PBS Frontline climate change special cites bogus ‘consensus’

Guest post by Tom Harris

Besides the obvious bias we have come to expect from most main stream media coverage of climate change, “Climate of Doubt“, aired Tuesday night on PBS’s Frontline, committed one serious mistake that can not be left unaddressed.

Frontline repeatedly implied that there is an overwhelming consensus among climate scientists that our CO2 emissions are driving us to a global climate catastrophe. They cited 97% as the fraction of the climate science community who agreed with climate alarmism.

That number is easily dismissed. It comes from a 2009 online survey of 10,257 earth scientists, conducted by two researchers at the University of Illinois. Strangely, the researchers chose to eliminate almost all the scientists from the survey and so ended up with only 77 people, 75 of whom, or 97%, thought humans contributed to climate change.

Besides the fact that, with tens of thousands of climate scientists in the world, 77 is a trivial sample size, the survey coordinators did not ask respondents how much humans had contributed to climate change. The poll is therefore meaningless.

In reality, no one knows, or even currently can know, what the “consensus” is in the world climate science community. This is because there has never been a meaningful, comprehensive worldwide poll about the topic among the thousands of scientists who specialize in the many relevant disciplines.

Scientific theories are never proven by a show of hands, of course. Otherwise, the Earth would still be considered flat and space travel impossible. It is indeed those who go against the flow—independent, original thinkers –who are usually responsible for our most meaningful advances in science.

But, most reporters, politicians and the public understand little of the scientific method and even less about the exceptionally complex field of climate change science. Consequently, they often look for an indication of ‘consensus’ when trying to decide which science should form the basis of important public policies decisions. Distasteful though this is to pure scientists, it is a reality we need to recognize and it is therefore important to try to decide whether a reliable determination of ‘consensus’ has been made about the causes of climate change.

First, it is important to realize that, of the prominent national and international science bodies that have issued official statements that are in support of the CO2/climate crisis hypothesis, none released results that show a majority of their members agreeing with the assertion.

For example, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) and a leading Canadian energy expert, “Archie” Robinson of Deep River, Ontario, explains what happened with a Royal Society (the world’s oldest scientific organisation) climate initiative supporting the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report:

“the president of the Royal Society of London … drafted a resolution in favour and circulated it to other academies of science inviting co-signing. … The president of the RSC, not a member of the [RSC’s] Academy of Science, received the invitation. He considered it consistent with the position of the great majority of scientists, as repeatedly but erroneously claimed by Kyoto proponents, and so signed it. The resolution was not referred to the Academy of Science for comment, not even to its council or president.”

A similar episode happened in the United States and Russia concerning the Royal Society effort and a survey of pronouncements from other science bodies reveals that they are usually just the opinions of the groups’ executives or committees specifically appointed by the executive. The rank and file scientist members are rarely consulted at all.

But what about the supposedly authoritarian United Nations IPCC report that constitutes the foundation of most official climate concerns today? Media and politicians tell us that 2,500 official “expert reviewers” who worked with the UN body on its most recent (2007, the fourth) “Assessment Report” (called “AR4”) agreed with its conclusions. Perhaps most importantly, in Chapter 9 of the IPCC Working Group I report (“The Physical Science Basis”, reporting on the extent and possible causes of past climate change as well as future ‘projections’) appears the following assertion: “Greenhouse gas forcing has very likely caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years.

Determining how many of the “2500 scientists” are known to actually agree with this statement is difficult, but we do know how many commented on anything in Chapter 9. Sixty-two is the number (see this analysis). The vast majority of the expert reviewers are not known to have examined this or related statements. Instead they would have focused on a page or two in the AR4 report that most related to their specialties, usually having little or nothing to do with greenhouse gases (CO2 or otherwise). And, of those sixty-two experts who did comment this chapter, the vast majority were not independent or impartial since most were employees of governments that had already decided before the report was written (indeed, as MIT Professor Richard Lindzen, a past IPCC lead author, explains, before much of the research had even begun) that human CO2 emissions are driving us to climate catastrophe.

When one eliminates reviewers with clear vested interest, we end up with a grand total of “just seven who may have been independent and impartial”, according to Australian climate data analyst, John McLean (see his report). And, two of those are known to vehemently disagree with the statement. Prominent climate scientist and IPCC insider Dr. Mike Hulme even admits that “only a few dozen experts in the specific field of detection and attribution studies”, not thousands as is commonly asserted by the IPCC and others, “reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate” (p. 10, 11 of Hulme’s April 12, 2010 paper in “Progress in Physical Geography” at http://tinyurl.com/2b3cq3r). It is travesty that the UN permits this misunderstanding to continue uncorrected.

To meaningfully assert that there is a consensus in any field, we need to actually have convincing evidence. And the best way to gather this evidence is to conduct unbiased, comprehensive worldwide polls. Since this has never been done in the vast community of scientists who research the causes of global climate change, we simply do not know what, if any, consensus exists among these experts. Lindzen concludes: “there is no [known] consensus, unanimous or otherwise, about long-term climate trends and what causes them.” Frontline did a disservice to the public telling them otherwise.

______________________________________

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition – http://www.climatescienceinternational.org/ and an advisor to the Frontier Centre for Public Policy in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

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128 thoughts on “PBS Frontline climate change special cites bogus ‘consensus’

  1. the creepy voice of frontline put me off watching the prog years ago. it reeks of “i will mesmerise u and u will believe”.

    the msm is in a panic. digging their own graves. they know everything u have written, do not imagine otherwise, yet…still they lie. too much money invested over too many decades in the insane pursuit of making CO2 the new global currency. give it up, MSM.

    a few years ago, i asked a 15-yr-old american girl what progs she liked on her 1200 cable channels and she had to think for a considerable time. eventually she named a college soap i’d never heard of, made in canada, and she wasn’t particularly enthused about it anyway.

  2. I’ve been saying the same for years. Persons unknown at the UN’s IPCC asserted that there was a consensus. No evidence has ever been presented by the IPCC showing this consensus, or exactly what there is a consensus about, or even what constitutes a consensus. Despite this being an easy thing for the IPCC to do, by surveying its reviewers.

  3. Yep, quite predictable. From the quick notes I jotted down which included the repeated ‘97%’ assertion, I spotted at least a dozen other basic errors. One in particular – the bit about “celebrities’ being in the Oregon Petition Project – is an error I covered two years ago in my American Thinker article that also pointed to other fundamental faults in the long-term smear of skeptic scientists: “The Curious History of ‘Global Climate Disruption'” http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/10/the_curious_history_of_global.html

    But I’m sure other much better writers will adequately cover all the other errors and hopefully lodge a decent protest against Frontline about them.

  4. I have always found the 97% claim reminiscent of the old Soviet block elections, 99% turnout 98.9% for the party kind of thing.

  5. Frontline quotes the Anderegg paper, claiming 97-98% of active publishing scientists agree that global warming is real.

    They then quote a NAS report which says “Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused primarily by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities, and poses significant risks for a range of human and natural systems. ”

    In fact Anderegg only says the scientists are in agreement with the primary conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for “most” of the “unequivocal” warming of the Earth’s average global temperature over the second half of the 20th century.

    Anderegg does not claim the scientists agree that global warming poses significant risks.

    Frontline is giving the impression that 97-98% of all active climate scientists believe this, when in fact the information comes from a database of 1,372 climate researchers and only from english language sources.

    What a crock, no wonder so many are so skeptical…

  6. Their major failure is simply inferring that science works by consensus, regardless of what figure it is, or what the consensus refers to. Pretty much like the weight of money (or where it comes from) doesn’t alter scientific truth, either.

    They might as well say: “we’ve got more apples than you, therefore blue is red”.

  7. I found the program enjoyable, and recommend it.

    “In reality, no one knows, or even currently can know, what the “consensus” is in the world climate science community. This is because there has never been a meaningful, comprehensive worldwide poll about the topic among the thousands of scientists who specialize in the many relevant disciplines.”

    mmmm. Not sure where your going with that one Tom…..

  8. Strangely, the researchers chose to eliminate almost all the scientists from the survey and so ended up with only 77 people, 75 of whom, or 97%, thought humans contributed to climate change.

    I can do better than 97%. My wife and I think that the kids should go to bed before 8.30pm. We have a 100% consensus bed change. ;-) These ‘researchers’ are just fiddlers on the roof.

  9. I think that you will find that the vast majority of CAGW sceptics also think that “humans contributed to climate change.” The survey was constructed in such a way to deliver a pre-determined desired result.

  10. The 9x% figure carries its own ‘odeur de BS’ with it. That’s the same kind of number of supporting votes tyrants get in faked elections, and people have long known how to interpret them. “BS!” Climate Warmists are blind to such self-discrediting effects though, and blithely “exploit” them wherever possible.

    Stupidity is Nature’s only capital crime.

  11. But what about the supposedly authoritarian United Nations IPCC report that constitutes the foundation of most official climate concerns today?

    I think that should be “authoritative.” This is a pretty bad error!

  12. As long as there is a system where scientists need grants and those who do not conform do not get them as we know for certain is actually happening in the UK at least then consensus is meaningless attribute. All it means is we have the subject under control rather than we are right.
    We see far too many so called surveys where they would not hope to meet the criteria required by any social scientist. Only yesterday there was one where the survey said that 72 % would rather have a wind farm than allow fracking but this was done with a sample that was mostly city people who would possibly have fracking near them but had no risk of a wind farm being put near them. They were also not told the size of the wind farm that would be equivalent to the gas output energy or the subsidy it would require rather than the gas cost reduction the fracking would result in.

    As for the science we were told by the same scientists that ten years warming was enough to establish the warming trend existed but fifteen years of not warming is not enough to reject the trend. We are supposed to respect these people?

  13. Scientific theories are never proven by a show of hands, of course. Otherwise, the Earth would still be considered flat and space travel impossible. It is indeed those who go against the flow—independent, original thinkers –who are usually responsible for our most meaningful advances in science.

    Really? If there was ever a time when the majority of intellectual authorities in the West believed that the earth was flat, it was too early for us to know about it. The claim that authorities used to believe that the earth was flat was dreamed up in the 1820s by Washington Irving and some French writer.

    On the other hand, there really was a time when a majority probably believed that space travel was impossible – little more than a century ago or maybe even more recently.

  14. Minor point:
    “But what about the supposedly authoritarian United Nations IPCC report that constitutes the foundation of most official climate concerns today?”
    Surely should be,
    “But what about the supposedly
    authoritative United Nations IPCC report that constitutes the foundation of most official climate concerns today?”

    I wouldn’t mention it, if it didn’t allow the author to be maligned as prejudiced.

  15. Dave N October 23, 2012 at 11:37 pm
    Their major failure is simply inferring that science works by consensus, regardless of what figure it is, or what the consensus refers to. Pretty much like the weight of money (or where it comes from) doesn’t alter scientific truth, either.

    It’s even more major that that. Consensus in any field or part of life, not just science, is almost always about what to do about something. We seldom speak of consensus about what is true of something because it would not make sense for a person who disagrees with others to change his mind merely because the others outnumber him.

