- Under construction! "‡" indicates answer not yet prepared. See Talk page for current discussions.
To view an explanation to the answer, click the [show] link to the right of the question.
Q2: Is the section on "dissenting organizations" adequately supported?
The current consensus is that it is. There have been numerous lengthy discussions regarding the AMQUA and AAPG sources. Some have criticized the AMQUA letter as an unreliable reference. Others have stated that the combination of the AMQUA letter and the AAPG statement is against WP:SYN
. The most recent consensus on this topic can be found at Talk:Scientific opinion on climate change#straw poll
Q3: How can you say there's a consensus when someone has compiled a long list of skeptical scientists?
Over the years, a number of lists of so-called "skeptical scientists" have been produced. Notable among these are the Oregon Petition
(circa 1999-2001, and re-circulated in 2007) and James Inhofe's list
(originally released in 2007, re-released in 2008 with additional names added). These petitions have proven to be riddled with flaws
- Many of the people listed aren't really scientists. For example, the definition of a "scientist" used in the Oregon Petition includes anyone who has a bachelor's degree – or anyone who claims to have a bachelor's degree, since there's no independent verification. Using this definition, approximately 25% of the US population is qualified to sign.
- Some of the people listed aren't even people. Included on these lists are fictitious characters ("Dr. Perry Mason"), hoaxes ("Dr. Geri Halliwell"), and companies.
- Of those who have a scientific background most work in fields unrelated to climate, such as the chemistry of coal ashes or the interactions between quarks and gluons.
- Those who are scientists are listed arbitrarily, and many aren't skeptical of global warming. The Inhofe list was compiled by Inhofe staffer Marc Morano with no effort to contact the people listed. One climatologist, George Waldenberger, even informed Inhofe's staff that he is not skeptical of the consensus on global warming. His request to have his name removed from the list was ignored. Similarly, Steve Rainer of Oxford University has asked for his name to be removed and calls his inclusion "quite outrageous". The Heartland Institute has stated that scientists who have told the Institute that it misrepresented their views on global warming "have no right – legally or ethically – to demand that their names be removed" from the Institute's list. (From GW/FAQ:A2)
Q4: Why should scientific opinion count for more than public opinion?
" – either as the time-tested methodologies
for learning about the world, or as the immense body of knowledge that has been garnered by those methodologies, or even as the international "scientific community
" of tens of thousands of highly trained professionals that use these methodologies – has the better track record. Because the science of climate is based on fundamental laws of physics and chemistry, with the conclusions based on factual data, and the consensus
"opinion" has been vetted by hundreds of experts. Whereas the contrarian portion of public opinion has a poor track record, being shaped by politically motivated rhetoric (financed by the "interested" industries) that pushes certain points of view in disregard of objective, factual reality. (For an example, see the previous question.)
Q5: Weren't scientists telling us in the 1970s that we were cooling instead of warming?
No, they were not – see the article on global cooling
. A 2008 paper
in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
reviewed "what the scientists were telling us" in the 1960s and 1970s, and found the following.
One of the earliest papers in climate science, published in 1963, reported that a global cooling trend had begun in 1940s, which seemed to be underscored by unusually severe winters in 1972 and 1973 in parts of North America. (It was later shown that this supposed global trend was limited to the Northern Hemisphere, and offset by a warming trend in the Southern Hemisphere.) Other papers, looking at natural causes of climate variability, such as the Milankovitch cycles, "predicted" another Ice Age in 20,000 years (but only if human activity did not interfere). A survey of the peer-reviewed literature for this period showed a total of seven papers that predicted, implied, or indicated global cooling.
On the other hand, 44 papers were found that predicted global warming. That there was some diversity of outlook is not surprising, as scientists often have extremely narrow, "knot-hole" views of a subject, and their conclusions are usually limited to whether the particular phenomena they have studied makes a positive or negative contribution to a general trend. The net result of many such contributions, and the overall effect or trend, is assessed by the occasional review paper, or expert panels at scientific conferences. By 1979 the scientific consensus was clear that the eminent threat was not global cooling, but global warming. The common misperception that "Back in the 1970s, all the climate scientists believed an ice age was coming" – in less than 20,000 years – is fictional, based on a few studies that were sensationalized in the popular press, and subsequent misrepresentation by political writers.
(See also GW/FAQ:A13)
Q6: Why should we trust scientists that work for the government? ‡
Q7: Why does this article rely primarily on the conclusions of the IPCC?
Because the conclusions of the IPCC
, produced through the collaborative efforts of thousands of experts, are the result of the most thorough survey of the state of climate science (or of any science) ever done. There is simply no other organization or effort that is comparable.
Q8: How can any group, no matter how large, ever have "The Scientific Opinion"? ‡
Q9: Isn't the IPCC a biased source? ‡
Q10: Why should we trust reports prepared by biased UN scientists?
reports are not produced by "UN scientists". The IPCC does not employ the scientists who generate the reports, and has no control over them. The scientists are internationally recognized experts, most with a long history of successful research in the field. They are employed by a number of different organizations, including scientific research institutes, agencies like NASA
, and universities. They receive no extra pay for their participation in the IPCC process, which is considered a normal part of their academic duties. (Discussion
) (From GW/FAQ:A11)
Q11: Why doesn't the article include dissent from the consensus by noted scientists and IPCC contributors?
