If you enjoy this blog, please share or leave a comment!

Understanding how scientific consensus is achieved isn't a science, it's a living process. Each day the science community produces new knowledge, whether it agrees or disagrees with the current scientific consensus is a different matter. Once scientific consensus is achieved it is still free to change and grow, but it requires definitive evidence and proof to refute scientific consensus.

When physicists published Higgs boson findings, they didn't find just a single Higgs boson in one experiment, the experiment was repeated many times which observed the same results. It surprised me to discover the experiment was repeated over 750,000,000,000,000 times — did watching drying paint the grass grow suddenly become riveting? Successfully proving an experiment 750 trillion times provides scientific consensus. The process of scientific consensus takes a team months. In reality, the scientific consensus is more complex for climate change than it is for the Higgs boson. Physicists can observe a Higgs boson, observing climate change isn't as definitive.  

What gives scientific consensus more strength is demonstrating the theory using a different and unrelated* scientific method. Two different scientific methods that support the same scientific theory add more credibility to scientific consensus. One great example of growing scientific consensus is Einstein's work — many experiments demonstrate that Einstein was correct. Each time a different experiment verifies Einstein, the scientific consensus of theory grows.

Given that scientific consensus of climate change has always been poorly understood, and communicated, in Canadian media and journalism, giving a group the platform, that still has no credible refutation of climate change, isn't journalism nor honest journalism. How many journalists do understand this difference? Trust me, very few. When leading media folks demonstrate their scientific illiteracy with the basic misuse of scientific and technical language,  we can't trust or expect quality coverage when they don't understand how science works. Spoilers — we don't get smart coverage.

When climate scientists add more independent consensus to climate change theory the body of knowledge strengthens. In math, it's like proving 0 = 0, or confirming Einstein for the bazillionth time. It's like rediscovering the wheel from a different set of first principles — in the end, the wheel does the same thing no matter what you think, spin, or do, that simply can't change. 

My favorite consensus building "moment" on climate change was Koch brothers confirming climate science in 2012. They certainly didn't inform the Fraser Institute to flood the streets with this reality. Thanks again, Koch!

There are a few remaining groups of climate deniers, some in Canada. Designed to deny since stronger climate science was established. As we see climate change consensus grow, they have produced no hard case in the 20 years they have operated. Their last few arguments have been debunked and now they stand alone, without the support of any recognized scientific body, globally. 

Some feel that climate deniers that influence dysfunctional policy should be criminally charged and thrown in jail. Should suppressing and knowingly denying information that harms national security be a crime? In 2016 it should be, yes, climate denial harms everyone and has measurable impacts on global economic security. With real-world outcomes like food insecurity, local war, water droughts, sea level and energy consumption, society must no longer tolerate this agnotology.


* - yes, everything in the universe is related.