  16. Here are a few snippets on this topic I’ve copied over the years from WUWT to a Word file. if the Frontline team had done a professional journalistic effort they would have located such material and been much more cautious in their use of survey results.
    ===============

    1.
    atmoaggie says:
    July 19, 2012 at 11:51 am

    I think one very clear distinction should be made about whom is and is not expert in the original question of the survey, relating to the attribution of climate changes.

    Are we interested in classifying all “climate scientists” as such? Or limiting that to those that have researched and published specifically about the causes of climate change?

    I fail to consider researchers that solely publish the hyperbole of future climate (hand waving) to be qualified in relative attribution. Those that just use GCM output to predict the movements of flora, fauna, and viruses, for example, without any questioning of the GCM output, itself, are simply not at all qualified to consider attribution.

    —————-
    2.
    hro001 says:
    August 2, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    According to Mike Hulme (June 2010), such a “consensus judgment” was reached by “only a few dozen experts” [of the IPCC].

    http://hro001.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/honey-i-shrunk-the-consensus/

    ——————-
    3.
    Tom Black says:
    August 3, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    CNN reported this as scientists from all over the world, and the alarmist bloggers quote it all the time, in fact most are from the US.

    Of our survey participants, 90% were from U.S. institutions and 6% were from Canadian institutions; the remaining 4% were from institutions in 21 other nations.

    ——————-
    4.
    Brian H says:
    July 19, 2012 at 2:59 am

    Part of the travesty is the assumption that there is such a critter as a “climate scientist”. This concocted construction has zero academic or other history, and if any set of qualifications and expertise for it were to be drawn up it would encompass everything from mathematics to physics to statistics to hydrology to chemistry to biology to model development to geology and much more. No human with all the requisite skills and background exists.

    ——————–
    5.
    In http://climatequotes.com/2011/02/10/study-claiming-97-of-climate-scientists-agree-is-flawed/, Lichanos, 7/17:

    Those who are committed to the AGW view, agitate for it vigorously because they fear the sky is falling. Those who are not…think their own thoughts and maybe write columns or serve on review boards. Is one supposed to write a paper for a peer-reviewed journal, the content of which would be to point out the sloppiness of other scientists? No. Thus, as Oreskes pointed out in her summary of her survey of literature on the topic, there was not a SINGLE article in her sample rejecting the AGW view. Not surprising. Professional scientists have better work to do.

    ——————-
    6.
    The authors of the original Wall Street Journal opinion piece duly responded making the same complaint about the misuse of the ’97% of scientists’ phrase as mine:

    “.. The Trenberth letter states: “Research shows that more than 97% of scientists actively publishing in the field agree that climate change is real and human caused.” However, the claim of 97% support is deceptive. The surveys contained trivial polling questions that even we would agree with. Thus, these surveys find that large majorities agree that temperatures have increased since 1800 and that human activities have some impact.

    ————-
    7.
    daveburton says:
    July 18, 2012 at 11:24 am

    That “97%” claim is significant, not for what it what it reveals about the science of climate change, but for what it reveals about the Climate Movement spin machine. It turns out to be a classic example of the Big Lie. Here are some articles about it:

    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/01/03/lawrence-solomon-97-cooked-stats/

    http://climatequotes.com/2011/02/10/study-claiming-97-of-climate-scientists-agree-is-flawed/

    http://www.wendymcelroy.com/news.php?extend.3684

    http://sppiblog.org/news/the-97-consensus-is-only-75-self-selected-climatologists

    ——————
    8.
    James Sexton:

    In true ironic fashion, in an attempt to clarify the criteria for disproving the fallacious consensus, they quote from the abstract of Anderegg.

    Anderegg, we will recall, used an arbitrary criteria to establish not the actual numbers of alarmists vs skeptics, but rather their level of expertise. (papers published+citations) with the word “climate” in the paper. (Yes, vapid in and of itself, I know, but that’s for another day.) The ironic part is that while attempting to establish a base group of people for comparison (convinced vs unconvinced) they came to the ratio of 903:472. That is to say, 903 alarmists and 472 skeptical scientists. When whittled down by applying the criteria of needing at least 20 papers published using the word “climate”, they came to the ratio of 817: 93. Still that’s only 91%. Anderegg only gets to 98% by using his criteria and finding the top 50 scientists.

    I believe all relevant links (or links to the relevant links) are in this post …. http://suyts.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/truth-market-scam-invalidates-doran-dont-fall-for-the-scam/

    ——————–
    9.
    Roger Knights (me):
    I’d agree if the poll had asked if “action is justified now,” because I’d agree with a “no regrets” policy of encouraging nuclear power and natural gas, encouraging better building insulation, using plasma furnaces to burn our garbage and capture power thereby, and perhaps “boron cars,” as described in the book, Prescription for the Planet.

    Many skeptics believe that “human activity” has a significant upward effect on temperature, but they’re thinking of land-use changes. The survey question looks like it was “loaded” to catch them in its sieve.

    Climatology has become so identified with the CACA Cult (CACA=Catastrophic Anthropogenic Clmate Alarmism) that few would enter the field without also being believers, or without having undergone indoctrination in its tenets. Alarmism isn’t the conclusion of most of these scientwists, it’s their launch pad.

    I suspect that most climatologists went into the field because it gave them an outlet for their greenie finger-pointing. Climatology has become a branch of environmentalism, with its “don’t touch nature” bias and its knee-jerk precautionism. Similar biased selection occurred in the field of recovered memory therapy.

    If they were skeptical and did enter the field, they would be unlikely to get grants, and so would be hard up for material to publish. If they nevertheless did write skeptical critiques of warmism, they’d have a hard time getting them published. (See the recent trouble Spencer had getting his paper published, or McIntyre et al.)

    OTOH, an alarmed alarmist is going to churn out all sorts of unlikely doomsday scenarios and get them published. (E.g., warming is causing bats to die off–a now-debunked thesis published twice in Nature, while papers skeptical of that idea were rejected.)

    ————–
    10.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/18/what-else-did-the-97-of-scientists-say/

    Guest Post by Barry Woods

    [Contains good material and quotes, for example:]

    So is Zimmermann defining expertise or introducing a selection bias here? It has not gone unnoticed that perhaps those scientists that self identify as climate scientists, are perhaps those that are more activist minded for a consensus.

    It is quite possible for example, in this survey for scientist or even colleagues with identical qualifications, to self identify differently. Thus in this survey respondents could even be co-authors of a paper, but this survey would categorise one as more expert than the other. Who knows if this happened or not, the fact that it is possible demonstrates the flaws in the thinking.

    Additionally those that are in the 97% group are deemed to be more expert in climate science, keeping more abreast of the ‘whole’ field than the others.

    “..The participants in this group are actively publishing climate scientists, and those most likely to be familiar with the theory and mechanisms of climate change, as well as have a thorough understanding of the current research and be actively contributing to the field..” (Zimmermann feedback)

    This I think is a huge assumption, ‘climate science’ is a huge multidisciplinary field.

    Is a geologist that identifies as a ‘climate scientist’ any more an expert on astrophysics, atmospheric physics, statistics, etc than those classified as have less expertise in the categories identified above.

    Additionally the responses may merely capture (only the last 5 years publishing Q5) those junior more activist post docs, etc that self identify as climate scientist, where perhaps the older more published ‘expert’ colleagues describe themselves by the qualifications, not as climate scientists. And of course, by the very nature of the survey, (which was commented on in the feedback) surveys of this type are potentially self selecting by the probability that those that are most concerned are more willing to take part.

    ——————-
    11.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/25/where-consensus-fails/

    Where Consensus Fails – The Science Cannot Be Called ‘Settled’

    Guest Post by Thomas Fuller

    Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch have just published the findings of a survey conducted with practicing climate scientists. The survey was conducted in 2008 with 379 climate scientists who had published papers or were employed in climate research institutes and dealt with their confidence in models, the IPCC and a variety of other topics. The survey findings are here: http://coast.gkss.de/staff/storch/pdf/GKSS_2010_9.CLISCI.pdf

    Most of the questions were asked using a Likert Scale, which most of you have probably used in filling out one of the numerous online surveys that are on almost any website. “A set of statements was presented to which the respondent was asked to indicate his or her level of agreement or disagreement, for example, 1 = strongly agree, 7 = strongly disagree.

    The value of 4 can be considered as an expression of ambivalence or impartiality or, depending on the nature of the question posed, for example, in a question posed as a subjective rating such as “How much do you think climate scientists are aware of the information that policy makers incorporate into their decision making process?”, a value of 4 is no longer a measure of ambivalence, but rather a metric.”

    The total number of respondents is large enough to make statistically significant statements about the population of similarly qualified climate scientists, and the response rate to the invitations is in line with surveys conducted among academics and professionals. What that means is that we can be fairly confident that if we conducted a census of all such scientists the answers would not be very different to what is found in the survey’s findings.

    Typically in a commercial survey, analysts would group the top two responses and report on the percentages of respondents that ticked box 6 or 7 on this scale. Using that procedure here makes it clear that there are areas where scientists are not completely confident in what is being preached–and that they don’t like some of the preachers. In fact, let’s start with the opinion of climate scientists about those scientists, journalists and environmental activists who present extreme accounts of catastrophic impacts.

    The survey’s question read, “Some scientists present extreme accounts of catastrophic impacts related to climate change in a popular format with the claim that it is their task to alert the public. How much do you agree with this practice?”

    Less than 5% agreed strongly or very strongly with this practice. Actually 56% disagreed strongly or very strongly. Joe Romm, Tim Lambert, Michael Tobis–are you listening? The scientists don’t like what you are doing.

    And not because they are skeptics–these scientists are very mainstream in their opinions about climate science and are strong supporters of the IPCC. Fifty-nine percent (59%) agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “The IPCC reports are of great use to the advancement of climate science.” Only 6% disagreed. And 86.5% agreed or strongly agreed that “climate change is occurring now” and 66.5% agreed or strongly agreed that future climate “will be a result of anthropogenic causes.”

    Even so, there are areas of climate science that some people want to claim is settled, but where scientists don’t agree.

    Only 12% agree or strongly agree that data availability for climate change analysis is adequate. More than 21% disagree or strongly disagree.

    Only 25% agree or strongly agree that “Data collection efforts are currently adequate,” while 16% disagree or strongly disagree.

    Perhaps most importantly, only 17.75% agree or strongly agree with the statement, “The state of theoretical understanding of climate change phenomena is adequate.” An equal percentage disagreed or strongly disagreed.

    Only 22% think atmospheric models deal with hydrodynamics in a manner that is adequate or very adequate. Thirty percent (30%) feel that way about atmospheric models’ treatment of radiation, and only 9% feel that atmospheric models are adequate in their treatment of water vapor–and not one respondent felt that they were ‘very adequate.’

    And only 1% felt that atmospheric models dealt well with clouds, while 46% felt they were inadequate or very inadequate. Only 2% felt the models dealt adequately with precipitation, and 3.5% felt that way about modeled treatment of atmospheric convection.

