A do-over on the ‘97% consensus’ claim – done right this time?

97pct_SKS_headlineBrandon Shollenberger writes: I’ve been mulling over an idea I had, and I wanted to get some public feedback. What would you think of a public re-analysis of the Cook et al data set?

A key criticism of the Cook et al paper is they didn’t define the “consensus” they were looking for. There’s a lot of confusion as to whether that “consensus” position is weak (e.g. the greenhouse effect is real) or strong (e.g. humans are the primary culprits). The reason for that is Cook et al tried to combine both definitions into one rating, meaning they had no real definition.

You can see a discussion of that here.

I think it’d be interesting to examine the same data with sensible definitions. Instead of saying there’s a “97% consensus,” we could say “X% believe in global warming, Y% say humans are responsible for Z% of it.” That’d be far more informative. It’d also let us see if rating abstracts is even a plausibly useful approach for measuring a consensus.

My current thinking is to create a web site where people will be able to create accounts, log in and rate a particular subsample of the Cook et al data. I’m thinking 100 “Endorse AGW” abstracts to start with should be enough. After enough ratings have been submitted (or enough time has passed), I’ll break off the ratings, post results and start ratings on another set of abstracts.

The results would allow us to see tallies of how each abstract was rated (contrasted with the Cook et al ratings). I’m thinking I’d also allow raters to leave comments on abstracts to explain themselves, and these would be displayed as well. Finally, individual raters’ ratings could be viewed on a page to look for systematic differences in views.

What do you guys think? Would you be interested in something like this? Do you have things you’d like added or removed from it? Most importantly, do you think it’d be worth the effort? I’d be happy to create it, but it would take a fair amount of time and effort. It’d also take some money for hosting costs. I’d like to have an idea of if it’d be worth it.

An added bonus to doing it would be I could move my blog to that site as well. Self-hosting WordPress takes more effort than using WordPress.com, but it allows for far more customization. I’d love that.

So, thoughts? Questions? Concerns?

By the way, don’t hesitate to tell me I’m a fool if you think I’m spending too much time on the Cook et al issue. I’ve been telling myself that for the last two weeks.

Source: http://hiizuru.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/a-re-analysis-of-the-consensus/

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

My opinion is that given the vast number of people interested in this at WUWT, we could likely crowd-source this work much more accurately and quickly than Cook did, without having to fall back on a small cadre of “like minded friends”. Both sides of the aisle can participate.

I don’t know what the result will be of such an analysis proposed by Brandon, but I do know that we can get far more participants from a much broader venue (since WUWT has almost an order of magnitude more reach than “Skeptical Science”) and that Brandon’s attention to detail will be an asset.

We already know many of the mistakes made in Cook’s work, so a re-do has the advantage out of the gate. This disadvantage may be that the gatekeepers at IOP may refuse to publish it, and University of Queensland may publish yet another bogus legal threat, since they seem tickled that Cooks 97% is the subject of worldwide gossip  – Anthony

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166 Responses to A do-over on the ‘97% consensus’ claim – done right this time?

  1. Eustace Cranch says:

    No. Reality is not subject to majority vote. Don’t legitimize the idea.

  2. AlecM says:

    Far better to assume that it was a fiddle, there is no advantage to reverse engineering it and to use the simplest possible analysis to disparage it.

    Your comment ‘The reason for that is Cook et al tried to combine both definitions into one rating, meaning they had no real definition.’ is good enough for me. it is risible.

  3. pokerguy says:

    “Both sides of the aisle can participate.
    Absolutely key. Magnificent idea. Do it!!!

  4. Doug Hoffman says:

    I’d be up for some of that action. I read a lot of climate science papers every month so this would not be a great added burden.

  5. milodonharlani says:

    I’ve commented here before that it’s unclear what it is about which 97% of climate scientists is supposed to agree. If it is that the world is warmer now than in 1850, then that figure might actually be accurate & indeed scientifically warranted. If it is that humans are the main cause of allegedly observed warming & that the result of this man-made climate change is liable to be “catastrophic”, then surely the figure would be lower.

  6. Barry Woods says:

    Bit pointless..?. As very few are as motivated as the SkS crowd..

    just keep asking people who cite it. What is the object of the consensus?

  7. more soylent green! says:

    I’m certain many, many, many papers endorse AGW. Anecdotes suggest endorsing AGW or working “climate change” into a grant request is a near never-fail way to get funded.

    The real question is — What evidence is being offered to support AGW?

  8. David in Cal says:

    I’d rather see a straightforward survey of scientists. Ask them specific questions about various controversial aspects of climate research. In particular, ask for their opinion about
    — the numerical value of climate sensitivity
    — their degree of certainty in various beliefs.
    — which steps should be taken

  9. Ken G says:

    I think the whole consensus argument is political BS, that it doesn’t matter, never did, and never will, so why keep beating this dead horse?

    The Cook et al issue is interesting because it shows what unscrupulous, intellectually dishonest people they are. As for their consensus claim, see above. Those who want to believe are going to regardless of what light is shown on what they actually did.

  10. The Engineer says:

    One of the main problems with Cook is HOW they define a climate scientist.
    You are a climate scientist according to Cook and Nuticelli if the words “global warming” appear in the title or abstract of your scientific paper.

    This results in 12000 papers written mainly by NON climate scientists, such as biologists studying the sexual activity of squirrels or even traffic counters.

    There is NO such thing as a climate scientist – officially, only physicists, metereologists, geologists and astro-physicists.

  11. omnologos says:

    Am all for it, but I cannot promise to do it whilst exercising on treadmills SkS-style.

  12. RHS says:

    Well, it isn’t the worst idea in the history of bad ideas.

    What is definitely needed is clear definitions to judge against, ones which do not lead to an agenda or pre-defined conclusion.

  13. hunter says:

    Brandon, In my opinion it is a waste of time and is implicitly allowing Cook & gang to set the pace of the discussion. Cook’s paper, like his pal Lewadowsky’s papers, are garbage. Why should skeptics have to dig through climate extremist’s garbage?
    Additionally, until it is clear that we are not seeking out papers that reject the greenhouse effect, I would rather not see skeptics dragged anywhere close to what could be- rightly or wrongly- confused with dragon slayer stuff.
    Better in my opinion would be to look for papers that are not promoting climate catastrophism and are either outright skeptical or at least luke warmers.

  14. D.J. Hawkins says:

    I like the idea of a do-over. In addition to revisiting the issue with clearer definition, I wonder if there might be sufficient data to examine the change of attitude as a function of time?

  15. Tom in Florida says:

    Why not redefine the whole question.

    Do you believe:
    1. The Earth is warming enough for concern and it is caused by:
    a. natural variability
    b. human activity
    c. both with natural variability as the leading cause
    d. both with human activity as the leading cause
    2. The Earth is warming but not enough for concern and it is caused by
    a. natural variability
    b. human activity
    c. both with natural variability as the leading cause
    d. both with human activity as the leading cause
    3. The Earth is not warming

    For me it’s 2.c

  16. Craig C says:

    Make a place for the paper’s author(s) to comment, and perhaps correct our reviewer’s analysis. Perhaps even make that part of the review to get their Email from the paper & send them a link.

  17. Windsong says:

    Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Does the new examination use the same or different criteria? (More pigeonholes?) As The Prussian mentions on May 19, (paraphrasing) a paper could easily be pegged as believing in CAGW/ACC, but disagree on the extent; agree on extent, but disagree on rate; agree on the first two, but disagree on the effects; agree on all of the above, but disagree on the solutions.

