‘Quantifying the consensus on global warming in the literature': a comment

Upon inspection of their data file, the latest paper apparently showing 97% endorsement of a climate consensus really shows only 0.3% endorsement of that consensus.

Guest essay by Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

Abstract

Cook et al. (2013) stated that abstracts of nearly all papers expressing an opinion on climate change endorsed consensus, which, however, traditionally has no scientific role; used three imprecise definitions of consensus interchangeably; analyzed abstracts only; excluded 67% expressing no opinion; omitted key results; and thus concluded that 97.1% endorsed the hypothesis as defined in their introduction, namely the “scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW)”. The authors’ own data file showed that they had themselves categorized 64 abstracts, or only 0.5% of the sample, as endorsing the consensus hypothesis as defined in their introduction. Inspection shows only 41 of the 64 papers, or 0.3% of the sample, actually endorsed their hypothesis. Criteria for peer review of papers quantifying scientific consensus are discussed.

Introduction: no role for consensus in science

Though Cook et al. (2013) reviewed abstracts of 11,944 papers on climate change and concluded that 97.1% of those expressing an opinion supported consensus about anthropogenic global warming, the philosophy of science science allows no role for mere head-count. Aristotle’s Sophistical Refutations, (c. 350 B.C.E.), codified the argument from consensus, also known as the argumentum ad populum or head-count fallacy, as one of the dozen commonest logical fallacies in human discourse.

Al-Haytham, a philosopher of science in 11th-century Iraq credited as the father of the scientific method and portrayed on a high-denomination Iraqi banknote and on the postage stamps of at least four Islamic nations, wrote that “the seeker after truth” – his phrase for the scientist – does not place his faith in any mere consensus, however venerable. Instead, he checks and checks again: “The road to the truth is long and hard, but that is the road we must follow.”

T.H. Huxley, who debated evolution against Bishop Wilberforce at the Oxford Museum of Natural History in 1860, said: “The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, skepticism is the highest of duties: blind faith the one unpardonable sin.”

Popper (1934) formalized the scientific method as an iterative algorithm starting with a general problem (GP0), to address which a scientist proposed a falsifiable hypothesis or tentative theory (TT0). Thereupon other scientists would either demonstrate during the error-elimination phase (EE0) that the hypothesis was false, in which event it was rejected, or, more rarely, demonstrate that it was true.

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Figure 1. The road to the truth: Popper’s formalization of the scientific method as an iterative algorithm. A general problem (GP0) is stated. A hypothesis, or tentative theory (TT0) is advanced to address it. As a result of the error-elimination phase (EE0), where other scientists review the hypothesis, it may be either proven (“Y”) or disproven (“N”), in which case the algorithm terminates with a definitive scientific result. More often, though, the hypothesis is neither proven nor disproven (“?”), in which event the hypothesis gains credibility, leading to a modification of the original problem in the form of a new definition (GP1). Thereafter the algorithm iterates as needed.

By far the commonest outcome, however, especially in the physical sciences, is that error elimination will fail either to demonstrate or to disprove the hypothesis, in which event it gains credibility but is not definitive. The statement of the general problem may then be modified accordingly (GP1), and a new tentative theory (TT1) may later be advanced to address the modified problem; and so on. Pedetemptim, and if necessary ad infinitum, science iteratively converges upon the truth (Fig. 1). Visibly, consensus plays no part in Popper’s algorithm.

Albert Einstein, when told that 100 Nazi scientists had published a book rejecting his theory of special relativity as mere “Jewish science”, responded that a single paper would have sufficed to refute his hypothesis. His own single paper of 1905 on the electrodynamics of moving objects had demonstrated why Newton’s laws, till then universally accepted as true, incompletely described the motion of celestial objects.

In the scientific method, then, there is no place for mere consensus. A hypothesis that is demonstrated – such as Pythagoras’ theorem – needs no consensus, for it is true whether anyone believes it or not – i.e., objectively true. A hypothesis that is disproven needs no consensus, for it is objectively false.

A hypothesis that is neither demonstrated nor disproven gains credibility. It does so not because a dozen or even 12,000 papers endorse it but because – and to the extent that – it has not been demonstrated to be objectively false. Science is not a belief system. A priori, headcounts are inappropriate as tests of scientific results.

Problems in defining the ‘consensus’

Al-Haytham’s scientific method involved the successive stages of observing nature; stating a problem precisely; formulating a hypothesis to address it; testing the hypothesis; analyzing the results; drawing conclusions; and publishing the findings.

It is essential to the scientific method that a hypothesis, or tentative theory, be stated in rigorously precise terms.

The definition of the hypothesis should be expressed quantitatively, for the sciences are inescapably concerned with numbers. An imprecisely defined hypothesis, and especially a hypothesis that is not expressed in quantities, may be insufficiently rigorous to be testable. If it be untestable, then, stricto sensu, it is not of interest to science. It is a mere curiosity. Yet Cook et al. do not confine themselves to a single definition of the hypothesis to which their consensus is said to adhere. Three definitions of climate consensus coexist in the paper. In order of gravity, they are –

Definition (1): “the consensus position that humans are causing global warming” (in the paper’s abstract);

Definition (2): the “scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW)” (in the introduction);

Definition (3): that our enhancement of the greenhouse effect will be dangerous enough to be “catastrophic”; (implicit in the introduction, in discussion of the need to raise awareness of scientific consensus to justify a “climate policy”, and explicit in Table 2 of Cook et al., in a quotation from a paper opposing “the catastrophic view of the greenhouse effect”).

President Obama’s Twitter operative was among those who thought Cook et al. had demonstrated a consensus endorsing definition (3). Shortly after publication, he tweeted:

“Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” [Emphasis added]

Note this wasn’t the president making the Tweet, but the operative that runs his website although some people incorrectly thought it was the president himself.

All three definitions fall short of the criteria for definition of a Popper-falsifiable hypothesis. Not only do Cook et al. adopt them interchangeably, so that it is not clear which definition their survey is really testing, but each definition is imprecise and insufficiently quantified to allow rigorous falsification.

None of the definitions specifies the period to which it applies, or how much global warming was observed over that period, or whether the warming is continuing, or, if so, at what rate, or whether that rate is considered dangerous, or what rate is considered dangerous.

Additionally, definitions (1) and (3) do not specify what fraction of warming was considered anthropogenic, and definition (2) assigns no quantitative value to the term “very likely”. Such imprecisions render the hypotheses unfalsifiable and hence beyond the realm of legitimate scientific inquiry.

Definition (2) is akin to, but less precise than, that of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007, p. 665):

“Greenhouse gas forcing has very likely [90% confidence] caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years.”

Definition (3) is implicit in the opening words of Cook et al.:

“An accurate perception of the degree of scientific consensus is an essential element to public support for climate policy (Ding et al., 2011). Communicating the scientific consensus also increases people’s acceptance that climate change is happening (Lewandowsky et al., 2012).”

In this passage, “consensus”, “climate change” and “climate policy” are all undefined.

A hypothesis to the effect that humans cause some warming, or even that most current global warming is very likely to be anthropogenic, is not – and does not necessarily imply – a hypothesis to the effect that current warming, if continued over some unspecified period, might prove sufficiently damaging to justify any climate policy to address climate change, still less any public support for it.

The implication of these opening remarks is that the authors of all abstracts expressing an explicit or implicit endorsement of definitions (1) and (2) are also endorsing the catastrophist definition (3). It is by this unwarranted extension that President Obama misled himself into the assumption that the survey indicated 97% endorsement of the notion that anthropogenic global warming might prove dangerous enough the day after tomorrow to justify a climate policy today.

The use of multiple imprecise and ill-quantified definitions of climate consensus has some precedents in the literature. Cook et al. cite two instances:

“Surveys of climate scientists have found strong agreement (97-98%) regarding AGW amongst publishing climate experts (Doran & Zimmerman, 2009; Anderegg et al., 2010).”

Doran and Zimmerman (2009)

The two authors sent a 2-minute online survey to 10,257 earth scientists at universities and government research agencies. Only 5% of the 3,146 respondents identified themselves as climate scientists; 90% believed mean global temperatures had generally risen compared with pre-1800s levels; and 82% believed human activity was a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures.

Only 79 of the respondents listed climate science as their area of expertise and had also published more than half of their recent peer-reviewed papers on climate change. Of these, 98% believed human activity was a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures.

However, the sample size was too small to deliver a statistically reliable result, and the respondents were not asked whether they believed the anthropogenic influence on temperature might become sufficiently damaging to require a “climate policy”.

Anderegg et al. (2010)

From publication and citation data, the authors selected 908 of 1372 climate researchers, defined as people who had published at least 20 climate papers and had either signed petitions opposing or supporting the IPCC’s positions or had co-authored IPCC reports. Of these, 97-98% believed that “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”.

The definition of the consensus in Anderegg et al. is less imprecise than definition (2) in Cook et al. Yet, like Cook et al., Anderegg et al. did not seek to determine how many researchers considered global warming to be actually or potentially damaging enough to require a climate policy.

Nevertheless, the two surveys are often cited as demonstrating a near-unanimous scientific consensus in favor of a climate policy, when in fact, like Cook et al., neither survey had asked any question either about whether and to what extent the anthropogenic component in recent warming might be dangerous or about whether a “climate policy” should be adopted in attempted mitigation of future warming.

In Cook et al., the definition of consensus hypothesis that comes closest to those of the IPCC and of other head-count papers is definition (2). Table 1 lists some of these definitions.

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Table 1. Successive quantitative definitions of a climate consensus.