    For ocean models, the lack of consensus continued. Only 20% felt ocean models dealt well with hydrodynamics, 11% felt that way about modeled treatment of heat transport in the ocean, 6.5% felt that way about oceanic convection, and only 12% felt that there exists an adequate ability to couple atmospheric and ocean models.

    Only 7% agree or strongly agree that “The current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of turbulence,” and only 26% felt that way about surface albedo. Only 8% felt that way about land surface processes, and only 11% about sea ice.

    And another shocker–only 32% agreed or strongly agreed that the current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of greenhouse gases emitted from anthropogenic sources.

    As Judith Curry has been noting over at her weblog, there is considerable uncertainty regarding the building blocks of climate science. The scientists know this. The politicians, propagandists and the converted acolytes haven’t gotten the message. If this survey does not educate them, nothing will.

  17. Excellent paper, Tom.
    Now try to get the MSM to publish it, or even give an unbiased comment on it.
    If that happens then we really are getting somewhere.

  18. I’ve read the questions. Of the respondants, 97 % of Climate Scientists share Anthony Watts position on the survey questions.

  19. Buried somewhere in all my notes, are 3-4 other surveys someone shoved in my face, which also claimed a 97% rate.
    While the above-mentioned survey has been debunked, I would love to know if anyone has dissected the other surveys, as well?

  20. “Authoritarian” should be “authoritative” in the statement about IPCC. It may also be “authoritarian” in the way it suppresses dissent and coerces scientists to adopt its message, but the context here requires “authoritative.”

  21. Smoking Frog says:
    October 24, 2012 at 12:11 am
    But what about the supposedly authoritarian United Nations IPCC report that constitutes the foundation of most official climate concerns today?

    I think that should be “authoritative.” This is a pretty bad error!

    I noticed that as well, but thought it was understandable Freudian slip.

  22. Smoking Frog says:
    October 24, 2012 at 12:11 am

    >>
    But what about the supposedly authoritarian United Nations IPCC report that constitutes the foundation of most official climate concerns today?
    >>
    I think that should be “authoritative.” This is a pretty bad error!

    Well that all depends on whether he intended the adjective to apply to the UN, the UN’s IPCC, or the report.

  23. Their authoritarian stance is authoritative.

    There! Now, class, please discuss the rest of the story.

    ;)

  24. Where were all the scientists who could have posed real questions that remain unanswered. Why didnt they interview Curry, Spencer, Lindzen, Dyson, Houston and Dean, Ball, Pielke, Svenmark and I am sure dozens of other reputable scientists who have enough sense to say there are still serious questions about the proportionality between AGW and natural variability. They did interview Singer but did not allow him to explain the basis for his skepticism. But why should we be surprised.

  25. If you were a Republican congressman asked, by National Journal reporter Coral Davenport, a question that amounted to: “Do you think that climate change is causing the earth’s climate to change?”, would you think, like the PBS correspondent John Hockenberry, that the question was “straightforward”? Or would you detect a circular reasoning ambush, and hurry away without answering?
    And about that contemptible “going down the up elevator” argument: Get the GISS annual global temperature anomaly data for the past century or so and look at the chart of the 17-year centred averages. Do you see an uninterrupted upward trend- or do you see distinct linear segmentation and a period of about 30 years with no warming trend?

  26. Frontline did a piece a couple of years ago called “Flying Cheaper” which prompted an investigation that I was involved in. Their accusations were completely baseless and it was obvious that they were after a story regardless of the facts. Most of their information came from an anonymous source who was interviewed at a little dive bar down the street. It was obvious to anyone with even a bit of knowledge that neither the reporter nor the source knew what they were talking about. Frontline has zero credibility and even less scruples.

  27. Frontline are accepting comments on their Facebook page whether or not it will do any good.
    http://www.facebook.com/frontline
    Myown modest contribution as follows:

    Very hard to avoid the conclusion that the program worked its way to a preordained position. It started out very promisingly giving the impression of an impartial analysis. Gradually the tone changed until we ended up with the conclusion that the Sceptics were nothing but a front for well heeled capitalists with a vested interest in the status quo – schills for BIg Oil etc. The discredited line about the percentage of climate scientists supporting CAGW was trotted out without reasonably being questioned. The fact that Sceptics are more likely to be free market enthusiasts is really neither here nor there in the final analysis and does nothing to substantiate or other wise the so called consensus position. The program offered no insights into the quite valid scientific arguments against accepting the CAGW hypothesis. All you have done is set up a straw man by identifying a large number of sceptics as right wingers. The right wingers are members of right wing organisations. The right wing organisations receive funding from wealthy right wingers. Therefore the Climate Sceptic position must be wrong. No mention either of the fact that despite the wealth of donors to Heartland, CEI etc., the amount of funding available to the anti-consensus people is lower by degrees of magnitude than that made available for research into and publicity for the confirmation of the consensus hypothesis. Disappointing.

  28. “It comes from a 2009 online survey of 10,257 earth scientists, conducted by two researchers at the University of Illinois. Strangely, the researchers chose to eliminate almost all the scientists from the survey and so ended up with only 77 people, 75 of whom, or 97%, thought humans contributed to climate change.”

    I thought everyone knew by now that you can’t just use data. To get a valid result it requires adjustments, which are made based on computer models. The models said the input from those other 10,180 surveyed scientists was invalid. And those models are made by absolutely the smartest people that ever lived so who are we to question?

    George V.

  29. The 97% figure is very reminiscent of the outcome of most of the infrequent elections held in Soviet controlled communist countries. Perhaps it was a figure in their minds at the time they arranged the outcome of their ‘poll’.

  30. it appears to me that there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding whether climate change is being caused by natural cycles or human activity. the article above seems to rely very heavily on how many people are on a side and taking a “majority rules” approach to the subject, i am new to climate change science and keeping track of what scientists are getting up to but i know science does not work in this manner, a lot of people agreeing on something does not make it right. i myself still feel i require a lot more information before i can be convinced on the matter of weather we are responsible for climate change or not.

  31. Worst Frontline show ever.

    So 97% of some number of some number believe in some fake predictions. The show was just a hissy-fit about the fact that the political consensus in the US now knows the public does not believe the fact predictions anymore (and only a few ever did).

    If the 97% spent more time on proving the case or fixing the predictions, there would no need for a hissy-fit now.

    The problem is the 97% were the ones who took their argument to the political level. Now it has bit them back and all they have left is a hissy-fit and fake predictions.

  32. I was only able to watch the first 45 minutes of the program but was both appalled and encouraged by it. Appalled by the obvious bias, intellectual weakness, and lack of original thought throughout the piece. – pretty much what I was expecting from Frontline, and clearly timed to influence the US elections. On the other hand I was also quite heartened by the obvious bias, pathetically weak arguments, and lack of original thought. The most striking feature of the program to me was the failure to even attempt to argue quantitatively that AGW poses a threat, or that policies proposed to mitigate it would be beneficial or cost effective. The only numbers I recall from the entire show were the 97% of “climate scientists believe” that has been thoroughly discredited above and elsewhere, and prediction of a 39 inch rise in sea level – presumably because a 1m rise would not have sounded scary enough.

    The rest of the program was nothing but appeal to authority, ad hom attack on skeptics, and emotional appeal. Moreover, the appeal is not likely to play very well, e.g.,
    — Congressman lost his job for supporting a dumb policy? Sorry, folks are hoping for more of that actually.
    — “I’m a Climate Scientist, you can trust me because I go to church.” Sorry, novel argument, but I don’t think so.
    — Climate scientist resolutely standing firm in the face of FOIA requests – gripping stuff I know, but not likely to resonate with the public.
    This approach only makes sense if the factual arguments are weak.

    I thought the two key takeaways were 1) there is in fact doubt regarding both the magnitude of AGW and appropriate responses to it, and 2) skeptics have successfully shaped policy using many of the same methods (studies, conferences, policy organizations, political activism, etc.) used to shape most other policy.

    I fail to see how broader recognition of these facts will help “the cause”.

  33. The University of Chicago Study is most quoted by those who disagree with climate change as the basis for the 98% statement. However, the real truth in the consensus on climate change was published by the NAS. The research that analysed those who publish pear reviewed studies states that 97-98% of climate researchers believe that climate change is real and human caused. The study may be found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2901439/pdf/pnas.201003187.pdf

    Climate change is real and is already impacting human life both here and around the world!

  34. “To meaningfully assert that there is a consensus in any field, we need to actually have convincing evidence. And the best way to gather this evidence is to conduct unbiased, comprehensive worldwide polls.”

    If they rise to this clear challenge, I predict we will see one of the most biased polls ever conducted.

    Here’s why…

    The sun drives multidecadal climate by modulating equator-pole gradients ( http://i49.tinypic.com/2jg5tvr.png ) and climate is destabilizing the orientation of the magnetic field by moving and changing the state of mass (starting with surface water but not stopping there): http://i46.tinypic.com/303ipeo.png + http://i49.tinypic.com/wwdwy8.png = http://i48.tinypic.com/2v14sc5.gif (slow animation of preceding pair). Abused geophysical modeling assumptions based on Halley (1692) (supported by not so much as a single observation) need to be corrected. There’s climate signal in geomagnetic indices that isn’t supposed to be there. By method of construction the indices are fundamentally flawed unless they are redefined to reflect what they actually measure instead of what they are supposed to measure in theory. Excessive reliance on unsuitable quantitative methods (like using a hammer to drive a screw) is part of the reason this simplicity was overlooked. The modeling community may be reluctant to give up a 3-century-old cherished assumption, but given enough rope they’ll hang themselves.

    Like the military, the media needs superior navigation & guidance.

  35. Mitch Hescox:

    re your post at October 24, 2012 at 5:09 am

    No! The “real truth” is that you refuse to accept reality and make excuses which fool nobody – except perhaps you – for that refusal.

    Richard

  36. Mitch Hescox says:
    October 24, 2012 at 5:09 am

    The University of Chicago Study is most quoted by those who disagree with climate change as the basis for the 98% statement. However, the real truth in the consensus on climate change was published by the NAS. The research that analysed those who publish pear reviewed studies states that 97-98% of climate researchers believe that climate change is real and human caused. The study may be found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2901439/pdf/pnas.201003187.pdf

    Climate change is real and is already impacting human life both here and around the world!
    ____________________________
    If you can not recognize the very large flaws in the “study” which you cite, then by all means, continue to cite it. Perhaps you will encounter enough flak on your journey that you will reassess your own thinking and be better for it, in the long run. There’s always hope…

  37. A simple “mental litmus test” would lead any true scientific mind to the obvious conclusion that we don’t yet understand the drivers that affect worldwide climate. Anyone claiming otherwise is blinded by the politicalized science fiction of man made climate change.

  38. Mitch Hescox says:
    October 24, 2012 at 5:09 am
    “Climate change is real and is already impacting human life both here and around the world!”

    You quote the Anderegg paper, which certainly does not indicate what you state, another example of the misrepresentation of science. Anderegg only states : an “agreement with the primary
    conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for “most” of the “unequivocal” warming of the Earth’s average
    global temperature over the second half of the 20th century

  39. Smoking Frog says:
    October 24, 2012 at 12:45 am
    because it would not make sense for a person who disagrees with others to change his mind merely because the others outnumber him.
    =============
    On the contrary, that is why people publicly change their mind. Because bad things can happen when you try and fight against the crowd.

