The “scientific” consensus of climate change

Joe Romm recently highlighted the large number of organizations that think man-made global warming is a danger.  Romm apparently hopes to bolster the case for global warming by contrasting dozens of science organization with the likes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Seeking out supporters is all well and good.  And maybe we should publicize that industrial polluters are the primary opponents.  But there’s something quite strange about the list of allies.  It’s not at all obvious how Engineers Australia, the Soil Science Society of America and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics can speak on the science of climate change.   As I’ve just argued, if a random collection of scientists adds authority to climate science, an equally random collection of scientists can detract from it.

Lists like these give the false impression that there can even exist a “scientific” consensus on climate change.  The overwhelming majority of Ph.D. scientists aren’t qualified to judge climate science and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise.  The IPCC is composed of the relevant scientists and they have a near-unanimous agreement.  That’s the only consensus that really matters.


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