Join my crowd-sourced complaint about the ‘97% consensus’

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

Three-quarters (rounded up to 97.1%) of all commenters expressing an opinion on my recent post about Dana Nuccitelli’s attempt at ex-post-facto justification of the false assertion in the lamentable Cook et al. paper of a non-existent 97.1% “scientific consensus” that turned out on peer-reviewed inspection to be 0.3%, enjoyed the name-calling in the post. A quarter did not. To them, sorry.

One of the non-placets asked if I could summarize the argument without the insults. Certainly, sir. I have redrafted the posting as a letter asking the editor of Environmental Research Letters, which had published that gravely misleading paper, to withdraw it and to announce that he has done so. All who would like to add their names to mine on the letter before I send it, please send an email to Anthony, who will pass it to me. Many thanks.

——————————————————————————————————

Professor Daniel Kammen

Editor, Environment Research Letters

12 September 2013

Dear Professor Kammen,

Request for withdrawal of a misleading paper

published in Environmental Research Letters

For the reasons that follow, we are now requesting you to withdraw a defective and gravely misleading paper published in Environment Research Letters on 15 May 2013.

The paper, Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature, was by John Cook, Dana Nuccitelli, Bärbel Winkler, Rob Painting and Andrew Skuce of the polemical website “Skeptical Science”; Sarah Green of the Department of Chemistry at Michigan Technological University; Mark Richardson of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading; Robert Way of the Department of Geography at the Memorial University of Newfoundland; and Peter Jacobs of the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University. Copies go to all authors.

The introduction to the Cook paper said:

“We examined a large sample of the scientific literature on global CC [the abstracts of 11,944 papers on global climate change], published over a 21 year period [1991-2012], 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)”.

The Cook paper’s definition of “scientific consensus”, emboldened by us for clarity, is the standard or quantitative definition adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which, in its Assessment Reports of 2001 and 2007, considered it probable that more than half of the 0.7 Cº global warming since 1950 was manmade.

Computerized and manual examination of the data-file assembled by the authors of the Cook paper, which they appear to have released only some weeks after their paper had appeared, showed that they had categorized and marked as few as 64 abstracts out of 11,944, or 0.5% of the entire sample, as explicitly endorsing the “scientific consensus” as they had defined it in their introduction.

Further examination of the 64 abstracts by Legates et al. (2013) showed that only 41, or 0.3% of the entire sample, had in fact explicitly endorsed the “scientific consensus” as defined.

However, the Cook paper concluded with these words:

“Among 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.”

The authors, having stated at the outset their intention to determine the level of

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

and having listed

“(1) Explicit endorsement with quantification (explicitly states that humans are the primary cause of recent global warming)”

as the first of seven “levels of endorsement” to which they assigned the 11,944 abstracts, did not state in their paper that they had categorized only 64 out of 11,944 abstracts as having explicitly endorsed the “scientific consensus” as defined. To conceal how very small this number was, they added together all of the abstracts they had assigned to the first three of their seven categories, and did not state the three values separately.

The seven categories or “levels of endorsement” in the Cook paper were –

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”

Mr. Nuccitelli, one of the authors of the Cook paper, has written a posting on the “Skeptical Science” blog in which he sought to justify the discrepancy between the 0.5% of abstracts that Legates et al. had shown the Cook paper had assigned to the “explicit endorsement with quantification” category and the “97.1% based on abstract ratings” that the conclusion of the Cook paper had claimed endorsed the “scientific consensus” as defined:

“The IPCC position (humans causing most global warming) was represented in our categories 1 and 7, which include papers that explicitly endorse or reject/minimize human-caused global warming, and also quantify the human contribution. Among the relatively few abstracts (75 in total) falling in these two categories, 65 (87%) endorsed the consensus view.”

From this series of admissions, it is evident that the authors of the Cook paper are now claiming 87% (not 97.1%) “scientific consensus” – but that they are doing so on the basis of a sample size that has shrunk from 11,944 to just 75 papers, arbitrarily and improperly eliminating 99.4% of the papers in the original sample. No scientific survey or opinion poll with a sample size of less than 1000 would normally be regarded as statistically significant.

Even then, Mr. Nuccitelli’s account of events contains an obvious error. For none of those abstracts that the Cook paper had assigned to categories 5 and 6 (explicit or implicit rejection of the consensus without quantification), as well as none of those in category 7 (explicit rejection with quantification), endorsed the “scientific consensus” as defined.

There were 41 abstracts explicitly endorsing the IPCC’s version of consensus. But there were not only 9 in level 7 but also 54 in level 5 and 15 in level 6. Total sample size was thus only 119 out of 11,944 papers, or just 1% of an already smallish sample of the entire literature.

Accordingly, even on Mr. Nuccitelli’s arbitrary basis, endorsement for the “scientific consensus” as defined was not the 87% he asserts on behalf of his co-authors in the above-cited passage, but just 34.5%. That is little more than one-third of the 97.1% endorsement that the Cook paper had originally claimed for the “scientific consensus” as defined.