Incomplete statement of the survey results

None of the seven “levels of endorsement” by which Cook et al. categorize their selected abstracts provides evidence that any of the 11,944 abstracts encompasses the catastrophist definition (3):

1 “Explicitly states that humans are the primary cause of global warming”

2 “Explicit endorsement without quantification”

3 “Implicit endorsement”

4 “No opinion, or uncertain”

5 “Implicit rejection”

6 “Explicit rejection without quantification”

7 “Explicit rejection with quantification”

The first endorsement level, “Explicitly states that humans are the primary cause of global warming”, reflects definition (2) and is akin to the other definitions in Table 1.

The second and third levels, “Explicit endorsement without quantification” and “Implicit endorsement”, reflect definition (1) in that, like it, they are not quantitative.

Yet the first three levels of endorsement are treated as one in the results:

“To simplify the analysis, ratings were consolidated into three groups: endorsements (including implicit and explicit: categories 1-3) …”.

Results of an inspection of the Cook et al. data file

It is not possible to discern either from the paper or from the supplementary information what percentage of all abstracts in fact endorse definition (2). However, a file of raw data was supplied, though only some weeks after publication. This comma-delimited text file was read down and the abstracts allocated by Cook et al. to each level of endorsement were counted. No attempt was made to verify whether the allocation of each abstract to one of the specified levels of endorsement was appropriate, though others have challenged the allocations.

Results are given in Table 2:

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Table 2. Abstracts in the seven levels of endorsement specified in Cook et al. (2013). Only 64 abstracts, according to the authors’ data file, explicitly endorsed definition (2), the quantitative hypothesis. NB: “+quant” indicates “with quantification”; “–quant” indicates “without quantification”; “% all” indicates the percentage of all 11,944 abstracts that fell in each level of endorsement; “% opin” indicates the percentages of all 4014 abstracts, excluding the 7930 that expressed no opinion but including the 40 that expressed uncertainty (1% of all papers). These 40 are not shown separately in the datafile or in the table. Therefore, the percentages of papers expressing an opinion sum to 99%, not 100%.

Definition (1): The count confirmed the authors’ count that 3896 of the 11,944 abstracts (i.e., 32.6%) fell in their endorsement levels 1-3, indicating that fewer than one-third of all abstracts indicate implicit or explicit support even for the limited definition (1) hypothesis that humans cause some warming. It was only by arbitrarily excluding those 7930 endorsement-level-4 abstracts that expressed no opinion (but retaining the 40 level-4 abstracts expressing uncertainty) that Cook et al. were able to conclude that 97.1% endorsed consensus.

Definition (2): The count, in line with an earlier result published by Friends of Science in Canada, showed only 64 papers, or just 0.5% of the sample, explicitly endorsing the quantitative hypothesis to the effect that humans are the primary cause of current warming. This value was independently verified by a separate inspection of the data file to identify occurrences of the search term “,1” at the end of each data record using the search facility in Microsoft Notepad, whereupon 64 such occurrences were indeed found.

However, of the 64 abstracts to which Cook et al. assigned an endorsement level of 1 (“explicit endorsement with quantification”), 23 do not in fact endorse definition (2). Only 41 papers (0.3% of the sample) do so (see Annex 1).

The conclusion of Cook et al., as expressed in their abstract, is as follows:

“Among [4014] abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.”

A 97% consensus is also asserted in the closing words of the paper:

“Among [4014] papers expressing a position on AGW, an overwhelming percentage (97.2% based on self-ratings, 97.1% based on abstract ratings) endorses the scientific consensus on AGW.”

In the introduction to Cook et al., “AGW” is defined as the “scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW)”. However, the authors’ own analysis shows that only 0.5% of all 11,944 abstracts, and 1.6% of the 4014 abstracts expressing a position, endorsed “AGW” as they had defined it.

However, taking into account that more than one-third of the 64 abstracts do not in fact endorse the quantitative hypothesis in Cook et al., the true percentages endorsing that hypothesis are 0.3% and 1.0% respectively.

Accordingly, their stated conclusion is incorrect.

Their paper was published May 15, 2013, but it was not until May 31 that corrections were made and the data file added. Without the data file, peer reviewers had no opportunity to verify the authors’ results before publication and thus to discover that the true consensus was not 97.1% but 0.3-1.0%.

Evidence that the climate consensus is declining

Oreskes (2004) published an essay in Science alleging that not one of 928 abstracts she had reviewed had disagreed with the consensus as defined in IPCC (2001): “Most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”. Her adopted definition of consensus, then, was similar to but more precise than definition (2) in Cook et al. It, too, falls well short of stating that manmade warming may prove catastrophic.

Her essay concluded that three-quarters of her sample endorsed the “consensus” either explicitly or, by evaluating impacts or proposing mitigation, implicitly. A quarter took no view. None, she said, disagreed with the consensus as defined in IPCC (2001). Yet the fact that a paper evaluates impacts or proposes mitigation does not necessarily imply that the authors endorse the notion that more than half of the past 50 years’ global warming was anthropogenic.

Schulte (2008) reviewed 539 papers published in the three years following the period studied by Oreskes, using the same search term (“global climate change”) and the same IPCC definition of consensus. He found that “the proportion of papers that now explicitly or implicitly endorse the consensus has fallen from 75% to 45%.”

Only 2% of the papers reviewed “offer new field data or observations directly relevant to the question whether anthropogenic warming has prevailed over natural variability in the past half-century”. Only one paper mentioned the possibility of catastrophic climate change, but without providing any evidence for catastrophe. No paper provided quantitative evidence for the consensus hypothesis. Schulte concluded: “There appears to be little basis in the peer-reviewed literature for the degree of alarm on the issue of man-made climate change which is being expressed in the media and by politicians.”

The 75% consensus reported by Oreskes in 2004 is greater than the 45% endorsement found by Schulte in 2008, which is in turn greater than the 0.5-1.6% (0.3-1.0% after correction) found but not reported by Cook et al. in 2013. Accordingly, the undisclosed results in Cook et al. indicate either that earlier papers had neglected (as Cook et al. in their published results had neglected) to draw any distinction between quantified and unquantified consensus, or that over the past decade the consensus has dwindled.

Has there been any ‘current’ warming?

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Figure 2. No global warming for 12 years 6 months, according to the HadCRUt4 dataset.

Cook et al.’s definition (1) is that “humans are causing global warming”. Definition (2) is that humans are the chief cause of “the current warming”. Though the least-squares linear-regression trend on the monthly HadCRUt4 dataset (Morice et al., 2012) shows surface warming over the half-century 1956-2005 at a rate equivalent to 1.2 Cº/century, trends on the same dataset over shorter periods show no warming exceeding the upper bound of the published measurement uncertainties for more than 17 years, no warming at all over the 12 years 6 months November 2000 to May 2013 (Fig. 2), and cooling at 0.5 Cº/century over the decade May 2003-April 2013. In the usual sense of the word “current”, then, global warming is not currently occurring, rendering definitions (1) and (2) untestable: for no scientist could legitimately endorse a consensus to the effect that global warming is currently occurring when, currently, it is not.

Discussion

The defects identified in the surveys of climate consensus by Cook et al. and by the authors of some of the papers they cite follow a pattern to whose existence peer-reviewers should be alert. First, any argument from consensus on a question such as the extent to which anthropogenic global warming may prove dangerous is defective a priori and ought really to be rejected without further review.

Secondly, no survey of opinion for or against a consensus hypothesis ought to be regarded as scientific where it is not made clear which hypothesis is under test, or where the hypothesis under test is not clearly and precisely formulated. A fortiori, a survey paper that exhibits multiple definitions of the consensus hypothesis and fails to state clearly the identity and definition of the hypothesis on the basis of which the survey was actually conducted should surely be rejected.

Thirdly, the consensus hypothesis under test ought to be expressed in quantitative terms. Mere qualitative definitions of any scientific hypothesis run the risk of appearing more political than scientific in their formulation, and papers based on such definitions may also prove more political than scientific in their effect.

Fourthly, if several “levels of endorsement” are specified, then the number of abstracts, papers, or scientists considered to have supported each level of endorsement ought to be explicitly stated in the paper under review. Cook et al. specified three levels of endorsement that supported the notion of anthropogenic warming (however defined); yet, on the stated ground of simplifying the analysis, the number of papers allocated to each of the three levels of endorsement – a key result on any view – was not stated. The analysis would indeed have been simpler if one endorsement level supporting one definition of climate consensus had been adopted.

Fifthly, all data files and programs should be archived at the time of submission to the journal, and reviewers should ask for them if they are not available.

Conclusion

The non-disclosure in Cook et al. of the number of abstracts supporting each specified level of endorsement had the effect of not making available the fact that only 41 papers – 0.3% of all 11,944 abstracts or 1.8% of the 4014 expressing an opinion, and not 97.1% – had been found to endorse the quantitative hypothesis, stated in the introduction to Cook et al. and akin to similar definitions in the literature), that “human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW)”.

References

Anderegg, W.R.L., J.W. Prall J. Harold, and S.H. Schneider, 2010, Expert credibility in climate change, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 107: 12107-9.

Aristotle, c. 350 B.C.E., Sophistical Refutations, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012, 52 pp.

Cook, J., D. Nuccitelli, S.A. Green, M. Richardson, B. Winkler, R. Painting, R. Way, P. Jacobs, and A. Skuce, 2013, Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature, Environ. Res. Lett. 8: 024024 (7 pp), doi:0.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024.

Ding, D., E.W. Maibach, X. Zhao, C> Roser-Renouf, and A. Leiserowitz, 2011, Support for climate policy and societal action are linked to perceptions about scientific agreement, Nature Clim. Change 1, 462-5.

Doran, P., and M. Zimmerman, 2009, Examining the scientific consensus on climate change, EOS Trans. Am. Geophys. Union 99: 22-23.

