A group of scientists attending a major conference get together in a bar. They talk, but they agree on nothing because they are critical academics. The server comes along to take the beer order and says, “I noticed you all are constantly arguing. What are you arguing about?”
“Sensitivity,” one of them says. “It is the number of degrees C the Earth’s surface will warm with a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere. Is it 2, 3, 4? … We cant settle on a number”
The server considers their plight for a moment. Suddenly, she rips several sheets out of her order book and hands one to each of the scientists. She notices they all already have pens and mechanical pencils in their shirt pockets.
“Each of you write down a number for sensitivity. Don’t share. I’ll look at them all and if they are all the same number I’ll bring you your beer for free for the rest of the evening.”
The scientists comply. She looks at their numbers. They are all the same. Despite the quibbling they all had the same sense for what the number for climate “sensitivity” likely is. They get free beer for the evening.
Scientific consensus is what most scientists will nitpick about but ultimately agree on if free beer is at stake.
My first homework assignment for Making Sense of Climate Denial.