Nowhere does the Cook paper make it plain that the sample size on the basis of which the claim of 97.1% endorsement for the “scientific consensus” is made was so tiny.

In an article Study reveals scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change, posted at http://www.iop.org/news/13/may/page_60200.html, the Institute of Physics wrote:

“Co-author of the study Mark Richardson, from the University of Reading, said: ‘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.’”

We can discern no basis for the claim made in the above passage by one of the authors of the Cook paper that 97% of the 4000 papers that had stated a position on the “scientific consensus” had “said that recent warming is mostly man made”. The claim is false.

The central, and irremediable, error in the Cook paper is that the authors, by not adhering scrupulously throughout to the definition of “scientific consensus” that they had stated at the outset was the basis of their inquiry, were implying that if 97.1% of those abstracts that had expressed some sort of an opinion on global warming had said or implied that Man could cause some warming (their categories 5 and 6), those same 97.1% would also say or imply that Man caused at least half the global warming since 1950 (their category 7).

We are disappointed at the authors’ apparent attempt to conceal the fact that they had been able to categorize only a very small number of papers as explicitly endorsing the “scientific consensus” as they had themselves defined it; that, even then, they had miscategorised one-third of the 64 papers they had marked as endorsing that “scientific consensus”; that their methodological defects are numerous and fundamental; that they failed to disclose that their effective sample size was not 11,944 nor even 4000 papers but 119, rendering the entire exercise statistically meaningless; and that one of the co-authors has incorrectly stated in a public scientific forum that 97% of abstracts expressing an opinion on global warming had “said that recent warming is mostly man made”, when only 1% of those expressing an opinion and 0.3% of the entire sample had in fact done so.

One of us wrote a corrective commentary and submitted it to the editor of Environment Research Letters, and, upon request, subsequently shortened and resubmitted the commentary, but received no further reply.

In the circumstances, we now request that the manifestly defective and gravely deceptive Cook paper be withdrawn forthwith. We should be grateful if you would make an early announcement to that effect, and if you would kindly let us know when you have done so.

Yours truly,

Monckton of Brenchley (and, I hope, others)

 

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Here is Monckton’s request letter (added)

===================================================================

Professor Daniel Kammen, Editor, Environment Research Letters

14 September 2013

Dear Professor Kammen,

 

Request for withdrawal of a gravely misleading paper

 

Please withdraw the gravely misleading paper, Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature (May 15, Environment Research Letters). The paper claimed a 97.1% “scientific consensus” among the abstracts of 11,944 climate change papers published from 1991-2012. The true “consensus” was not 97.1%. It was 0.3%.

The defective paper’s introduction said:

“We examined a large sample of the scientific literature on global CC [the abstracts of 11,944 papers on climate change], published over a 21 year period [1991-2012], 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)”. [my emphases]

The paper’s definition of “scientific consensus” is thus the standard, quantified definition adopted by the IPCC, which, in its Assessment Reports of 2001 and 2007, considered it very likely that most of the 0.7 Cº global warming since 1950 was manmade.

Computerized and manual examination by Legates et al. (2013) of the authors’ data-file, made available only some weeks after the paper had appeared, showed that on that file the authors had marked as few as 64 abstracts out of 11,944 (0.5% of the entire sample) as explicitly endorsing that “scientific consensus” as defined in the introduction to their paper.

Legates et al., on further examining the 64 abstracts, found that only 41 of them, or 0.3% of the entire sample, had in fact explicitly endorsed that “scientific consensus”. However, the defective paper you published concluded with these words:

“Among 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.”

The authors had stated at the outset their intention to determine the level of

 

“scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW)”. [my emphases]

They had listed this standard, quantified definition of “scientific consensus” in their paper as

“(1) Explicit endorsement with quantification (explicitly states that humans are the primary cause of recent global warming)”, [my emphases]

 

the first of seven “levels of endorsement” to which they assigned the abstracts. Yet they did not disclose in their paper how few abstracts – just 64 – they had marked as having stated support for that standard, quantified “scientific consensus”.

To conceal how very small this number was, they added together all of the abstracts they had assigned to the first three of their seven categories, treating all three categories as one, and did not state the three values separately. An impartial peer reviewer would have spotted this.

