Why, oh why, are we ruled by this hack?

Via ThinkProgress, Dick Cheney tells ABCNews:

I think there’s an emerging consensus that we do have global warming. You can look at the data on that, and I think clearly we’re in a period of warming. Where there does not appear to be a consensus, where it begins to break down, is the extent to which that’s part of a normal cycle versus the extent to which it’s caused by man, greenhouse gases, et cetera.

Cheney is understating both points. The IPCC SPM does not say that there is an emerging consensus on global warming, it says "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level."

The idea that there is no consensus on causation is equally laughable. When Oreskes did a search of the literature between 1993 and 2003, she found that none of almost a thousand peer reviewed papers discussing "global climate change" rejected the argument that humans are causing most of the observed warming. While there may be such a paper which doesn't contain the phrase she searched for, the result clearly shows a consensus which existed already many years ago.

The IPCC SPM concludes:

Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely [>90%] due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. This is an advance since the TAR’s conclusion that "most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely [>66%] to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations." Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind pattern. …

The observed widespread warming of the atmosphere and ocean, together with ice mass loss, support the conclusion that it is extremely unlikely [<5%] that global climate change of the past fifty years can be explained without external forcing, and very likely that it is not due to known natural causes alone.

That the consensus exists is no longer deniable, not even by oil companies and Republican governors of conservative states. Then again, Dick Cheney probably still claims there were WMDs in Iraq, and that there really was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda.


More like this

Key findings: The understanding of anthropogenic warming and cooling influences on climate has improved since the Third Assessment Report (TAR), leading to very high confidence that the globally averaged net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming, with radiative forcing of +…
Call me an old grump but the SPM for the IPCC AR4 report wasn't terribly exciting. Which was, perhaps no great surprise: having read the draft chapters, or at least skimmed them, it was clear that nothing revolutionary was going to appear. They throw in the phrase Warming of the climate system is…
The IPA is the Australian version of the CEI, so you don't have to read an article they publish on global warming to know what the conclusions will be. But you do have to read it to find out what pretext will be used to dismiss concerns about warming. In the latest issue of IPA review we find an…
Of course, we'll never be absolutely certain about the causes and future trends of climate change. That's not the way science works. But according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we're getting pretty darn close to that magical 19-times-out-of-20 territory that passes for…

The one percent doctrine guy argues against a ninety percent certainty. Should his doctrine be applied to global warming then the decision to find solutions is imperative, but of course he is big energy and making pallets of money off the one percent doctrine and he is guaranteed to lose money on the ninety percent problem. Politicians are disgusting. What a total anus.

By James Taylor (not verified) on 23 Feb 2007 #permalink

90% certainty... I'd like to see the research that quantitatively backs up this subjective qualitative statement.
I don't think it is unreasonable for the Vice President to have questions about the IPCC claims when the research in this regard is so lacking.

What research is there that indicates anything other than than there is anthropogenic climate change? The IPCC TAR documents its statements with extensive references to the literature, and the AR4 will do so when it is issued in a few months. Search any relevant abstract service for research on climate change and you'll get copious numbers of papers showing the evidence behind climate change. You will find few if any opposing the IPCC consensus.