    An earlier cutoff date for papers? How does one take into account the warmists who have become lukewarmers, or lukewarmers that have become sceptics? (See Judith Curry’s recent comments when asked to rate herself.)

  18. Col Mosby says:

    David in Cal wrote :
    “I’d rather see a straightforward survey of scientists. Ask them specific questions about various controversial aspects of climate research. In particular, ask for their opinion about…”
    Agree. I always recommended a direct rather than the rather dopey indirect approach Cook
    used. It also eliminates the problem of counting obsolete opinions (old studies) and perhaps double counting where the scientist produced multiple papers.

  19. JPetch says:

    This little b….d is a tar baby. leave it alone.

    Remember one of life’s iron laws: ‘never argue with a fool’

  20. tteclod says:

    Go to the source. Ask the authors of each paper for an opinion regarding climate science. Make it two sets of the same very short list of questions, one regarding the content of the paper, the other regarding the author’s personal opinion.

  21. Rud Istvan says:

    Legates already published on how the Cook conclusion is not supported. One more result done this way, even if published, won’t prevent warmunists from citing the paper. Only way to get it out of their main stream narrative is to get it retracted. If enough folks think this approach could do that, then glad to volunteer to help. Personally, I don’t think so. Could not even get the Marcott abomination corrected, let alone retracted, last year despite very strong evidence of knowing scientific deception provided to the editors of Science
    More productive time could perhaps be spent debunking 2014NCA region by region, as Cliff Mass started to do for the Pacific Northwest on his blog.

  22. Charles Davis says:

    Bad idea:
    1. ‘Majority rules’ is not science. Stick with this. It’s the high road.
    2. The deck will get stacked. People with strong beliefs on either side will attempt to load the results.

  23. william says:

    My grandfather had an expression he used that was ground into him from living through the great depression: “Don’t throw good money after bad”

    Harness the good resources of this community for something more productive.

  24. ConfusedPhoton says:

    I think it is a bad idea and somewhat pointless.

    The question ishould not be about a mythical consensus but how much does Carbon dioxide affect the climate? Most people on both sides believe that Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas but no one really knows how significant it is.

    All the talk about how much is natural and how much is anthropogenic is simply guesswork!

  25. Martin A says:

    Ridicule Cook and co. Don’t emulate them.

  26. Allen63 says:

    The 97 percent is often repeated in the Media. Moreover, it seems to have a strong effect. So, a “proper” evaluation of the source data could be valuable.

    The concept of breaking down as suggested is good.

    Suggest: Also read “Conclusions” sections of reports — as abstracts can be misleading.

    Suggest: Find a way to look at all 11000 or so reports that were supposedly considered. Anything less can be “cherry picking”.

    Suggest: Contact authors (as suggested above) to see if they agree with ratings of their papers (do not have them rate there own papers). However, due to “political correctness” and “self preservation” affecting their answers, this aspect might be a waste of time.

  27. agfosterjr says:

    A searchable, reliable database on (the few?) climate papers that venture a guess at human induced climate change would be useful. That would take some real effort though, more than Cook et al were ever willing to put into it. –AGF

  28. Steve Lohr says:

    Reanalyze? Yes. By crowd-source? No. A proper examination of the data would be very helpful. A crowd-source would be a free-for-all mash up of ideas, which isn’t good for finding the truth.

  29. imoira says:

    What does it matter what people ‘believe’ if there is no evidence to support the belief?
    Show me evidence of unprecedented and catastrophic global warming (or global climate change or global climate chaos).
    Then show me evidence that it is man’s emissions of carbon dioxide that are causing unprecedented and catastrophic global warming (or global climate change or global climate chaos).

  30. Kevin says:

    more soylent green! says:

    May 21, 2014 at 9:15 am

    I’m certain many, many, many papers endorse AGW. Anecdotes suggest endorsing AGW or working “climate change” into a grant request is a near never-fail way to get funded.

    The real question is — What evidence is being offered to support AGW?

    Couldn’t agree more!!! How many studies were of the form – how will the future climate harm the XXXX or the habitat of the XXXX.

    This will be a waste of time. The best outcome will be to show Cook is a fraud – but we already know that -

  31. José Tomás says:

    It would be interesting to see trends (cf. Windsong)

    How many warmists became lukewarmers, and how many lukewarmers became sceptics?

    OTOH, how many lukewarmers or sceptics became warmists?

  32. NotAGolfer says:

    I’ll bet the vast majority of papers say something like this, “Given the great concern over climate change and its potentially devastating effects, we decided to study frog mating habits in ponds of different temperatures…” In other words, the authors don’t assert whether CO2-induced climate change is occurring, nor even whether or not they have the proper understanding to make a judgement on whether CO2-induced climate change is occurring, but they use the “great concern” as an excuse to fund research on whatever it is they are interested in researching.

  33. LogosWrench says:

    Not worth the effort.
    Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashoins.
    G.K. Chesterton.

  34. Jim Brock says:

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof…not a convoluted computer program that does not match actual data.

  35. gnomish says:

    cook’s project was a troll in the first place.
    obviously, it’s still quite potent and has sucked you in.
    what good is it besides inflating your notion of personal relevance?
    it won’t stop the juggernaut.
    but it will keep you busy spinning.

    and next time, if there is one, just post the links to it so everybody can ‘hack’ it, why not?
    this isn’t worth more than 15 seconds, imo. you did what there was to be done.
    you asked, so i suggest you move along. dwelling on this = boring.

  36. MikeUK says:

    I’d say move on, the consensus will stick with their 97% figure regardless, it seems a bit of a waste of energy to me.

  37. Bruce Richardson says:

    How could this be done without appearing to support that idea that the existence or nonexistence of a consensus among “scientists” is scientifically relevant? If 99% scientists believe X and the 1% believing Y turn out to be correct, would the 99% prevail? Should science be based on majority rule?

    I remember as a kid looking at the global map. The way that the continents fit together jumped out at me. Later I learned that there were a few scientists talking about continental drift. I was a “denier” even back then.

  38. Michael 2 says:

    Strange mix of responses. Why would anyone oppose doing this?

    Brandon has identified the obvious problem and may, or may not, realize that obfuscating the very information he seeks is a deliberate part of the strategy, and the participation of Dr. Lewandowsky, a psychologist, *is* narrowing the result to a single number with magical, emotional properties. He makes no secret of it; the entire study exists for a single purpose, to convey to the public that scientists are agreed on this dire emergency.

    Consider 100 percent — easy to achieve (“100 percent of all abstracts that claim human activity is the primary cause of global warming declare that human activity is the primary cause of global warming”) but not very believable. Also, declaring 100 percent eliminates the “enemy”.

    Consider 99 percent — it has been taken by “Occupy Wall Street”.

    Consider 98 percent — well just skip to 97, it is a PRIME NUMBER and ends with the lucky number “7”. Not only that, but it leaves some room for Goldstein — the 3 percent.

    The enemy of the 99 percent is the 1 percent. It is a perfectly arbitrary cutoff but it creates a nice “us versus them” propaganda talking point.

    The enemy of the 97 percent is the 3 percent. It is amazing how many people you can pack into 3 percent.

    FOR THE RECORD, I am in the 100 percent. So are you. Welcome to my club!

    The BATTLE is over the fixed nature of “97”. If it can be shown to be fuzzy, that’s bad for the “message”.