Einstein, A., 1905, Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper. Annalen der Physik 322: 891-921, doi:10.1002/andp.19053221004.

IPCC, 2001, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Houghton, J.T., Y. Ding, D.J. Griggs, M. Noguer, P.J. van der Linden, X. Dai, K. Maskell and C.A. Johnson (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom, and New York, NY, USA, 881 pp.

IPCC, 2007, Climate Change 2007: the Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007 [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Avery, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)], Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom, and New York, NY, USA.

Lewandowsky, S., G. Gilles, and S. Vaughan, 2012, The pivotal role of perceived scientific consensus in acceptance of science, Nature Clim. Change 3, 399-404.

Morice, C.P., J.J. Kennedy, N.A. Rayner, and P.D. Jones, 2012, Quantifying uncertainties in global and regional temperature change using an ensemble of observational estimates: The HadCRU4 data set, J. Geophys. R. 117:D8, DOI: 10.1029/2011JD017187

Oreskes, N., 2004, The scientific consensus on climate change, Science 306: 1686.

Popper, K.R., 1934, Logik der Forschung, Vienna: reprinted 1959 as The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Hutchinson & Co., London, 480 pp.

Schulte, K.-M., 2008, Scientific consensus on climate change?, Energy & Environment 19:2, 281-286, doi:10/1060/095830508783900744.

Annex 1

The 41 papers endorsing the quantitative consensus

Relevant extracts from all 64 papers listed by Cook et al. as endorsing their quantitative definition of the consensus hypothesis are below. Of the 64 papers, only 41 (marked “Yes”) actually endorse it. The remaining 23 (marked “NO”) do not.

1: 1992, Implications for global warming of intercycle solar irradiance variations, Nature, Schlesinger M.E.; Ramankutty N, 2, 1

“… we find that since the nineteenth century, greenhouse gases, not solar irradiance variations, have been the dominant contributor to the observed temperature changes.” Yes.

2: 1992, Past; present and future levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and model projections of related climatic changes, J. Experim. Botany, Roeckner E, 2, 1

“The more recent increase in greenhouse gases since pre-industrial times can be related to human activities.” NO.

Reason for rejection: The increase “can be related to human activities”, but the abstract falls short of saying that most of the increase is attributable to human activities.

3: 1993, How sensitive is the world’s climate?, Research & Explor., Hansen J; Lacis A; Ruedy R; Sato M; Wilson H, 4, 1

“Observed global warming of approximately 0.5 C° in the past 140 years is consistent with anthropogenic greenhouse gases being the dominant climate forcing in that period.” NO.

Reason for rejection: “… is consistent with” is not the same thing as “is likely to have been”.

4: 1994, Greenhouse statistics – Time-series analysis 2, Theor. & Appl. Climatol., Tol RSJ, 4, 1

“… the hypothesis that the anthropogenically enhanced greenhouse effect is not responsible for the observed global warming during the last century is rejected with a 99% confidence, is reconfirmed.” Yes.

5: 1995, Climate response to increasing levels of greenhouse gases and sulfate aerosols, Nature, Mitchell JFB; Johns TC; Gregory JM; Tett SFB, 4, 1

“CLIMATE models suggest that increases in greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere should have produced a larger global mean warming than has been observed in recent decades, unless the climate is less sensitive than is predicted by the present generation of coupled general circulation models.” NO.

Reason for rejection: The abstract qualifies its first statement by saying that the climate may be less sensitive than models predict.

6: 1997, Assessments of the global anthropogenic greenhouse and sulfate signal using different types of simplified climate models, Theor. & Appl. Climatol., Schonwiese CD; Denhard M; Grieser J; Walter A, 2, 1

“Our statistical assessments, based on the 1866–1994 period, lead to a GHG signal of 0.8–1.3 K and a combined GHG-SU signal of 0.5–0.8 K detectable in observations. This is close to GCM simulations and clearly larger than the volcanic, solar and ENSO (El Niño/southern oscillation) signals also considered.” Yes.

7: 1998, A Bayesian statistical analysis of the enhanced greenhouse effect, Clim. Change, Tol RSJ; De Vos AF, 4, 1

“… there is a robust statistical relationship between the records of the global mean surface air temperature and the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide over the period 1870–1991. As such, the enhanced greenhouse effect is a plausible explanation for the observed global warming.” NO.

Reason for rejection: The greenhouse effect is a “plausible explanation”, but it is not definite, and there is no quantification.

8: 1999, CFC and halon replacements in the environment, J. Fluor. Chem., McCulloch A, 3, 1

“Substitute fluorocarbons may have direct environmental impact, for example as greenhouse gases … The growth in hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) amounts to about 10% of the fall in CFCs. It is likely that the impact of new fluorocarbons on climate change will be a very small fraction of the total impact, which comes mainly from the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.” NO.

Reason for rejection: The “total impact” mentioned in the abstract is the impact of Man, not that of Man and nature combined. Man’s impact does come mainly from the accumulation of CO2 in the air, but that falls short of saying that Man’s impact has caused more than half of recent warming.

9: 2000, Causes of climate change over the past 1000 years, Science, Crowley TJ, 5, 1

“The combination of a unique level of temperature increase in the late 20th century and improved constraints on the role of natural variability provides further evidence that the greenhouse effect has already established itself above the level of natural variability in the climate system.” NO.

Reason for rejection: The greenhouse effect may (or may not) have added to the warming that may have arisen from natural variability, but there is no quantification of how much it has added to natural warming.

10: 2000, Radiative forcings and global warming potentials of 39 greenhouse gases, JGR Atmos., Jain AK; Briegleb BP; Minschwaner K; Wuebbles DJ, 4, 1

“Our total radiative forcing due to increase in major greenhouse gas concentrations for the period 1765–1992 is 2.32 Wm−2, only 2% higher than other recent estimates; however, the differences for individual gases are as large as 23%.” NO.

Reason for rejection: Stating the magnitude of a radiative forcing falls short of stating the magnitude of the warming the forcing may be thought to have engendered.

11: 2000, Recent warming in a 500-year palaeotemperature record from varved sediments; Upper Soper Lake; Baffin Island; Canada, Holocene, Hughen KA; Overpeck JT; Anderson RF, 5, 1

“Comparisons of Upper Soper Lake and Arctic average palaeotemperature to proxy-records of hypothesized forcing mechanisms suggest that the recent warming trend is mostly due to anthropogenic emissions of atmospheric greenhouse gases.” Yes.

12: 2000, Response of the NCAR climate system model to increased co2 and the role of physical processes, J. Clim., Meehl GA; Collins WD; Boville BA; Kiehl JT; Wigley TML; Arblaster JM, 4, 1

“Another process that contributes to climate response to increasing CO2 is sea-ice changes, which are estimated to enhance global warming by roughly 20% in the CSM and 37% in the DOE model. Sea-ice retreat with increasing CO2 in the CSM is less than in the DOE model in spite of identical sea-ice formulations.” NO.

Reason for rejection: The fact that global warming in the future may be enhanced by sea-ice retreat tells us nothing about whether global warming in the past has chiefly been manmade.

13: 2001, Strong radiative heating due to the mixing state of black carbon in atmospheric aerosols, Nature, Jacobson MZ, 4, 1

“The magnitude of the direct radiative forcing from black carbon itself exceeds that due to CH4, suggesting that black carbon may be the second most important component of global warming after CO2 in terms of direct forcing.” NO.

Reason for rejection: The abstract is talking of the manmade component, not including the natural component. So there is no quantification of the relative magnitudes of the two: nor is any period specified.

14: 2002, Global Warming 2001, J. de Physique IV, Berger A, 4, 1

“In its Third Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states clearly that “an increasing body of observations give a collective picture of a warming world and other changes in the climate system” and that “there is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities”. Yes.

15: 2002, Modeling future climate changes: certainties and uncertainties, Houille Blanche Revue Internationale de l’Eau, Le Treut H, 4, 1

“Present projections indicate, in all cases, a significant change, with a global surface warming in 2100 between 2 C° and 6 C°.” NO.

Reason for rejection: Projections are one thing; observations another. The fact that global warming is projected tells us nothing about what fraction of it in the observed past is attributable to Man.

16: 2003, Do models underestimate the solar contribution to recent climate change?, J. Clim., Stott PA; Jones GS; Mitchell JFB, 4, 1

“… the results confirm previous analyses showing that greenhouse gas increases explain most of the global warming observed in the second half of the twentieth century.” Yes.

17: 2003, Modern global climate change, Science, Karl TR; Trenberth KE, 2, 1

“Modern climate change is dominated by human influences, which are now large enough to exceed the bounds of natural variability. The main source of global climate change is human-induced changes in atmospheric composition.” Yes.

18: 2003, Utilization of carbon dioxide as soft oxidant in the dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene over supported vanadium-antimony oxide catalystst, Green Chemistry, Chang JS; Vislovskiy VP; Park MS; Hong DY; Yoo JS; Park SE, 3, 1

“This work shows that carbon dioxide, which is a main contributor to the global warming effect, could be utilized as a selective oxidant in the oxidative dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene over alumina-supported vanadium oxide catalysts.” NO.

Reason for rejection: “A main contributor” is not the same as “the main contributor”.

19: 2004, Numerical simulation of global temperature change during the 20th century with the IAP/LASG GOALS model, Advances In Atmos. Sci., Ma XY; Guo YF; Shi GY; Yu YQ, 2, 1

“The global warming during the 20th century is caused mainly by increasing greenhouse gas concentration especially since the late 1980s.” Yes.

20: 2004, Soot climate forcing via snow and ice albedos, PNAS, Hansen J; Nazarenko L, 4, 1

“… soot contributions to climate change do not alter the conclusion that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been the main cause of recent global warming and will be the predominant climate forcing in the future.” Yes.

