Today’s members of the “Inhofe 400,” Gwyn Prins and Steve Rayner, do appear to have expertise on climate change policy. Prins is the professor and director of the Mackinder Centre for the Study of Long Wave Events at the London School of Economics, while Rayner is professor and director of the James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization at the University of Oxford.
As such, they are different from those that I have previously highlighted (here and here), who were true skeptics of human-induced climate change, but didn’t have the credentials or credibility in the climate change arena to be considered “experts.”
So Prins and Rayner have credibility in their area of expertise, but are they actually skeptics? The first sentence of the executive summary of their report, “The Wrong Trousers,” (PDF) says:
We face a problem of anthropogenic climate change, but the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 has failed to tackle it.
I would say that Prins and Rayner do not doubt the reality of human-induced climate change.
Their point is not one of skepticism that humans are causing climate change, but that we need to look beyond a Kyoto-style approach in order to address this problem. I should note that this is not a “consensus-busting” position. There are many of us out there who agree that the Kyoto Protocol has not been effective and that new approaches need to be discussed.
In fact, in the last chapter of my book on climate change, my co-author and I detail a proposed approach that steps outside the Framework Convention under which the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated.
Thus, we can separate the “Inhofe 400” skeptics we have investigated so far into two classes: (1) those who are truly skeptical of a link between humans and climate, but are also truly unqualified, and (2) those who are qualified, but not actually skeptical. Prins and Rayner appear to fall into the latter category.
The existence of people in either of these categories in no way proves that there is any substantive scientific disagreement with the consensus put forth by the IPCC that humans are very likely responsible for most of the recent warming we’ve experienced and that future warming carries with it a risk of substantial impacts.