NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 24, 2005

The contention that scientists are in agreement regarding the causes of global warming (human activity) is simply false, says British social anthropologist Benny Peiser.

At issue is a recently published essay in Science Magazine by author Naomi Oreskes, who analyzed 928 abstracts with the words "climate change," from peer-reviewed, scientific journals published between 1993 and 2003. Her conclusion: All abstracts agreed that climate change was not a naturally-occurring process.

But according to Peiser:

  • Numerous research papers over the last 10 years (also published in peer-reviewed journals) show that temperatures were higher during the Medieval Warm Period than they are today.
  • Moreover, the papers indicated that solar variability, not human activity, is most likely the key driver of climate change.
  • Furthermore, the Science article does not reference the study itself or the methodology involved on which the scientists based their conclusion.
  • Finally, Oreskes' assertion that there is a 100 percent consensus among scientists on global warming is simply not backed by science.

Policy experts Chris Horner and Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute have also criticized Oreskes' essay, saying that it has no place in a scientific journal. "the message of the clearly a political point rather than a scientific one," says Murray.

Sources: Marc Morano, "Essay Claiming 'Scientific Consensus' for Global Warming is Ridiculed," CNS Naomi Oreskes, "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change," Science, December 3, 2004.

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