There's a really sensible article in the Guardian by Ehsan Masood, which is a complete antidote to all the nonsense being spouted in Parliament this morning by all and sundry. It effortlessly knocks down the fairy tale constructed by the mainstream media, with its invocation of bad oil-funded deniers prowling threateningly around the peace and harmony of the scientific endeavour:
...those of us in the business of science and environment journalism need to be careful that we don't overstep the mark: sceptics are not all climate deniers. Scepticism is complex and encompasses a range of opinions, many of which are perfectly valid, even if, personally, we don't agree with them. Moreover, shutting out dissenting voices is a disservice to our audiences, to institutions such as the IPCC who benefit from the scrutiny, and ultimately doesn't help engender much trust in institutions of government.
In the process it makes it clear that the idea of a consensus is a bit of a sham:
Those of us who do keep an eye on the IPCC know that how it works isn't always pretty and that, for all the talk of consensus, there's always been plenty of debate on the inside, and, yes, plenty of scepticism, only some of which reaches the outside world.
Mahsood's observations about the failings of mainstream science journalism - the relentless focus on scientific triumph over analysis of competing positions and the tricky nitty-gritty of scientific disputes - seems important to me. Definitely read the whole thing.