Environmentalists often curtail debate on climate change by simply saying “the science is settled” and “there’s scientific consensus.”  Al Gore says it constantly. Members of Congress say it.  Reporters covering energy issues say it.  Foreign leaders love to say it as does President Obama who will likely continue to use this phrase in order to push through his cap-and-trade legislation.

There are detractors. Occasionally a scientist-a climatologist-will bravely say he doesn’t agree or an opinion columnist may question the type of scientists making up that consensus (are they all climatologists or are they throwing a botanists and chemists in there?).  Many on the Right–such as Senate Energy and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-OK)–have doubted this so-called “consensus” for years and have spoken up to debunk these claims. 

But it now turns out, the number was made up entirely from the beginning (h/t-Prison Planet).  Writing a paper for the science journal Progress in Physical Geography, climate scientist and Professor of climate change Mike Hulme (he actually teaches at the famed “climategate” school–the University of East Anglia) states (read the whole report here): 

Claims such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous. That particular consensus judgment, as are many others in the IPCC reports, is reached by only a few dozen experts in the specific field of detection and attribution studies; other IPCC authors are experts in other fields. 

But this admission doesn’t just come from an IPCC outsider or some renegade scientist critical of the IPCC.  Rather, this information comes from one of the ultimate IPCC insiders.  In fact, Hulme was one of the lead authors on the IPCC’s third assessment report and contributed to several other chapters in the report.  So, while this admission may come as no shock to those who have doubted man’s role in climate change, it is a startling admission from a scientists intimately involved in the whole IPCC process.

Will this new information finally stop people from making these claims? Probably not.  The phrase “the science is settled” has become a part of the American lexicon.  Accepted as fact like so many other “debunked-but-still-cited” myths used by the Left to win arguments-like “women earn less than men” and “46 million Americans don’t have health insurance.”

With climate change legislation pending and clearly being pushed by the White House (as the President rather embarrassingly illustrated during his national address on the BP oil spill), watch for these catch phrases to be used throughout the debate on the House and Senate floors-and unfortunately rarely challenged.