21: 2005, Is the Sonoran Desert losing its cool?, Global Change Biol., Weiss JL; Overpeck JT, 2, 1

“Minimum temperature variability in the Sonoran Desert does, however, correspond to global temperature variability attributed to human-dominated global warming.” NO.

Reason for rejection: A correspondence between regional and global patterns of temperature variability attributed to Man is not the same as an assertion that most recent warming is manmade.

22: 2005, Mid-late Holocene monsoon climate retrieved from seasonal Sr/Ca and δ18O records of porites lutea corals at Leizhou Peninsula; northern coast of South China Sea, Global & Planetary Change, Yu KF; Zhao JX; Wei GJ; Cheng XR; Wang PX, 5, 1

“… the increase in the concentration of anthropogenic greenhouse gases played a dominant role in recent global warming, …” Yes.

23: 2006, Assessment of 20th-century regional surface temperature trends using the GFDL CM2 coupled models, J. Clim., Knutson TR; Delworth TL; Dixon KW; Held IM; Lu J; Ramaswamy V; Schwarzkopf MD; Stenchikov G; Stouffer RJ, 4, 1

“The simulations support previous findings that twentieth-century global warming has resulted from a combination of natural and anthropogenic forcing, with anthropogenic forcing being the dominant cause of the pronounced late-twentieth-century warming.” Yes.

24: 2006, Observational constraints on past attributable warming and predictions of future global warming, J. Clim., Stott PA; Mitchell JFB; Allen MR; Delworth TL; Gregory JM; Meehl GA; Santer BD, 4, 1

“… the spatial and temporal nature of observed twentieth-century temperature change constrains the component of past warming attributable to anthropogenic greenhouse gases to be significantly greater (at the 5% level) than the observed warming over the twentieth century.” NO.

Reason for rejection: A 5% confidence level is too low to be reliable.

25: 2006, Phenomenological solar contribution to the 1900-2000 global surface warming, GRL, Scafetta N; West BJ, 4, 1

“We estimate that the sun contributed as much as 45–50% of the 1900–2000 global warming, and 25–35% of the 1980–2000 global warming. These results, while confirming that anthropogenic-added climate forcing might have progressively played a dominant role in climate change during the last century, also suggest that the solar impact on climate change during the same period is significantly stronger than what some theoretical models have predicted.” Yes.

26: 2006, Positive feedback between global warming and atmospheric CO2 concentration inferred from past climate change, GRL, Scheffer M; Brovkin V; Cox PM, 5, 1

“There is good evidence that higher global temperatures will promote a rise of greenhouse gas levels, implying a positive feedback which will increase the effect of anthropogenic emissions on global temperatures. However, the magnitude of this effect predicted by the available models remains highly uncertain, due to the accumulation of uncertainties in the processes thought to be involved.” NO.

Reason for rejection: The abstract tells us nothing of what has happened. It merely predicts what will happen.

27: 2006, Study on CO2 recovery system from flue gas by honeycomb type adsorbent I – results of tests and simulation), Kagaku Kogaku Ronbunshu, Matsukuma Y; Matsushita Y; Kakigami H; Inoue G; Minemoto M; Yasutake A; Oka N, 3, 1

“Carbon dioxide (CO2) included in the exhaust gas from heat power plants is the chief cause of global warming.” Yes.

28: 2006, Transient climate simulations with the HADGEM1 climate model: causes of past warming and future climate change, J. Clim., Stott PA; Jones GS; Lowe JA; Thorne P; Durman C; Johns TC; Thelen JC, 4, 1

“The ability of climate models to simulate large-scale temperature changes during the twentieth century when they include both anthropogenic and natural forcings and their inability to account for warming over the last 50 yr when they exclude increasing greenhouse gas concentrations has been used as evidence for an anthropogenic influence on global warming. … new simulations support previous work by showing that there was a significant anthropogenic influence on near-surface temperature change over the last century.” NO.

Reason for rejection: “A significant anthropogenic influence” does not necessarily mean “more than 50%”.

29: 2007, A model for the CO2 capture potential, Int. J. GHG Control, Stanyeland A, 3, 1

“Global warming is a result of increasing anthropogenic CO2 emissions, and the consequences will be dramatic climate changes if no action is taken.” Yes.

30: 2007, Avoiding self-organized extinction: toward a co-evolutionary economics of sustainability, Int. J. Sustain. Devel. & World Ecol., Gowdy J, 2, 1

“There is a a near-universal consensus that global warming is human-caused and that its effects are now accelerating.” Yes.

31: 2007, CO2 emissions from road transport and selected parts in the Kosice City, Acta Montanistica Slovaca, Carach V; Muller G; Janoskova K, 4, 1

“Nowadays it is clear that the climatic unstability is mostly caused by human activities.” Yes.

32: 2007, Global climate change and children’s health, Pediatrics, Shannon MW; Best D; Binns HJ; Forman JA; Johnson CL; Karr CJ; Kim JJ; Mazur LJ; Roberts JR; Shea KM, 2, 1

There is a broad scientific consensus that the global climate is warming, the process is accelerating, and that human activities are very likely (>90% probability) the main cause.” Yes.

33: 2007, Global warming is driven by anthropogenic emissions: a time series analysis approach, Phys. Rev. Lett., Verdes PF, 2, 1

“Here we show, using two independent driving force reconstruction techniques, that the combined effect of greenhouse gases and aerosol emissions has been the main external driver of global climate during the past decades.” Yes.

34: 2008, Banagrass vs. eucalyptus wood as feedstocks for metallurgical biocarbon production, Indust. & Eng. Chem. Res., Yoshida T; Turn SQ; Yost RS; Antal MJ, 3, 1

“Excessive emissions of fossil CO2 are known to be a primary cause of global climate change.” NO.

Reason for rejection: “A primary cause” is not the same as “the primary cause”.

35: 2008, Carbonation of alkaline paper mill waste to reduce co2 greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, Appl. Geochem., Perez-Lopez R; Montes-Hernandez G; Nieto JM; Renard F; Charlet L, 3, 1

“The global warming of Earth’s near-surface, air and oceans in recent decades is a direct consequence of anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere such as CO2, CH4, N2O and CFCs. The CO2 emissions contribute approximately 60% to this climate change.” Yes.

36: 2008, Climate policy architectures for the post-Kyoto world, Environment, Aldy JE; Stavins RN, 3, 1

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has determined earlier that most of the increase in global average temperatures is very likely due to the adverse increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.” Yes.

37: 2008, Cycle analysis of low and high H2 utilization SOFCS/gas turbine combined cycle for CO2 recovery, Electronics & Comms. in Japan, Taniuchi T; Sunakawa D; Nagahama M; Araki T; Onda K; Kato T, 3, 1

“Global warming is mainly caused by CO2 emission from thermal power plants, which burn fossil fuel with air.” Yes.

38: 2008, Energy sources and global climate change: the Brazilian case, Energy Sources A, Simoes AF; La Rovere EL, 3, 1

“Fossil fuels consumption is the primary cause of global warming.” Yes.

39: 2008, Implications of “peak oil” for atmospheric CO2 and climate, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, Kharecha PA; Hansen JE, 3, 1

“Unconstrained CO2 emission from fossil fuel burning has been the dominant cause of observed anthropogenic global warming.” NO.

Reason for rejection: The dominant cause of anthropogenic warming, but not necessarily the dominant cause of all global warming.

40: 2008, Industrialization; fossil fuels; and the transformation of land use, J. Indust. Ecol., Erb KH; Gingrich S; Krausmann F; Haberl H, 4, 1

“Human-induced changes in global stocks and flows of carbon are major drivers of global climate change.” NO.

Reason for rejection: “Major drivers”, but not “the major drivers”.

41: 2008, Leaf carbon assimilation in a water-limited world, Plant Biosys., Loreto F; Centritto M, 2, 1

“Over the past 150 years the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has been increasing, largely as a result of land-use change and anthropogenic emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.” Yes.

42: 2008, On avoiding dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system: formidable challenges ahead, PNAS, Ramanathan V; Feng Y, 2, 1

IPCC models suggest that ≈25% (0.6°C) of the committed warming has been realized as of now. Yes.

43: 2008, The potential of water power in the fight against global warming in the US, Energy Policy, Kosnik L, 3, 1

“The leading cause of climate change today is the burning of fossil fuels related to energy production.” Yes.

44: 2009, Climate change and drying of agricultural products, Drying Technol., Piacentini RD; Mujumdar AS, 3, 1

“Global warming is affecting the world and will continue to affect humans and the ecosystem in the future.” NO.

Reason for rejection: Global warming may or may not be “affecting the world”, but there is nothing in the abstract to tell us that more of it is anthropogenic than natural.

45: 2009, Climate changes and the actions of the European Union for environmental protection, Metalurgia Int., Brezoi AG; Tharin M, 4, 1

“According to the meetings of the experts … the human origin of present-day climate changes is estimated at 90%.” Yes.

46: 2009, Cost-benefit analysis of climate change dynamics: uncertainties and the value of information, Clim. Change, Rabl A; Van Der Zwaan B, 4, 1

“We analyze climate change in a cost–benefit framework, using the emission and concentration profiles of Wigley et al. (Nature 379(6562):240–243, 1996). They present five scenarios that cover the period 1990–2300 and are designed to reach stabilized concentration levels of 350, 450, 550, 650 and 750 ppmv, respectively.” NO.

Reason for rejection: The abstract concerns itself with projections, and – other than referring to Wigley’s scenarios starting in 1900 – makes no reference to past warming at all, let alone saying that most of it was manmade.