    Large numbers of people have “truth” fairly low on their priority list. They are much more concerned with the paycheck to pay the mortgage. The boss says jump, they say how high. The boss says write a report proving black is white, they write the report and go home and tell the spouse their boss is an a-hole.

    What they actually believe is nowhere on the report. They know that white is white and black is black, and truth has a cost they are not willing to pay. So they keep their mouth closed, do as they are told, and complain in private. Publicly they are all smiles and on board with the program.

  40. John Kimble. Recent analysis suggests given the current rate of progress with forecasting and unless we give up these numerical forecasting models it is estimated it will take 24,000 years before we have a century forecast as good as the current monthly forecast.

  41. The answer here depends entirely on who you define to be climate scientists. If you define that group to include only those that do research every day on the subject and regularly contribute to the peer-reviewed literature, then the 97% number seems reasonable to me (I was also active in this field and knew a lot of atmospheric scientists).

    And it also seems reasonable to focus on the net opinions of this group. For example, if you suspected that you needed to undergo heart surgery, would you seek the advice of all minimally qualifed health professionals or would you seek the advice the specialists who do heart surgeries every day?

  42. 77 is an appropriate sample size given the population size of about 11,000 if it is a highly polarized issue where the yes and no answers are skewed in one or the other direction. Your margin of error in those instances is very small.

  43. 10,257 earth scientists, conducted by two researchers at the University of Illinois. Strangely, the researchers chose to eliminate almost all the scientists from the survey and so ended up with only 77 people, 75 of whom,
    ==================
    75 out of 10257 is less than 1%.

    Eliminating “almost all the scientists from the survey” is a form of selection bias. Similar to calibration of tree rings, it is a faulty statistical method similar to “cherry picking” that lies behind much of the epidemic of false positives that is widely reported in scientific papers.

    Statistics requires that you not inspect the data before deciding how to analyze it. Otherwise, by the process of inspection you are likely to bias the results. However, few scientists can resist the temptation to “peek”. After all, who will be the wiser? In doing so they have invalidated the statistical significance of everything they report from that point onwards.

    There is a rash of false positives in science today because there is no way to determine if the researchers “peeked” at their data before doing the statistical analysis. There is no way to determine if the researchers have a file folder marked “censored” in which they placed the data that didn’t support what they were trying to prove. Or maybe there is:

    FOIA\documents\mbh98-osborn.zip\mbh98.tar\TREE\ITRDB\NOAMER\
    BACKTO_1400-CENSORED
    BACKTO_1400-FIXED
    BACKTO_1300-CENSORED
    BACKTO_1300-FIXED

    And who is mbh98? The hockey stick.

  44. I noted the entire lack of specific scientific criticisms levied by the skeptics. Particularly, I would have liked to see Lord Monckton reprise his criticism of the hockey stick. But that would have been off topic.

  45. There _is_ a consensus – as seen by surveying the scientists (Doran 2009, Anderegg 2010, Vision Prize survey http://visionprize.com/faq#whatis).

    And this is confirmed by looking at what is published (Oreskes 2004) – if there were a 50-50, 80-20, or even 90-10% split in views on the consensus, and supportable science on the skeptic side, skeptic papers (of whatever viewpoint – I’ve yet to see ten skeptics with less than eight contradictory views on the science) would be able to find reviewers and publishers who thought their work was worthwhile. Because if any significant percentage of the sciences thought differently, the widely discussed mythical ‘Team’ couldn’t control all outlets (cf conspiracy theories here). If 10-20% of people in the sciences disagreed, they would be publishing accordingly – they are not.

    Casting doubt on the consensus as a rhetorical approach (as opposed to a scientific one) is a tactic right out of Frank Luntz’s playbook – “Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate…”. Science, facts, interconnections – those are determined through investigation and the open field of discussion where those ideas are evaluated. The naysaying in the opening is (IMO) simply unsupportable doubt put up to slow public recognition of the scientific consensus that actually exists.

  46. ericgrimsrud says:
    October 24, 2012 at 7:02 am
    For example, if you suspected that you needed to undergo heart surgery, would you seek the advice of all minimally qualifed health professionals or would you seek the advice the specialists who do heart surgeries every day?
    ============
    What if the pain you are feeling could be better treated by medication? How many heart surgeons would be perfectly happy to bill your insurance plan for $50,000 in surgery, as compared to billing $50 for a prescription?

    That is why we have GP’s on the front line, so folks don’t seek the advice of narrow focused specialists. Specialists by their nature see problems in terms of their specialty. As a result they tend to overlook causes and solutions that would be obvious to a generalist.

    Nowhere is this more obvious than in the treatment of Cancer, where progress was held back for decades by surgeons who believed that the solution was to cut out more of the affected tissue. Because surgeons held the reigns of power in medicine, largely as a result of experience gained in war, surgery came to be seen as the treatment for everything. As a result, non-surgical alternatives were ignored and minimized for decades.

    Surgeons motto: when it doubt, cut it out.

  47. If the actual science supported AGW, they wouldn’t keep harping on the meaningless consensus.

    This tells us two things:

    1) The facts and the data don’t support the AGW position.
    2) The American education system is a failure, as only a scientific illiterate would fall for this. You don’t have to be a scientist to understand the scientific method, or to know the difference between facts and opinion or to understand that climate models aren’t accurately predicting the climate.

  48. For those outside the US who can’t view the PBS video directly, there is at least one well seeded copy out on the p2p torrents, via the usual places…

  49. ericgrimsrud says:
    October 24, 2012 at 7:02 am
    “The answer here depends entirely on who you define to be climate scientists. If you define that group to include only those that do research every day on the subject and regularly contribute to the peer-reviewed literature, then the 97% number seems reasonable to me . . ..”

    By that standard, the data-hiding, data-twisting, prolific, award-winning, highly publicized Lonnie Thompson (of Kilimanjaro fame) would qualify, but not the critics from outside the climate club who have shot holes in his methods, reasoning, and conclusions.

    By extension, my argument above applies to the whole field of clime sci.

    “And it also seems reasonable to focus on the net opinions of this group. For example, if you suspected that you needed to undergo heart surgery, would you seek the advice of all minimally qualified health professionals or would you seek the advice the specialists who do heart surgeries every day?”

    That analogy has been debunked here before. Heart surgeons have a track record: what amounts to experiments have been conducted on their theories and skill. But climatology is an observational science, not an experimental one, so such experiments can’t be conducted. Further, climatologists’ level of skill is not high, as judged by their poor track record in making predictions

  50. ericgrimsrud:

    At October 24, 2012 at 7:02 am you say

    the 97% number seems reasonable to me

    If there were anybody who needed conclusive proof that the 97% number is wrong then they now have it.

    Richard

  51. So let me get this straight: surveys of scientists whose funding comes from publishing research on anthropogenic climate change indicate that ~97% of them believe in in anthropogenic climate change?

    That seems similar to the probable results of a survey of creationsists who publish on creationism that believe in creationism.

  52. As I expected, Frontline implied that the efforts of skeptics have been the primary cause of US society’s cooling enthusiasm for warmism. But, as I explained in my post on the Oct. 3 thread on this program, other reasons are far more important, to wit:

    Climategate had an effect on public opinion.

    Ditto glaciergate and Patchy’s behavior regarding it and other controversies.

    The Inter-Academy’s (IAC’s) critique of the IPCC has taken the shine off its halo.

    China’s refusal to go along at Copenhagen put a damper on the bandwagon, because partial mitigation efforts are useless.

    Post-Copenhagen conferences have been unable to achieve a consensus and get China & India to buy in.

    Various scientific papers have cast doubt on some of the case for alarm and the IPCC’s reasoning.

    Wind and solar projects haven’t lived up to expectations after being subjected to scrutiny–and accordingly European governments are cutting back on subsidies for them.

    China’s subsidized solar panel manufacturing has driven Western producers out of business and weakened the case for green jobs.

    Biofuel has come in for criticism that has tarnished the concept of “green” solutions.

    Electric cars have been a flop.

    Australia’s greenies have made fools of themselves with their drought predictions and mothballed desalinization plants.

    The global financial crisis has made governments less willing to subsidize uneconomic wind and solar power.

    Consumers of electric power are starting to grouse about higher prices and suffer from fuel poverty in the winter (mostly in Europe).

    Fracking has provided low-cost, low-CO2 natural gas in the US, making wind and solar uncompetitive even with subsidies.

    The newfound availability of a century’s worth of cheap natural gas from fracking has also undercut the argument that, because fossil fuels will become scarce and expensive in a decade or two, we must start now to transition away from them and to renewable sources of supply.

    Global temperatures have stayed flat. US temperatures have declined.

    Hurricanes & tornados haven’t increased.

    Sea level rise hasn’t accelerated.

    Labour looks set to lose the Australian election in Feb. Skeptic Harper won the Canadian election. Labour lost the UK election. This has cooled the bandwagon effect among politicians.

  53. JabbaTheCat says:
    October 24, 2012 at 7:58 am
    For those outside the US who can’t view the PBS video directly, there is at least one well seeded copy out on the p2p torrents, via the usual places…

    Hopefully there’ll be a transcript available soon, even if behind a modest paywall.

  54. Do they know that they have badly failed to understand the issue? Are these reporters so shallow as to be bereft of any knowledge in the area at all?

  55. As one poster has already pointed out, there are actually two independent peer-reviewed studies showing a scientific consensus of 97%. The University of Chicago survey (http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf) which Watts criticises and the PNAS survey (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change#cite_note-Expert_credibility_in_climate_change20-110) which is the study the programme explicitly mentions.

    Watts has his facts on the programme fundamentally and incontrovertibly wrong. He must also be aware of the PNAS survey, and the fact that he fails to mention it is so significant, that it can only be called a lie of omission.

    Regardless, the consensus argument is a loser for climate contrarions. The surveyed consensus is supported by several other pillars of evidence. Nancy Oreskes showed that dissenting papers in the peer-reviewed record are negligible (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/306/5702/1686.pdf).

    Every National Academy of Science in the world that holds an opinion on AGW (30+) side with the science presented by the IPCC.

    There is not a single scientific institution in the world that holds a dissenting opinion on AGW. Not one. The last was, I believe, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, who removed their dissenting position on AGW.

    At the very least, Watts should acknowledge the factual inaccuracy in his article, and explain how such a mistake was made when the PNAS study was actually zoomed-in on the screen and explained to be the work of PNAS.

  56. Let’s be serious, what this “survey” basically says is:

    97% of people who are paid to find global warming believe in global warming.

    Wow what a shock. In unrelated news, 97% of palm readers believe in palm reading.

  57. Steven Hales: 77 is an appropriate sample size given the population size of about 11,000

    The sample of 77 was not taken randomly from the total population.

  58. @ScepticalTom says:
    October 24, 2012 at 9:44 am

    So?

