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By Robert Rapier on Jul 18, 2008 with no responses

The Consensus on Global Warming Weakens?

Update: Or maybe not. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this story. Climate Progress reports on the controversy:

Physicists forced to reaffirm that human-caused global warming is “incontrovertible”

First off, I like Joseph Romm, who wrote the article above. But he is guilty of what I think is too common any time global warming is the subject. He uses inflammatory and leading language to frame the issue:

Now you can be just as sure that any denier talk point is wrong without studying it in detaila denier websiterich man’s (failed) James Inhofe

I think Romm makes a good argument that there is a lot more to the story than all of the headlines yesterday indicated. There is no need to paint opponents with a broad brush as “deniers” or say to call this a “conservative” issue (see – “The right’s misguided frenzy over the American Physical Society“).

As for me, my position is the same: I lean toward the viewpoint that humans are contributing to global warming. I am, however, interested to see the debate play out and I am strongly opposed to intimidation tactics from both sides that attempt to influence the issue.

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I have often said that my position on global warming is based on the scientific consensus (just as it is in other fields where I lack specific expertise). The consensus weakened today, when the American Physical Society – a major association of physicists – issued a statement that suggested that many of the members are skeptics:

Myth of Consensus Explodes: APS Opens Global Warming Debate

In a posting to the APS forum, editor Jeffrey Marque explains,”There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution.”

The APS is opening its debate with the publication of a paper by Lord Monckton of Brenchley, which concludes that climate sensitivity — the rate of temperature change a given amount of greenhouse gas will cause — has been grossly overstated by IPCC modeling. A low sensitivity implies additional atmospheric CO2 will have little effect on global climate.

Larry Gould, Professor of Physics at the University of Hartford and Chairman of the New England Section of the APS, called Monckton’s paper an “expose of the IPCC that details numerous exaggerations and “extensive errors”

This was an interesting development. I will however continue to withhold judgment and let the debate play out.