47: 2010, A novel formulation of carbon emissions costs for optimal design configuration of system transmission planning, Renewable Energy, Sadegheih A, 3, 1

“Global warming, which is mainly caused by the emissions of Green House Gases (GHGs), is said to be a serious part of these environmental problems.” Yes.

48: 2010, Analysis of the global warming dynamics from temperature time series, Ecol. Modelling, Viola FM; Paiva SLD; Savi MA, 4, 1

“Global warming is the observed increase of the average temperature of the Earth. The primary cause of this phenomenon is the release of the greenhouse gases by burning of fossil fuels, land cleaning, agriculture, among others, leading to the increase of the so-called greenhouse effect.” Yes.

49: 2010, Assessing the climatic benefits of black carbon mitigation, PNAS, Kopp RE; Mauzerall DL, 3, 1

“To limit mean global warming to 2 °C, a goal supported by more than 100 countries, it will likely be necessary to reduce emissions not only of greenhouse gases but also of air pollutants with high radiative forcing (RF), particularly black carbon (BC).” NO.

Reason for rejection: The statement of a target for future emissions is not equivalent to a statement that most recent warming was caused by past emissions.

50: 2010, Conceptual design and simulation analysis of thermal behaviors of TGR blast furnace and oxygen blast furnace, Science China – Technol., Zhang H; Li HQ; Tang Q; Bao WJ, 3, 1

“Extensive use of carbon based fuel is the main inducement for global warming and more extreme weather.” Yes.

51: 2010, Consumption-based accounting of CO2 emissions, PNAS, Davis SJ; Caldeira K, 4, 1

“CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are the primary cause of global warming.” Yes.

52: 2010, Dynamic competition under cap and trade programs, Infor, Jeev K; Campos-Nanez E, 3, 1

“Greenhouse gases (GHG), like carbon dioxide (CO2), which are released in the atmosphere due to anthropogenic activities like power production, are now accepted as the main culprits for global warming.” Yes.

53: 2010, Short-term effects of controlling fossil-fuel soot; biofuel soot and gases; and methane on climate; arctic ice; air pollution; and health, JGR Atmos., Jacobson MZ, 3, 1

“… net global warming (0.7–0.8 K) is due mostly to gross pollutant warming from fossil-fuel greenhouse gases (2–2.4 K), …” Yes.

54: 2010, The Copenhagen accord for limiting global warming: criteria; constraints; and available avenues, PNAS, Ramanathan V; Xu YY, 3, 1

“At last, all the major emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs) have agreed under the Copenhagen Accord that global average temperature increase should be kept below 2 °C.” NO.

Reason for rejection: The adoption of a target for future emissions is not equivalent to a statement that most recent warming was caused by past emissions.

55: 2011, Coupled climate-society modeling of a realistic scenario to achieve a sustainable earth, J. Oceanog.,Ikeda M, 4, 1

“The surface air temperature (SAT) rises due to the atmospheric carbon, which is partially absorbed by the terrestrial ecosystem and the ocean. These absorption rates are reduced by the rising SAT.” NO.

Reason for rejection: There is no statement here that the surface air temperature rises only, or chiefly, owing to the atmospheric CO2.

56: 2011, Early onset of significant local warming in low latitude countries, Env. Res. Lett., Mahlstein I; Knutti R; Solomon S; Portmann RW, 2, 1

“… most of the global warming of the past half-century can very likely be attributed to human influence.” Yes.

57: 2011, Earth’s energy imbalance and implications, Atmos. Chem. & Phys., Hansen J; Sato M; Kharecha P; Von Schuckmann K, 4, 1

“The inferred planetary energy imbalance, 0.58 ± 0.15 W m−2 during the 6-yr period 2005–2010, confirms the dominant role of the human-made greenhouse effect in driving global climate change.” Yes.

58: 2011, Emergent dynamics of the climate-economy system in the anthropocene, Philos. Trans. Royal Soc. A, Kellie-Smith O; Cox PM, 4, 1

59: 2011, Insights on global warming, Aiche J., Seinfeld JH, 4, 1

“The global temperature increase over the last century and a half (∼ 0.8°C), and the last three decades in particular, is well outside of that which can be attributed to natural climate fluctuations. The increase of atmospheric CO2 over this period has been conclusively demonstrated to be a result largely of fossil fuel burning. … That the Earth has warmed and that GHGs are responsible is unequivocal.” Yes.

60: 2011, isolation and application of SOx- and NOx-resistant microalgae in biofixation of CO2 from thermo-electricity plants, Energy Conversion And Management, Radmann EM; Camerini FV; Santos TD; Costa JAV, 3, 1

“Microalgae have been studied for their potential use in foodstuffs, agriculture, in the treatment of wastewater and, in particular, in the reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming.” Yes.

61: 2011,On the time-varying trend in global-mean surface temperature, Clim. Dynam.,Wu ZH; Huang NE; Wallace JM; Smoliak BV; Chen XY, 4, 1

“… we estimate that up to one third of the late twentieth century warming could have been a consequence of natural variability.” Yes.

62: 2011, Performance of amine-multilayered solid sorbents for CO2 removal: effect of fabrication variables, Int. J. GHG Control, Jiang BB; Kish V; Fauth D; Gray ML; Pennline HW; Li BY, 3, 1

“The emission of fossil fuel carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere is implicated as the predominant cause of global climate change.” Yes.

63: 2011, Sensitivity of the attribution of near surface temperature warming to the choice of observational dataset, GRL, Jones GS; Stott PA, 4, 1

“Our results show that the dominant contributor to global warming over the last 50 years of the 20th century is that due to greenhouse gases.” Yes.

64: 2011, The relative contribution of waste heat from power plants to global warming, Energy, Zevenhoven R; Beyene A, 4, 1

“Evidence on global climate change, being caused primarily by rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, is perceived as fairly conclusive.” Yes.

Ø The data entries have been edited for clarity, particularly by including a space after each delimiting comma; decapitalizing abstract titles; abbreviating and italicizing journal names; removing the “|” mark after each author’s name; capitalizing all authors’ initials; and correcting some typographical errors.

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58 thoughts on “‘Quantifying the consensus on global warming in the literature': a comment

  1. Climate science at its best:

    Lift up the stone and you won’t find much of any consequence underneath.

    I really enjoyed this essay by Monckton; now we can confidently anticipate some hate posts from WUWT’s resident trolls.

  2. Almost makes me feel sorry for Cook et el.

    Well, maybe not. I wouldn’t like to cross his Lordhsip!

  3. Thanks, Christopher. Another great post.

    One of the thoughts that always comes to my mind when I hear consensus: The funding agencies (the governments) are paying for studies about the assumed impacts of manmade greenhouse gases on climate. That is not the same as funding studies to determine why climate changes.

  4. The AGW troll thing is funny but its really about time that legal action was taken to prevent these very very few AGW “pseudo-scientists” from inventing surveys, manipulating data etc and destroying economies and killing millions of POOR from starvation (example: putting C02 into ground), bio fuels and birds windmills etc.. The rich will not be affected I assure you. A list of these people needs to be posted on the internet for historical reasons.of the damage done. A bit similar to Communism (ie Stalin) when all the hippies thought it was great until the Russians said its doesnt work , forget it its CXXP Hahahaha LOL

  5. Christopher’s usually-exhaustive analysis…whew! It is truly astounding that Cook et al are still beating that dead horse. “The science, it’s broken….so let’s freak out instead…no…wait….there’s still a CONSENSUS!!!!” It is so agonizing to listen to it. And what’s more, Cook came up with “97-point-ONE as if to wallow in the apparent imprecision of the earlier and much quoted 97%. As if it would make a difference. Feigning scientific rigour [mortis], with a robust finish (to borrow two words rendered meaningless by this troupe of amateurs). Meanwhile, it plays right into the hands of Obama’s agenda, affording the Prez ample opportunity to put on that grim lip-set while looking from wing to wing from high on the podium. Grand theatrics, and not a drib of science to be seen.

  6. Valid point Bob. If the grant that funds your research requires a biased investigation and report, any such reports should be relegated to advocacy group rags, which in climate science circles, is apparently all of the climate science journals. The facts are no where to be found in the 41 articles if funding is provided by or influenced by biased advocacy.

  7. Elizabeth says:
    June 24, 2013 at 9:44 am

    The AGW troll thing is funny but its really about time that legal action was taken to prevent these very very few AGW “pseudo-scientists” from inventing surveys, manipulating data etc and destroying economies and killing millions of POOR from starvation (example: putting C02 into ground), bio fuels and birds windmills etc.. The rich will not be affected I assure you. A list of these people needs to be posted on the internet for historical reasons.of the damage done. A bit similar to Communism (ie Stalin) when all the hippies thought it was great until the Russians said its doesnt work , forget it its CXXP Hahahaha LOL

    As ‘prices necessarily skyrocket’ and the reason is based on the ‘research’ of these climate ‘scientists’ which the Climategate emails show to be deliberately skewed with various ‘tricks’. There are both quantifiable pecuniary losses and also evidence for malfeasance that led to those losses.

    So I agree with Elizabeth a class action lawsuit’ would be a device to force climate ‘scientists’ to dissemble under oath. Penalty for bad science is limited opprobrium from some – but perjury results in really corrective sentences. More effective than peer review.

  8. There was a show on the BBC this weekend called “Secret life of the Sun”. It’s a soft science production for the general public that I plan to watch later today. But the blurb is curious after year of Sun doesn’t affect climate this ends up on mainstream TV

    “90 million miles away from us is the power that shapes our world – the Sun. We see it shine in the sky above us, but beyond our sight something dramatic is happening – the Sun is going into overdrive.

    It’s more active now that it’s been for a decade, sending eruptions of super-heated plasma and vast waves of radiation towards our planet. With the potential to disrupt our lives in dramatic ways.

    Using the latest satellite images, and the expertise of Britain’s leading solar scientists, Kate Humble and Helen Czerski reveal the inner workings of our very own star, and the influence its mysterious cycles of activity have on our planet.

    They discover why the light reaching us from the Sun can be up to a million years old: they meet the teams who protect us by keeping a round-the-clock vigil on the Sun; and investigate why some scientists think longer term changes in the Sun’s behaviour may have powerful effects on our climate.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03694kd/The_Secret_Life_of_the_Sun/

    Ignoring the fact the Sun isn’t going into over drive at all and is actually very quiet for a peak, seems like acceptance the Sun will influence climate is on the up if they found scientists to talk about it on a show like this.

  9. How about this for a challenge to the Consensus?

    Temperature data is a 4 year Scytale rather than 1?
    Scytale c.f. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scytale

    Evidence from the CET daily temperature series
    Ref: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/
    Data : http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/data/download.html

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/cetdl1772on.dat

    shows that if the data is wrapped on a 1461 day Scytale rather than the normal 365 day one then distinct cyclic patterns emerge.
    This is using the whole, true solar year of 1461 days, not the often used and rather human convenient one of “365 and carry the remainder to make an underlying 4 year cycle” of Leap Years.
    365 is all very well but in doing so any 4 year pattern in the data will be destroyed or at the best degraded.
    Then there is the sampling methodology. Again, the human convenient one of Months suffers from the problem of not being a regular sampling period. Sampling at varied 31, 30 and 28/29 day periods will add unnecessary digital sampling ‘noise’ to any underlying signal. Therefore it is useful that computers allow us to continue to use data at daily resolution throughout without down sampling at all when examining the data.
    The temperature data as recorded will comprise inputs from various well understood sources.
    1. Daily Averaged out to produce this data series
    2. Weather CET rarely has individual periods of Weather which are > a few weeks
    3. Yearly The normal seasonal pattern of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter
    4. Climate Related to geographical features and long term cycles

    We can safely filter out the Weather from the underlying Yearly seasonal pattern by using a 28 day filter on the data which is also usefully close to the human Month (though we are not actually ‘locked’ to any real human Calendar) and long enough to cover most likely Weather that has occurred.
    The simplest way to get a low pass filter that has reasonable digital characteristics is to use a cascaded 3 pole central output running average of the data. This can be achieved by using a multiplier of 1.3371 between stages to produce the series 16, 21 and 28 days spans as being the ones required to give minimal ‘square wave’ sampling errors in the final 28 day output.
    Given this requirement the first output data will be for 1st Feb 1772 and the last for 27th April 2013 when using the series from 1st Jan 1772 to 31st May 2013.
    Having filtered out the Weather we now have to wrap it round the Scytale to reveal any underlying patterns. If we use a 1461 day one rather than a 365 day one then we will preserve any 4 year patterns that may be present.
    From 1772 to 2013 there are 61, 4 year long cycles available (in the last one we are only on day 450 at present).
    We can average out all of the days in those 1461 day long sequences (such as the 1st Feb of a Leap Year) down those 61 periods to produce a full daily average for each day in the 4 year cycle with daily precision in the output and using the whole 241 year long data set to produce a ‘Normal’ 4 year pattern (if any).
    The first thing to notice when you do is that not all years are the same. There is, indeed a 4 year pattern to the data. Some Summers and Winters in the 4 years ‘Leap Year Cycle’ are not the same as others.
    The range of offsets to the ‘normal’ annual pattern at a daily resolution has values of +0.4C to -0.3C. The Annual pattern is from +16C to +3C around which this 4 year pattern then distributes and Weather then distributes around that.

    http://s1291.photobucket.com/user/RichardLH/story/73127

    Perhaps all other Global temperature data should also be interpreted by using a 4 year Scytale rather than a 1 year one?

  10. I watched that “secret life of the sun” and it was mostly very good. I was amazed that they even acknowledged such a thing as the “Little Ice Age”.

  11. Liberal Sceptic… I hope you enjoy the “Secret life of the Sun”. It does get round to the decreasing solar output & proposes that we may end up with the Thames frozen again! So long as you can ignore the emotions of Kate & the directors/producers habit of having dear Kate in view rather than what she is looking at, you may have a pleasant 45 mins. I get SO FRUSTRATED with the BBC bias that, were it not for the calming influence of the wife, we would be on our 200th TV!
    Happy viewing.

  12. Ken Hall says:
    June 24, 2013 at 10:41 am

    I watched that “secret life of the sun” and it was mostly very good. I was amazed that they even acknowledged such a thing as the “Little Ice Age”.

    I shall watch it on iPlayer. I’m guessing that Roger Harrabin, BBC warmist-in-chief, is on holiday. I can’t see him allowing anything even vaguely balanced to get through.

  13. @Bob Tisdale – the process of government grants is you have to submit the conclusion and ask for money to prove it. Hence why government and science are incompatible. They would never grant money to someone asking your question (why climate is changing) as that is open ended. They start with the conclusion and then grant you the money on how well you write the application.

  14. One of my biggest complaints about the Cook paper is they try to calculate a percentage of scientists by counting published papers. One scientist publisning 10 papers gets counted 10 times vs. one scientist publishing one paper gets counted once.

  15. The problem is that the media have bought into the 97% lies hook, line and sinker.

    I have registered complaints with the UK Press Complaints Commission against both the Telegraph and Mail.

    Both in almost identical wording, but in two unconnected stories claimed ” 97% of 12000 papers agree that human activities are causing the planet to warm”

    The PCC have confirmed they will investigate, and also say they already have a similar complaint against the Mail. I suggest any other UK readers, seeing similar claims, also make a complaint.

    The details of how to complain, and the factual grounds of the complaint are below.

    http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/the-press-complaints-commission-the-97-lie/

  16. When a paper that expresses a negative opinion about global warming actually makes it through peer review, the usual suspects call for the resignations of everyone involved. They are controlling the process just like they said they would in the climate-gate emails. Is it any wonder then that researchers are reluctant to express an opinion that goes contrary to the “consensus”? The consensus is as much a man-made fiction as catastrophic global warming itself.

  17. Quality again. Marvelous. This reminds me of Whiskas cat food, it used to be advertised with the slogan “8 out of 10 owners said their cats prefer it”, implying that 80% of cats prefer it. This was then changed to more accurately state that “8 out of 10 cat owners who expressed a preference said their cats preferred it”. The modification could mean that only 4 cats out of 5 in total prefer it and the other million or so will eat anything their owners give them. So the stats potentially go from 80% down to vanishingly small.

  18. Though Cook et al. (2013) reviewed abstracts of 11,944 papers on climate change and concluded that 97.1% of those expressing an opinion supported consensus about anthropogenic global warming, the philosophy of science science allows no role for mere head-count.

    But how many proved, with data, their hypothesis?

  19. Well-done Lord Monkton.
    Cook et al. (2010) stated that abstracts of nearly all papers expressing an opinion on climate change endorsed consensus.
    The 97%
    An invitation to participate in the AGW survey was sent to 10,257 Earth scientists. With 3146 individuals completing the survey, only 77 were chosen because they were self-selected climate scientists, 2 climate scientists disagreed. 75 agreed with the theory that Co2 is the main the AGW driver. Thus the 97% Consensus figure (that alarmists keep quoting)

    Don’t ever let a little thing like survey and data manipulation or out right fraud get in the way of a good mantra!
    ____________________________________
    Revisited in 2013.
    Cook et al. (2013) stated that abstracts of nearly all papers expressing an opinion on climate change endorsed consensus.
    Lets say Cook et al, cooks the books once more, flogging a dead horse by manipulated the 2013 survey. Showing us that the facts and AGW BS do not mix. Another scientific con job that fails scrutiny and the good old stink test. Keep it up Mr.Cook you’re your own worst enemy, and a gift that keeps on giving to AGW skeptics!

  20. Indeed. The entire AGW issue is political, as the founding of the IPCC shows.
    Another example of “scientific consensus” is found in the geological sciences. Alfred Wegener published his work in 1915. http://academic.emporia.edu/aberjame/histgeol/wegener/wegener.htm
    The “rejection” of the Wegener theory of continental drift by the “consensus” persisted for decades until observations accumulated that Wegener was correct. Today, I’d say that at least 97 percent of geologists now agree with Wegener.
    Time supports science.
    CO2 does not “accumulate” in the atmosphere as the IPCC claims. Todays skeptics will prevail.

  21. Cookoo Cookoo.

    Chris Monckton was being polite when he wrote:

    Note this wasn’t the president making the Tweet, but the operative that runs his website

    I would have been tempted to replace “operative” with “functionary.”

  22. Michael Penny says:

    “One of my biggest complaints about the Cook paper is they try to calculate a percentage of scientists by counting published papers. One scientist publisning 10 papers gets counted 10 times vs. one scientist publishing one paper gets counted once.”

    Is this really true?

  23. DaveG, I once left the C out of Monckton on a twitter post. Somehow, between writing lengthy climate stories and traveling the world to dispute dignitaries, he found the time to tweet me the correction. A brush with greatness indeed.

  24. Ken Hall says (June 24, 2013 at 10:41 am): ‘I watched that “secret life of the sun” and it was mostly very good. I was amazed that they even acknowledged such a thing as the “Little Ice Age”.’

    Note that they only mentioned Europe and North America, although a climate shift possibly caused by the sun should be worldwide. Is it just because their viewers are mostly European, or are they hinting it wasn’t on a planetary scale?

    Greytide. Middle England says (June 24, 2013 at 10:45 am): “It does get round to the decreasing solar output & proposes that we may end up with the Thames frozen again! So long as you can ignore the emotions of Kate & the directors/producers habit of having dear Kate in view rather than what she is looking at, you may have a pleasant 45 mins.”

    We don’t actually have to see the narrator to get her drift. How about more animation to illustrate such points as, say, nuclear fusion, what a plasma really is, and how plasma follows magnetic lines? Their animation of the Earth’s magnetosphere, for example, was a lot more useful than that crude snow drawing. You’d think for the money they’re spending on the show that they could do better than I can do in my back yard. What’s the point of sending a narrator and her camera crew north, when they’re going to show (stock?) time-lapse video of the aurora anyway?

  25. “Inspection shows only 41 of the 64 papers, or 0.3% of the sample, actually endorsed their hypothesis. Criteria for peer review of papers quantifying scientific consensus are discussed.”

    That’s fine and dandy, but “papers quantifying scientific consensus” are basically propaganda exercises and not science. This one will be part of CAGW myth long after Lord Monckton’s effectively debunking, or even after its (deserved but not inevitable) retraction.

  26. Cook and Nuccitelli must really hate this site.

    Dana seems to have created himself a nice little safe haven echo chamber, and incorporated the style of moderating he advocates on SS in to CiF at the Guardian. He must despise the lack of control he has over this site, and the open debate it allows…..and the number of hits it gets.

  27. Cook is trying to prop up support for the 97% consensus, as though “proving” it exists will give it more merit. He got his headlines out of it, and now all the other alarmists are running around waving it like a banner as fresh “proof”.

    Nevertheless, people ARE looking behind the scenes, and work such as this presents clear and scientific evaluation (unlike Cook’s hype).

    Thank you, Lord Monckton, for your unceasing diligence and for all your hard work. Cheers to you. :)

  28. Whenever I hear “the consensus” touted I think of “the consensus” that stood against Louis Pasteur.

  29. Thanks, Christopher. A very good post.
    It was surprising to see how Cook got it almost exactly backwards!
    I’m very glad to see that the scientific method, though badly beaten and mostly forgotten, is still alive.

  30. Not only did the bbc air a programme that mentioned the potential cooling of the sun, they also aired what looks to be a balanced episode of horizon about frakking.

    Did I miss the advertising, Was this apostasy week on the bbc?

  31. @Michael Penny
    >One of my biggest complaints about the Cook paper is they try to calculate a percentage of scientists by counting published papers. One scientist publisning 10 papers gets counted 10 times vs. one scientist publishing one paper gets counted once.

    That was my main point too. If someone publishes 10 papers with three buddies, that is only 4 scientists agreeing with each other, not 10. As a measuring stick, the concept is seriously defective.

  32. arthur4563 said @ June 24, 2013 at 10:28 am

    When, if ever, will someone point out the absurdity of examining papers decades old in order to determine current scientific beliefs?

    Some 80% of current scientific papers are in error. The information in the 20% that are not in error takes on average 20 years to be confirmed and that information then enters university level texts. Thus examining papers decades old to determine current scientific belief is not “absurd”.

  33. Bob Tisdale says:
    June 24, 2013 at 9:43 am
    ….. The funding agencies (the governments) are paying for studies about the assumed impacts of manmade greenhouse gases on climate. That is not the same as funding studies to determine why climate changes.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    You nailed it Bob and Lord Monckton skewered Cook’s bit of propaganda.

    Is this going in as a ‘letter’ or formal rebuttal to the journal?

  34. They failed to take in to consideration the weight and the extent of the arguments in each paper. They should have printed the papers out and actually weighed them so as to factor in the weight of the arguments. All paper not abiding by the scientific consensus should have been labeled as unscientific blasphemy and deleted from the survey.

    If a particular theory is deemed the scientific consensus then it is fact and can never be disputed. That is the consensus law of science. At one time the idea that the universe revolved around earth was the scientific consensus so it must now be regarded as fact and anyone who disagrees is a scientifihereticic and anything they say iblasphemymy so they should be banned from all scientific discussions, forever. That includes people who believe igravityty and or that the earth rotates. Since the original greenhouse gas theories violated the laws of thermodynamics, because greenhouse gas theory is the consensus, the laws of thermodynamics have been found to be invalid and anyone whbeeveses in them should be banned from all scientific discussions or endeavors.

  35. My own personal exemplar of a scientist has always been Richard Feynman. Whenever this folderol about scientific consensus is being bandied about, i am always reminded of this book, which I believe was the last he published before his death.

    http://tinyurl.com/nze9ocs

    “What Do You Care What Other People Think?”: Further Adventures of a Curious Character

  36. Dear Christopher, if you want to make from this article a note to the editor, which I would recommend, please realize that you try to hit a mosquito with a cannon ball. The essence of your contribution is that Cook deleted almost all neutral articles. Compare it with a political study in which you delete all voters with a neutral opinion and show next that from the extremists, a percentage x shows extremism of a certain kind. This is a conditional probability, whereas Cook presented it as unconditional, a very common amateur error. Just publish your seven categories, a histogram of the related frequencies, and how Cook got his desired result, no more. By the way, the subjects are articles and not authors. Thanks for your work anyhow.

  37. Perhaps we could have a list of the 9 papers (0.1%) which explicitly reject AGW, and the reasons why they were included in that category?

  38. “19: …
    “The global warming during the 20th century is caused mainly by increasing greenhouse gas concentration especially since the late 1980s.” Yes. ”

    This does not suggest that man has caused warming. There may be others.

  39. While appreciating the intellectual effort Mockton has expended, he’s simply demonstrated a firm grasp of the fairly obvious. I fully believe “educated” skeptics and alarmists (as opposed to simple camp followers) understand these points.

    This is not a debate over scientific facts, it is a propaganda war in which ethically corrupt scientists accept funding and provide cover for absolutely unscrupulous power hungry politicians.

    Without substantive academic or public consequences for fraudulent scientific & political behavior, elegant articulation of scientific facts will simply not matter (example: no warming in 17+ years). As disgusting (and dangerous) as this situation is, I suspect it will drag on until even the “camp followers” simply tire of the issue, and are replaced by younger people who lose faith with the kool-aid drinking.

  40. It simple, let us see the pro AGW group debate what Lord Monckton has stated. In the open, transparently. Yeah, and I just saw the Lone Ranger ride past on that great white horse.

  41. It would be interesting to see a list of the 9 papers (0.1%) which explicitly rejected AGW, with reasons for their inclusion in that category.

  42. Global warming reminds me of the Miss American pageant. No matter what the contestants are asked, 97% finish with “and world peace”.

  43. I like the episode in Yes Minister where Humphrey Appleby is told that a recent survey showed most people support military conscription. To which Humphrey replied, ‘well you just commission another survey which shows they don’t support it.’ In other words, you just frame the questions and methodologies to get the desired result.

    I agree with all of the above; that is, subjecting these sort of Cook et al surveys to much greater rigour than has been done in the past.

    The process from ‘survey questions to conclusion’ is extremely sensitive to things like the way questions are framed, the way language and semantics influences results, and the way non- quantifiable methods are distorted to support a conclusion. To weak thinkers, all this is just nit-picking, but I disagree, nit-picking is essential to the outcome. It’s like a chemistry experiment, where you only have to change the concentration of one of the chemicals ever so slightly to get a vastly different result. Cook has never understood this. He is one of those who prefer broad averages, where small changes produce only small modifications; and where ‘wrinkles’ in the system need flattening out, where in fact those wrinkles are actually part of the way the fabric actually operates.

    I think that historically, it has pretty much always been the case that the only science which is acceptable, must be acceptable to the elite. For this they use ‘consensus’ surveyed amongst the elite, to determine what is true. When Cook talk of ‘consensus’, he really means what the elite desire to be true, not what the general public think is true, although they can sometimes be persuaded to accept what the elite say and want. This is also why the general public are somewhat more sceptical of dangerous AGW than many climate scientists.

    A cynic might say, for example, that evolution by natural selection only became acceptable generally, once the forces of industrialisation and market capitalism took hold, before this there wasn’t anything for the elite to benefit from such an idea as ‘natural selection’, which has many obvious parallels with capitalism. So once the elite benefited from capitalism, they could then accept the idea of evolution by natural selection. Cynical, but historically this is the sequence which occurred.

    I think the only way that elitism in science, which only accepts a science which supports itself, will only really become properly sceptical of dangerous AGW is when something about being sceptical of dangerous AGW once again supports the elite.

    This has occurred before, e.g. during the development of fossil fuels themselves, many of the elite in science benefited from such development, in terms of research, wealth, careers, discoveries etc. Now that such elite have decided not to get their hands dirty anymore by working in industry, and where the discoveries are now harder and fewer, they have decided it is simply easier for themselves to now oppose fossil fuels altogether, and benefit from research into renewable energies, and environmentalism in general.

    So how can the elite once again benefit from fossil fuels and industrial development, so that their science matches reality a bit better? I’m not really sure yet, but here are some ideas:

    -Researchers in developing nations still greatly benefit from industrial development, so there is hope they turn against the idea of dangerous AGW.
    -The general public still benefit greatly from industrialisation, so there is hope the general public will keep the elite accountable.
    -The benefits to the elite from shale gas and CBM might also see them modify the science of AGW.
    -If the temperatures fail to warm, many might jump ship away from dangerous AGW, not because the science indicates it, but because the general public will begin to wake up and threaten their existence, once the general public begins to realise they are being conned. The elite will sometimes change in order to preserve themselves.

  44. We are confusing climate science with normal science. Climate science did not follow the rules of normal science. Climate science it appears is ‘natural science’ which it appears is a social process, one far more influenced by the ‘spirit of the times’ than non-scientists or old school normal scientists can imagine.