The seven categories or “levels of endorsement” listed in the paper, with the abstracts marked on the data file or disclosed in the paper as falling within each category, were –

 

  Level of endorsement of “scientific consensus” in 11,944 abstracts

Marked

Disclosed

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

64

    ┐
2 Explicit endorsement without quantification [We cause some warming]

922

│    3896

3 Implicit endorsement

2910

    ┘
4a No opinion

7930

7930

4b Uncertain

40

40

5 Implicit rejection

54

54

6 Explicit rejection without quantification

15

15

7 Explicit rejection with quantification

9

9

   

  Total

11,944

11,944

One of the authors has sought to justify the discrepancy between the 0.5% of abstracts they marked as “1” (“explicit endorsement with quantification”) and the “97.1% based on abstract ratings” that their conclusion had misrepresented as endorsing the “consensus” as defined:

 

“The IPCC position (humans causing most global warming) was represented in our categories 1 and 7, which include papers that explicitly endorse or reject/minimize human-caused global warming, and also quantify the human contribution. Among the relatively few abstracts (75 in total) [actually 73] falling in these two categories, 65 (87%) [actually 64] endorsed the consensus view.” [my emphases]

The authors, then, are now claiming 87% (not 97.1%) “scientific consensus” – but are doing so on the basis of a sample size that has shrunk from 11,944 to just 73 papers, improperly eliminating 99.4% of the papers in the original sample. No scientific survey or opinion poll with a sample size less than 1000 would normally be recognized as having any meaning.

Even then, none of the abstracts the authors had marked as falling within categories 5-7 could possibly be said to have endorsed the “scientific consensus” as defined.

There were 41 abstracts explicitly endorsing the IPCC’s version of consensus. But, rejecting any anthropogenic influence, there were not only 9 in level 7 but also 54 in level 5 and 15 in level 6. Thus, 78 papers rejected any definition of “scientific consensus”.

Total sample size was thus only 119 out of 11,944 papers, or just 1% of an already smallish literature sample. Nowhere does the paper admit that the sample size on the basis of which the claim of 97.1% (now 87%) endorsement of “scientific consensus” is made was so small.

Even on that author’s newly-proclaimed and strange basis, endorsement for the “scientific consensus” as defined was not the 87% he now asserts but just 41 in 119, or 34.5% – a third of the 97.1% endorsement originally claimed for that “scientific consensus”.

In an article entitled Study reveals scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change, posted at http://www.iop.org/news/13/may/page_60200.html, the Institute of Physics cites one of the paper’s authors:

 

“Co-author of the study [name and institution] said: ‘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.’” [my emphases]

I can discern no rational basis for that author’s claim that 97% of the 4014 abstracts that had stated a position on the “scientific consensus” had “said that recent warming is mostly man made”. The author’s claim, like the claim made in the conclusion of the paper itself, is false.

The authors had not adhered throughout to the definition of “scientific consensus” that their introduction had stated was the basis of their inquiry. They were implying, in effect, that since 97.1% of the 4014 abstracts had stated or implied that Man could cause some warming (categories 2-3), those same 97.1% were also stating or implying that Man caused most of the global warming since 1950 (category 1).

I am disappointed – and so should you be –

  • that the paper had erroneously and gravely over-claimed 97.1% “scientific consensus;
  • that the authors had tried to conceal that they had had categorized only 64 abstracts out of 11,944 as explicitly endorsing the “scientific consensus” as they had defined it;
  • that, even then, the authors had miscategorised 23 of the 64 abstracts as endorsing that “scientific consensus” when the 23 had not in fact endorsed it;
  • that the authors had failed to disclose that their effective sample size was not 11,944 nor even 4014 papers but just 119, rendering the entire exercise meaningless;
  • that, on the basis that one of the authors now says was intended, that author says they had meant 87% consensus (not 97%) among just 73 abstracts (not 4014);
  • that the true “scientific consensus”, after correcting an obvious error in the newly-asserted (and still strange) basis for calculation, would be 34% of just 119 abstracts;
  • that the authors had failed to admit that only 1% of the 4014 abstracts they marked as expressing an opinion had endorsed the “scientific consensus” as they had defined it;
  • that the authors had failed to disclose that only 0.3% of all 11,944 abstracts had endorsed that “scientific consensus”;
  • that the authors had not adhered to a single definition of “scientific consensus”; and
  • that one of the authors, in a public scientific forum, continues in defiance of the truth to assert that 97.1% had “said that recent warming is mostly man made”, when very nearly all of the abstracts had neither stated nor implied any such thing.

The paper you published is not merely defective: it is deceptive. It claims that 97.1% endorsed a “scientific consensus” that at most 1% had endorsed. You cannot let it stand.

I submitted a corrective commentary to you. Upon request, I subsequently shortened and resubmitted the commentary, but I received no further reply.

In the circumstances, to protect your journal’s reputation and those of its Board members from any allegation of scientific misrepresentation, you must withdraw the paper forthwith. Please make an early announcement to that effect, and let me know when you have done so.

Copies go to all members of your board. I await your reply.

Yours truly,

 

cc. Professor Myles Allen                                myles.allen@ouce.ox.ac.uk

Professor Maohong Fan                             mfan@uwyo.edu

Dr. Peter Gleick                                           pgleick@pipeline.com

Dr. Jose Goldemberg                                  cominicacao@iee.usp.br

Professor Giles Harrison                           r.g.harrison@reading.ac.uk

Professor Tracey Holloway                                    taholloway@wisc.edu

Professor Klaus Keller                                klaus@psu.edu

Professor Jakob Mann                               jmsq@dtu.dk

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294 thoughts on “Join my crowd-sourced complaint about the ‘97% consensus’

  1. All who would like to add their names to mine on the letter before I send it, please send an email to Anthony, who will pass it to me.

