Dissent, Silencing, and the Climate Change Debate
Manufacturing consensus refers to the idea that certain organizations, for example, the IPCC, and groups such as climate scientists, use various strategies to create the illusion of widespread agreement on an issue, even when it might not exist.
In historical cases, scientific communities ostracized individuals like Galileo Galilei who challenged scientific consensus. While the specifics are complex, such instances raise questions about how dissent is handled and whether "consensus" reflects genuine agreement or pressure to conform.
When individuals and groups surround themselves with information and opinions that reinforce their existing beliefs they limit exposure to alternative viewpoints. This directly leads to groupthink and difficulty evaluating dissenting voices fairly.
Manufactured consensus can be achieved through a variety of means. For example, excluding dissenting voices- This could involve silencing critics, marginalizing them within the organization, or even actively removing them from decision-making processes.
Controlling information is another tactic in manufacturing consensus. This might involve limiting access to information that contradicts the desired narrative by influencing the peer-reviewed publication process, manipulating data, or using biased reporting.
Finally, using social pressure and groupthink- This can involve creating an environment where individuals feel pressured to conform to the majority opinion, even if they have doubts.
The intersection of science, policy, and public discourse is a complex and often contentious arena, especially on globally significant issues such as climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the recent legal case involving Dr. Michael E. Mann, a prominent climate scientist, exemplify the tensions that can arise when a so-called ‘scientific consensus’ is challenged.
However, does such a ‘scientific consensus’, claimed by both prominent climate scientists and large governmental institutions, really exist, or has it been manufactured?
Dissenting voices within the IPCC have sparked controversy over the years. Some scientists and experts have expressed concerns about the IPCC's process and conclusions, and a few have even left or been forced out of, the organization.
One notable example is the case of Dr. Chris Landsea, a hurricane expert who resigned from the IPCC in 2005. He expressed concerns that the IPCC was becoming politicized, particularly around the issue of hurricanes and global warming. Landsea was concerned that statements made by IPCC officials were not supported by existing science and were, in his view, overemphasizing the link between hurricane activity and global warming without sufficient evidence.
Another example is economist Richard Tol, who left the IPCC in 2014, citing concerns about the organization's summary reports, which he believed were too alarmist and did not accurately represent the underlying science. Tol argued that the summary emphasized the negative impacts of climate change without equally presenting the uncertainties or the potential for adaptation and mitigation. He believed that this lack of balance did not accurately reflect the underlying scientific research and economic analyses… something I discuss here.
There have also been instances of dissenting voices being removed from the IPCC. In 2010, a group of scientists sent a letter to the IPCC, accusing the organization of suppressing dissenting views and engaging in "political manipulation." The letter was signed by a number of prominent scientists.
Despite these controversies, the IPCC remains the leading authority on climate change, and its reports are widely respected and cited by policymakers and scientists around the world.
Recently, the defamation lawsuit by climate scientist Michael Mann against two bloggers has raised concerns about the suppression of critics of climate alarmism and the manufacturing of a consensus. Mann's lawsuit is a clear attempt to silence those who question his work and the broader narrative of catastrophic climate change. This lawsuit and subsequent $1M award will have a chilling effect on free speech, discouraging others from expressing dissenting views for fear of facing similar legal action.
These examples suggest that the climate change consensus is manufactured by silencing dissenting voices and promoting only the views of those who support the dominant narrative. This has led to a skewed public perception of the scientific evidence and hinders a balanced and open discussion on climate change.
In conclusion, the actions of prominent climate scientists and large governmental institutions have brought to light concerns about the suppression of critics of climate alarmism and the potential manufacturing of a consensus. It remains to be seen how such actions will impact the broader debate on climate change and the freedom of expression for those who hold dissenting views… But this is exactly how you manufacture a consensus.