As The Consensus Among Scientists Crumbles, Global Warming Alarmists Attack Their Integrity

Published February 28, 2013

Global warming alarmists are attacking the integrity of scientists, desperately seeking to minimize the damage presented by a recent survey of geoscientists and engineers regarding global warming.

A recent survey of more than 1,000 geoscientists (commonly known as earth scientists) and engineers reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies found that only 36 percent agree with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assertion that humans are causing a serious global warming problem. By contrast, a majority of scientists in the survey believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.

Global warming alarmists, desperate to restore the shattered remains of their fictitious global warming consensus, spent the last week in overdrive expressing outrage and attacking the scientists participating in the survey. Their asserted arguments go something like this:

Argument 1

The survey consisted of geoscientists and engineers in Alberta, Canada, which has the highest per capita of geoscientists and engineers in North America. Oil companies and companies in related industries employ many of these geoscientists and engineers. These scientists are therefore biased and do not represent geoscientists and engineers as a whole.

Argument 2

Geoscientists and engineers are not qualified to give an informed opinion on global warming. Only atmospheric scientists are qualified to do so.

Argument 3

The survey takers claim their survey is not strong evidence against the mythical global warming consensus, therefore skeptics cannot cite the survey while debating the mythical consensus.

Let’s address the first two arguments first. These arguments would be plausible, and perhaps might even be persuasive, except that alarmists have been saying exactly the opposite for decades. When alarmists say that scientists can be biased based on their career path, and that only atmospheric scientists are qualified to give informed opinions on global warming, they are engaging in the most laughable form of hypocrisy.

Let’s start with Argument 1.

Skeptics frequently point out that claims of an alarmist global warming consensus rely on tainted, biased participant pools. Donna Laframboise, for example, has documented absurd bias and activism with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), where environmental activists drive the IPCC findings in their roles as lead authors. Similarly, I documented how environmental activists directed the findings of a recent National Academy of Sciences (NAS) global warming report and how nearly all of the 23 NAS authors were already on the record as being global warming alarmists before being chosen to write the report.

Additionally, an often misrepresented survey claiming 97 percent of scientists agree that humans are causing a global warming crisis (actually, the survey asked merely whether some warming has occurred and whether humans are playing at least a partial role – two questions to which I would answer yes), restricted its participant pool to government scientists and scientists working for institutions dependent on government grants. Scientists who work for – or are funded by – government institutions know that their funding will dry up and their jobs will disappear if and when global warming stops being an asserted crisis.

When skeptics point out these blatant biases, however, alarmists claim that scientists by their very nature are immune from having their environmental activist affiliations, the source of their paychecks or their preexisting advocacy for global warming restrictions influence their research and scientific opinions. Skeptics who call attention to such biases are demonized as “attacking scientists” or “attacking science” itself.

So which is it? Skeptics are willing to play by any set of rules alarmists make, just so long as the rules are consistently applied. Alarmists can’t have it both ways. Scientists’ career choice, salary dependency, and preexisting sociopolitical points of view either taint their objectivity or do not taint their objectivity. They do not taint skeptics’ objectivity while failing to taint alarmists’ objectivity. When alarmists make duplicitous claims to the contrary, they are about as intellectually compelling as Vizzini attempting to divine the location of the poisonous iocane powder in The Princes Bride.

Now let’s address Argument 2.

Skeptics frequently point out how people who have little or no atmospheric science education dominate the IPCC, the NAS report and other so-called “consensus” reports. People without advanced science degrees and degrees in fields other than atmospheric science serve as lead authors for IPCC. Less than a quarter of the authors of the NAS report have degrees relating in any significant way to atmospheric science. Heck, the godfather of global warming alarmism, James Hansen, is an astronomer. The head of the IPCC , Raj Pachauri, is a railroad engineer.

Alarmists claim that their scientists’ lack of in-depth training in atmospheric science does not diminish their authority to speak on global warming issues.  Skeptics who point out such shortcomings are, again, accused of attacking scientists or attacking science itself.

Yet now alarmists claim that skeptics who are earth scientists and engineers are not qualified to weigh in on the global warming debate.

So which is it? Scientists who do not have in-depth training regarding atmospheric science either are qualified or are not qualified to speak authoritatively on global warming issues. Alarmists can’t have it both ways.

Let’s finally address Argument 3.

The authors of the survey claim their survey is not strong evidence against the mythical global warming consensus. They have even asked skeptics to stop citing the survey while debating the mythical global warming consensus.

It should come as no surprise that the survey takers make such arguments. After all, the survey takers are deeply entrenched in the alarmist camp and their own survey results undercut their preexisting beliefs. Indeed, while writing up their survey results, they frequently use terms such as “denier” to describe scientists who are skeptical of an asserted global warming crisis, and they refer to skeptical scientists as “speaking against climate science” rather than “speaking against asserted climate projections.”

It is a novel argument that the only people who can interpret or assign meaning to scientific studies or surveys of opinion are the scientists who performed the research or the people who conducted the surveys of opinion. If alarmists indeed wish for these to be the uniform rules of the global warming debate, they must concede meteorologist Antony Watts’ findings that data reported at surface temperature stations are substantially influenced by the urban heat island effect. They must also concede the interpretations of satellite temperature data provided by skeptical climate scientists John Christy and Roy Spencer. Etc., etc., etc.

While alarmists demonstrate comedic hypocrisy in their proffered rules for the global warming debate, they are nevertheless consistent when it comes to conjuring up contrived outrage whenever skeptics deal a powerful blow to their mythical consensus of scientists.  The volume of their contrived outrage indicates the degree to which their mythical alarmist consensus has been shattered.

Boy, the alarmists sure are expressing outrage!

[First published at Forbes.]