Why global warming is real?
Guest essay by Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger and Patrick J. Michaels, Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute
The central premise of “global warming” is that human greenhouse-gas emissions will lead to a rise in the earth’s average surface temperature, and that as emissions continue to increase (a result of population growth and the desire to improve public health and welfare through increased energy availability), global average temperature will rise ever faster, that is, accelerate.
The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), back in 2007, claimed the acceleration was happening. This is a central part of both their global warming meme and the notion that it will lead to all sorts of negative consequences (and few, if any, positive ones).
Figure 1. Global average surface temperature history with trends through various periods emphasized by the IPCC to bolster their argument that global warming was accelerating (source: IPCC Fourth Assessment Report).
As proof the story told by the IPCC represented the “consensus of scientists, ” a research team led by John Cook, founder of the website skepticalscience.com, (which is only “skeptical” about “skeptics”) surveyed the topical scientific literature, and categorized relevant publications as either endorsing the “scientific consensus” that “humans are causing global warming, ” or rejecting it. They found that of those papers in which the authors expressed their opinions, 97.1% endorsed the “scientific consensus.”
The results of this study have been trumpeted ever since by climate alarmists and supporters of efforts to curtail greenhouse gas emissions the world over. President Obama even tweeted it:
While the White House doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being evenhanded about climate change, we still need to point out that the Cook et al. results said nothing about it being “dangerous.”
What Cook et al. did claim to find—that a high percentage of scientists that think that humans play some role in “global warming”—seems to comport pretty well with our own experiences with climate scientists and the climate literature. We definitely would fall within Cook’s 97 percent.