The IPCC consensus regarding climate change was formally developed by thousands
of experts, based on the entirety of climate science research and interpretation. The "several prominent contributors" said to be "critical" of the consensus do not constitute a sufficiently significant minority view to warrant inclusion (per the policy of WP:WEIGHT
). Nor has any scientific
authority been cited that suggests these criticisms in any way challenge the science
of the consensus.
That some scientists dissent is shown by the link to List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming. See also the next two questions.
Q12:There are plenty of scientists who dispute human-caused global warming. Why aren't their opinions included?
Numerous individual scientists have made a variety of public statements on this topic, both dissenting and concurring, and everything in between. Including those statements here would make the article overwhelming long and cumbersome, and would be granting them far too much undue weight
. Public statements made by individual scientists only reflect the opinions of those individuals and not of the scientific community as a whole. (Discussion
Q13: Why doesn't this article include any dissenting views?
- Non-scientific views (whether dissenting or assenting) are not included because this article is about scientific opinion.
- There are no "statements by dissenting organizations" because (as noted in the article) "no remaining scientific body of national or international standing is known to reject the basic findings of human influence on recent climate change".
- Views of individual dissenting scientists are not significant enough to be included in the consensus (a 2010 report estimated the dissenters to be less than 3% of active climate researchers, and their expertise and scientific prominence "substantially below" that of their peers); to include them here would violate the policy of undue weight.
Q14: Why doesn't this article mention the Oregon Petition or other lists of dissenting scientists?
See Question #2. (Discussion
Q15: Where is the Scientific Opinion against Anthropogenic (human caused) Global Warming?
What "Scientific Opinion against AGW"? The
synthesis of scientific opinion — that is, the view that best represents all
climate science research and interpretation, and particularly whether there is, or is not, AGW — is that most of the observed increase in global average temperature is very likely
(probability greater than 90%) anthropogenic.
It would be more sensible to ask, "what is the scientific case that global warming is not anthropogenic?" But this case is so overwhelmed by the evidence, and held by so few scientists (if any!), that it simply lacks sufficient weight for consideration. (The argument that there is no global warming, that it is not human caused, and that the expected effects are only "alarism", is prominent only in non-scientific venues, and this article is about scientific opinion.)
Q16: Is this article slanted or biased because it presents only one side of the debate? ‡
No. The synthesis of scientific opinion on climate change (based on the primary sources) was done by the IPCC
secondary source). The statements of the various scientific organizations are affirmations of the IPCC's conclusion; their inclusion in the article establishes the IPCC as a reliable source, and affirms the synthesis it reached as a consensus view. (Discussion
Q21: What are the criteria for including organizations? ‡
Q22: Is it fair to assume that organizations not listed as supporting are undecided?
No. It is fairer to ask, what organizations? It is more likely that any "organizations not listed" simply do not exist, as a reasonable search has not found any. Even easing the definition of a scientific organization to a point that became questionable did not find any undecided organizations (aside from the AAPG). An earlier form of the question noted that the listed organizations are predominately American or British Commonwealth (which is what might be expected for the English-language Wikipedia), and questioned whether there might be smaller, non-English speaking nations with scientific societies that are undecided on the issue. This is a possibility, but unlikely; the InterAcademy Council
that represents the world's scientific and engineering academies affirms global warming and its dangers. (Discussion
Q25: Given the obvious NPOV violation why shouldn't I tag this article as NPOV?
- Because the purpose of a tag is to alert other editors to a possible problem, but in this case the other editors are already aware of the alleged problem.
- Because per WP:General sanctions/Climate change probation you could be sanctioned for just adding a tag.
- Because the general consensus is that the article is NOT an WP:NPOV violation (see next question).
Q30: Shouldn't this article be renamed (various suggestions)? ‡
- ^  Dissenter on Warming Expands His Campaign. New York Times, April 9, 2009.
- ^ Retention of sulphur by laboratory-prepared ash from low-rank coal
- ^ Today: George WaldenbergerGrist.org. December 3. 2007
- ^ Kaufman, Leslie (April 9, 2009). "Dissenter on Warming Expands His Campaign". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
- ^ Peterson, T. C.; Connolley, W. M.; Fleck, J. (2008). "The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus". Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 89 (9): 1325. Bibcode:2008BAMS...89.1325P. doi:10.1175/2008BAMS2370.1.
- ^ Crichton, M. (2004), State of Fear, Avon Books.
- ^ William R. L. Anderegg, James W. Prall, Jacob Harold, and Stephen H. Schneider (April 9, 2010). "Expert credibility in climate change" (PDF). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Retrieved June 23, 2010.
- ^ AAAS - AAAS News Release
- ^ AAAS Annual Report-Science
- ^ The most influential journals: Impact Factor and Eigenfactor PNAS Retrieved on 2009-11-16