    As climate science is a social process (one needs to support the groups chosen message), to get research money, to get academic positions, to keep ones job, and to get ones paper published it is necessary manipulate data to promote the chosen hypothesis, to ignore data that does not support the chosen hypothesis, and it is necessary to block papers that do not support the chosen hypothesis. … ….Warmists propaganda of course cannot and did not change the physical world. The so called ‘skeptics’ hypothesis is correct. We are in late rounds of this absurd game. Unfortunately it appears we are going to experience significant cooling, until we do the following is the start of a paradigm shift which occurs when a field is in crisis.
    Climate science will most definitely be in crisis if there is unequivocal global cooling.
    IPCC lead author Hans Van Storch: “That’s what my instinct tells me, since I don’t know exactly how emission levels will develop. Other climate researchers might have a different instinct. Our models certainly include a great number of highly subjective assumptions. Natural science is also a social process, and one far more influenced by the spirit of the times than non-scientists can imagine. You can expect many more surprises.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/06/20/if-things-continue-as-they-have-been-in-five-years-at-the-latest-we-will-need-to-acknowledge-that-something-is-fundamentally-wrong-with-our-climate-models/

    In reply to comments by IPCC lead author Hans Van Storch
    Comment 1: “At my institute, we analyzed how often such a 15-year stagnation in global warming occurred in the simulations. The answer was: … in under 2 percent of all the times we ran the simulation. In other words, over 98 percent of forecasts show CO2 emissions as high as we have had in recent years leading to more of a temperature increase.”
    William: There is a 98% chance that general circulation models are incorrect based on average global temperature Vs GCM model prediction and there is a 100% chance that that the GCM are incorrect based on the fact that there is no observed tropical tropospheric warming. The gig is up.

    Comment 2: There are two conceivable explanations — and neither is very pleasant for us. The first possibility is that less global warming is occurring than expected because greenhouse gases, especially CO2, have less of an effect than we have assumed. This wouldn’t mean that there is no man-made greenhouse effect, but simply that our effect on climate events is not as great as we have believed. The other possibility is that, in our simulations, we have underestimated how much the climate fluctuates owing to natural causes.

    William:
    Less warming CO2 warming does not explain no warming for 15 years. As atmospheric CO2 continues to rise planetary temperature must increase in a wiggly manner as the CO2 forcing does not go away. It appears at least 0.45C of the 0.7C warming in the last 70 years was caused by solar modulation of planetary clouds. The latitudes where the warming has occurred are the latitudes that are most strongly affected by solar modulation of planetary cloud cover. There is a lack of warming to explain and the fact that the latitudinal pattern of observed warming does not match the AGW forcing pattern.

    There is now observed cooling in both the Arctic and the Antarctic. The observed increase in rainfall and flooding matches what happened in the Little Ice Age. Something is causing the sudden and abrupt change in climate. The other hat is about to fall. Hans Van Storch and the IPCC will need to explain significant global cooling 0.45C over 3 to 5 years, due to the abrupt slowdown in the solar magnetic cycle.

    Comment 3: Yes, we are certainly going to see an increase of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) or more — and by the end of this century, mind you. That’s what my instinct tells me, since I don’t know exactly how emission levels will develop. Other climate researchers might have a different instinct. Our models certainly include a great number of highly subjective assumptions. Natural science is also a social process, and one far more influenced by the spirit of the times than non-scientists can imagine. You can expect many more surprises.
    William: Give us a break. We will see less than 1C warming due to doubling of atmospheric CO2. ‘Skeptic’ scientific analysis puts the estimated warming at 0.3C. There is no need to ask people what their ‘instinct’ tells them. It appears warmist scientific ‘instinct’ is bunk.
    The so called ‘skeptics’ have been unequivocally stating for at least 15 years that there has been massive fudging, manipulation of data and propaganda related to climate ‘science’.
    The surprise is the planet is about to abruptly cool. If there is cooling, there will be political action to house clean climate ‘science’ and action required to avoid food wars.

    Comment 4: “What state of the Earth’s atmosphere do we want to protect, and in what way? And what might happen as a result? “Are we going to declare war on China” (William: And Russia, India & the developing world) if the (William: Any) country emits too much CO2 into the air (or cuts down trees such as is currently occurring in the Brazilian rainforest) and thereby violates our constitution?”

    William: Any real reduction of world CO2 emission will require the real threat of military action, war time like rationing of energy, and a massive reduction in the standard of life for all countries of the world. The only viable technical solution is a massive construction nuclear power plants if a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions is required. ‘Green’ energy is a scam, a lie, a colossal waste of money, and in the case of the conversion of food to biofuel a policy that will lead to food wars and a massive loss of virgin forest.

  45. How does science progress, by consensus or by the maverick who thinks otherwise?
    When I hear the word “consensus” I say to my students, Head for the hills.

  46. @Hal Javert says:
    June 24, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    “While appreciating the intellectual effort Mockton has expended, he’s simply demonstrated a firm grasp of the fairly obvious…. …This is not a debate over scientific facts, it is a propaganda war in which ethically corrupt scientists accept funding and provide cover for absolutely unscrupulous power hungry politicians.”

    @ Mindert Eiting says:
    June 24, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    “Dear Christopher, if you want to make from this article a note to the editor, which I would recommend, please realize that you try to hit a mosquito with a cannon ball. The essence of your contribution is that Cook deleted almost all neutral articles. Compare it with a political study in which you delete all voters with a neutral opinion and show next that from the extremists, a percentage x shows extremism of a certain kind. This is a conditional probability, whereas Cook presented it as unconditional, a very common amateur error. Just publish your seven categories, a histogram of the related frequencies, and how Cook got his desired result, no more. By the way, the subjects are articles and not authors. Thanks for your work anyhow.”

    While I agree with you both, especially that the tour-de-force in scientific rigour which Christopher Monckton brings to bear against ‘Cook-the-Books’ et al is overkill by orders of magnitude, methinks you miss part of the tongue-in-cheek spanking our Viscount Monckton of Brenchley has dealt Cook et al. Christopher Monckton has demonstrated that he is a scientist, and that Cook et al are apologists. He deals in science, they deal in rationalizations. Or to put it another way, he mold his theories to fit the facts. They mold their facts to fit the theory.

    Although the Journals may refuse to publish the incredible destruction of Cook’s propaganda stunt above, the point is made, for posterity, that there was, among the fools of this day and age, at least one actual scholar who valued the results of applying the scientific method over the sound of his own voice singing his own praises (in a Mannly voice, of course). This is more important than I think many realize. Thucydides was exiled for his perceived failure to protect Amphipolis, proclaimed a failure and a disgrace by the democracy in Athens. Yet 2500 years later it is his words, his opinions, his observations, which influence us, not those of the consensus that threw him out. His works are still studied in advanced military academy courses to this day—though I’m sure there were plenty who thought he was over-the-top with his stated aim of writing a record of the events of the Peloponnesian war to preserve it for all time. And look how successful he’s been!

    So which was more influential: the mob and their consensus, or the lone scholar?

  47. To the Good Lord I say, good lord sir, you’re a giant! To the Crafty Cook I say, stop cooking the books and get an honest job – I hear the Golden Arches eatery is hiring…

    For the record, dear lord of Loch Rannoch, I’d just like to restate a pithy mnemonic I thought up one quiet day in the office to sum up the Popperian/Haythamian scientific method.
    I call it the four IFs and WHYs:

    Quantify, Qualify, Clarify, Falsify.

    I think that covers it, don’t you?

  48. Ant says:
    June 24, 2013 at 11:20 am
    Quality again. Marvelous. This reminds me of Whiskas cat food, it used to be advertised with the slogan “8 out of 10 owners said their cats prefer it”, implying that 80% of cats prefer it. This was then changed to more accurately state that “8 out of 10 cat owners who expressed a preference said their cats preferred it”. The modification could mean that only 4 cats out of 5 in total prefer it and the other million or so will eat anything their owners give them. So the stats potentially go from 80% down to vanishingly small.
    ——————
    DD More says:
    June 24, 2013 at 11:20 am
    Though Cook et al. (2013) reviewed abstracts of 11,944 papers on climate change and concluded that 97.1% of those expressing an opinion supported consensus about anthropogenic global warming, the philosophy of science science allows no role for mere head-count.

    But how many proved, with data, their hypothesis?
    —————————————————————————-
    When the politicians brought in the Ad Men the science went out to lunch.
    This is the problem of letting Madison Avenue direct the debate.
    PR people LIE. They lie by omission and they stretch the facts….it’s their job and most every reasonably intelligent American knows they lie.
    If the only thing one knew about global warming was someone hired advertising people to sway opinion, one would most likely believe it was a PR snow job.
    cn

  49. “Liberal Sceptic says:
    June 24, 2013 at 3:13 pm
    Not only did the bbc air a programme that mentioned the potential cooling of the sun, they also aired what looks to be a balanced episode of horizon about frakking.
    Did I miss the advertising, Was this apostasy week on the bbc?”

    I too saw this programme. The geologist Iain Stewart presented it. Back in around 2008, in response to Channel 4’s ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’ he ‘took the BBC’s shilling’ and presented a 3-parter called ‘Earth: the Climate Wars.’ It was 3 hours of AGW propaganda incl the Hockey Stick Graph. For this he was well rewarded with series after series from the BBC, and a professorship, no less.
    So I expected an anti-fracking show. I was surprised it was so fair. Stewart was like a schoolboy in his excitement at finding out about a new concept. When he mentioned the possibility of earth tremors he said there was a minor tremor but that it was no different from about 200 others ‘felt’ in the UK each year (most felt by seismographs only I should think). No other down-sides it seems.

  50. Reminiscent of the communique issued by the Soviets after the Brezhniev-Carter jog- “Brezhniev came in second, and Carter one before last”.

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