Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum recently appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher. He denied the consensus on man-made climate change. It’s what he does. He’s a denier.
To support his claim that the 97% consensus isn’t real, Santorum said “The head of the U.N. IPC [sic] said that number was pulled out of thin air.” Rick Santorum is wrong.
He’s almost certainly referring to Richard Tol, who actually said that the 97% figure was pulled out of thin air. Richard Tol was one of the “lead authors” of the latest IPCC reports — one of over 680 lead authors of the latest IPCC reports. Richard Tol contributed to one chapter out of three reports: chapter 10 of working group II: “Key economic sectors and services.” He was one of 8 lead authors on that one chapter of one of the three IPCC reports: the one about economic sectors and services. You see, Richard Tol is not a climate scientist. He’s a professor of economics at Sussex University, and of “the Economics of Climate Change” at Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He’s an economist.
Richard Tol isn’t the head of the U.N. IPCC. Where Rick Santorum got that idea? I don’t know; maybe he pulled it out of his ass.
Out of over 680 lead authors, Rick Santorum managed to find 1 of 8 lead authors on one chapter in three massive reports who dismisses the 97% consensus — then told America that he was “head of the U.N. IPC” (it’s IPCC, not IPC). Richard Tol damn sure ain’t “head of the U.N. IPC [sic].”
Santorum went on to say that the 97% consensus was based on a survey of 77 scientists. Rick Santorum is wrong again. He’s probably referring to the study by Doran (2009), which found 75 of 77 actual climate scientists endorsed the consensus view. But the consensus comes from many studies, not just one survey, starting with Oreskes 2004, in which, out of 928 scientific research papers about climate, none disagreed with the consensus view. Cook et al. (2013) found that of 4,014 climate science research papers, 97% which stated a position endorsed the consensus view, and among the 10,356 scientists who authored those 4014 papers, 98.4% endorsed the consensus view.
But misstating “facts” is the kind of thing we expect from Rick Santorum. Rather than do some of the work required actually to learn about the subject, he’ll do nothing more than listen to those who tell him what he wants ot hear, then lie to America so he can push his political agenda. I’d rather have a president who was willing to get to the bottom of things, to find out the real deal, than one who’s intellectually lazy and so agenda-driven that he’ll spout drivel about an issue as important as global warming.
While we’re on the subject of consensus, consider this: here in the U.S. our nation’s science academy is called the “National Academy of Sciences” (started during the administration of President Lincoln). They’ve stated clearly, unambiguously, that climate change is real, it’s caused by human beings, and it’s dangerous.
Perhaps the most prestigious national science academy in the world is that of Great Britain: the Royal Society. They’ve stated clearly, unambiguously, that climate change is real, it’s caused by human beings, and it’s dangerous.
The same is true of the national science academies of France, Germany, Italy, Russia, China, Japan, Belgium, Australia, etc. etc. etc. Worldwide, over 30 national science academies have said the same thing: climate change is real, it’s caused by human beings, and it’s dangerous. The number of national science academies which have made contrary statements, equals zero.
That’s one hell of a consensus — not of single scientists, or thousands of scientific research papers, but of the most prestigious science academies of the nations of the world. Among those that have weighed in on the subject, the consensus isn’t 97%, it’s 100%.