    As I have written elsewhere, it hardly matters what is the percentage — what exactly has been proven? Two huge possibilities exist:

    1. Scientists are perfectly free to study whatever they like and still get paid for it. (Good science, reports results where ever they lead, no a-priori bias)

    OR

    2. Scientists are paid to study specific things, and NOT paid to study NOT THINGS. (Not so good. Bias is inherent in the process).

    The dissymmetry is not easy for me to grasp or articulate. For any observation, a single cause exists or is the primary cause; an infinite number of other possibilities are NOT the cause. It is not rational to study any of these “not causes”, consequently no papers will exist.

    Suppose I was fascinated by blue-winged moths. I hired 15 researchers to study blue-winged moths. Eventually they turn in their reports. Along comes some college students and they do a survey on “moths” and conclude “97 percent of all papers on moths agree that they have blue wings”.

    But that is because it is the topic of the study. It doesn’t exclude brown winged moths, they simply were not studied and consequently do not show up in a list of abstracts. You cannot prove the existence of brown winged moths by doing a survey of abstracts 97 percent of which were about blue winged moths.

    NOW THEN, if 15 researchers were hired to study “moths” without any preconception of wing color, SOME of the papers would report blue winged moths, some white wings, some brown wings, and so on — it would be somewhat representative of the various species and then, and only then, would a survey of abstracts be “meaningful”.

    So the missing, but CRUCIAL, part of this study is detecting whether the whole entire thing is tainted by confirmation bias — these 75 or so AGW asserting abstracts, are they the result of specifically studying for AGW? If so, then ALL of them should assert AGW — but only in varying degree of “A”.

    WHAT was studied? Did the science proceed in an unbiased way, with no preconception what the outcome might be? I cannot see how such a thing is possible. To get a grant you must write a proposal, and you must have a hypothesis that you are proving or disproving.

    HYPOTHESIS: Humans are the primary cause of global warming.

    1. Papers that confirm the hypothesis will be funded and published and included in the Cook survey of abstracts.

    2. Papers that do not confirm the hypothesis won’t be considered an AGW paper! They might still get published but won’t be included in the filtered set of AGW abstracts.

    THE ACT of choosing which papers define the “consensus” IS the consensus!

    So, a better proposal — and more difficult — is to take those 75 or so papers and go all the way back to their funding and hypothesis. WHAT PERCENTAGE of AGW papers were funded to study AGW specifically, a thing presumed to exist and needing only to quantify?

    Conversely, inspect some of the “discarded” papers in the Cook study — 11,000 or so mention global warming or climate change but did NOT assert AGW. That’s incredible. He’s right about one thing — only papers that actually study the causes of climate change should be counted BUT to assume apriori that only AGW papers will be counted is a serious confirmation bias.

    In other words, any “GW” paper should be included as the baseline from which “+AGW” papers become a percentage.

    Brandon’s idea of a database makes good sense. It can even “hang out there” for people to run SQL (Structured Query Language) Select queries to their heart’s content. Columns would include title of paper, category, degree of relevance to climate change (0 to 10 from not relevant to highly focused), degree of assertion of natural cause, degree of assertion of human case (they are not rival; a paper might make no assertions of cause, or it might be very specific about natural causes AND human causes).

    These numerical relevance factors would be an aggregate of reviewers. Each reviewer would be offered an abstract, and maybe its full paper, at random. He can refuse to review it of course by simply not proceeding but it should not be permitted to discard until you find one you “like”.

    MY results would be tabulated in a different SQL table. Daily, a job would average all the reviews for a particular paper and store that into the appropriate fields of that particular paper.

    Thus at any time the database could be queried and the results slowly converge upon the “consensus of public reviewers” the details of which will be available if anyone wants it.

    It would actually be rather easy to set up. Your typical WordPress site is Linux and WordPress already uses MySQL, a very good and free database engine using standard SQL syntax.

    To develop a consensus percentage you’d ask two questions:

    Select count(*) from papers where climatechange > ‘5’;

    That gets the baseline number, papers primarily focused on climate change.

    Select count(*) from papers where climatechange > ‘5’ and humancaused > ‘5’;

    This gives a subset of those climate change papers that are AGW affirmative.

    Then do a division. There’s your percentage. By changing the filter parameters you’ll get different percentages.

    But what does it MEAN?

    Well then you get a list. Repeat the query but without the “count”. Start looking.

    The database ought also to have some columns for funding source, funding amount, hosting institution (university, corporation, etc), authors and co-authors (to help discover alliances and mutual back-scratching arrangements, independance or lack thereof, answer the question of how many scientists are there anyway?).

    Since Scopus is already a database it might be that this whole thing is “moot” and can simply be done on databases that already exist. What won’t be done is public ratings.

  39. pottereaton says:

    We need to find out how many climate scientists think catastrophic warming is imminent, how many think the warming will be problematic (but not catastrophic), how many think it will be moderate and easily adapted to, how many think it will be minor and not worth worrying about.

    I think the warmists would rightly fear an accurate study that told us all that.

    And please, let’s all stop using the misleading term “climate change” as a substitute for the more specific and accurate “catastrophic anthropogenic climate change” (CACC) or “anthropogenic climate change.” (ACC) It’s nothing more than manipulation of the language to give the mis-informers the advantage in what has heretofore been a rigged debate.

  40. Paul says:

    go for it

  41. Mike Maguire says:

    One of the huge issues I have with the Cook data is that they went back to 1991. Why use papers from over 2 decades ago, in a field that has(for those looking) generated tremendous empirical data to contradict almost unopposed theory at the time?

    This actually defines the problem we face today, over 2 decades later. We have too many climate scientists that wrote papers or had “faith” in global climate models in the 1990’s, that have not made the right adjustments to incorporate real world data the past 15 years.

    Looking for hiding heat or short term, unusual(natural) offsetting theories to account for the lack of recent warming but allows for accepting the same longer term theory as projected by global climate models with high sensitivity to CO2 is the biggest problem right now.

    It is very likely that whatever number comes up from a new survey, it will be MUCH lower than Cooks because:
    1. It will be less biased
    2. All the objective empirical data from the real world has been going against CAGW theory and some scientists are acknowledging that.

    However, my problem is with the large number of scientists still riding the gravy train and/or influenced by the many cognitive bias’s innate in all humans. Coming out with a study that includes this group as part of a consensus, sends the wrong message.

    Here are a couple of things to consider::
    1. When the lower number comes out. Look everybody, the consensus has dropped from 97% to 65% or 59% or 77% and it proves the other one was bogus or that the consensus is strongly shifting to the debate is not over after all or
    2. The skeptics did their own study and even that one shows a majority(even if it is smaller).
    3. Remember, if one is using published research or peer reviewed papers, it will strongly reflect the biased peer reviewed process.
    4. I’ve been an operational meteorologist for 32 years, forecasting the effects of global weather on crops and energy use the last 21 years. I’ve been on top of climate science for 15 years. Since I don’t have any peer reviewed papers and have not obtained government funding for any research, my view and those of people like me(greatly weighted towards the real world and empirical data/evidence) will not be in a survey that measures this. Again, the survey will be skewed towards those using theory or models………….which gets published. That IS the problem.
    5. I do like the idea of specific questions to establish “sensible definitions” that might be able to sort things out a bit. Maybe show that papers relying the most on theory or models or speculating, show X and those based just on empirical evidence gathered show Y. If that could be done, it would reveal the problem

  42. Michael D says:

    Hi Brandon,
    I was thinking along the same lines, but did not (and will never) have the time to make it happen. In summary I think:

    – yes, it is worth re-doing this, because the Cook paper is causing much mischief
    – yes, I think crowd-sourcing is the solution
    – there will be concerns about the quality of the results. My understanding is that crowd-sourcing results can be reliable if multiple answers are collected, and appropriate statistical strategies are taken to weed out biases and incompetence. We would have to design the process quite carefully with that in mind. Do you have the expertise for that?
    – would it make sense to restrict the respondents to people with advanced degrees, because they are familiar with interpreting abstracts? I think many of the WUWT followers fit into that category (e.g. I have a PhD in Physics).