    ====================================================================
    As Anthony has said, his email is a “fire hose”.
    Is there something we should put in the subject to make it easier for him to sort and forward?
    Perhaps, “Crowd source complaint”?
    Also, some of us don’t comment using our real names. Is our “commenter” name OK?
    I’m willing to add my real name via Anthony but some may not be willing. Should the [latter] bother?

  2. I thought Lord Monckton requested emails to Anthony. I need Anthony’s email address. Maybe its just me, but I couldn’t find the address on the page.

  3. Being a medical doctor, I use an online ekename (“handle”) to avoid distressing both my patients and the institutions with which I’ve become associated over the decades, but Tucci78 does seem to have become uniquely identifiable on the Web.

    Does certainly bloat and inflame the spleens of Watermelons whenever I post, doesn’t it?

    So add me to your list of names.

    By the bye, has anyone a link to Mr. Monckton’s earlier insult-laden response to this barrowload of bullpuckey? I rather enjoy vituperation for its own sake, consider it something of an art form.

  4. I added my name via the Contact form, along with my Town,State. This might be more useful than just a first and last name. We are real people and we want to be counted!

  5. Bob says:
    September 20, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    I thought Lord Monckton requested emails to Anthony. I need Anthony’s email address. Maybe its just me, but I couldn’t find the address on the page.

    ======================================================================
    (MODS, if this is wrong, feel free to delete.)
    On the title bar click on “About”. You’ll get a pull down. One of the options is “Contact”.
    I put “Crowd source complaint” as the subject to make it easier on Anthony.

  6. You know, I didn’t realize there was a Contact Form (in the About menu). I remember there didn’t use to be an obvious way to contact Anthony; glad to see it was added at some point. It’s hard to keep up!

    /Mr Lynn

  7. Thank you for doing this. Please add my name. It is L. Scott Henderson, PE. I live in Seattle, WA (zip is 98146), if that is helpful to know.

  8. Please add me to the list as well. Despite that fact that my Robot is screaming Danger Danger! I know he would like to be added as well. You see he knows that all those things did not happen — er — I mean won’t — you know what I mean!

  9. Please add me (as I’m not sure whether a comment here is sufficient, so I’ll try and email anthony, too)

  10. For all Australians contributing to this forum get a copy of this weekend Australian newspaper that has an excellent article by Judith Curry criticising the concensus approach. And yes it also has one by Mr Cook that looks totally lame in comparison. And low and behold Flannery chips in also saying the current models take into account solar variations. Why they give this guy “oxygen” is beyond my understanding. But his drival makes him look even more foolish – if that’s possible.

  11. Equivocating on the definitions of such terms as ‘global warming’ and ‘the consensus’ is their primary means of making their fallacious ad verecundiam arguments. You cant take that from them. What will they have left? /sarc

    Anthony, add my name to LMs letter. Append “practicing natural resource scientist and numeric modeler” as that sort of thing seems to have meaning to the pseudoscientific political hacks gatekeeping at journals like ERL.

    For that matter, please append my assessment that they are a bunch of pseudoscientific, gatekeeping, political hacks. Not because it means anything to them, but to me.

  12. I can’t see an email button so please add my name.

    Stephen K Richards BSc Physics. MSc Physics of semiconductor materials and devices.

  13. I’ve made the contact to ask to add my name to the letter. Thank you for letting us participate.

    You can email Anthony by using the ‘contact’ form on the “About” drop down box, which is what I did thanks to an earlier poster.

  14. Like asking the Pope to denounce Catholicism…

    However, to give it a chance, add me
    Andy Deady
    BSc (Hons) Geology (The Victoria University of Manchester – the one before it renamed itself “Earth Sciences” Department and CAGW polluted it)
    oh, an Chartered Engineer registered with the Engineering Council of Great Britain.

  15. Me too, please.

    I wouldn’t worry about the integrity of my pseudonym if I had one. Fake names do not seem to be appropriate in a protest against a fake.

  16. Not simply incorrect, this overwhelming consensus talking point is lie. I see this sound byte on CNN and BBC all the time. They are getting desperate because they can’t explain away the recent leveling off in temperature rise.

  17. Via Contact (drop down box) I’ve added my name, location and profession.

    Best of luck with the Complaint. It will be interesting to see what happens.

    JMH

  18. Anthony, please forward my email address too – if a full name is required it is Kevin Armstrong Engineering Geologist, M.Sc, B.Sc(Hons)

  19. email sent with name and address .might be an idea for those using other social media outlets to post a link up to this.i am sure there would be a big response.

  20. This petition should also be sent to every member of the BBC Trust, the BBC Executive Board and the Non-executives.

    “Dear BBC, we, the taxpaying public, have had enough of the lying propaganda you publish and broadcast on a daily basis about “global warming”, or “climate change”, or whatever you are calling it this month.

