Monday, June 12, 2006

The Consensus and Parallel Earth

by Pat Joseph
Sierra Club Compass
June 12, 2006

If you've seen Al Gore's film, you may be curious about the paper he cites in which a survey of 928 peer-reviewed climate studies turned up precisely none (nada, nil, zero, zilch) that dissented from the consensus view on human-driven global warming. The results of the survey, authored by science historian Naomi Oreskes, were presented in a short essay in the journal Science, under the sensible title, "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change. You can (and should) read it here.

Of course, Oreskes' findings were immediately attacked and denounced, and to this day, the usual suspects insist that her paper was "debunked." It wasn't. Despite their objections, Oreskes' critics failed to turn up a single peer-reviewed study to substantiate their challenge.

So, how do the so-called skeptics continue denying reality? They just do. As the writer Joel Achenbach summed it up in a wonderful article about them in a recent installment of the Washington Post Magazine:
...when you step into the realm of the skeptics, you find yourself on a parallel Earth. It is a planet where global warming isn't happening -- or, if it is happening, isn't happening because of human beings. Or, if it is happening because of human beings, isn't going to be a big problem. And, even if it is a big problem, we can't realistically do anything about it other than adapt.
In the mind of the "skeptics," global warming isn't happening because, well, ... because it's unthinkable -- an inconvenient truth.

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