Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Concensus Grows. . . .

This article reported by the BBC is yet another leaked announcement ahead of an IPCC report. This way, it seems, we get two for the price of one as there will be another feature when the report is officially released.

Regardless, the rhetoric is interesting as there are conflicting degrees of certainty within the language of the article. To whit: "the only explanation", "probably to blame", "the only explanation (again)", "must be", "all measurements have been anomalous", "virtually all", "maybe higher", "there is still great uncertainty", "what really worries the scientists", "the world may already be fixed on a path". All this sounds like a lot of scaremongering.

The paragraph I find most interesting is the one that informs us that "stable CO2 concentrations in the pre-industrial era were 270 ppm". I seriously doubt if CO2 concentrations have ever been stable given the huge natural emissions that take place sporadically from volcanos and other natural phenomena. But then I guess 270ppm is the concensus number and therefore it must be right!

Remember: scientific concensus is rarely a good thing, it creates an "establishment" doctrine about how things should be rather than how they are observed to be. The early days of the science of geology suffered from Establishment thinking and Darwin's publication of the Origin of Species was delayed decades because of it.


Blogger Frank Borger said...

Well the closest I know to a concensus is the petition project which states that we just don't know enough yet to come to any conclusions. It's currently at 17,200 verified signers, (Bono need not apply.) With only a BS in Physics, I barely qualified to sign, and am not listed as "especially well qualified."

5:43 PM  

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