2012 was the warmest year on record for both Las Vegas and the United States, but individual variations are irrelevant. Climate science is based on trends rather than individual data points. The overwhelming consensus among climatologists and science organizations is that Anthropogenic Global Warming ("AGW" = global warming affected by mankind) is real. They do NOT, however, claim that mankind is the SOLE cause of global warming.
Some people actually believe there is a conspiracy among these scientific organizations to perpetuate a hoax regarding AGW. Belief in such a widespread conspiracy suggests paranoid delusions, common among those on the lunatic fringe.
Others believe that these organizations sincerely believe in AGW, but they are ALL "wrong"! Belief in THIS explanation reflects a different type of detachment from reality -- one based not in paranoid delusions, but instead based on abject ignorance of science.
AGW Deniers are like tobacco cancer deniers. The scientific evidence is overwhelming, and the scientific consensus is virtually absolute, yet the core group of ninnies refuses to yield. At least most smokers seem to recognize that smoking causes cancer, even though they cannot quit the habit. Knowledge is not wisdom. AGW Deniers, on the other hand, continue to defy science. Most of them could easily support mitigation efforts, unless they are financially vested in greenhouse gases. Others are apparently sheep under the spell of the carbon industry, convinced to act against their OWN self-interest by denying AGW. They remind me of Tea Partiers working to help the rich . . .
As a general rule, rational people tend to trust the judgment of experts in any given field. They would normally trust the judgment of an oncologist regarding cancer, and they would normally trust the judgment of a climatologist regarding climate change:
"Climatology (from Greek κλίμα, klima, "place, zone"; and -λογία, -logia) is the study of climate, scientifically defined as weather conditions averaged over a period of time. This modern field of study is regarded as a branch of the atmospheric sciences and a subfield of physical geography, which is one of the Earth sciences." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatology
Rational laymen are not likely to depend on a climatologist's judgment regarding oncology, nor are they likely to depend on an oncologist's judgment regarding climate change. Rational people depend on expert opinion. Climatologists provide expert opinion on climate change.
97% of climate experts (with an opinion) agree that humans are contributing to global warming. The opinions of the dissenting 3%, along with opinions of scientists in other disciplines, may be ignored. See: http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus.htm and http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article .
SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS REGARDING CLIMATE CHANGE
The consensus of the scientific community in 2007 was "There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities. . . . the Fourth Assessment Report finds that human actions are "very likely" the cause of global warming, meaning a 90% or greater probability."
As of September 2013, the consensus has risen from "very likely" to "extremely likely":
Scientists now believe it's "extremely likely" that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming, a long-term trend that is clear despite a recent plateau in the temperatures, an international climate panel said Friday."
"The change means that scientists have moved from being 90 percent sure to 95 percent - about the same degree of certainty they have that smoking kills.
"At 90 percent it means there is a 10 percent probability that it's not entirely correct," said Chris Field, Carnegie Institution scientist who is a leader in the IPCC but wasn't involved in the report released Friday. "And now that's 5 percent. So it's a doubling of our confidence. That's actually a consequential change in our level of understanding."
"SLOWDOWN" IN WARMING?
One of the most controversial subjects in the report was how to deal with what appears to be a slowdown in warming if you look at temperature data for the past 15 years. Climate skeptics say this "hiatus" casts doubt on the scientific consensus on climate change, even though the past decade was the warmest on record.
Many governments had objections over how the issue was treated in earlier drafts and some had called for it to be deleted altogether.
In the end, the IPCC made only a brief mention of the issue in the summary for policymakers, stressing that short-term records are sensitive to natural variability and don't in general reflect long-term trends.
"An old rule says that climate-relevant trends should not be calculated for periods less than around 30 years," said Thomas Stocker, co-chair of the group that wrote the report.
Many scientists say the temperature data reflect random climate fluctuations and an unusually hot year, 1998, picked as a starting point for charting temperatures. Another leading hypothesis is that heat is settling temporarily in the oceans, but that wasn't included in the summary.
1. As a matter of FACT, "consensus" IS used regarding scientific judgment:
Scientific consensus is the collective judgment, position, and opinion of the community of scientists in a particular field of study. Consensus implies general agreement, though not necessarily unanimity. Scientific consensus is not by itself a scientific argument, and it is not part of the scientific method. Nevertheless, consensus may be based on both scientific arguments and the scientific method.
Consensus is normally achieved through communication at conferences, the publication process, replication (reproducible results by others) and peer review. These lead to a situation in which those within the discipline can often recognize such a consensus where it exists, but communicating to outsiders that consensus has been reached can be difficult, because the 'normal' debates through which science progresses may seem to outsiders as contestation.
Scientific consensus may be invoked in popular or political debate on subjects that are controversial within the public sphere but which may not be controversial within the scientific community, such as evolution or the claimed linkage of MMR vaccinations and autism.
