Climate Change Consensus: Why 100% Agreement Is Unnecessary
97% of climate change researchers agree that global warming is real, and that it is caused by human activity, but what about the other 3%? Are these skeptics preventing the scientific community from reaching a consensus on the matter?
In a recent episode of Straight Talk MD, Dr. Frank Sweeny talked with Dr. Michael E. Mann, an American climatologist, geophysicist, and prominent figure in the history of the climate change awareness. Dr. Mann explains why 100% agreement is not required to reach a consensus, and that healthy skepticism should aways be present in the scientific community:
“I would say overwhelmingly 97% of the scientists today in your field, I mean qualified scientists who do this for a living, all agree that the climate change is real and that it’s caused by human activity. Do you need 100% of the scientists to agree? Is that a consensus?”
“We don’t have a 100% consensus right now about plate tectonics. We don’t have a 100% consensus about gravity. In a sense, there are still scientist devil’s advocates, and that’s a good thing. In science, you want devil’s advocates. You want individuals who are challenging the science at the edges, holding the scientific community up to appropriate scrutiny. That’s the self-correcting machinery that Carl Sagan so eloquently talked about. That’s true skepticism, and it plays out in science through the peer reviewed literature, or through comments and replies and journals, and through scientific presentations and challenges that are made by other scientists.
That’s all good. That’s part of that machinery that keeps science on the path towards an increasingly better understanding of the way the world works, and what that means is that you’re always going to have gadflies and contrarians and devils advocates.”
Dr. Michael E. Mann is the author of the “Madhouse Effect” and a lead contributor to the research visualized in “the hockey stick graph”, an iconic milestone in the history of climate change awareness.