Al Gore is taking on ExxonMobil's multi-million dollar backing of climate skeptics that the former vice president said were paid to obscure the scientific consensus about global warming.
It's a familiar charge, and one that is well documented, but the same broadsides against climate science that were cooked up b y these experts for hire continue to appear all over the Web, in the editorials of some prominent newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and the Investors Business Daily and, no doubt before long, in the comments at the bottom of this story. Skepticism is a fundamental part of science.
The best scientists are most skeptical of their own results -- trying, through the process of science, to test every possible theory that would disprove their hypothesis before they express confidence in its validity. In the case of climate science, the competing hypotheses have been tested again and again, and the theory -- a stronger word in the world of science than in the popular mind -- that has been supported again and again is that human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are the leading cause of global warming today, that the effects of global warming are beginning to emerge and that the future consequences are dire.
Everyday skeptics of this consensus view -- whether or not they were influenced by the money flowing from oil companies or not -- should be commended for their commitment to the rigors of the scientific method. Then they should get out of the way so the rest of us can solve this problem.
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