    One of the most persistent lies you disseminate is that of the so-called “98% consensus” of climate scientists who agree with the assertion that changes in the Earth’s climate are largely driven by man-made carbon dioxide, or “carbon emissions” as you prefer to call it.

    This lie is repeated by every broadcaster you employ, including your so-called “Environment Analyst” Roger Harrabin, and no effort is spared in spreading the misinformation via selected guests on your various programs, such as Radio 4’s Saturday Review on Saturday September 14th.

    In view of the information attached, which proves conclusively the lie about the “98% consensus” we demand you either stop deliberately disseminating this deception to your audiences and readers or provide a comprehensive explanation to the public as to why you refuse to do so.

    BBC HQ

    BBC Broadcasting House
    London
    W1A 1AA

    Tel: +44 370 010 0222
    Tel: 020 7743 8000
    Tel: 08700 100 222 if you want to complain about a programme

    info@bbc.co.uk

    BBC BOSSES AND COMPLAINTS PROCEDURES

    If you want to email them direct, then it is usually firstname.lastname@bbc.co.uk

    THE BBC TRUSTEES

    Lord Patten
    Chairman

    Diane Coyle
    Vice Chairman

    Sonita Alleyne
    Trustee

    Richard Ayre
    Trustee

    Anthony Fry
    Trustee

    Alison Hastings
    Trustee for England

    David Liddiment
    Trustee

    Bill Matthews
    Trustee for Scotland

    Aideen McGinley
    Trustee for Northern Ireland

    Elan Closs Stephens
    Trustee for Wales

    Suzanna Taverne
    Trustee

    Lord Williams
    Trustee

    The Director-General of the BBC
    The Director-General is the Chief Executive Officer and the Editor-in-Chief of the BBC. He is the editorial, operational and creative leader of the organisation, with responsibility for the Corporation’s global workforce and all of the BBC’s services across television, radio and online.

    The Director-General chairs the BBC Executive Board, which consists of six other executive directors, and four non-executive directors.The Executive Board manages the BBC. It is responsible for operational management and for the delivery of BBC services according to the plans that have been agreed with the BBC Trust.

    EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS

    Tony Hall, Director-General
    Helen Boaden, Director, Radio
    Danny Cohen, Director, Television
    James Harding, Director of News and Current Affairs
    Lucy Adams, Director, HR
    Anne Bulford, Managing Director,Operations and Finance
    James Purnell, Director, Strategy & Digital

    NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS

    Simon Burke
    Sally Davis
    Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE
    Brian McBride

    MAKING A COMPLAINT TO THE BBC

    Complaints page

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/

    Complain online

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/complain-online/

    The Feedback program (quite a useless program, really)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/feedback/

    feedback@bbc.co.uk

    Phone:
    03700 100 222*
    03700 100 212* (textphone)
    *24 hours, charged as 01/02 geographic numbers

    By Post:
    BBC Complaints
    PO Box 1922
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    How the BBC handles complaints

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    More details:

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    Further information about the complaints service

    What does the BBC do with my complaint?

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    What if I remain dissatisfied with the BBC’s reply?

    You should re-contact us in writing within 20 working days quoting any case number and explaining why. You may be able to take the issue to stage 2 and if so we will explain how. This is normally either to the independent Editorial Complaints Unit or higher management. For the full complaints procedures please visit the BBC Trust website.

    Do the numbers of complaints make a difference?

    No. We are always concerned about high numbers, but what matters is whether the complaint is justified and the BBC acted wrongly. If so we will apologise. If we do not believe we breached our public service obligations or Editorial Guidelines we will explain why. We sometimes come under pressure from organised lobbies or the press but defend our editorial independence and standards as necessary.

    How does the BBC define a complaint?

    It isn’t possible to define the difference between a comment and complaint. If you say it is a complaint we count it as one. We generally consider a complaint to be a criticism which expects a reply and would ideally like things changed, even if we are unable to respond as the complainant might wish.

    What does the BBC publish about complaints?

    We publish public responses to issues of wide audience concern if they cause significant numbers of complaints or raise a significant issue. We do not publish public responses to every single complaint. Our responses are available in Complaints reports (http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/reports/) for up to six months and include any explanation, apology or action taken as a result. In Complaints reports (http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/reports/) we also publish:

    1. monthly summaries of the main editorial complaints received at stage 1
    2. findings of editorial complaints later upheld or resolved by the Editorial Complaints Unit (stage 2)
    3. findings of subsequent appeals to the BBC Trust (stage 3) including non-editorial complaints

    What if I have not had a reply?

    Please call us or contact us through our website.

    What happens if I opt not to ask for a reply?

    Your complaint is normally still circulated to BBC staff to read in our overnight report of reaction.

  21. I’m ‘in’, via the Contact form under the ‘About’ tab at top of page.
    And proud to be in such company as above!
    MtK

  22. Aye! Please add me in as one of the signatories to Lord Moncktons request!

    A. Ted Kowalski
    Fredericksburg, VA USA

    If you need the email instead, I can send; but I would think a script grabbing them out of this thread would be quicker. Once grabbed, the script could archive the thread if necessary.