    Consensus is not science. If a scientific consensus on something actually exists, that doesn’t make it factual.

    Consensus is not science. Consensus is not fact. Consensus is a political term. Consensus is not data. Consensus is opinion. You cannot test a consensus. Consensus is not science.

    Keep repeating the above and stop repeating meaningless, distracting non-facts.

  59. “Dr. Mike Hulme even admits that “only a few dozen experts in the specific field of detection and attribution studies”, not thousands as is commonly asserted by the IPCC and others, “reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate”

    I s not this referring to the Team that Phil Jones and company work with? Appears to be roughly 44 or so.

  60. ScepticalTom says:
    October 24, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Watts has his facts on the programme fundamentally and incontrovertibly wrong. He must also be aware of the PNAS survey, and the fact that he fails to mention it is so significant, that it can only be called a lie of omission.

    Regardless, the consensus argument is a loser for climate contrarions. The surveyed consensus is supported by several other pillars of evidence. Nancy Oreskes ….

    Now there’s a name to be trusted – not. You really want to read Anderegg et al critically. The methodology is effectively the same as the Doran (2009) study, which prunes the study sample until you have an “authoritarian” consensus.

    Only a political aide or a jury-selection consultant would consider those methods to be useful, and then certainly not as a means of arriving at an understanding of a natural process. The overall effect is that, like the methods used by the GISS to adjust historical temperature data, it is guaranteed to introduce a trend, whether or not a trend exists empirically.

    You also ignore the unequivocal evidence, in their own words, of some of these “trend setters” in the Climategate emails. They explicitly document their efforts pressure editors of various publications to block papers reaching conclusions contrary to the “team’s” own. That fact means that the end sample arrived at by any study that biases its methods to select “active publishers” may end with a biased sample if the publication pressure is successful to any degree. The sample could be unbiased IF and ONLY IF success at publishing were unbiased, and it is plainly not.

    Also, another elephant in the room is also lurking in the conclusions of the two studies. The fact that both studies reach precisely the same figure is not just surprising, it is downright suspicious. It leaves anyone familiar with real-world survey methods and results wondering if the data are even more cooked in some way. Perhaps there is a deliberate filter that allows “token dissent” to appear at an “acceptable” level? Statistics may not lie, but people are another matter.

    Every National Academy of Science in the world that holds an opinion on AGW (30+) side with the science presented by the IPCC.

    There is not a single scientific institution in the world that holds a dissenting opinion on AGW. Not one. The last was, I believe, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, who removed their dissenting position on AGW.

    Ah, but again, is this due to convincing empirical evidence leading to changing scientific views, or to social factors? Scientists are in general as subject to herd mentality and fashionable fads as anyone. It is fashionable at present to be “green.” It is also fashionable to appear environmentally concerned – as well as profitable. Scientists are also quite prone to let someone else do the talking outside their own narrow bailiwick. That is they “let” authorities guide their views more than they might admit.

    At the very least, Watts should acknowledge the factual inaccuracy in his article, and explain how such a mistake was made when the PNAS study was actually zoomed-in on the screen and explained to be the work of PNAS.

    The grand finale here is that the post is a guest post. Did you actually read it? So why should Anthony Watts, rather than the author, do all this acknowledging you think is necessary?

  61. @more soylent green

    I never said consensus was science. I never said the consensus proved AGW.

    Do you make a habit of rebutting arguments nobody made?

    The point of my entire post was the Watts is factually incorrect about the paper PBS used to show consensus.

    I pointed out that climate scientists agree, the scientific peer-reviewed record agree, the National Academies of Science agree, and no scientific institute in the world disagrees.

    I will say that the fact that there is an overwhelming consensus is significant, as it shows that the vast, vast majority of the world’s experts and the elite National institutions we have created to inform our scientific thinking agree with AGW.

    But like you, I’m more interested in the actual science. But as this is an article about consensus, I’m going to stick to the topic and talk about consensus.

    If you don’t like talking about consensus and think it irrelevant, you should bring that up with Mr. Watts – it is after all, his blog, and I am, after all, responding to his topic.

  62. ScepticalTom says:
    October 24, 2012 at 9:44 am

    In the first place, you are using the argument from authority, which is a false argument, especially when discussing physical science. As Albert Einstein noted, it takes only one scientist to demonstrate every other scientist in the world got the science wrong. This problem with every other scientist being wrong happens all too often. Lookup the story of phlogiston for one such example.

    In the second place, the purported consensus of opinion among scientific organizations is an illusion and a political fraud. I was standing in the weather station with my supervisor, a distinguished forecaster and university professor of meteorology, when word arrvied about the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) made an announcment in 1974 in furtherance of the global warming conjecture. He described how his university department was taking actions agianst him despite his longstanding tenure to punish him for disputing their new stance in regard to anthropogenic induced global warming. His department and the university were attempting to intimidate him into either falling in line with their global warming proppoganda or agree to early retirement. So, at the university level political coercion was being used in 1974 to compel aquiescence to a false scientific conseensus in favor of AGW. This campaign of professional and political intimidation and coercion has only intensified and broadened since 1974.

    In one professional society after another members have protested to no avail as a minoriseized control of the organizations, sometimes contrary to the choices of the majority of the membership. This minority leadership then proceeded to claim the organization’s support of AGW in direct contradiction to the opinions of the majority or minority of the organization’s membership.

    Scientists have been subjected to censorship of their scientific papers, denied grants, denied employment, and deenied tenure until and unless they aquiesce to the AGW propoganda.

    In the face of this all pervasive application of dictatorial political science, there are thousands of scientists who refuse to have their scientific conclusions censored or silenced by this campaign of tyranny. Your falsification of the surveys is simply not going to work no matter how much you attempt to spin it. The day will come when this ham-handed attempt to suppress scientific dissent will rightfully be subjected to some professional accountability and scientific standards of integrity restored and hopefully much improved.

  63. Steven Hales: 77 is an appropriate sample size given the population size of about 11,000

    There are vastly more scientists qualified to give an opinion on the subject than 11,000 and so 77 is definitely not an appropriate sample size.

    30,000 scientists signed a statement stating that co2 was not going to cause runaway global warming.

  64. Sceptical Tom. There is a saying that your post brings to mind.

    ‘A fool and his money are easily parted’.

  65. @Duster

    The grand finale here is that the post is a guest post. Did you actually read it? So why should Anthony Watts, rather than the author, do all this acknowledging you think is necessary?

    You are right, my apologies I didn’t see that it was a guest post.

    Let me switch the point that the article is factually incorrect to Tom Harris.

  66. @D Patterson, Duster, J Martin

    I find it interesting that you engage with arguments I have not made.

    I am simply (a) showing that the author has his basic facts wrong on the paper used by PBS – a point which none of my rebutters has actually mentioned – odd since it is the meat of my post and (b) that there are several lines of evidence that conclusively show a consensus, including several peer-reviewed surveys of climate scientists, surveys of the actual peer-reviewed literature, the positions of the world’s NAoS and of course the fact that not a single scientific institution in the world dissents from AGW.

    Now, all of you make value judgements on this consensus and rebuttals to points I never actually made.

    I am simply correcting the author of this piece. Is there something factually inaccurate in my statements? Because I am not interested in an exchange of values, I know yours and you can guess mine, and there can be no reasoned discussion in this forum on that basis.

  67. Also, another elephant in the room is also lurking in the conclusions of the two studies. The fact that both studies reach precisely the same figure is not just surprising, it is downright suspicious.

    The Proceedings of the National Academies of Science and the University of Chicago have together conspired to fraudulently produce surveys of climate opinion?

    Can you think of another possible reason why two papers found the same degree of consensus in the scientific community? Any reason at all?

  68. @J Martin

    Sceptical Tom. There is a saying that your post brings to mind.

    ‘A fool and his money are easily parted’.

    I’m sure you’re right J. Unfortunately since this post is as undecipherable as the texts of certain pre-Hispanic Mexican civilizations, I’ll never be able to tell.

  69. ScepticalTom:

    At October 24, 2012 at 1:16 pm you ask

    Can you think of another possible reason why two papers found the same degree of consensus in the scientific community? Any reason at all?

    Allow me to provide an answer.

    The two papers each defined ‘climate scientists’ in such a way that from a finding of 10,257 scientists who publish on climate science all except 77 were excluded and of that small number almost all are pro-AGW.

    In fact, that is what was done.

    Richard

  70. My apologies sir.

    Don’t blame me, I have ADD!

    Seriously, I read only the first few paragraphs. I stand corrected.

  71. Okay all you wonderfully intelligent eggheads, just a word from an average US taxpaying citizen here to add a different perspective. Whatever was or wasn’t true in the Frontline show is moot at least to me an average Joe. It’s not the scientific consensus, nor the political consensus that really matters, it is the consensus of the American public. I think it is great that there are folks out there who bring accountability to these issues and more power to you all- and thank you! The world needs more courageous folks willing to stand for truth. The way I see it Frontline may have gotten the facts wrong, but they still showed that there are skeptics, even if they portrayed them as fringe extremists. It still causes people to question the so called “established facts”. It may have been their end goal to discredit the skeptics, but in today’s connected world,all people have to do is google “climate change skeptics” and invariably they will find sites such as this one. By bringing up the very idea that there are skeptics out there, they invite inquiry from the public. An educated public is not so easily taken in by mainstream media’s propaganda machine.

    You can bet that when the rubber meets the road, and John Q public is asked to foot the bill for whatever the politics of the climate change agenda calls for, all your hard work will pay off and we will have a nation of skeptics! We the people still have a say, and folks like those at Frontline can point fingers all day long, but I will hound my congressman and get others to hound theirs to keep the environmental extremists from pilfering my wallet to fund their agenda!

  72. @Richard

    I’m afraid the figures are not correct with regards the PNAS survey:

    They used (from the paper) “an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data.” (http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.full.pdf+html)

    As for your other factual error, it includes the opinions of all respondents, but states that the publishing climate scientists agree around the 97% figure.

    Results show that overall, 90% of participants answered “risen” to question 1 and 82% answered yes to question 2. In general, as the level of active research
    and specialization in climate science increases, so does agreement with the two
    primary questions (Figure 1). In our survey, the most specialized and knowledgeable respondents (with regard to climate change) are those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change (79 individuals in total). Of these specialists, 96.2% (76 of 79) answered “risen” to question 1 and 97.4% (75 of 77) answered yes to question 2.
    (http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf)

    It is important to note that neither of this papers have been refuted in the scientific literature.

    It is also important to note that there have been no official complaints of black-listing against Doran or PNAS.

    Doran states:

    While respondents’ names are kept private, the authors noted that the survey included participants with well-documented dissenting opinions on global warming theory.

    Of course, with the hostility towards peer-reviewed science on this board, I assume this quote in a peer-reviewed paper means precisely nothing to you.

  73. @Richard

    The two papers each defined ‘climate scientists’ in such a way

    I think readers would be interested to understand how climate scientist was defined in both papers. Doran:

    An invitation to participate in the survey was sent to 10,257 Earth scientists. The database was built from Keane and Martinez [2007], which lists all geosciences faculty at reporting academic institutions, along with researchers at state geologic surveys associated with local universities, and researchers at U.S. federal research facilities (e.g., U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, and NOAA (U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) facilities; U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories; and so forth).