    Thanks – I will certainly participate if you proceed.

    Mike

  43. Michael D says:

    Also: it appears to me that Cook counted abstracts, not people? Could our solution be slightly more sopisticated and decide, for each author, whether they mostly agree, sometimes agree, or never agree with AGW?

  44. ossqss says:

    Considering that many authors have more than one paper, how many times were they counted in this study as part of that 97%?

  45. rogerknights says:

    Countering the 97% meme is job #1 for our side. This is one way to do it–to demonstrate that Cook loaded the dice. As long as each evaluated abstract is posted alongside its rating, with the rater’s rationale given, and with room for comments, this won’t go far wrong. Ideally, the Cook rater’s evaluation could also be included in that tidbit.

    Suggest: Find a way to look at all 11000 or so reports that were supposedly considered. Anything less can be “cherry picking”.

    Not if they’re randomly selected–by choosing papers whose authors or titles begin with a certain letter, for instance.

  46. ATheoK says:

    Cook is a UofQ science fellow?

    I’d puzzled over Cook’s financing a few times. One normally earns little money running a lame website with a small number of adherents.

    Now revealing that Cook’s work is UofQ’s work and that Cook is one of their science fellow reveals some evidence where Cook was obtaining funds.

    A topic that certainly bears relevance to the differences between Steven Burnett’s “hard science and soft science”. What are UofQ’s standards for allocating fellowships?

  47. Wait, wait, wait. You’re going to do WHAT? You’re going to put lipstick on Kook’s pig? And then you’re going to kiss it? Count me out.

  48. Nullius in Verba says:

    There’s a major issue with any analysis of the literature in that:
    1. It’s subject to publication bias.
    2. It overweights prolific publishers.
    3. It’s influenced by what are active areas of research rather than what has been solidly concluded.
    4. Most papers are on other topics – even an ardent believer or disbeliever might not write about it in their paper if it’s not relevant to what they’re doing.
    5. People might publish conclusions that don’t match their own opinions for various reasons – including the ‘declaration of faith’ to get it published, or because the dataset you happen to be reporting on goes against the general pattern.
    6. It’s not measuring the variable anybody is really interested in, or reports.

    A much better idea would be to replicate and extend the Bray/von Storch surveys. They ask the right sort of questions (although I’m sure we could recommend improvements), they ask actual people rather than try to reconstruct from paper proxies, and they ask a much broader category of scientists.

    I’d be interested in seeing the survey extended to all scientists and engineers, and show the breakdown by scientific subject. (e.g. are chemists notably sceptical, as some have suggested?) I’d like to see more detail on the finer gradations around detection/attribution. I’d like to see more detail on their beliefs about danger/damage – do they believe it to be the end of the world, or a minor annoyance? And most of all, I’d like to know *why* they believe what they do and where they got their information from. Did they trust the experts, or did they download and examine data themselves? What do they think the reasons/evidence actually are? Do they know?

    I’d also chuck in a few technical questions to test their climate knowledge (a far better measure than counting papers published for judging actual expertise). A plot of belief versus competence might be interesting.

    The main issue with this idea, of course, will be getting an unbiased sample of scientists to participate in a survey run by climate sceptics, so I don’t regard this as easy. Internet surveys are far too easy to influence, even unintentionally. But it’s an important question for understanding the *sociology* of science, and of scientific controversies.

    And maybe if we do it properly and know what the real answer is, they’ll stop with all the 97% rubbish. They can only get away with it because nobody knows what the actual answer is.

    And for that matter, I’d be quite interested in the breakdown of opinion among sceptics, too.

  49. John R T says:

    Donna’s crowd-sourced 2009 IPCC audit addressed most up-thread concerns; I found her protocols satifactory.
    “Advice, Donna?”
    ………………
    Thank you for the UQ [Unknown Quotient/Quintile?] link, where we find this claim:
    ” He created SkepticalScience.com, a website that refutes climate misinformation with peer-reviewed science. “

  50. parochial old windbag says:

    What do you think of the emperor’s new clothes?

    We paraded the emperor, surveyed 1,000 leading citizens, rated them, racked them, stacked them. Results came in:

    A: very nice threads 67.1%%
    B: would have preferred tweed 32.8%
    C: he’s buck naked, what’s wrong with you people 0.1%

    “If I were wrong, one would have been enough”
    Response to a Nazi pamphlet entitled “100 Authors against Einstein

    Utterly pointless exercise. Let Cook stew.

  51. Lance Wallace says:

    This would be a tremendous waste of Brandon’s time and all who participate. My research was in the area of human exposure to air pollution, including particularly from indoor sources. There is a journal and an international society devoted to this concept. About 10 years ago, it became clear to a number of researchers in this area that the research money was being sucked up by climate change. The result was to answer requests for proposals by writing grant applications something like “Effect of climate change on human exposure/indoor air quality/whatever”. Grant awarded, the researchers would study what they wanted to with a short easy estimation of the effect of climate change tacked on, and of course highlighted in the abstract. The point is that no one could determine from the abstract what these scientists really believed about global warming. The effort would be doomed from the start. Let’s move on.

  52. Geology Joe says:

    I wouldn’t even bother. Consensus is irrelevant to science. You might as well be asking for a show of hands as to how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Repeating an meritless exercise will not make it any less meritless.

  53. Sandi says:

    Instead of saying there’s a “97% consensus,” we could say “X% believe in global warming, Y% say humans are responsible for Z% of it.” That’d be far more informative.

    How are you going to say “Y% say humans are responsible for Z% of it” when no one today knows with any certainty what Z is? Besides not a good idea anyway. If you get down in the mud with the pig, you will end up as dirty as the pig.

  54. bobj62 says:

    I think the concept is good–collect data to refute the 97% figure. However, refuting opinion is like battling windmills–frustrating with little accomplished. Whatever the result, it will be disparaged and ignored.
    Additionally, the population of papers permitting counter-consensus views will be underrepresented due to the editorial bias of the group-think ministers.
    I think the best use of crowd-sourcing may be for fact checking as is done by Anthony and others.

  55. Abbott says:

    97% is purely for the headlines. The media reps don’t care if it’s wrong or right. “The World is Doomed” is the story. The 97% part supports the story. So someone else comes up with a story that “The World is Not Doomed” and 97% of scientists agree. Will it sell newspapers? No. Will it entice advertisers? No. Then what’s the point?

  56. crosspatch says:

    “X% believe in global warming”

    I have a problem with the term “believe in”. That suggests a matter of faith that something is occurring without requiring any actual evidence of it. If someone just “believes in” the concept, they are likely to be dismissive of evidence presented against their belief and protective of the foundations of that belief lest any cracks appear. I believe that term is the root of the problem with this issue.

  57. Sandi says:

    Michael 2 says:

    Strange mix of responses. Why would anyone oppose doing this?

    How about because consensus had absolutely nothing to do with science, and everything to do with politics.

  58. mmesch@ionsky.com says:

    I see limited to no value in this exercise. What would be interesting is in-depth qualitative interviews with the top ten scientists each in physics, geology, meteorology, and astrophysics regarding their views and level of knowledge on this topic. Could be very enlightening and the differences between the groups interesting. Not suggesting anyone tackle this, it would be an enormously difficult task to get quality interviews with these persons.

  59. Michael D says:

    Windbag: I like the Einstein quote. Thanks

  60. Peter Miller says:

    I have now looked at 40 of these papers on a random basis, mostly there is a reference to climate change/global warming in the context of “if it happens, then this may happen if this model is correct”. An example might be: “the southern limits of the present day habitat of the shy green horned Paraguayan mountain toad could be threatened if global warming occurs and if rainfall in the eastern Andes also declines dramatically.

    The rest of the papers had the most spurious association with climate change/global warming and why they were included is beyond me.

    So I support the proposal in principle, but not in practice, because the findings would be immediately dismissed by alarmists as being biased and ‘unscientific – OK, so this would be an obvious case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    I think the solution would be to make a master access file of all the files, including the ones hidden behind a paywall and where there is only an abstract available, then have all the sceptic sites provide easy access to it. Those accessing the site would be asked to try and identify any papers specifically endorsing the concept of a rise in CO2 levels having the direct and/or potentially dangerous consequence of climate change/global warming. The responses would have to be independently monitored and confirmed. A counter would be attached to the site. If the counter reached a figure of more than 300 out of the ~12,000 papers I would be very, very surprised.

  61. Mark says:

    If this is done, make sure we break it down along these lines:
    Direct Evidence
    — provides evidence to support AGW
    — Provides evidence against AGW
    Opinion
    — takes a position supporting AGW
    — takes a position opposing AGW

    This might show a disconnect between opinions and what evidence is being presented.

  62. José Tomás says:

    Sorry, I am a newbie here, and I am at a loss (this may be a stupid question).

    Didn’t the Lord Monckton paper address exactly this?

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/09/03/cooks-97-consensus-disproven-by-a-new-paper-showing-major-math-errors/

    How would Brandon’s initiative be different from this?

  63. AnonyMoose says:

    An interesting idea. I don’t know if existing software can handle the rating, but there is software for websites for rating various things. There are plugins for WP for various things, including things like Types & Views which let you make sites for arbitrary data — but check if you can export the data in the way which you want.

    There are plenty of WP services available. At a minimum, you’d want a Cpanel or managed WP service. In addition to the W3 Total Cache plugin, also drop something like CloudFlare.com in front of the site. You might need antispam filtering such as Akismet. The Weaver II theme gives a lot of theme options. If one server won’t be enough, then you’re getting into multiple server details such as this: http://www.rackspace.com/blog/deploying-scalable-wordpress/

  64. pokerguy says:

    Attention all naysayers:

    The Achilles heel of the alarmist position (other than bad science etc), is their false claims of “overwhelming consensus.” Pious objections on the grounds that we shouldn’t be playing the same game ignore the harsh political realities. This is war. Want to change the nature of the debate overnight? Then find a way to overturn the notion of a strong consensus re CAGW.

    I’d personally favor a survey of scientists by a national polling firm, but I’ll support anything that holds the other side’s feet to the fire on this b.s consensus.

  65. If you go ahead, I’d suggest that only papers that provide clear evidence of AGW are included.

    The vast majority come under the mitigation/impact areas, and therefore have no relevance.

    I doubt if many papers at all will give the sort of exact proportion due to man, so we are back to subjectivity.

  66. Dermot O'Logical says:

    I cannot believe that any possible outcome from destroying one paper claiming a 97% consensus will actually improve the science on the fundamental question at hand.

    Attacking the 97% claim simply diverts skeptic resources from scientific review of papers making pro-AGW claims. Finding and publishing any flaws in those papers would do far more good than knocking the credibility of papers about the credibility of the pro-AGW consensus.

    Let’s get to work.

  67. AnonyMoose says:

    In addition to the one-through rating project, however you design your formal study, design the rating site so it can keep running. Let casual visitors later create an account (even if it’s one which might go away if you’re running low on storage), rate random papers, and they can see how their own ratings compare to previous ratings.

  68. Billy Liar says:

    If you plan on doing an attitude survey why not ask a relevant range of scientists the following question:

    If by including a reference to hypothetical negative effects climate change in your paper guaranteed funding, would you include such a reference?

  69. more soylent green! says:

    Waste of time. Consensus isn’t science. As others have mentioned, there is publication bias as well as bias in selecting the papers to be reviewed, etc., etc. What exactly are we trying to prove, that the 97% number was gamed? Well, duh!

  70. Non Nomen says:

    As long as the definitions are crystal clear, this seems to be a good idea, at the first glance, to me. Go and ask the IPCC loudly and in public what, in their opinion, such crystal clear definitions are. I’m convinced that there will be either no answer: that’s bad for the Cook’s book or they will impose definitions impossible to comply with: bad for the Cook’s book as well. I bet the IPCC can’t find a consensus….
    Any other ideas?

  71. dbstealey says:

    How about this:

    The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

    There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.

    More than 31,000 U.S. scientists and engineers have co-signed that statement. There have never been enough alarmist scientists and engineers to come anywhere close to those numbers.

    Cook presented a bogus survey, then claimed that “97% agree” that climate catastrophe is imminent. But the actual consensus, for whatever that is worth, is clearly with climate skeptics. In reality, the alarmists comprise a relatively small clique, with the major news media on their side of the false narrative.

    Would I spend the time necessary to once again debunk Cook? Probably not. Instead, I would constantly beat his side over the head with the OISM Petition, and challenge them to round up more co-signers than that, who believe that AGW is a major problem. Insist that they get hard copies; no emailing or telephone conversations. Do it just like OISM did it.

    I suspect the response would be a chorus of crickets.

  72. Harry Passfield says:

    If I get this right, you seem to think that Cook’s original idea was good to start with: to demonstrate there is a ‘consensus’ (whatever that is supposed to mean) amongst science papers (whatever they may be defined as being).

    Well, I think the original idea was cr*p and, moreover, you are in danger of just trying to apply more lipstick to a pig. And when you’ve succeeded at that…….?

  73. I would like to see if I can get 97% consensus on this…

    HAS THE EARTH WARMED?

    Yes and no depending on the time frame. The past 17 years we have seen no warming and maybe a little cooling.

    Over the past 360 years since the Little Ice Age Climatic Minimum the climate has warmed.

    Since the Holocene Climate Optimum about 8,000 years ago the planet has cooled especially in the far north.

    Since the Younger Dryas stadial, or Big Freeze, about 12,000 years ago the climate has warmed a fair amount.

    Since the worst of the last Glacial Period about 22,000 years ago it has warmed a lot.

    Since the beginning of the current Ice Age 2.6 million years ago the Earth has been overall steadily cooling with many ups and downs.

    Since the Eocene Optimum about 52 million years ago temperatures have dropped a large amount.

    Looking at a graph of temperatures over the past 500 million years we see the Earth’s climate has gone from hotter than the Eocene Optimum to very cold many times. It is near record cold presently for that time period.

    Over the last 4.6 billion years periods of major glaciations such as we are now in have been the exception. Most of the time it has been considerably warmer.

    If you are interested you can experience the current Ice Age by traveling to the Arctic, Antarctic or Greenland where you will find permanent ice sheets. Snowy winter is our yearly reminder of where ice sheets will, in time, form again.

  74. KevinM says:

    ““97% consensus,” we could say “X% believe in global warming, Y% say humans are responsible for Z% of it.””

    X should be about 97 percent.
    Z is unknowable. The papers give little indication of percent belief.

  75. AnonyMoose says:

    An interesting WP hosting service to consider: http://wpengine.com/
    You’ll have to consider how many visitors you get each month.
    Technical talk: http://wpengine.com/our-infrastructure/

  76. TAG says:

    I regard this as a very BAD IDEA. Scientific results are not verified by a popularity poll. They are verified by ongoing research which confirms their utility.

  77. Joe Born says:

    If the rating operation is to be open to all comers, it would need to be possible for readers to slice and dice the results in accordance with who the (anonymized?) raters were: which ones rated most or least consistently with the others, for instance, and what are examples of a given rater’s more-controversial ratings.. This is because there will no doubt be saboteurs, so attempts will have to be made to cull the data–which will no doubt be called cherry picking.

    Incidentally, it would be informative to perform a parallel categorization of the papers in accordance with whether they actually attempt to establish values for climate sensitivity or man’s percentage responsibility for warming. If a mycologist, for example, starts his paper out with”100% of global warming is caused by humans’ CO2 emissions, which are certain to raise mean temperatures at least 10 Celsius degrees by Friday, so this paper reports our study of how installing incandescent lamps in cellars affects mushroom growth,” that may actually reflect his belief (as opposed to his desire for further funding), but the paper gives no reason for joining that belief.

  78. John Barrett says:

    Anthony don’t waste your time no one will believe your results anyway at least none of the warmists.
    What I believe we need is advertising in large papers telling people the truth about temps telling people about sea levels, if they knew the truth I’m sure more people would come over to our side. It would certainly make the Establishment have to think differently if they were constantly being asked pertinent questions about the climate.
    I think we need a site where we could raise money to pay for this, I’m sure even business’s would contribute if they knew there electricity bills would come down if this BULL was shot down.
    Imagine the frustration of all the doom mongers, they wouldn’t be able to run and hide like they do, they would also have to answer difficult questions.
    Anyway i’ll keep dreaming.

  79. DonShockley says:

    I think the whole idea of trying to use abstracts as evidence of anything is futile. It’s just one step improved over science by press release. Trying to prove any position requires facts which, by definition, are missing from an abstract. The facts are what are, or should be, contained in the papers themselves.

    As anybody who actually goes to the effort of actually reading scientific papers has experienced, there can often be a large discrepancy between the paper’s factual contents and what a summary of that same paper purports it’s contents to be. I’ve often seen an interesting press release or paper abstract and gone on to read the full paper with all it’s caveats and conditions. Even when the science itself may be above my understanding, you can still see how it was conducted and to what degree the authors are confident of their conclusions. Sometimes the paper itself is a fairly straight forward analysis of data to test a theory, and the conclusions have minimal errors and assumptions. Other times, the paper spends more time trying to justify their assumptions and exclusions of potentially contradictory data than they spend on the data and methodology that was used to produce the conclusions mentioned in the abstract or press release.

    It’s this “the devil is in the details” issue that makes it impossible to use just an abstract to determine what the real “scientific” consensus is. An abstract unsupported by data in the actual paper would have the same “weight” as an abstract for a well documented paper. Without reading and rating each individual paper, for not only end opinion but robustness of data, any conclusion derived from abstracts alone would just tell you what the writers want the readers to believe and not what the actual science may show.

  80. Michael 2 says:

    Geology Joe says: (May 21, 2014 at 10:51 am) “Consensus is irrelevant to science.”

    Really? ;-)

    By now you’ve realized this whole thing is not, and never was, about science. It is about 100 billion dollars a year to send to Africa along with the usual global governance wish list items by people that are not being careful about what they wish for.

    You need a clever slogan — 97 percent of scientists…

    You need a couple of scary movies: “Day After Tomorrow” had me worried for about an hour. Then I remembered that adiabatic compression will warm stratospheric air as it comes down to sea level. It just doesn’t stay frozen and freeze everything it touches, removing megajoules of energy from the sea without itself warming up in the process.

    You need people to worry about cute furry polar bears.

    That is “magical thinking” at its finest and has already moved tens of billions of dollars, per year, just in the United States.

  81. Neil Jordan says:

    Don’t do it. Go for a retraction. At least 97% of these proverbs concur:

    http://www.giga-usa.com/quotes/topics/proverbs_t318.htm

    The more you stir a turd, the more it stinks.
    – Proverb, (Dutch)
    The more you stir filth the worse it stinks.
    – Proverb, (Danish)
    The more you stir it the more it stinks.
    – Proverb, (French)
    The more you stir it the worse it stinks.
    – Proverb
    The more you stir the mire, the more it stinks.
    – Proverb, (German)
    The more you stir, the worse it will stink.
    – Proverb

  82. Michael 2 says:

    This will be a second mention of this report but it is worth mentioning AGAIN (just as the 97 percent gets mentioned in everything)

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/09/03/cooks-97-consensus-disproven-by-a-new-paper-showing-major-math-errors/

    “Only 41 out of the 11,944 published climate papers Cook examined explicitly stated that Man caused most of the warming since 1950. Cook himself had flagged just 64 papers as explicitly supporting that consensus, but 23 of the 64 had not in fact supported it.”

    Tim Ball says:

    “The sad truth is the claim of 97% achieved its objective, which was political from the start. When it is quoted by the US President it comes with all the unearned authority people ascribe to that position.”

    So, depending on how you select your papers, you get anywhere from 0.3 percent consensus to 100 percent consensus.

    I am starting to see why this whole exercise is really, really pointless — it has been done, the “debunk” published. I will try out this new statement on my TBW (True Believing Warmist) family members and see if it makes the slightest difference. The TBW’s themselves readily concede lack of consensus — but to them it is irrelevant. They understand that the REASON for the 97 percent is “social justice” and that’s a Good Thing (TM).

  83. José Tomás says:

    I didn’t read the Legates, Monckton et al. paper, so I repeat my question:

    Is this not redundant rework?

    How is this proposal different from Legate’s paper?

  84. Sandi says:

    Harry Passfield says:

    If I get this right, you seem to think that Cook’s original idea was good to start with: to demonstrate there is a ‘consensus’…

    Exactly. Whether the fact that Cook’s survey was done correctly or not isn’t the issue here. The issue is that consensus is politics, not science, and we skeptics should have not part of it.

    My opinion may be a bit strong, but I think the idea of doing it again will bring the same shame to skeptics. As Michael Crichton put it:

    I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

    Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

    There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.

  85. Michael 2 says:

    Slightly OT but hopefully entertaining and illuminates the problem:

    The religious equivalent is saying that 97 percent of all theologians believe in the Book of Mormon. You’d simply filter the list of theologians to include only Mormons. That way you’d get a small percentage of Mormons that don’t believe in the book of Mormon and thus seem very objective and scientific. (*)

    When challenged, you would say, “Since the study is about the Book of Mormon, it seems proper to include only those people whose opinions are valid on the subject, and that necessarily means including only Mormons in the survey.”

    It ought to be 100 percent but that doesn’t seem very “scientific”. 97 percent is a nice prime lucky number that’s nearly 100 percent.

    * I actually have no idea what is the percentage of Mormons that believe in the B of M.

  86. Alec Rawls says:

    If the goal is to see how many people agree with the proclaimed “consensus” position, then the criterion for agreeing with the “consensus” should to be the position that the IPCC authoritatively states as the consensus position (from a near final draft of AR5, would have to look up what the final says):

    It is extremely likely that human activities have caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature since the 1950s.

    I suspect that the actual degree of agreement with that claim is quite low amongst climate scientists. The previous IPCC “consensus” had been that the signal of human caused warming was now detectable. To leap from “detectable” to a high degree of certainty that humans had caused MOST recent warming, when the only new data was a cessation in warming, is bizarre. A person would have to pretty much be a lunatic (as some climate scientists certainly are) to think the evidence supports this leap.

    Just for fun, I would also ask how many think warming is still happening.

  87. dbstealey says:

    John Barrett suggests advertising. That’s not a bad idea. One graph with a short explanation would go a long way in educating the undecided public.

    Re: peer review. Remember this? Peer review in the climate field is corrupt. It has little credibility. Really, you have to go back about 15 – 20 years to get some balance.

  88. Michael 2 says:

    José Tomás says: (May 21, 2014 at 12:03 pm)
    “How is this proposal different from Legate’s paper?”

    It has the limited utility of quantifying various options other than “bad AGW”. It might also illuminate that a different pool of reviewers would rate differently. But I suspect everyone here already is pretty sure of both outcomes.

    The Cook study reveals a huge burden on a small number of volunteers with over a thousand abstracts reviewed by some volunteers in fairly short span of time. It is no wonder that some were considered “consensus” papers when they weren’t about climate whatsoever — just throw a sentence in the abstract to get some grant money or get published.

    The “Sokal Affair” relates to this as does the SciGen scandal. Put in a few leftwing words (climate change or social justice) and it will get published — even if it is otherwise about improving catalytic efficiency.

    If a climate paper is about climate science but does not specifically mention AGW — well, actually it DID convey an opinion — there’s nothing there to write ABOUT.

    It is the same as counting only “Yes” votes and then coming up with a conclusion that all papers say “yes” — but only 41 out of 12,000.

  89. gnomish says:

    large scale attribution of motive to thousands of ‘scientists’ by a bunch of blog readers – what’s not to like?

    get this:
    “Although the art of trolling is measured by ROI in word count, sometimes the only object of an exercise is to turn a thread into a quagmire of nonsensical fits and blurts.
    Some of the tried and true techniques are listed below:”
    “:GO META!
    Question or attribute motive for the statement rather than addressing the content of it. If the motives are of 3rd parties who are not present to confirm or deny any assertion, this will invite endless, pointless speculative debate.”

    so sure- do it – add another skidmark to the cook paper.
    there is plenty of room for more arrows in that straw man- knock yourself out; tell yourself you wont something.
    but you’ll have been neutralized by idiots smarter than you!
    fighting and winning are 2 very different things.
    stop paying them- that’s the achilles heel, pokerguy.
    keep paying them and you bleed yourself to feed your enemy.
    but i suppose that’s unthinkable to eloi.

  90. Latitude says:

    I can see the headlines now….

    “Racists attack scientific papers…that 97% of scientists agree on”

    ….film at 11

  91. JeffC says:

    I say do it … with real definitions about what the “consensus” is … the 97% meme needs to be shutdown … it has become a trump card for AGW proponents (or Real World Deniers as I call them) to try and end all debate …

    would be happy to volunteer and would gladly hit a tip jar to help defer expenses …

  92. leon0112 says:

    I suggest you do this with a twist.

    Evaluate each paper as to whether or not it gives EVIDENCE
    1) to support CAGW,
    2) to support AGW,
    3) to support GW
    4) researches the impact of GW if it occurs
    5) is unrelated at all to climate

    or

    6) it is a modeling exercise.

    Don’t ask for their opinions. Ask what the papers show.

  93. more soylent green! says:

    Nearly a decade-and-a-half after the contested presidential election in Florida, the die-hards still believe Gore won, no matter what an independent study by the AP concluded.

    Can’t win this one, cat’s already of the bag. I

  94. Jake J says:

    I like the idea, but I think you’ll be attacked for bias. Critics will say that, by using Watts Up With That to recruit reviewers, you effectively solicited people who would lowball the consensus numbers. If you could find ways to control for this bias, then I think it’s an interesting idea.

  95. EternalOptimist says:

    Boromir was wrong. You dont use your enemies strongest weapon against them
    Chuck it into the fire,where it belongs, along with cookie-gollum

  96. ttfn says:

    original survey smacks of “4 out of 5 doctors smoke lucky strikes”. Cook’s paper smacks of a backhanded attempt to prop up the original (what a coinky dink both came up with the exact same number). Do a new survey and make it clear that if > 60% believe in CAGW, then all funding of climate science will be diverted to wind farms.

  97. There’s no great likelihood that a properly-conducted survey will improve on the results in the original paper. The definitions were in fact clear enough: only abstracts marked “level 1″ explicitly stated that most of the recent global warming was manmade – and Cook et al. themselves marked only 0.5% of the sample as assenting to that definition. See Legates et al., 2013.

    A far more useful approach would be to arrange for the investigating authorities’ attention to be drawn to the flagrant misreporting of the authors’ results not only in the paper itself but also in Bedford & Cook (2013).

  98. Dagfinn says:

    To my thinking, the best way to counter the 97% study would be to point out that several other studies have shown other results. Finding all of them would be a good start? The Bray/von Storch surveys have been mentioned. Here are two others, admittedly a few years old.

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2008/02/22/is-there-agreement-amongst-climate-scientists-on-the-ipcc-ar4-wg1/

    http://www.forbes.com/2009/12/19/climategate-copenhagen-science-opinions-contributors-s-robert-lichter.html

  99. Taphonomic says:

    97% of climate scientists believe in global warming.

    The key word is “believe”.

    This consensus is right up there with the consensus that 100% of creation scientists believe that all geologic strata were deposited in a Noachian flood.

  100. RobertInAz says:

    Did they get a number of scientists to self rate their papers IAW their scale?

  101. Steven Mosher says:

    For folks who claim there is no consensus I would say this:
    A) what evidence do you have
    B) why resist an attempt to properly measure the consensus present in the literature.

    For folks who claim that consensus doesnt matter, well that’s a separate question.

    Doing a proper content analysis of the published science is good.
    There are many ways to assess the state of the science and level of agreement.

    1. Do a review of the science. The IPCC approach.
    2. Interview scientists ( see the Vision prize)
    3. Content Analysis.

    All three are interesting and necessary.

    For #3 All the studies Ive seen are flawed by some easy to remedy problems.

    The only reasons not to do it.

    A) you think its a waste of time.. well DONT HELP THEN
    B) you are afraid of the answer.

  102. gareth says:

    “What would you think of a public re-analysis of the Cook et al data set?”
    I’d would think it had little more value than the Cook et al analysis, except maybe as a PR exercise (and only if it showed that the conclusion of the original was contrary to the evidence).
    97% of witch doctors agree that toads cause warts – so what?
    Just my 2p (or 2c depending on your currency)
    gareth

  103. Greg says:

    ” It’d also let us see if rating abstracts is even a plausibly useful approach for measuring a consensus.”

    What are you aim for? A socio-political analysis of what gets published?

    Consensus has nothing to do with the factual science and all to do with peer group pressure, orthodoxy and manipulation.

    We already know the whole field is corrupted by those problems, we don’t to count the beans.

    By all means prove they’re study was a fraud if you can but don’ t legitimise the mythi of consensus by trying to do it “properly”.

  104. Martin Clark says:

    @ tteclod says: May 21, 2014 at 9:38 am
    “Go to the source. Ask the authors of each paper for an opinion regarding climate science.”
    Better, but risky. As we observe, “abstracts” are frequently at variance to actual content, eg the ACC/AGW “sell” is in the abstract but less apparent or entirely absent from the paper. IMO abstracts are sometimes as bad as press releases.