  23. I heartily support the request by Christopher Monckton of Brenchley. The paper by Cook et al should be withdrawn by the Editor of Environment Research Letters. It is patently and embarrassingly bad.

    Colin Knipe
    Chartered Engineer, Chartered Geologist, Fellow of the Geological Society of London, Past Chairman of the Institution of Geologists [UK]

  24. Mine too. Edit it as you see fit.

    Robin Harwood,
    PhD (Philosophy) – University of Reading
    MA (Applied Linguistics) – University of Reading
    BA (Hons) (Philosophy) – University of Adelaide
    Cert Ed (Tertiary) – University of London.

  25. But I have to admit that I have never offered Whiskas to my cat, so I can’t say whether she prefers it or not.

  26. From outside the Anglosphere (but hey – academe is by definition part of it):

    Ulrich Elkmann
    D-48366 Laer
    Germany

    Please add it.

  27. @Ulrich Elkmann
    “From outside the Anglosphere”

    You know there’s no acceptable excuse for that, don’t you?

  28. I would suggest deleting this post and starting over with better, and though through for future use, directions.

    I think we certainly have active paricipation ;-)

    Make it count>

  29. Please add mine:
    Robert A Cook, PE
    BS, Nuclear Engineering,
    MS, Quality Assurance/Statistical Process Control

  30. added my name via contact mode.

    Honors to the great Moncton, the WUWT team, and all others fighting for honest science and truth.

  31. Margaret Hardman says:
    September 20, 2013 at 8:32 pm
    Science by petition? So that’s how it works. And I thought…
    —————————————————-

    You really are a scientific dimwit aren’t you.

    WTF does this have to do with science ??

    Why don’t you mark the Cook paper yourself school ma’m and tell us if it’s a pass or a fail.

  32. I question the wisdom of this enterprise. Not that the SkS “survey” has the least bit of credibility, but to draw still further attention to it (even in denunciation) strikes me as counterproductive. Why resurrect something that was not noticed by anyone outside the climate debate with a petition that will doubtless fall on deaf ears?

  33. Please add my name Tom Barr BSc but I note that, if I read this correctly on my phone, that, at the opposite ends of the survey scale, a “denier” has to “endorse with quantification” whereas an “alarmist” merely has to “state” (no quantification required). What a muppet survey, let alone the analysis. Might be worth making this point.

  34. forgot to add :

    BS – electrical engineering, Washington State University
    MS – Computer Science, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

  35. Margaret Hardman says:
    September 20, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Science by petition? So that’s how it works. And I thought…

    ===============================================================
    “…it worked by reading tree rings.”
    (Just thought I’d finish your sentence for you.)

  36. Gunga Din says:
    September 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Margaret Hardman says:
    September 20, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Science by petition? So that’s how it works. And I thought…

    ===============================================================
    “…it worked by reading tree rings.”
    (Just thought I’d finish your sentence for you.)

    =================================================================
    Apologizes to those who study tree rings to actually learn something rather than fabricate something.
    How about:
    “…it worked by modeling tea leaves.”
    (Just thought I’d finish your sentence for you.)

  37. Margaret Hardman says:

    “Science by petition? So that’s how it works. And I thought…”

    No, Margaret. You Believed… There is a big difference there…

  38. I hold only a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, yet should Christopher wish to append my name, he is most certainly welcome.

  39. As became clear when I posted my comment, if you don’t think there is a consensus, putting tens of names on a letter doesn’t make it any more or less true. This is rank casuistry as those here well know we’re they to give a moment’s thought. But one should be grateful to Monckton of Brenchley for pointing out the vanishingly small number of papers implicitly or explicitly rejecting AGW out of the 11,000+ abstracts assessed.

  40. Add my name.
    German administration asked to take out the warming from the coming IPCC report …

  41. Name, city & state sent via contact form.
    [Subject=Monckton re Cook et al: Request for withdrawal]

    (Note to Cook: Speak your mind but be ready to back up your claim.)

  42. Lord Monckton:

    those same 97.1% would also say or imply that Man caused at least half the global warming since 1950 (their category 7)

    Is that an error? Category 7 means less than half caused by humans…

    But anyway, you may add my name (B.Sc. in chemistry).

  43. I’ve added my name through the contacts sheet, but I just wanted to say here in the comments that it’s great to see so many commenters’ qualifications and extensive experience in the hard sciences. It gives a complete lie to alarmists claims that us sceptics are all ‘anti-science’.

    Andy Wilkins, BSc Mathematics
    Secondary (High School) Mathematics Teacher (a member of a very small minority of CAGW sceptic and libertarian teachers in the UK education system)

    Oh, and Margaret – do you believe that we’re not allowed to make our voices heard just because we don’t work for the CRU at UEA or the ‘Muslim Outreach’ division at NASA? Are you trying to tell me that you’d never sign one of those ridiculous “STOP CARBON POLLUTION NOW!” petitions that the likes of Weepy Bill are constantly waving around?

