I think there’s an emerging consensus that we do have global warming. You can look at the data on that, and I think clearly we’re in a period of warming. Where there does not appear to be a consensus, where it begins to break down, is the extent to which that’s part of a normal cycle versus the extent to which it’s caused by man, greenhouse gases, et cetera.
Cheney is understating both points. The IPCC SPM does not say that there is an emerging consensus on global warming, it says “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level.”
The idea that there is no consensus on causation is equally laughable. When Oreskes did a search of the literature between 1993 and 2003, she found that none of almost a thousand peer reviewed papers discussing “global climate change” rejected the argument that humans are causing most of the observed warming. While there may be such a paper which doesn’t contain the phrase she searched for, the result clearly shows a consensus which existed already many years ago.
The IPCC SPM concludes:
Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely [>90%] due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. This is an advance since the TAR’s conclusion that “most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely [>66%] to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.” Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind pattern. …
The observed widespread warming of the atmosphere and ocean, together with ice mass loss, support the conclusion that it is extremely unlikely [<5%] that global climate change of the past fifty years can be explained without external forcing, and very likely that it is not due to known natural causes alone.
That the consensus exists is no longer deniable, not even by oil companies and Republican governors of conservative states. Then again, Dick Cheney probably still claims there were WMDs in Iraq, and that there really was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda.