What Is Cook’s Consensus?

By Paul Homewood

John Cook’s little paper, “Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature” has attracted much attention in recent weeks.

Yesterday an essay by Brandon Shollenberger , which accused the authors of “laundering lies”, made me realise that an important issue seems to have escaped our attention.

[As I say, much has been written on the subject, so bear with me if this particular issue has already been flagged up]

Brandon writes:-

It’s nothing but laundering lies. The authors don’t come out and directly say anything untrue, but they intentionally create and promote misunderstandings to inflate the importance of their work.

It’s rampant dishonesty hiding behind a fig leaf of deniability. This is how I recently described Cook et al’s PR campaign for their recent paper.

I didn’t intend to follow up on this comment, but this morning I saw a quote from Dana Nuccitelli that was impossible to resist:

We were always careful to say that while the survey involved 12,000 abstracts, the 97 percent consensus was among the ~4,000 abstracts that took a position on the cause of global warming (plus the roughly 1,400 of 2,100 self-rated papers taking a position). And we were careful to point out that the consensus was that ‘humans are causing global warming.

Nuccitelli says he and his co-authors always used a particular phrasing when describing their results.  I must admit, that is true.  They’ve always managed to say “humans cause global warming” with the implicit qualifier of “some” (that they knew nobody would pay attention to).  It’s obvious they knew the limitations of their results and didn’t want to be accused of lying.

  

Brandon is making the point that the 97% figure is calculated from the papers which acknowledge that “humans are causing global warming”, which could mean anything from a little to a lot. Indeed, this is exactly what Cook’s abstract says:-

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

This is a very wide definition that even most sceptical scientists would have little difficulty agreeing with. It is also an pretty meaningless statement.

But does Cook really have this in mind when he talks of “endorsing the consensus”? The answer lies in the paper’s introduction, which states.

We examined a large sample of the scientific literature on global Climate Change, published over a 21 year period, in order to determine the level of scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW).

   

So it now becomes totally clear what “consensus” Cook has in mind. It is essentially the IPCC one. Cook’s co-author, Mark Richardson, makes it even clearer, in this quote from the Institute of Physics:-

We want our scientists to answer questions for us, and there are lots of exciting questions in climate science. One of them is: are we causing global warming? We found over 4000 studies written by 10 000 scientists that stated a position on this, and 97 per cent said that recent warming is mostly man made.”

The problem, of course, is that many of the papers analysed do not support this interpretation. Indeed, arguably the vast majority do not do so, as Cook’s own definitions of endorsement levels make clear.

image

All three of these categories are included in Cook’s claimed “endorsing of the consensus”. Of the 3896 papers that fall into these categories, 2934 are in the third one, and 934 in the second. I have gone into more detail on this issue here. But take a look at these three papers, which are included in category 3, because they give a good idea of how Cook’s claims are not backed up by the evidence.

[Cook provides a useful tool, which lists all the papers graded here. Have a play with it and you will see that there are very many other examples of such misrepresentation]

1) Buying Greenhouse Insurance

There have been numerous proposals for immediate cutbacks in CO2 emissions. Proponents argue that sizable reductions are necessary as a hedge against unacceptably rapid changes in climate. This paper provides a decision tree analysis of the problem. We examine how the optimal hedging strategy might vary with: a) the damage potential associated with the continued buildup of greenhouse gases; b) the accuracy and timing of climate research; and, c) the prospects for new supply and conservation technologies.

    

2) CO2 emissions reduction by price deregulation and fossil fuel taxation: A case study of Indonesia

As environmental issues, and the issue of global warming in particular, rise to the top of the international agenda, developing nations are faced with a major question: how to confront these environmental problems and simultaneously address a number of more pressing developmental imperatives? This paper tries to answer that question on a limited scale using Indonesia as a case study. The study indicates that by deregulating energy prices and imposing different levels of taxation on fossil fuels, Indonesia could reduce its CO2 emissions without considerably suppressing the growth of its economy. In the long run, however, these policies cannot cope with the inevitable rise in coal-use in Indonesia, due to constraints on domestic natural gas and oil resources. Limiting the growth of coal consumption in the future will require direct technological intervention in the supply and demand of energy and a shift in current energy export and import policies.

3) Effect of encapsulated calcium carbide on dinitrogen, nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide emissions from flooded rice

The efficiency of N use in flooded rice is usually low, chiefly due to gaseous losses. Emission of CH4, a gas implicated in global warming, can also be substantial in flooded rice. In a greenhouse study, the nitrification inhibitor encapsulated calcium carbide (a slow-release source of acetylene) was added with 75, 150, and 225 mg of 75 atom % 15N urea-N to flooded pots containing 18-day-old rice (Oryza sativa L.) plants. Urea treatments without calcium carbide were included as controls. After the application of encapsulated calcium carbide, 3.6 μg N2, 12.4 μg N2O-N, and 3.6 mg CH4 were emitted per pot in 30 days. Without calcium carbide, 3.0 mg N2, 22.8 μg N2O-N, and 39.0 mg CH4 per pot were emitted during the same period. The rate of N added had a positive effect on N2 and N2O emissions, but the effect on CH4 emissions varied with time. Carbon dioxide emissions were lower with encapsulated calcium carbide than without. The use of encapsulated calcium carbide appears effective in eliminating N2 losses, and in minimizing emissions of the “greenhouse gases” N2O and CH4 in flooded rice.

None of these papers remotely suggest that “human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW).” (Nor for that matter are the authors qualified to give an opinion, and neither is any evidence provided).

Misrepresentation

So what are we left with? Cook makes assumptions about thousands of papers, that cannot be remotely justified on what their abstracts say. Worse still, his co-author goes on to make public statements that simply are not true.

This appears to be wilful misrepresentation on a large scale.

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57 thoughts on “What Is Cook’s Consensus?

  1. As many people has pointed out before me :) This global warming ( by any other name ) has become a religion , you cannot fight the believe systems of humans.

    The church of the warming earth will only diminish when a new ice age is knocking on the church door and spits -20 in their face.

  2. If we can agree that for the last 15 years or so there has been no measurable global warming, I can agree that humans are causing “most” of the recent global warming, ie “most” of zero is…. zero.

  3. And other than going on about it here & on other skeptic blogs, what is there to do about it?

    Does anyone have ANY ideas of any ACTION that can be taken to shut down such blatant deception? Anything with even half a chance of happening?

  4. Cook got the headlines he wanted, and that’s all it was for. He, along with so many others, are doing anything to keep it in the public eye that “oh no, it’s true and worse than we thought.”

    I could tell you what I think about all this, but my keyboard might melt.

  5. There is only one place where the rules of evidence prevail. Until we band together and choose some carefully vetted cases and sue for fraud; we are pissing into the wind.

  6. I made this comment at sceptical Science:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/making-science-work-ben-pile-rebuttal.html#96775

    I would like to thank Nottingham University’s Making science Public project for running some very interesting articles, the comments there are I think worth a read. But perhaps this is the best place to raise this question?

    Lets look at the media coverage that Skeptical Science is so proud of: http://www.skepticalscience.com/republishers.php?a=tcpmedia

    especially this one:

    Barack Obama

    @BarackObama Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous. Read more: http://OFA.BO/gJsdFp

    Now whatever the paper did, it made zero reference to impact, or any consensus on impacts and there is no justification at all – based on this paper – for a 97% consensus of ‘dangerous’ to be declared a finding of it, did the authors seek to correct this in anyway, no they celebrated it by listing it on their blog, with a link to President Barack Obama.

    Professor Richard Betts (Head of Climate Impacts, Met Office and IPCC lead author AR4 & AR5) sought to correct it, by tweeting back:

    Richardabetts

    @BarackObama Actually that paper didn’t say ‘dangerous’. NB I *do* think #climate change poses risks – I just care about accurate reporting!

    Maybe John Cook was not aware of President Barack Obama misrepresenting and overstating this paper, when he said (or his official account did) 97% of scientists agree climate change is real man made and dangerous?

    Sadly no. It appear that John Cook was surprised at all the attention and made no effort (nor the other authors) to correct this Barack Obama tweet (to 30 million people, or how it was widely reported else where in the media

    Sydney Morning Herald: Obama gives Aussie researcher 31,541,507 reasons to celebrate

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/obama-gives-aussie-researcher-31541507-reasons-to-celebrate-20130517-2jqrh.html#ixzz2aRpr8JPX

    “Australian researcher John Cook, an expert in climate change communication, was inundated with requests for interviews by US media outlets after Obama took to Twitter to endorse his project’s final report.

    “It was pretty cool news,” said Mr Cook, a fellow at the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute and founder of the website skepticalscience.com. “It was out of our expectations.”

    A survey of scientific papers by a team led by Mr Cook and published by Fairfax Media this week found more than 97 per cent of researchers endorsed the view that humans are to blame for global warming. The peer-reviewed outcome flies in the face of public perception in countries such as the US or Australia that scientists are divided on the issue.

    “One of the highest predictors of how important people think climate change is, is cues from political leaders,” Mr Cook said. “So if the leaders don’t seem to care, people don’t care either.

    “A cue from Obama is a big step,” he said. “The fact it goes to more than 31 million followers, it just raises the awareness of consensus.”

    ———————-

    Awareness, a false awareness (courtsey of Obama) of a 97% consensus on ‘dangerous’, misinformation that is now in the public domain about this paper by the President of the United States of America , not corrected by the authors of the paper. An irony is that Prof Lewandowsky and John Cook have a paper published on how hard it is to correct misinformation.. !!! http://psi.sagepub.com/content/13/3/106.full?ijkey=FNCpLYuivUOHE&keytype=ref&siteid=sppsi

    President Obama is now going after Deniers in Congress…. (thus this ishighly political, v dangerous for the public perception of scientists if ‘misinformation’ is uncorrected by scientists)

    www. BarackObama.com

    “Call out a climate denier

    Check out our list of known climate deniers in Congress-elected officials who refuse to even acknowledge the science behind climate change—and call them out on Twitter.” http://www.barackobama.com/climate-deniers

    So Dana, will you or any of your co-authors, tell the President, that your paper says nothing about a consensus on ‘dangerous’?

    ——————- ————————————

    2 must read articles at Making science Public – Nottingham University
    The post by Ben Pile (climate Resistance -look out for Mike Hulme comment (spot on Ben) here:

    http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/makingsciencepublic/2013/07/23/whats-behind-the-battle-of-received-wisdoms/

    and Dana Nuccitelli’s (skeptical science) response to Prof Mike Hulme (and Ben Pile) are well worth a read (especially the comments, comments are moderated for politeness, so be nice – Brigitte and Warren are good people, at Making science Public )

    http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/makingsciencepublic/2013/07/29/an-accurately-informed-public-is-necessary-for-climate-policy/

  7. Cook’s whole deal was one fallacy of equivocation after another.

    For that matter, so is the bulk of the ‘global warming’ propaganda effort. Typical politics. Has absolutely nothing to do with science.

  8. You mean Dana and Cook are deliberately deceiving us?
    *goes for a lie down*

    Interesting post.

  9. I suppose the only thing to do is to keep posting links to this kind of debunking as comments on MSM climate pieces, to keep sending links to environmental correspondents, to precis the facts and put them in letters to our various national presses and so forth. Most importantly, ensure those in charge at your children’s schools are made aware, and inform your Representative or MP.

    Sadly most people get their ideas on this topic from the tv news or from eg National Geographic, which push this mindless propaganda non-stop

  10. wilful misrepresentation on a large scale
    Isn’t that the climate scientist’s job description?
    (snark)

  11. The 97% number is itself a reliable refutation of the hypothesis. In the present moment you could not survey a random cross section of humanity and garner a 97% “consensus” that the Sun will rise in the East tomorrow. Personally I think that previous survey which started with thousands of surveys sent out and ended with a 97% “consensus” of 75 out of 77 got it about right. I suspect that about half a gross of rent seeking grant applicants probably comes fairly close to the extent of the actual “consensus” for CAGW as posited by the alarmist community.

    For each of its annual soirees about CAGW, the IPCC issues a summary document, sort of a mini AR. If you go back and review the author lists for those documents, you will find the total number of names that appear is fairly small and the percent of names which also appear on the roster of Climategate email recipients is somewhere between 40% – 50%

  12. Tony G writes: “And other than going on about it here & on other skeptic blogs, what is there to do about it?

    Does anyone have ANY ideas of any ACTION that can be taken to shut down such blatant deception? Anything with even half a chance of happening?”

    I’ve been beating the drum for a long time to conduct a survey of our own, perhaps commission a reputable polling company to design something statistically valid. All I get is defeatist excuses and ridicule. Easier to cry victim than actually go out and do something constructive.

    Would it be expensive? Sure, but I personally would reach deep. If such an thing were to be undertaken, I’m all but certain the funds could be raised…But again, mostly ridicule and excuses…

  13. I know this is a dispute over the methodology, but if there weren’t a scientific consensus on humans as the primary driver of climate change, then why would almost every major scientific organization in the world explicitly endorse that position?i

  14. This global warming thought complex does not represent all religious type thinking or faith; it represents bad religion: it is not based on reasoning but on believism: believing something based primarily on a desire it be true.

  15. Joseph says:
    July 29, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    I know this is a dispute over the methodology, but if there weren’t a scientific consensus on humans as the primary driver of climate change, then why would almost every major scientific organization in the world explicitly endorse that position?i

    That’s the irony. They could have done this properly and would probably have obtained more or less the result they were shooting for. That’s my opinion anyway. But it’s as if they can’t overcome their native fascination with scatology even when it’s counter-productive for them not to.

  16. Well. One could ask the known IPCC consensus climate scientists about whether they endorse Cook & Nuccitelly’s paper or not.

    That gives them the choice of
    a) endorsing a fraudulent piece of dreck
    b) contradicting their beloved socialist progressive president.
    c) crickets.

    Collect the reactions; write a paper giving the percentages.
    Ask all the lead authors of the IPCC AR5.

  17. From Barry Woods, Nottingham link.

    Dana says; ““Skeptics” are Not Included in the 97% Consensus”

    He admitted to omitting “Skeptic” participants in his paper (sic). They did so poorly that even with a stacked deck of all believers they still couldn’t get 100%. It’s the cherry of all picks.

    They cherry picked 228 from 2000 which they cherry picked from 4000 which were cherry picked from 12000. To top it off Dana says it’s only about opinions. I see why he quit responding to he comments on that blog. I can’t stop laughing. He just keeps digging deed into the abyss.

  18. Yep. It’s a bad paper based on a study with a methodology so awful it cannot be decently called a methodology. And all of it has no other objective than to support the authors’ bias. They want something to be so desperately true that they see what’s not there. The literature of every field I’ve read is packed with this kind of manuscripts.

    Even wikipedia authors (guilty as sin of this due to pervasive misunderstand of their task) understand it:
    ——-
    There seems to be no study too fragmented, no hypothesis too trivial, no literature too biased or too egotistical, no design too warped, no methodology too bungled, no presentation of results too inaccurate, too obscure, and too contradictory, no analysis too self-serving, no argument too circular, no conclusions too trifling or too unjustified, and no grammar and syntax too offensive for a paper to end up in print.(Drummond Rennie, deputy editor of Journal of the American Medical Association)
    ——-
    The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability—not the validity—of a new finding. Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong.(Richard Horton, editor of the British medical journal The Lancet)
    ——-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_review

  19. I am amazed that intelligent, mature adults (Cook and co.) would waste so much time to conjure up a “study” in order to justify their own biased views. This is truly an example of religious fervor, not of scientific inquiry. If the three excerpts are indicative of the foundations of their findings, then their study is total garbage. There is nothing in those excerpts that is a definite indicator of a “belief” in AGW by the various authors, but it does indicate such a belief on the part of Cook.

    Please let us know who paid them to produce such tripe.

  20. Joseph says:
    July 29, 2013 at 2:37 pm
    I know this is a dispute over the methodology, but if there weren’t a scientific consensus on humans as the primary driver of climate change, then why would almost every major scientific organization in the world explicitly endorse that position?
    ———-
    Answer: $$$$ and politics.

  21. You could sort of say those papers are category 3- Category 3 is totally meaningless- why not include the entire publications of Green Peace. Assume it- therefore it is true.

  22. Joseph says:
    July 29, 2013 at 2:37 pm
    I know this is a dispute over the methodology, but if there weren’t a scientific consensus on humans as the primary driver of climate change, then why would almost every major scientific organization in the world explicitly endorse that position?
    ———-
    Answer: $$$$ and politics.

    The correct answer is a great deal of them didn’t endorse it correctly- the President or someone in PR did it. Its like saying that saying because the intern in NTSB confirmed those joke names to that news program that the NTSB confirmed that those ridiculous names including Fuk. They are supposed to have the membership vote on anything significant- that often never happened.

  23. Dana
    ‘humans are causing global warming’.

    Jimbo
    trees are cause air pollution‘.

    Both statements are true but give an incomplete picture. As I have pointed out already Dana is a fossil fuel paid ‘shale‘. This gives a more complete picture of Dana. The debate should not be couched in black and white terms but should include shades of grey.

    “Diversification of Volatile Isoprenoid Emissions from Trees: Evolutionary and Ecological Perspectives”

    http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-007-6606-8_1

  24. Here is some more compare and contast.

    Dana
    ‘humans are causing global warming’.

    Jimbo
    ‘trees are cause air pollution‘.

    But what does it all really mean?

    ………oil palm plantations in Malaysia directly emit more oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds than rainforest. These compounds lead to the production of ground-level ozone (O3), an air pollutant that damages human health, plants, and materials, reduces crop productivity, and has effects on the Earth’s climate……

    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/44/18447.full

    Dana’s message was not meant for the folks on WUWT. It was meant for the President of the United States of America and that’s all that matters. Does Obama know that Dana works for big oil and that Cook’s Skeptical Science ‘survey’ was driven mainly by religion and worries about the surveyor’s children??? Cook has children to worry about and sceptics are infertile. It’s nice to be standing on the moral high ground, but what about the science?

    Guardian – 25 August 2010
    “Why would a solar physicist embrace the non-rationality of religion?”

    John Cook, who runs skepticalscience.com, says his faith drives him. But what does religion give him that science doesn’t?……But Cook’s second, self-professed, stimulus took me by surprise.

    I’m a Christian and find myself strongly challenged by passages in the Bible like Amos 5 and Matthew 25″, he wrote. “… I care about the same things that the God I believe in cares about – the plight of the poor and vulnerable.””
    ——-
    John Cook – Skeptical Science – 3 August 2010
    “….my faith and my situation are my own. But hopefully for those curious, you understand more clearly the driving force behind Skeptical Science.”
    ——-
    Guardian – 3 November 2009
    Judge rules activist’s beliefs on climate change akin to religion

    “Tim Nicholson entitled to protection for his beliefs, and his claim over dismissal will now be heard by a tribunal…….In his written judgment, Mr Justice Burton outlined five tests to determine whether a philosophical belief could come under employment regulations on religious discrimination…..• It must be a belief and not an opinion or view based on the present state of information available…..”

  25. Reblogged this on The GOLDEN RULE and commented:
    Much weight has been, and still is being applied, to the “97% consensus” claim, in order to support the “validity” of ‘humans are causing global warming’. This claim is in fact not valid, this post explains why.
    An extract: ” I didn’t intend to follow up on this comment, but this morning I saw a quote from Dana Nuccitelli that was impossible to resist:

    “We were always careful to say that while the survey involved 12,000 abstracts, the 97 percent consensus was among the ~4,000 abstracts that took a position on the cause of global warming (plus the roughly 1,400 of 2,100 self-rated papers taking a position). And we were careful to point out that the consensus was that ‘humans are causing global warming.

    Nuccitelli says he and his co-authors always used a particular phrasing when describing their results. I must admit, that is true. They’ve always managed to say “humans cause global warming” with the implicit qualifier of “some” (that they knew nobody would pay attention to). It’s obvious they knew the limitations of their results and didn’t want to be accused of lying. “

  26. IMO calling John Cook “an expert in climate change communication” is a misnomer – he should rather be called “an expert in disinformation”. See the Wikipedia definition:
    Disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. For this reason, it is synonymous with and sometimes called black propaganda. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth. Disinformation should not be confused with misinformation, information that is unintentionally false.
    Unlike traditional propaganda techniques designed to engage emotional support, disinformation is designed to manipulate the audience at the rational level by either discrediting conflicting information or supporting false conclusions. A common disinformation tactic is to mix some truth and observation with false conclusions and lies, or to reveal part of the truth while presenting it as the whole (a limited hangout). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disinformation

    Lesson: One cannot counter disinformation tricked up as an academic paper by criticizing the quality of the research – that is futile because the quality of the ‘research’ is quite irrelevant, as is the substance of the research – both are merely useful devices for promulgating the disinformation to a wide and credible audience via a credible channel.
    Advice: We need to re-learn what we have forgotten from the Cold War spooks about countering organised, sophisticated disinformation.

  27. I take there it there is no mention of the decline in the number of papers over the course of the past decade citing principally anthropogenic factors as the cause of warming (and also of no warming)? You can’t claim 97% (or 98%) when those papers have been drying up for years.That hardly suggests consensus, that is a signal that there is (A) a shift in consensus or (B) there is no consensus. The opinion of the authors ten years ago is hardly relevant when science evolves over the course of time and can change rapidly.

    It would be a bit like claiming in 1945 that fascism is a good idea and is the future, based on the nearly 100% consensus papers written by Spanish, Italian and German economists in 1935 whilst ignoring anything written post 1939 by the rest of the world.

  28. Most of the papers that imply humans are causing warming do not actually report results on that topic. It is simply a line tossed in, so that their research can be linked to AGW, which is where all the grant money is. Personally, I’ve sat in a room with 80+ professors trying to decide how they could come up with a topic linking some area of study to climate change so they’d be eligible for a million dollar grant to split. The ideas were all over the board, and the effort was to try to find how to justify the study by linking it to CO2-induced climate change.

    So, 80+ professors from several universities spent at least 8 hours each trying to scheme a way to get a $1MM grant to split. And this was just the beginning of that effort, which led to many other meetings and sub-committee meetings. The world would be better to just split the grant money evenly among the professors so they wouldn’t waste so much time fighting for it. I don’t think I ever sat in a meeting for more than 10 minutes before the word funding came up. It consumes all their time. And climate change is the current cash cow.

  29. bbc world tv presently has a repeating station promo which has a guy (possibly some CAGW-er we know) stating – “very recently” (paraphrasing) a study has shown 97% of climate scientists agree CAGW is happening…

    that’s what propaganda is for…and how it works.

  30. OT but has anyone noticed the old CNN story that attributes Climategate to WikiLeaks has been reposted to the new Bradley Manning verdict story – WikiLeaks 101

  31. I feel a wee bit uncomfortable with all the flak thrown at the privy-council of which Cook, Dana and LooRoll are honourable members of that illustrious chamber.
    Thanks to them the 97% statistic has gone viral to the extent that politicians throughout the globe are quoting it as a rational to limit carbon dioxide emissions.
    I wholeheartedly agree.
    The 97% of non-anthropogenic CO2 emissions must be stopped.
    Termites, earthworms and untilled land must be brought to account, controlled and punished by the EPA for their wanton destruction of the planet.
    Messers Cook, Scooter-Boy and Lulu should be honoured by all humus-sapiens for their efforts in defending us from the predations of destructive inhuman-lifeforms.

  32. 29 July: Washington Post: Laura Vozzella: Ad targets Cuccinelli fight with climate scientist
    Titled “Witch Hunt,” the commercial recalls a two-year effort by Cuccinelli, the GOP nominee for governor and a climate change skeptic, to obtain records from Michael Mann, then a U-Va. researcher…
    “It’s been called ‘Cuccinelli’s witch hunt.’ ‘Designed to intimidate and suppress,’ ” a narrator for the 30-second spot says, quoting newspaper editorials from the time. “Ken Cuccinelli used taxpayer funds to investigate a U-Va. professor whose research on climate change Cuccinelli opposed. Cuccinelli, a climate change denier, forced the university to spend over half a million dollars defending itself against its own attorney general. Ken Cuccinelli — he’s focused on his own agenda, not us.”…

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/ad-targets-cuccinelli-fight-with-climate-scientist/2013/07/29/5d2b0be0-f87c-11e2-8e84-c56731a202fb_story.html

    29 July: ClimateCrocks: Climate Denial Crock of the Week
    VIDEO: New Politcal Ad – Cuccinelli’s Witch Hunt
    Further underlining Climate Change’s maturation as a potent political issue – a new ad in the Virginia Governmental race features GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli’s crazed fixation on persecution of climate scientist Mike Mann…
    The story became national news as part of a broad campaign by right wing science denial groups to intimidate, spy on, and persecute scientists whose research ran counter to fossil fuel and other corporate interests…

    http://climatecrocks.com/2013/07/29/new-politcal-ad-cuccinellis-witch-hunt/

  33. There’s really only one “solution”, rationing. Rationing electric is easy with the new digital meters, which also includes programmed load shedding. You’re charged up with 20KwH/month. When that’s gone, your meter shuts you down until next month. Same is available for fuel they want to starve us of. Fine. Everyone gets a ration card all charged up with 20 gallons per month, every month, that rolls over if you are a good boy. Save up your gallons and get vacation on the scooter. Private airplanes and boats get 10 gallons per month on their ration cards. Sailboaters will rejoice. They can sail anywhere. Industries will cut usage as demand for anything unnecessary is destroyed. No excess taxes to reward only the rich will be collected. Everyone shares the load. Big Algore mansion? 20KwH/month just like the guy in the trailer. Big SUV gas guzzler? Sorry…It’s the problem, according to …….THEM.

    Give them a taste of it and it will very quickly be forgotten….the sooner the better.

  34. It’s convenient untruthiness.

    As for it being a religion, faith is one thing but what religious movement has ever recruited such wholesale participation and distortion by authority and science?

    The enormity of it along with the escalating and brazen dishonesty must make this episode of mankind’s purposeful mendacity unequaled in the history of the homo sapiens.

  35. Ozone, natures way of cleaning up pollution, the very opposite of a pollutant.

    Get that right.

  36. More on Cook et al classification issues:

    Note he had 7 categories, which were then rolled into 3 categories
    1. Endorsements (including implicit and explicit; categories 1–3
    2. No position (category 4)
    3. Rejections (including implicit and explicit; categories 5–7).

    Brandon Shollenberger (Comment #113188) May 17th, 2013 at 2:13 am (on degree of AGW responsibility for warming).

    The top category (1) covers everything from 50% to 100%.
    The other top categories (2 & 3) cover everything from 0% to 100%.
    The bottom categories (5 to 7) cover from 0% to 50%.

    Note; also according to Shollenberger only 65 of 12,280 papers (he extracted) fell in the top category.

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2013/on-the-consensus/

  37. His co-author, Andy Skuce, is head of Salt Spring Consulting Ltd. http://s-s-consulting.com/

    Recent clients include: Canmex Minerals Corp, Excelsior Energy Ltd, Gran Tierra Energy Inc, Norwest Energy NL, ÖMV AG, Petrom, Vermilion Energy Trust.

    Have a guess what industry these guys represent?

    Yup, co-author Skuce services the oil and gas industries

  38. CAGW sceptics portrayed as loonies:

    (2 pages) 27 July: Courier Journal Editorial: Scare tactics and science education
    Critics of new science standards for Kentucky’s public schools made a spectacularly persuasive argument in favor of them last week at a hearing in Frankfort — although it wasn’t their intent and it’s unlikely they realize it…
    The comments by some opponents at the hearing were worse than ill-informed. They were outright alarming and made the most compelling case yet that sound, fact-based public education of future generations is the only way for Kentucky to combat ignorance and unfounded fear…
    A Baptist pastor chimed in with one of the main objections of opponents — that the science standards include evolution, the science-based explanation for the origins of life but not creationism, the religious belief God created the world…
    (Climate change deniers also hate the science standards because they recommend students consider the impact of humans on climate)…
    For anyone who wants to read the 104-page standards, go to http://www.nextgen­science.org….

    http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20130728/OPINION01/307280024/Editorial-Scare-tactics-science-education?nclick_check=1

  39. Several commenters ask how we can fight this disinformation.

    We had a similar problem with the original 97% claim, which, I believe, was eventually debunked by Lawrence Solomon of the Financial Post.

    There have been many criticisms of Cook’s paper, and we need a team effort to pull them all together into a short, concise format. This then needs to be disseminated into the media, just as Solomon’s article was. I would imagine, for instance, that Booker would highlight it in the UK.

    First though we need someone to organise the pulling together.

  40. Paul,

    Wouldn’t the best option be to produce a similar paper that is truly independent of the raters with no discussion of the results between raters and subsequent amendments to the rating (not sure how since anybody interested in the “consensus” is by definition not impartial) or simply wait until the IoP has forced Cook to release all the data and let the paper implode?

  41. BoyfromTottenham says:
    July 29, 2013 at 5:49 pm
    “Advice: We need to re-learn what we have forgotten from the Cold War spooks about countering organised, sophisticated disinformation.”

    The 1928 book Propaganda by Edward Bernayse, the inventor of Propaganda and PR, which is the exact same thing, is online.
    BTW, nohing has been forgotten. CO2AGW is a prime example of a wildly successful propaganda campaign. There are several others.

  42. Steve Oregon says:
    July 29, 2013 at 8:29 pm
    “The enormity of it along with the escalating and brazen dishonesty must make this episode of mankind’s purposeful mendacity unequaled in the history of the homo sapiens.”

    Mass propaganda only became important after the invention of mass media. So that’s about a hundred years. And starting with WW I, when Eddie Bernayse was the advisor of Woodrow Wilson, making sure Wilson was received as the bringer of democracy in war-destroyed Europe, and making sure the Germans got the blame alone, we have seen multiple applications of Bernayse’s techniques, one more brazen than the other. And we continue to see them. I have the fortune of being able to compare the inside reporting of the official EU media to the outside view I get from American media and blogs to the underground inside view in the EU.

    CO2AGW is only part of the picture right now. Serial lying is going on in social, economic, and scientific topics.

    Look no further than your own Krugman.

  43. Paul Homewood, I’m afraid I can’t agree on a point. You quote the introduction of the paper, but that introduction is out of line with the paper in several regards. Consider this line from the abstract:

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

    These are definitely inconsistencies. They are definitely bad. They should definitely be criticized. I just don’t think they show Cook et al made “assumptions about thousands of papers.”

    Also, while you quote one author of the paper in one media piece, that quote is out of line with dozens of other examples from several other authors (and possibly even the same author).

    I don’t see either of these as making much of a case for “wilful misrepresentation on a large scale.” These seem more like exceptions than the norm for what they were saying.

  44. Paul Homewood says:
    July 30, 2013 at 2:25 am

    Several commenters ask how we can fight this disinformation.

    We had a similar problem with the original 97% claim, which, I believe, was eventually debunked by Lawrence Solomon of the Financial Post.

    There have been many criticisms of Cook’s paper, and we need a team effort to pull them all together into a short, concise format. This then needs to be disseminated into the media, just as Solomon’s article was. I would imagine, for instance, that Booker would highlight it in the UK.

    First though we need someone to organise the pulling together.

    I think Cook et al. have jumped the shark (overdone it) and can be rudely brought down to earth by a detailed critique (funded by someone–ideally by the NSF) + an independent opinion survey of attribution-focused climate scientists’ plus of scientists in nearby fields who aren’t climatologists but who are capable of following their papers.

  45. The best arguments against the insanity are those made by nature itself, as when glaciers from both hemispheres, namely Exit and Jorge Montt, reveal forests covered by the LIA, silently mocking Mann’s hockey stick and proving once again that there is not a competent scientist on the planet who gives a lick of credence to this climate hysteria. –AGF

  46. Brandon

    I agree there are inconsistencies within the paper. Is it deliberate, simple incompetence or wishful thinking?

    I guess we need John Cook to tell us!

  47. Thanks Mark

    It confirms what I suspected – that Cook and his chums knew perfectly well that they were not measuring the “level of scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW).”

    Which leaves the question – why have they said otherwise?

  48. When science doesn’t support your pet theory (CAGW) make it up, lie or misinform. We have been seeing this type of behaviour for years.

  49. Brandon writes “I don’t see either of these as making much of a case for “wilful misrepresentation on a large scale.”

    There is only one definition of the “consensus” in the paper and its explicitly “most” of the warming. That’s clearly not what the statistic is based on numerically when even the example ratings show papers that were counted towards the consensus dont show “most”.

    Its pretty clear to me at least the paper is fundamentally flawed in this regard.

    Its in Cook et al’s interest to have you think there is confusion when there is actually none.

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