    And for climate scientists in particular the respondents are defined as:

    the most specialized and knowledgeable respondents (with regard to climate change) are those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change

    Why do you believe this method of defining climate scientists blackballs skeptical views?

    As for PNAS:

    We compiled a database of 1,372 climate researchers based on authorship of scientific assessment reports and membership on multisignatory statements about ACC (SI Materials and Methods). We tallied the number of climate-relevant publications authored
    or coauthored by each researcher (defined here as expertise) and counted the number of citations for each of the researcher’s four highest-cited papers (defined here as prominence) using Google Scholar. We then imposed an a priori criterion that a researcher
    must have authored a minimum of 20 climate publications to be considered a climate researcher, thus reducing the database to 908 researchers. Varying this minimum publication cutoff did not materially alter results (Materials and Methods). We ranked researchers based on the total number of climate publications authored. Though our compiled researcher list is not comprehensive nor designed to be representative of the entire climate science community, we have drawn researchers from the most high-profile reports and public statements about ACC. Therefore, we have likely compiled the strongest and most credentialed researchers in CE and UE groups. Citation and publication analyses must be treated with caution in inferring scientific credibility, but we suggest that our methods and our expertise and prominence criteria
    provide conservative, robust, and relevant indicators of relative credibility of CE and UE groups of climate researchers (Materials and Methods).

    Now, leaving aside for the fact that you are factually incorrect that PNAS used 77 climate scientists (they surveyed 1,372), how does this selection method exclude skeptical scientists?

    Why do you think there has been no rebuttal in the scientific literature, nor official complains against the UoC or PNAS?

    What is the difference between your claim of fraud and any other claim of fraud that relies on nothing but value judgements?

  74. Re consensus of many 1000s of scientists. I was once asked by someone “did you know there are more scientists in the world today than have lived and died since the beginning of recorded history?” I replied that there are probably more white lab coated folks with horn-rimmed glasses alive today, but the creative few that might compare with those of bygone years are few. The rest are technicians. Some call me a musician because I’m not a bad bluegrass banjoist, but I don’t think one would consider me in the fraternity of towering musicians who have lived and died in the past and whom we see surviving in history books. How many of the these minions will we be reading about in our science books in 10-20 years.

  75. ScepticalTom:

    You asked a question and I gave you the correct answer. Please don’t take my word for that but check it for yourself. Hint: a google will provide you with more than enough information but SkS and RC will give you bollocks.

    And at October 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm you reply to me saying

    I’m afraid the figures are not correct with regards the PNAS survey:

    If you really think that then let me ask you a question.

    Do you want to buy the bridge I have for sale?

    Richard

  76. Its worse they have no idea of the number of scientists in the world for any subject , in fact what is a scientists is still a virtual unanswered question . So clearly these claims fail on the basic maths front , for if you have no idea of the the size of the whole group you can’t state what percentage a number in subgroup make up.
    Its like claiming most chickens in the world are white becasue you have 5 chickens and 3 of them are white.

  77. ScepticalTom show us the peer reviewed research that tell us the number of climate scientists in the world . once you done that we can see what percentage these 75 actual make up of that group. Basic fact checking for which I am sure you can do easily given the claims you made .

  78. ScepticalTom says:
    October 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm
    @D Patterson, Duster, J Martin

    I find it interesting that you engage with arguments I have not made.

    I am simply (a) showing that the author has his basic facts wrong on the paper used by PBS – a point which none of my rebutters has actually mentioned – odd since it is the meat of my post and (b) that there are several lines of evidence that conclusively show a consensus, including several peer-reviewed surveys of climate scientists, surveys of the actual peer-reviewed literature, the positions of the world’s NAoS and of course the fact that not a single scientific institution in the world dissents from AGW.

    Now, all of you make value judgements on this consensus and rebuttals to points I never actually made.

    I am simply correcting the author of this piece. Is there something factually inaccurate in my statements? Because I am not interested in an exchange of values, I know yours and you can guess mine, and there can be no reasoned discussion in this forum on that basis.

    On the contrary, we find your remarks to be the repetition of the same old frauds and same old lies which have been refuted point by point on numerous previous occasions.

    For example, you wrote above:

    Regardless, the consensus argument is a loser for climate contrarions. The surveyed consensus is supported by several other pillars of evidence. Nancy Oreskes showed that dissenting papers in the peer-reviewed record are negligible (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/306/5702/1686.pdf).

    Nancy Oreskes’ claims were reported to be fraudulent.

    “…A study in the journal Science by the social scientist Nancy Oreskes claimed that a search of the ISI Web of Knowledge Database for the years 1993 to 2003 under the key words “global climate change” produced 928 articles, all of whose abstracts supported what she referred to as the consensus view. A British social scientist, Benny Peiser, checked her procedure and found that only 913 of the 928 articles had abstracts at all, and that only 13 of the remaining 913 explicitly endorsed the so-called consensus view. Several actually opposed it.”- Lindzen wrote in an op-ed in the June 26, 2006 Wall Street Journal.

    U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. majority press Release,
    AP INCORRECTLY CLAIMS SCIENTISTS PRAISE GORE’S MOVIE, June 27, 2006.

    http://epw.senate.gov/pressitem.cfm?id=257909&party=rep

    You are of course welcome to make the attempt to explain how Oreskes managed to cite absracts that were not really there, but I suspect you won’t.

  79. Steven Hales (October 24, 2012 at 7:20 am) says:- “77 is an appropriate sample size given the population size of about 11,000 if it is a highly polarized issue where the yes and no answers are skewed…”
    But the survey respondents were not randomly selected climate scientists and the final selection of the 77 relied on the honesty of respondents in self-qualifying- with no means of eliminating false responses.
    Moreover, many of the final 77 complained about various scoping fallacies in the survey questions.

  80. @ Richard

    You asked a question and I gave you the correct answer. Please don’t take my word for that but check it for yourself. Hint: a google will provide you with more than enough information but SkS and RC will give you bollocks.

    Richard, sorry to quibble, but you said that both papers surveyed only 77 climate scientists. I linked directly to the actual PNAS paper, the primary data source, that shows 1,372. That is the actual peer-reviewed paper, not Sks, not RC, and not google. I even quoted the paper that showed that they surveyed 1,372.

    The primary data source Richard, which cannot be misrepresented, explicitly shows your claims to be factually wrong. It is not a matter of opinion, or something that can be skewed ideologically, or misrepresented.

    Let me link to it again, the actual paper.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.full.pdf+html

    We compiled a database of 1,372 climate researchers based on authorship of scientific assessment reports and membership on multisignatory statements about ACC (SI Materials and Methods). We tallied the number of climate-relevant publications authored
    or coauthored by each researcher (defined here as expertise) and counted the number of citations for each of the researcher’s four highest-cited papers (defined here as prominence) using Google Scholar. We then imposed an a priori criterion that a researcher
    must have authored a minimum of 20 climate publications to be considered a climate researcher, thus reducing the database to 908 researchers. Varying this minimum publication cutoff did not materially alter results (Materials and Methods). We ranked researchers based on the total number of climate publications authored. Though our compiled researcher list is not comprehensive nor designed to be representative of the entire climate science community, we have drawn researchers from the most high-profile reports and public statements about ACC. Therefore, we have likely compiled the strongest and most credentialed researchers in CE and UE groups. Citation and publication analyses must be treated with caution in inferring scientific credibility, but we suggest that our methods and our expertise and prominence criteria
    provide conservative, robust, and relevant indicators of relative credibility of CE and UE groups of climate researchers (Materials and Methods).

    I must admit, I find your contention to be correct after being shown that your claims are wrong from the actual source, rather bizarre.

    You do understand that I linked directly to the actual paper, the primary data source in question, and it shows you are factually wrong? You understand that, right?

  81. @ D Patterson

    On the contrary, we find your remarks to be the repetition of the same old frauds and same old lies which have been refuted point by point on numerous previous occasions.

    Quite remarkable. You have not shown a single claim to be fraudulent or a lie.

    I linked to Oreskes’ peer-reviewed paper and summarised the abstract. Is that a fraud or a lie? I don’t believe so.

    I linked to two peer-reviewed papers showing a consensus of 97%. Is that a fraud or a lie? I don’t believe so.

    I told you that 30+ National Academies of Science back AGW? Is that a fraud or a lie? I don’t believe so.

    I told that not a single scientific institution of national or international note in the world dissents from AGW? Is that a fraud or a lie. I don’t believe so.

    Now you may disagree with Orseskes (indeed there is criticism of her in the peer-reviewed literature), but my linking to her paper is not fraudulent. You may disagree with the peer-reviewed surveys of climate scientists – but my posting to them is not a fraud or a lie.

    See I’m very careful to only engage on the facts with people such as yourself, because you quickly jump to value judgements, like labelling me a fraud and a lier for posting, not opinions, but clearly verifiable facts.

    In fact, I’ve have show the author to be factually incorrect, as he fingered the wrong paper. I notice you still ignored that.

    As for the US Senate’s press release, when the US Senate is allowed to arbitrarily overrule the opinion of it’s own National Academy of Science, you let me know. Until then I’ll get my science from the source, scientific journals and scientific institutions, not politicians.

    After all, we wouldn’t want the science politicised, would we D?

  82. @ Knr

    ScepticalTom show us the peer reviewed research that tell us the number of climate scientists in the world . once you done that we can see what percentage these 75 actual make up of that group. Basic fact checking for which I am sure you can do easily given the claims you made .

    Once again another rebuttal that completely ignores my actual posts.

    I talked about 2 peer-reviewed papers, one of which is the PNAS paper that queries 1,372 climate scientists.

    On the issue of the total amount of scientists in the world: you think that surveys, to be legitimate, need to query an entire population? But okay, I’ll bite, how would you define a climate scientist?

    But if you are genuinely interested, the database used by the PNAS paper is explained here:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/suppl/2010/06/07/1003187107.DCSupplemental/pnas.201003187SI.pdf#nameddest=STXT

    It uses authorship and citations in peer-reviewed works to define who is and who is not a climate scientist. Do you have any reason to believe this sample is not representative of climate scientists?

    As for basic fact checking the claims I made, they are not claims but easily verifiable facts. I never once offered an opinion that did not have a primary data source.

    As I have pointed out to you and to others, that two peer-reviewed papers exist claiming 97% of climate scientists agree with AGW is a fact. That 30+ National Academies of Science (that’s a sample size of 100% of all NAoS holding an official opinion, not a survey – I notice you ignore this) agree with AGW is a verifiable fact. That not a single scientific institution of international or national note dissents from AGW is a verifiable fact. That the author of this piece fingered the wrong paper used in the PBS special is a verifiable fact. Every response I have made is about repeating those facts.

    Very, very simple. All facts, all verifiable. If you can show I’ve been factually incorrect on these points, I would be genuinely interested to know.

