Other scientists believe that global warming is probably due to natural climate variability.
In this essay, we give examples of some of the different views on man-made global warming of prominent climate researchers.
The reports of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (or IPCC, for short) are widely assumed to represent the scientific consensus of thousands of top climate scientists on man-made global warming. The reports claim that man-made global warming is real, serious and will become more serious during the 21st century if nothing is done to slow down CO2 emissions.
Therefore, it is assumed that these claims represent the views of all the top experts involved in the writing of the IPCC reports. However, in this essay, we find that most of the IPCC scientists are never asked for their views on those claims, and that several IPCC scientists openly disagree with them.