Reader Joe was kind enough to leave the following comment at a previous post:
I’m interested to read the list of texts you’ve read that prompt you disagree with global scientific consensus on the matter.
In his comment asking for my sources, he links to wikipedia as his source for the scientific consensus on Global Warming, to this page, “scientific opinion on climate change,” specifically.
While I enjoy scouring wikipedia for inane trivia, I would hardly consider it a credible source for anything, let alone scientific fact. But using it as a source for argument’s sake, on the very same wikipedia page is a link to this other wikipedia page, a list of scientists opposing global warming consensus which contains a sampling of specific statements from scientists who, as the page title aptly indicates, oppose the global warming consensus.
Picking one at random, here is Richard Lindzen, MIT meteorology professor and member of the National Academy of Sciences:
We are quite confident (1) that global mean temperature is about 0.5°C higher than it was a century ago; (2) that atmospheric levels of CO2 have risen over the past two centuries; and (3) that CO2 is a greenhouse gas whose increase is likely to warm the earth (one of many, the most important being water vapor and clouds). But–and I cannot stress this enough–we are not in a position to confidently attribute past climate change to CO2 or to forecast what the climate will be in the future.”  “[T]here has been no question whatsoever that CO2 is an infrared absorber (i.e., a greenhouse gas — albeit a minor one), and its increase should theoretically contribute to warming. Indeed, if all else were kept equal, the increase in CO2 should have led to somewhat more warming than has been observed.” (San Francisco Examiner, July 12, 2006  and in Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2006, Page A14)
Here’s a little more bio background on Lindzen from his own wikipedia page
Lindzen is identified as a contributer to Chapter 4 of the “IPCC Second Assessment”, “Climate Change 1995″.
He has been a strong critic of anthropogenic global warming theories and wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in April, 2006, wherein he not only contested media assertions that the Bush administration has been putting pressure on scientists to oppose climate change principles but insisted that exactly the opposite is taking place: “Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves labeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse.”
In the same piece, Lindzen also wrote: “In Europe, Henk Tennekes was dismissed as research director of the Royal Dutch Meteorological Society after questioning the scientific underpinnings of global warming. Aksel Winn-Nielsen, former director of the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization, was tarred by Bert Bolin, first head of the IPCC, as a tool of the coal industry for questioning climate alarmism. Respected Italian professors Alfonso Sutera and Antonio Speranza disappeared from the debate in 1991, apparently losing climate-research funding for raising questions.”
His position with regard to the IPCC can be summed up with this quotation: “Picking holes in the IPCC is crucial. The notion that if you’re ignorant of something and somebody comes up with a wrong answer, and you have to accept that because you don’t have another wrong answer to offer is like faith healing, it’s like quackery in medicine – if somebody says you should take jelly beans for cancer and you say that’s stupid, and he says, well can you suggest something else and you say, no, does that mean you have to go with jelly beans?”
if we’re using wikipedia as our source, there’s also the global warming skeptics page
where you will find links to the Oregon Petition alongside Larry The Cable Guy, and which itself has a link to the former global warming skeptics page, which includes noted scientific scholars Rupert Murdoch and Pat Robertson.
Then there’s Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore’s page where his views on Global Warming are described as such:
While acknowledging that the increase of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere is caused by human consumption of fossil fuels, he claims that as of 2006 it cannot be fully proven that this is the reason the Earth has been warming since 1980. He stresses that [it] is scientific evidence, not consensus opinion, that would prove or disprove this relation.
I saw Al Gore’s movie. Lauded as the must see, end all be all, one stop shopping for information on Global Warming. I was moved until I did some research myself and found out he paints a skewed picture. His most memorable image, the Hockey Stick Graph is still being debated for it’s accuracy, in particular for its erroneous representation of the middle ages warm period.
But who is Al Gore anyway? He’s not a climatologist. He’s not a meteorologist. He’s not a scientist of any kind. He’s a politician. Okay, so if we’re taking the word of a politician (can you believe that?) than how about the word of a journalist? Millions of people accept what journalists say as fact every day. Here’s one of my favorites, John Hockenberry. who writes in this months Wired Magazine (Feb 2007) a portion of the cover story, “What We Don’t Know: 42 of the biggest questions in science”. He answers the question “What causes ice ages?” (I’m typing this in from the hardcopy since it’s not posted online at this time – and note, this copy of Wired was literally picked up at random after I read Joe’s comment last night and lo and behold there was an opinion that differed with the “consensus”)
Scientists know that small-scale ice ages occur every 20,000-40,000 years and that massive ones happen every 100,000 years or so. They just don’t know why. The current theory – first proposed in 1920 by Serbian engineer Milutin Milankovitch – is that irregularities in Earth’s orbit change how much solar energy it absorbs, resulting in sudden (well, geologically speaking) cooling. While this neatly fits the timing of short term events, there’s still a big problem. Over the past few decades, studies have show that orbital fluctuations affect solar energy by 1 percent or less – far too little too little to produce massive climate shifts on their own. “The mystery is, what is the amplification factor?” says University of Michigan geologist and climatologist Henry Pollack. “What takes a small amount of solar energy change and produces a large amount of glaciation? Studies of ice and seabed cores reveal that temperature rise and fall is heavily correlated with changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations. But it’s a chicken-and-egg problem. Are CO2 rises and falls a cause of climate change or an effect? If they are a cause, what initiates the change? Figuring this out could tell us a great deal about the current global warming problem and how it might be solved. But as Matthew Saltzman, a geologist at Ohio State puts it, “We need to know why greenhouse gases fluctuated in prehuman times, and we just don’t.”
And that’s the crux of the matter. No matter what Al Gore says or what a panel of scientists votes on or what committee Nancy Pelosi forms, we just don’t know. And to say we do is a convenient lie.
Which brings me to the concept of “scientific consensus”. The Oxymoron of the Year. To paraphrase Patrick Moore’s quote above, science is about fact, not about consensus. There was a time when the scientific consensus was that the world was flat. There was a consensus about the benefits of Eugenics. There was a scientific consensus that Pluto was a planet until a group of scientists voted to adopt a new consensus.
Michael Crichton says it best in his speech “The Impossibility Of Prediction” given to the National Press Club on January 25, 2005:
As most of you have heard many times, the consensus of climate scientists believes in global warming. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.
Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science, consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.
And furthermore, the consensus of scientists has frequently been wrong. As they were wrong when they believed, earlier in my lifetime, that the continents did not move. So we must remember the immortal words of Mark Twain, who said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”