  83. ScepticalTom says:
    October 24, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    What you are not factoring in is that no academic is going to go against the source of funding or his colleagues. This is the “systemic bias” that keeps these advocates (they are not scientists IMO) in line with the “consensus”. No need for a “conspiracy”, just a simple fear of being outcast and losing ones career. Factor that in and your 97% BS is defenestrated. You know that though, don’t you? What a load of hooey.

  84. @ David

    What you are not factoring in is that no academic is going to go against the source of funding or his colleagues. This is the “systemic bias” that keeps these advocates (they are not scientists IMO) in line with the “consensus”. No need for a “conspiracy”, just a simple fear of being outcast and losing ones career. Factor that in and your 97% BS is defenestrated. You know that though, don’t you? What a load of hooey.

    What am I not factoring in David? I’m simply correcting the author on pointing out the wrong paper.

    David, what you say can be said about anything. In that sense it says nothing about climate science.

    Is Quantum Physics a fantasy based on systemic bias?
    Did Stephen Hawking perform his pioneering work on black holes out of peer pressure?
    Was Newton bullied by a rogue apple into his theory of gravity?

  85. ScepticalTom says:
    October 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm
    “What am I not factoring in David?”

    I told you what you are not factoring in. Can you not read?

  86. @ David

    I told you what you are not factoring in. Can you not read?

    Well we know I can write, and I’ve managed to perform a comprehension of this article to show it is based on a falsehood, so obviously my literacy was not in question.

    As I stated at least 10 times on this thread, I am simply posting to the relevant papares to correct the author on his falsehood about PNS using the UoC.

    I’m not here to talk about whether those papers are correct – but as you can see I’ve corrected several falsehoods about the papers (they blacklist skeptics, that the PNAS only uses 77 scientists).

    As I said before, I only linked to the facts, I’ll stick very closely to them, and I’ll let you arrive with your value judgements such as “climate scientists write science due to peer pressure” which is a statement that cannot be proven or disproven – and as such it about as useful to this debate as a monkey in a cat’s pyjamus.

    Would you like to insult my literacy again? Or are you going to pull out a fact or two?

  87. I left a comment on the Frontline link to their Climate of Denial program, but it didn’t get published, even though lots of comments posted after mine did get published. I’m a bit shocked that PBS would do that, I actually like PBS. But since they didn’t publish my comment, I’m leaving it here:

    Link to program:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/climate-of-doubt/

    My comment:

    My wife and I had looked forward to this program, but after watching it, we felt it was far short of Frontline’s usual degree of both hard inquiry and complete examination of issues. The program certainly succeeded in showing how hard various interests tried, and succeeded, in derailing cap and trade legislation, and we give credit where credit is due. But observers of the program would never know that there are legitimate issues, having to do with:

    1. historical temperature records — how much can temperatures vary naturally, in the very recent past (by historical standards)?
    2. the rate of warming, satellite vs. land based records — how much are we actually warming?
    3. the rate of sea level rise
    4. what actually was Climategate, and what does it tell us about those in charge of the IPCC process?
    5. what the US can do vs. what the developing world is actually doing
    6. what actually can be done, today, to help, that might get international cooperation?

    1. Historical temperature perspectives first. Several new research papers now confirm results from earlier papers, showing that the Medieval Warm Period about 1,000 years ago was just as warm as today. If natural temperature variability can produce temperatures as high as today’s, in the very recent past, it doesn’t say that we aren’t warming the planet, but it suggests that we need to be able to separate out how much warming is due to our emissions (which include not just CO2, but also black carbon and others) from natural variability. Here is one of the new papers, by a mainstream scientist, Jan Esper, and others:

    http://www.wsl.ch/fe/landschaftsdynamik/dendroclimatology/Publikationen/Esper_etal.2012_GPC

    2. Rate of temperature change. To listen to Frontline, you would have no idea that real scientists disagree about important aspects of climate change. You were correct to “out” Fred Singer as a professional skeptic on many topics, but John Christy is not such a person. You missed the opportunity to talk to many “skeptics” who are very good at what they do in showing fault lines in the work of prominent campaigners for immediate and costly action, for instance, Steve McIntyre. Christy and Roy Spencer are responsible for creating the ability of satellites to measure worldwide temperatures. The satellite record of temperature increase is about 1/3 less than the land based record, which is always undergoing adjustments of various sorts, and which is subject to the artificial warming due to the “heat island effect.” The satellite record is even further below predictions of climate models. The satellite record avoids those issues, and Frontline ignored the satellite records. The two different satellite records, going back now about 30 years, show warming of about 1.35 to 1.40 degrees C per century, well below model predictions.

    3. Sea level rose about 1 foot last century, and currently, for as long as we have satellite records for sea level rise (about 2 decades), is still rising at about a foot a century. See: http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

    It made sense to me for the N Carolina legislators to not rush through planning for over 3 feet of sea level rise, by building that into their building code. If the IPCC is right about 3 feet of sea level rise, then in a few years, we should see it ramp up. If that happens, then we can legislate differently.

    4. Climategate. Let’s simply say that among the many things the Climategate emails revealed, was that the people who developed the now debunked “hockey stick” of climate temperatures did everything they could to prevent publication of papers with contrary evidence to the hockey stick, and failing that, made sure they weren’t considered by the IPCC. (See #1 above for part of the debunking, since the “hockey stick” said that there were 900 years of relatively constant, lowish temperatures until temperature started skyrocketing at the beginning of the 20th C). They could prevent the IPCC consideration of other papers and viewpoints because the hockey stick authors were also in charge of reviewing all the temperature issues for the IPCC. It is as if oil executives were in charge of evaluating the Gulf oil spill. This procedure is bound to fail, if your goal is an even handed review.

    On point 5, did you know that China burns nine times as much coal than does the US? And is growing its coal use rapidly? Suppose the US were to burn no coal whatsoever, driving up electricity prices and depressing job creation — what difference would it make? Wouldn’t it make more sense to not harm our economy and jobs at the present time, and hold off on drastic steps until our unemployment rate is low?

    So turning to point 6, there are some things we can do, in cooperation with China and India (also ramping up its coal use). We can agree to reduce black carbon emissions, which also warm the planet. It is much cheaper, and quicker, to do that, and in so doing, we are also helping people live longer.

    Wouldn’t it have been nice if Frontline had lived up to its usual standards?

  88. ScepticalTom says:
    October 24, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    A piss-take? What it shows is dishonesty. Cowardice. Fear.

  89. 75 out of 77?? That number is so bogus. You couldn’t get 75 out of 77 people to agree that the Pope is Catholic.

    I know reality stings the alarmist crowd, but the fact is that the alarmist side does not have any kind of a consensus that CO2 is a catastrophic problem. And the Michael Manns of this world really don’t want a lot of competition for federal grant dollars. They claim ‘consensus’, with their bogus numbers rather than with real numbers. But there is no ‘consensus’ that believes Mann’s scare stories. And there probably never was.

    The true scientific consensus is contained in the OISM Petition language:

    The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the forseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.

    There you have it: CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere. That is the true consensus, co-signed by more than 30,000 professionals with degrees in the hard sciences, including more than 9,000 PhD’s.

    That petition has many thousands more co-signers than the alarmist crowd was ever able to round up — they tried, but they failed, so now they’re hanging their hats on the “75 of 77″. As if.

    Also, see here and here and here and here.

    The true consensus among scientists says that CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere. And the planet itself is validating that view.

  90. At approx 31 min into the program, Coral Davenport, an energy and environment correspondent for the National Journal , mentions one of three questions that the journal tried to ask GOP lawmakers, the first being :

    “do you think that climate change is causing the earth to become warmer?”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it global warming that is supposedly causing climate change? not the other way around.

  91. tolo4zero says:
    October 24, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    You will find a lot of word-play. Things like carbon. Or is it carbon dioxide? Two completely different things. Global warming/ climate change/ climate disruption/ weather weirding, etc,….

    The weasel words are usually pretty easy to spot. Could, might, may, to name a few.

    Most would miss the misdirection (magicians rely on that), but not when all our eyes are watching for it.

  92. @ ScepticalTom says:

    Why do you insist on quoting garbage papers when everyone knows they’re garbage? As stated before, 77 respondents is not a proper sample size. There’s no point in hanging on to it. It’s vapid.

    If you read Anderegg and it’s SI, then you know there is no consensus. Anderegg actually demonstrates this, albeit inadvertently.

    (n = 903; SI Materials and Methods). We defined UE researchers as those
    who have signed statements strongly dissenting from the views of the IPCC.
    We compiled UE names comprehensively from 12 of the most prominent
    statements criticizing the IPCC conclusions (n = 472; SI Materials and Methods).

    The criteria was garbage, but these are the numbers they came up with. Unless you’re prepared to state 903-472 is a consensus, then, much of what you’ve been saying here is nonsensical.

    As to refutations being published in literature, it doesn’t matter to anyone here. You can write a nice and properly reviewed paper asserting the sky is purple, it doesn’t make it true. In this arena, appeals to authority hold no weight.

  93. @Mod

    It is your prerogative to remove an entire post because it uses the word “denier”. I will refrain from using it as per your wishes, this is your community after all.

    But I find it odd that you moderate that, but neither you nor any other commenter has responded to the easily verifiable fact that this entire article is based on a falsehood, namely that the author refers to the wrong paper referred to by PBS.

    Would anyone care to respond to my central point, anyone at all? Is there a single contrarian willing to “reach across the aisle” and recognise this very simple truth, or are you all going to respond to points that are secondary to this?

  94. @James

    I’m not defending Anderegg at all, expect from blatant falsehoods. You have presented one:

    Unless you’re prepared to state 903-472 is a consensus

    Sigh, the paper reaches a figure of 97% not, 472/1375 x 1000 = a consensus of 66%.

    You’ve gone wrong somewhere with your interpretation of the paper’s figures. Can you spot where?

    As to refutations being published in literature, it doesn’t matter to anyone here.

    I know, as you and several other posters suggest, you think the American Proceedings of the National Academy of Science is an activist organisation. UoC is apparently another. In fact some posters have suggested that every National Academy of Science in the world (that holds a position on AGW, 30+) are in some way corrupted or responding to “peer-pressure”. Anthony Watts thinks the British Meteorological Society “spins” data.

    All phenomenal claims, I’m waiting for the proof.

  95. @ David

    I wasn’t going to waste my time on someone who misrepresents himself, but you have pissed me off.

    I misrepresent myself because I have a sarcastic name? Well actually I would say I am closer to a sceptic to you, since I demand empirical data for science and proof for claims such as “All the world’s National Academies of Science are in on a huge conspiracy!”.

    But if you think I misrepresent myself, please point to a single solitary fact on this board I have posted (there are plenty) that is in any way false.

    I’ve been very careful to stick to easily verifiable facts (unlike the author of this piece).

    Does a careful posting of the facts upset you? I’m sorry to hear that.

  96. All those who have answered ‘ScepticalTom':

    Thankyou. You have encouraged him/her/them to reveal his/her/their true nature in the posting of his/her/their own words.

    Impartial observers can make their own judgements of the errors of logic and fact in those words.

