I see Andrew Montford has authored a new Global Warming Policy Foundation report about The Warming Consensus and its critics. Personally, I find this whole argument about the consensus tedious and childish. It exists, knowing it exists could be important, its existence doesn’t mean that the scientific view is correct, science doesn’t work via consensus, denying its existence is infantile and foolish.
So, who are the critics that Andrew’s report highlights. Well, there’s a single quote from Mike Hulme made – if I remember correctly – on a Making Science Public blog post. There’s Richard Tol’s paper, that took something like 5 submissions to 4 different journals, and which, at best, simply points out what the original paper already acknowledged (and, at worst, is simply complete and utter bollocks). There are quotes from blog posts written by a ranty PhD student from Arizona, whose views appear so absurd that I can’t bring myself to mention their name or link to their blog posts. And, last but not least, a paper co-authored by Christopher Monckton.
So, here’s my new theory of how some people hope to “win”. Write reports (and say things) that are so absurd that anyone sensible simply bursts out laughing, assumes that they’re joking, and moves on without commenting. That way, the author can then claim that noone has yet contradicted what they’ve written and, therefore, they must be right. In a similar vein, I spent some of my day discussing, with Judith Curry on Twitter, whether or not we’re virtually certain that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic. Again, what else can you do but laugh?