  44. Count me among them
    My name should be added
    These numbers, they flung them
    Too far: They’ve been padded!

    And elsewhere, that survey
    “Consensus Opinions”
    Would even count me!
    I’m not one of their minions!

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  45. I too wish to have my name added to the List.
    Consensus has no scientific weight, save the weight of perception.
    Belief, on the other hand exists because of it.
    John F. Manville, Ph.D., Research Scientist, retired.

  46. Dear Mr. Watts:

    SInce you are passing on comments to Lord Moncton – how about this: the entire Cook imbroglio assumes that opinions stated in published papers tell us something about the opinions of all of those drafting papers. This is obviously false, editors simply do not accept papers whose opinions they oppose – and preferentially accept those whose summaries can be used to sell opinions they wish to impose.

    For this type of analysis to work the authors have to include both rejected papers and papers that were never written because doing so would have been career limting. I have no idea how to do that, but those who live in alternate universes (e.g. Hansen, Gore et al) might…

  47. Had arguing from “scientific consensus” had any merit, we would still be using an earth centric astrophysical model, with epi-cycles. Evolution as a viable explanation of observations would have never been given credence. Relativity as an usurper against the Newtonian model, itself an usurper, would have never been allowed to take hold. We got to see this within a political-scientific paradox with Lysenko-ism in the FSU.

    This is what is wrong with that paper. It makes the fallacious argument from authority, that some large fraction of scientists “believe” something to be true. Believe? Scientists?

    Maybe I’m an old fashioned (recovering) science type of guy, but my teachers, my thesis adviser, burned into me that we have to test, and understand our tests, and not reject out of hand what they say. Because no matter how much we might wish to believe in some idea, if the evidence does not support that idea, nay, if it contradicts that idea, then science tells you that idea is busted as a theory. Once its falsified, no amount of “scientific belief” or “consensus” matters. Its, to use the Mythbusters phrasing, “busted”.

    Its disingenuous, and unethical to claim a theory, that is not in strong agreement with measurement, is in fact either correct, or well supported by the evidence. True scientific consensus comes from challenges to a theory, that the theory either passes or fails at. And if it fails, it fails, and cannot and should not be held onto by “scientists”. Over time, a theory which has a possibility of being correct, will withstand all challenges. Its predictions will be shown to be accurate. If it fails, it fails. If it doesn’t fail, there is always the next challenge.

    This is why this whole “science is settled” bit annoys me beyond belief. Anyone with any sort of scientific integrity on either side of these debates should be coaching their followers to absolutely avoid this language. Unfortunately, this paper is this “science is settled” bit, writ large, in an academic journal. No respectable researcher should have anything to do with such a set of claims.

    Please add my name to the letter.

    Joseph Landman, Ph.D.
    Computational Physicist by training
    (not representing anyone but me here)

  48. Endorsed. The longer this goes on, the more academia, et al, will add to the “97.1 consensus” with the graduates of various environmental specialties. Most of them will then have to move on to careers in retail and food services while being dunned about their student loan balance-due.

  49. The Editor should definitely withdraw the paper. How embarrassing. Please add my name – Larry F. Brown PhD Ecology

  50. General note: There are a LOT of obviously well-educated individuals putting their names to this list. All by itself, THAT is impressive.
    However, anyone of any background, even with no formal education, should feel equally as qualified to add their name. Many a scientist or inventor changed the world without formal education. Anyone with a thirst for truth and knowledge can add their names here as we are all equally peers in that regard.
    I feel honored to be among such fine individuals.
    Thank you for this opportunity Anthony and Christopher.

    • I’ll second the sentiment expressed by Rick K and Julian in Wales. I could give my degree, but what does it matter? I’d hate to see it used in an argument because it means nothing. There are people with higher degrees that are less able than I am, and there many without any degree whom I recognise as superior to myself.

      Everybody who can read and write is able to express a valid opinion on the matter in hand.

  51. Gladly, please add my name, but as a non scientist better not.

    Perhaps you should have a heavyweight list – professors first, and Dr of Science and other with credentials.

    good luck

  52. As I said in my “contact”, note to Anthony…..

    Does this make me officially a WUWT “Flying Monkey”?

    /sarc

    I also told him he should make tee shirts.. He would make millions.

    Tom Riordan

  53. @JBirks
    “Why resurrect something that was not noticed by anyone outside the climate debate”

    I hear and see it being referred to in the media quite often.

  54. @Karl W. Braun

    Nothing “only” about a Bachelors In Mathematics as far as I am concerned. When I run out of fingers, I’m lost.

  55. Please add me Greg Keeley

    Perhaps forward it to Mr Mark Scott, Managing Director, Australian Broadcasting Corporation.?