[END QUOTE - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_consensus ]
2. Further, as a matter of fact, SCIENTISTS use the term "consensus" regarding climate change:
Scientific consensus on Climate Change
A question that frequently arises in popular discussion of climate change is whether there is a scientific consensus on climate change. Several scientific organizations have explicitly used the term "consensus" in their statements:
American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2006: "The conclusions in this statement reflect the scientific consensus represented by, for example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the Joint National Academies' statement."
"The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has reaffirmed the position of its Board of Directors and the leaders of 18 respected organizations, who concluded based on multiple lines of scientific evidence that global climate change caused by human activities is now underway, and it is a growing threat to society." - http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2009/1204climate_statement.shtml
US National Academy of Sciences: "In the judgment of most climate scientists, Earth’s warming in recent decades has been caused ies that have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. ... On climate change, [the National Academies’ reports] have assessed consensus findings on the science..."
Joint Science Academies' statement, 2005: "We recognise the international scientific consensus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)."
Joint Science Academies' statement, 2001: "The work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) represents the consensus of the international scientific community on climate change science. We recognise IPCC as the world’s most reliable source of information on climate change and its causes, and we endorse its method of achieving this consensus."
American Meteorological Society, 2003: "The nature of science is such that there is rarely total agreement among scientists. Individual scientific statements and papers—the validity of some of which has yet to be assessed adequately—can be exploited in the policy debate and can leave the impression that the scientific community is sharply divided on issues where there is, in reality, a strong scientific consensus.... IPCC assessment reports are prepared at approximately five-year intervals by a large international group of experts who represent the broad range of expertise and perspectives relevant to the issues. The reports strive to reflect a consensus evaluation of the results of the full body of peer-reviewed research.... They provide an analysis of what is known and not known, the degree of consensus, and some indication of the degree of confidence that can be placed on the various statements and conclusions." -
"Despite the uncertainties noted above, there is adequate evidence from observations and interpretations of climate simulations to conclude that the atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; that humans have significantly contributed to this change; and that further climate change will continue to have important impacts on human societies, on economies, on ecosystems, and on wildlife through the 21st century and beyond." - http://www.ametsoc.org/policy/2007climatechange.html
American Chemical Society: "[C]omprehensive scientific assessments of our current and potential future climates clearly indicate that climate change is real, largely attributable to emissions from human activities, and potentially a very serious problem. - http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_SUPERARTICLE&node_id=1907&use_sec=false&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=7c7fcc46-2f53-4f2a-9b1b-3e51f29147bc
Geological Society of America: "Concurs with assessments by the National Academies of Science (2005), the National Research Council (2006), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) that global climate has warmed and that human activities (mainly greenhouse-gas emissions) account for most of the warming since the middle 1900s. If current trends continue, the projected increase in global temperature by the end of the twentyfirst century will result in large impacts on humans and other species. Addressing the challenges posed by climate change will require a combination of adaptation to the changes that are likely to occur and global reductions of CO2 emissions from anthropogenic sources." - http://www.geosociety.org/positions/position10.htm
3. As a matter of FACT, the existence of scientific consensus on AGW is irrefutable. The list of concurring scientific organizations includes:
American Geophysical Union: http://www.agu.org/sci_pol/positions/climate_change2008.shtml
American Physical Society: http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/07_1.cfm
The Royal Society: http://royalsociety.org/policy/publications/2001/science-climate-change/
European Academy of Sciences and Arts: http://royalsociety.org/policy/publications/2001/science-climate-change/
American Association for the Advancement of Science: http://www.aaas.org/news/press_room/climate_change/mtg_200702/aaas_climate_statement.pdf
American Chemical Society: http://www.aaas.org/news/press_room/climate_change/mtg_200702/aaas_climate_statement.pdf
American Institute of Physics: http://www.aip.org/fyi/2004/042.html
Australian Institute of Physics: http://www.aip.org.au/about.php
American Geophysical Union: http://www.agu.org/sci_pol/positions/climate_change2008.shtml
American Public Health Association: http://www.apha.org/advocacy/policy/policysearch/default.htm?id=1351
Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences: http://geoscience.ca/_ARCHIVE_jan7_2011/climatechange.html
American Medical Association: http://www.ama.com.au/node/4442
World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/world-health-day/toolkit/report_web.pdf
American Statistical Association: http://www.amstat.org/news/climatechange.cfm
American Association of Petroleum Geologists: http://dpa.aapg.org/gac/statements/climatechange.pdf
American Association of State Climatologists: http://www.stateclimate.org/publications/files/aascclimatepolicy.pdf
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/20080619_climatereport.html
4. As a matter of FACT, dissenting opinion is relegated to the fringe:
No scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion; the last was the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, which in 2007 updated its 1999 statement rejecting the likelihood of human influence on recent climate with its current non-committal position. Some other organizations, primarily those focusing on geology, also hold non-committal positions.
I am continually astonished at the arrogance of laymen who believe they know better than the collective wisdom of leading scientists. Whether their delusions are based on paranoia or just ignorance, they seem to reflect the alternate reality bubble of Right-Wing Fantasyland. They epitomize "delusions of adequacy."
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
- Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)