    Reality is as D Böehm says at October 24, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    The true scientific consensus is contained in the OISM Petition language:
    ….
    There you have it: CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere. That is the true consensus, co-signed by more than 30,000 professionals with degrees in the hard sciences, including more than 9,000 PhD’s.

    That petition has many thousands more co-signers than the alarmist crowd was ever able to round up — they tried, but they failed, so now they’re hanging their hats on the “75 of 77″. As if.

    And ‘ScepticalTom’ has failed to provide a sensible argument in response to that. Which is not surprising when it is simply true.

    Again, thanks to all of you. I like to see misleading propaganda exposed for what it is.

    Richard

  97. I disagree firmly with the arguments and evidence that address the numbers, qualifications and prominence of those who agree or disagree with anything that claims to be scientific or attempt to justify a scientific position by any kind of head counting. This is pandering to and indeed amplifying the public’s misconceptions about science. If the science that we inherited from the Enlightenment is to survive, the public must become informed about its nature, about what it claims and about the role that adversarial debate plays in prompting better understanding.

    1. ‘Scientific consensus’ is an oxymoron – a contradiction in terms. It is the evidence that science produces, NOT the opinions of scientists, that matters.

    2. Science cannot ever be ‘settled’. For example – most people agree with the ‘scientific’ finding that the earth is (kind of) spherical. But for most day to day practical purposes, science uses flat earth metaphors. The earth is seen as spherical when that viewpoint is helpful, for example when designing navigation instruments. For other purposes, it may be seen in many other ways. The way it is seen depends on why it has to be observed. ‘Objective truth’ plays no role in science, simply because science deals in metaphors and no one metaphor can serve all purposes. Only at the extremes of scale, micro and macro, could there be any use for a GUM (grand unifying metaphor).

    3. Generalisations are unscientific. The assertion that there are ‘Laws of Nature’ is a very convenient metaphor but a misleading one. Science cannot and does not attribute causal relations to the phenomena. Science reports observations. When people go beyond the observations and extrapolate to make causal assertions and generalisations, they are not behaving scientifically – they are reporting opinions not observations. ‘Hypotheses non fingo’ as Newton put it so succinctly. Mathematical modelling is a kind of mixing of causal metaphors and is not in itself ‘scientific’.

    4. The sciences are not intimately connected. The standards of ‘proof’, those who comprise peer groups and those who edit scientific journals are not coherent. ‘Science’ is not a singular discipline. Overarching institutions, such as the Royal Society, are not and cannot be anything but social gatherings. There are many sciences, each with its own set of conventions. The only thing they all have in common is respect for, and honesty in reporting, observations. Thus, accepting the reported observations by one of the disciplines (say ‘evolution’) in no way entails accepting the reported observations any other (e.g. AGW).

    5. Science is not something that entails uncritical acceptance of anything – commonly expressed as ‘faith’ or ‘belief’. People should be warned against ‘belief in science’ because that is to remove a crucial element – criticism – from the scientific process. So because belief in science is itself unscientific, no harm may come to science by contrary opinions (e.g. anti-science). Indeed, science flourishes on well-informed and/or well argued criticism.

    6. Science is a human activity and prone to respond to human errors. Scientists, although ostensibly bound to an, often unstated, code requiring the honest reporting of observations, are as prone to temptation as other humans and may respond to financial incentives or the promise of honours just as other humans may. There is corruption in science as there is in other fields of human activity. Openness in sharing data and to critical assessments is the hall mark of honest science.

    At the risk of being thoroughly unscientific, I assert that were the public to understand the nature of science they would not be so easily misled by charlatans and they would try to ensure that their representatives in legislatures understood what science is all about.

    I hope that one of these days politicians and school teachers come to understand what science is about.

  98. mitigatedskeptic,

    I agree with you that consensus is not science. But the alarmist cult keeps raising the issue, so it must be countered. The fact is that they never had a real consensus of opinion supporting their demonization of “carbon”.

  99. Yes, D Böehm, they never did have consensus but by asserting they have, they trap those who disagree with them into discussing ‘consensus’, or lack of it, instead of demonstrating that the conclusion that CO2 is the main cause of GW simply is NOT scientific.
    The whole scam could be torpedoed below the waterline if it could be demonstrated with hard evidence that AGW was an invention of Mrs Thatcher to disarm the miners’ unions, clear the way for nuclear and put herself centre-stage in international affairs. Successive UK Prime Ministers, especially Blair, were only too happy to step into her shoes in the international scene and continue the alarm.
    There must be people close to Thatcher at the time who were privy to the plot that set up the computer-stuffed Hadley Center, that anointed it with the blessing of the then highly respected Met Office and the academic respectability of the the cash-strapped University of East Anglia and that set the whole IPCC gravy train in motion.
    The whole bubble could be burst if the evidence could be produced that the whole thing, greenhouse effect, AGW, carbon cap and trade and all, was a political plot and nothing whatever to do with climate or weather science. Only this move can save the reputation of honest science and the world from fuel poverty. But where is the evidence, who is hiding it and why?

  100. mitigatedsceptic:

    re your post at October 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm, I analysed the origin of the AGW-scare decades ago, before it happened, and the analysis predicted it would happen.

    Many years ago an update of that analysis was posted on the web site of the late and sorely missed John Daly. Earlier this year Tallbloke copied it onto his website. The version on Daly’s web site can still be read at

    http://www.john-daly.com/history.htm

    It has not had the effect your post assumes.

    Richard

  101. Thanks very much , Richard.
    Yes I was aware of that material but although it is very plausible, it cites no primary sources and can be dismissed all too easily as a ‘just so’ story – a conspiracy theory.
    Unless it can be substantiated it can carry very little weight, even with sensation-hungry media. What we need are well-authenticated accounts of who said what to whom, where, how and when; preferably in the form of Cabinet Minutes or memoranda. In short, the account needs scientific rigour to support it.
    If you have access to the material which I hope still exists, let’s get it into the open.
    Surely Nigel Lawson must know all about it!

  102. mitigatedsceptic:

    At October 25, 2012 at 2:49 pm you say to me

    Thanks very much , Richard.
    Yes I was aware of that material but although it is very plausible, it cites no primary sources and can be dismissed all too easily as a ‘just so’ story – a conspiracy theory.

    With respect, it specifically rules out any conspiracy saying

    The success of the global warming propaganda has induced some observers to argue that a conspiracy has created the imagined risk in the public’s perception (e.g. Böttcher, 1996). But consideration of the origins of the global warming scare deny the existence of any such conspiracy. Interests coincided and supported each other. And a coincidence of interests usually has a more powerful effect than a group of conspirators.

    It is part of a report I produced for the British Association of Colliery Management in 1980 to predict possible similar threats to the UK coal industry similar to the Acid Rain issue that was then raging. As I said, the AGW-scare was unheard-of at the time.

    My original report IS the primary source.

    The important point is that the information does NOT have the effect which you assumed.

    Richard

  103. Your report of 1980 is certainly a primary source but, as it was before the event, it is not evidence that Thatcher ‘invented’ AGW.

    Have you evidence that the information (that Thatcher invented AGW) was ever in the public domain? Did any media run it as a story? If so was it ignored?

    Please can you provide a reference to role of Sir Crispin Tickell and his suggestion to Mrs T? That seems to be the seminal moment?

  104. mitigatedsceptic says:
    October 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm
    [….]
    The whole scam could be torpedoed below the waterline if it could be demonstrated with hard evidence that AGW was an invention of Mrs Thatcher to disarm the miners’ unions, clear the way for nuclear and put herself centre-stage in international affairs.

    “AGW was” NOT “an invention of Mrs Thatcher[….] Mrs Thatcher may have adopted AGW as a policy and given the policy unprecedented promotion, but her administration certainly did not even remotely “invent” AGW as a policy issue. We had deep misgivings in the discussions at our weather station in 1973-1974 when the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) announcedd its adoption of AGW as a recognized policy issue.

    The invention of AGW is traceable backwards in time by a number of threads well into the early 20th Century and perhaps into the late 19th Century. In particular THE WORLD GAME: INTEGRATIVE RESOURCE UTILIZATION PLANNING TOOL By R. Buckminster Fuller; World Resources Inventory, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois 62901 U.S.A.; the Club of Rome; and an assortment of post-1945 United Nations organizations were responsible for training generations of post-graduate and governmental proponents of AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) advocates.

    Mrs. Thatcher employed AGW policies long before defined by academic activists promoting each other into positions of authority in the scientific organizations and government in furtherance of their messianic goals for environmental protection and human population control.

  105. ScepticalTom says:
    October 24, 2012 at 4:47 pm
    @ D Patterson

    On the contrary, we find your remarks to be the repetition of the same old frauds and same old lies which have been refuted point by point on numerous previous occasions.

    Quite remarkable. You have not shown a single claim to be fraudulent or a lie.

    I linked to Oreskes’ peer-reviewed paper and summarised the abstract. Is that a fraud or a lie? I don’t believe so.

    You were invited to produce the 900 plus abstracts Oreskes claimed to have found in support of AGW, when others have reported those same papers had no such abstracts. Since the abstracts Oreskes claimed to have used are evidently non-existent, it appears Oreskes falsified the existance of the abstracts and any scientific basis for her paper’s conclusions. In other words, without evidence of the existence of the abstracts and their support of AGW, Oresles’ paper and its conclusions were fraudulent. Your citation of the Oreskes paper after being informed of its evident fraudulent nature would also be fraudulent in turn. Until and unless you can produce reasonable evidence the Oreskes paper had the claimed number of abstracts supporting AGW, we readers are compelled to observe your deliberate and persistant citation of the oreskes paper as an attempt to continue the Oreskes fraud. Your denial of this conclusion will be baselss until and unless you present the required evidence of the existence of these abstracts.

  106. D. Patterson said ““AGW was” NOT “an invention of Mrs Thatcher..”
    Indeed yes! Please forgive my overblown rhetoric – ‘adopted’ would have been much more accurate.
    My point is that if the enthusiasm for AGW can be seen by politicians and the public merely as a crude political ploy (rather than as a ‘truth’ blessed by unassailable ‘science’) there will be less support for the increasingly damaging economic and social effects of adopting policies that flow from it. The dangers to civilised society arising from belief in AGW are now real and present. People are suffering. No matter what the evidence that AGW is negligible or even non-existent, the political power of the belief in it will continue unabated. Even the advent of a century of freezing conditions would not be admitted to falsify the AGW thesis. What’s to be done?

  107. D. Patterson and mitigatedsceptic:

    I write to repeat that the actions of Mrs Thatcher are not the subject of this thread and – in my opinion – should more properly be conducted on the thread of Tallbloke’s Workshop at

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/richard-courtney-the-history-of-the-global-warming-scare/

    I have no objection to discussion of the matter and would be willing to engage in such discussion there. But it is not proper to hijack this thread with that subject when there is an existing forum for that subject.

    And you are both trivially right. AGW existed from the time of Arrhenius and has a history up to the time of its promotion by Mrs Thatcher (now Lady Thatcher) but she transformed it from an obscure scientific issue into a major international political issue.

    Richard

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