  56. It would seem the editors will just sent you a letter stating that Cook et al has a table of definitions that they use to derive the numbers throughout the manuscript and that end up in the abstract. I doubt they will take an into statement as an ad hoc definition over the author’s explicit “Table 2. Definitions of each level of endorsement of AGW.”

    Logic

  57. You can add my name. Ian Guthrie of Perth WA. Highest qualification is Masters Crim. I don’t particularly want my web name linked to my real name, I am a bit private. But for what it’s worth, go for it. Cheers.

  58. Rather than going into minutiae, isn’t the simple, stand-out message of the 11,944 papers in the study that ‘66% OF SCIENTISTS EXPRESSED NO OPINION’ (7930/11944 = 0.664)?

    This quite clearly is sufficient to refute the paper in its entirety, assuming that the table in this document is an accurate reflection of the papers under examination.

    On the basis that ‘you need an opinion poll carried out to get the result you want’, would the following questionnaire be suitable?

    ‘Professor Jones:
    1. Does your Professorial Rank require you to raise grant income in excess of £500,000 a year?’
    2. ‘Would you lose your Professorial rank if you failed to bring in any grant income for 3 years?’
    3. ‘Are the major funding streams for climate research endorsing the position of AGW?’
    4. ‘Would your ability to attract funding and, hence retain your Professorial rank, be affected by carrying out skeptical research?’
    5. ‘Would the lives of you, your family and your children be adversely affected if you lost your Professorial Rank?’
    6. ‘Are you supportive of the position that human beings are the primary cause of global warming?’

    Let us now sample a skeptic:
    ‘Professor Spencer:
    1. Do you believe that scientific theory should be tested experimentally?
    2. Do you believe that transparent evaluation of the uncertainties implicit in scientific results are key to their validity?
    3. Do you believe that the primary purpose of a computer model is to identify appropriate measurement regimens to test an hypothesis?
    4. Do you believe that if such measurements disagree with the predictions of the model then the model-constructed hypothesis is wrong?
    5. Have the models used by the IPCC scientists accurately predicted the earth’s temperature since 1990?
    6. Do you remain unconvinced that the overwhelming driver for global warming is the activities of man??’

    You cover up the answers to the first five questions and only publish the last one.

  59. One John Cook wrote an article in yesterday’s “Weekend Australian” which bandies about, several times, this figure of 97% (or a figure close to it. Read it at your local Library if you don’t have a copy yourself. Then think about writing to “The Australian” in support of, or against, his article.

  60. AS Ferdinand Englebeen points out above, I believe this open letter contains an error that should be corrected.

    Where you state: “The central, and irremediable, error in the Cook paper is that the authors, by not adhering scrupulously throughout to the definition of “scientific consensus” that they had stated at the outset was the basis of their inquiry, were implying that if 97.1% of those abstracts that had expressed some sort of an opinion on global warming had said or implied that Man could cause some warming (their categories 5 and 6), those same 97.1% would also say or imply that Man caused at least half the global warming since 1950 (their category 7)” I believe you are not using the categories you listed above, and it should read: “The central, and irremediable, error in the Cook paper is that the authors, by not adhering scrupulously throughout to the definition of “scientific consensus” that they had stated at the outset was the basis of their inquiry, were implying that if 97.1% of those abstracts that had expressed some sort of an opinion on global warming had said or implied that Man could cause some warming (their categories 1, 2 and 3), those same 97.1% would also say or imply that Man caused at least half the global warming since 1950 (their category 1)

  61. You may also add my name.

    Further, are you kidding me? They are stonewalling and intend to let this stand? That’s insane — surely this is the sloppiest paper to ever make its way into the journal Environmental Research Letters! Or is this just how they do things over there?

  62. I posted above about a paragraph I believe was in error.
    Likewise, I suspect the same category error exists in the paragraph that reads: “There were 41 abstracts explicitly endorsing the IPCC’s version of consensus. But there were not only 9 in level 7 but also 54 in level 5 and 15 in level 6. Total sample size was thus only 119 out of 11,944 papers, or just 1% of an already smallish sample of the entire literature.”

    I infer there must be two different listings of categories, but the one you cite in this letter is not the one you use in the paragraph I draw to your attention.

  63. First, many thanks to all of you who have kindly lent your names to the letter to ERL’s editors. As soon as I have the list from Anthony of those who have contacted him, I shall be sending out the letter with all the names added. What an impressive list of qualifications the signatories have between them.

    Those who have kindly pointed out an error in the category numbers in the earlier draft letter to ERL will see that it had been corrected by the time the final version was sent out.

    I apologize for the confusion caused by the fact that I had not gotten the corrected version into Anthony’s hands before he ran this item.

  64. Don’t add mine.
    I’ll not kick the cabin boys on the ship of fools.
    Not that they don’t deserve it but unworthy of me.

  65. Anthony – please will you let us know if adding our name here counts. I have added mine up near the top. Do I need to also contact you outside of this post? I didn’t because I figured you wouldn’t want to be inundated by hundreds of people both here and there, but I will write to you again if that’s what I need to do. Please clarify.

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