Gleick on “consensus science”

Peter Gleick’s year-ender includes a discussion of one of my favorite topics: the misrepresentation of “consensus science”:

One such doughnut hole is what climate change skeptics call “consensus science.” They argue that just because the vast majority of serious climate scientists believe in the greenhouse effect – that humans are causing the earth’s climate to change in unprecedented ways – the consensus doesn’t make climate change “true.” Indeed, consensus doesn’t make something correct. But the theory that humans are causing unprecedented climate change is nevertheless a better explanation than any competing theory to explain the growing mass of evidence – coming from dozens of disciplines of science and millions of different observations. Such consensus among scientists is a tremendously powerful thing, for it indicates the strength of a theory.

(Hat tip Mike Campana, who runs a great little informal email list on water policy issues.)