  105. It’s a terrible idea on several levels. By carrying out your own ratings you legitimise the method, which is a nonsense. You also invite derisory coverage, because of course ‘den!ers’ will disagree with Cook et als findings, you will be no more neutral than them. You will also provide the excuse for more supportive coverage of the original paper. It had already been torn to shreds, don’t reanimate it.

  106. John in Oz says:

    Bad idea (in ‘as they came to mind’ order:
    – many times we have seen reported that papers do not get published unless they include proof that ‘global warming’, ‘climate change’ or numerous variations of apocalyptic disaster are included. Thus, the papers being reviewed may not provide a balanced view.
    – abstracts can be at odds with the finer detail and nuances within the paper
    – opinions (of reviewers) are like fundamental orifices; we all have one but some smell worse than others. You could possibly have many arguments and rationalisations over 1 paper as to it’s authors’ beliefs, never mind 100’s or 1,000’s.
    – it is too open to trolls
    – it would be better, as others have suggested, to survey the authors rather than guess at their motivations and beliefs
    – counting the number of papers produced over a period that DO NOT include CAGW would not be proof that it does not exist? The opposite applies (see Piltdown Man, stomach ulcers, etc)

  107. Dave says:

    I’m inclined to say “No” because of one of my dad’s old witticisms: “Never give a prick the satisfaction.”

  108. Lord Jim says:

    “There’s a lot of confusion as to whether that “consensus” position is weak (e.g. the greenhouse effect is real) or strong (e.g. humans are the primary culprits). The reason for that is Cook et al tried to combine both definitions into one rating, meaning they had no real definition.”

    If you a looking for the genuine consensus, you will also need to look at scientist’s qualifications and fields of expertise to determine whether or not they are appropriately qualified to make comment on the physical basis of AGW.

  109. Mindert Eiting says:

    If you do this, Brandon, note that raters should get a minimum amount of training in judging aspects of summaries. You should use at least three raters for each summary, which allows you to detect outliers among the raters. Compute rater reliabilities in a pilot phase. If these are too low, you should better stop.

  110. Mike Jonas says:

    I’m with David in Cal, Col Mosby et al: Short answer “Yes”, but approach scientists not abstracts.

    The questions and participants are critical. But first, clearly identify the objective. I suggest:
    To find out what scientists think about certain aspects of climate science.“.

    Participants : Obviously an unbiased selection process is needed, such as “All authors of climate-related papers published between dates x&y” or crowd-sourced. The former could be biased towards the mainstream because of funding, gatekeeping, etc, but in this context that’s not necessarily a bad thing (it establishes an ‘upper limit’). The latter is fraught with difficulty and open to corruption by non-scientists.

    Questions: Unslanted, of course, and unambiguous. Do make sure that the questions make it very straightforward for anyone with mainstream views to make them clear. Do make sure that important sceptical ideas are tested, and that it is easy to express disagreement with them. Do make sure that ‘shades of grey’ can be expressed. Do make sure that they test knowledge not just belief. Suggestions:
    1- Have human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, increased atmospheric CO2 concentration (ie, above what it otherwise would have been)?
    2- Is CO2 a ‘greenhouse gas’ (ie, will increasing atmospheric concentrations tend to raise global temperature)?
    3- About the history of global temperature-
    -a- Was the Medieval Warming Period a global event, either concurrent or phased?
    -b- Was the the Little Ice Age a global event, either concurrent or phased?
    -c- How did temperatures in the early part [define] of the Holocene compare with today’s?
    -d- How did sea levels in the early part of the Holocene compare with today’s?
    -e- How did temperatures in the Eemian compare with today’s?
    -f- How did sea levels in the Eemian compare with today’s?
    4- At what date do you think that man-made CO2 began to have a measurable effect, say 0.2 deg C, on global temperature? [I suggest 0.2 because it is the currently expected decadal increase]
    5a- Excluding feedbacks, what is the climate sensitivity (“CS”) to CO2? [define CS carefully].
    5b – Including feedbacks, what is CS?
    6- What proportions of observed global warming since say 1970 were -i- caused by man-made CO2, -ii- caused by other human activity such as land-clearing, -iii- natural, -iv- unreliable (eg, measurement or calculation error)?
    7- How far into the future are climate model temperature forecasts reliable (multiple choice answers range from ‘not reliable’ and ‘a few days’ up to ‘1-2 centuries’ and ‘more than 2 centuries’)?
    8- Does the current halt in global temperature increase (aka the ‘hiatus’ or ‘pause’) invalidate or cast doubt on the climate models?
    9- Over the next 20 years, and over the next 100 years, with ‘business as usual’, by how much do you expect the global temperature to change? (multiple choice answers include ‘up an unspecified amount’ and ‘down an unspecified amount’)
    10- With ‘business as usual’, how long will it be before fossil fuel usage falls below today’s usage?

  111. earwig42 says:

    Two reasons not to do it.

    Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”― George Bernard Shaw
    and
    “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”― Mark Twain

  112. jones says:

    I think it’s a good idea but just how statistically significant such a body of work would be is another question.

    The criticism of sampling bias could so easily be leveled at the authours surely?

    Just a thought that’s all.

  113. Martin Lewitt says:

    The magnitude or rate of the warming needs to be a factor. For instance, the longer the pause goes on without some cooling, the more I find plausible the hypothesis that most of the warming that we are left with is anthropogenic. The direct effects of CO2 could never explain more than about 30% of the rapid rate of warming of the 80s and 90s without significant net positive feedback. With this extended pause, it seems likely that most of that unexplained rate of warming was natural or due to multi-decadal ocean modes. But the residual much lower rate of warming we are left with, might well be mostly anthropogenic. So while the extended pause destroys the credibility of the high sensitivity climate models and their extreme projections, it increases the plausibility of a largely anthropogenic 1C to 2C of warming by 2100 under business as usual emission scenarios.

  114. Bruce Cunningham says:

    I agree with you. I have been of the opinion for several days now, that this should be done. Just like Steve and Ross destroyed MBH98/99 with a re-analysis, this should have only an upside, as far as I can see. Like Donna L says, step by step things such as this matter. It adds up. Count me in if I can be helpful.

  115. rogerknights says:

    TAG says:
    May 21, 2014 at 11:37 am

    I regard this as a very BAD IDEA. Scientific results are not verified by a popularity poll. They are verified by ongoing research which confirms their utility.

    That’s not the intent of this re-analysis. The intent is to discredit Cook et al., those who pumped it, and SkS. That’ll do!

  116. Charles Nelson says:

    I think you should survey those attending the Church of England General Synod and try to establish how many of them believe in God. I think you’ll find it’s somewhere in the region of 97%.

  117. John Whitman says:

    Yesterday on Brandon Shollenberger’s blog I did not have enthusiasm for his idea primarily because the ‘Consensus’ paper is based on flawed premises and anything that uses the basic concept cannot avoid being tainted. And I argued this project seems low on a list of research projects.

    Also, unless the idea proposed by Brandon Shollenberger is targeted and put on a track for publication in a major scientific journal, why spend the effort? Authors and co-author selection is crucial to put it on a journal publication track as well as affiliation to a organization that has a good track record of assisting in getting a paper published. In addition, the project needs a board of experienced and published mentors to guide it.

    Though I am not enthusiastic about the idea by Brandon Shollenberger , I think if an objective group carries the idea forward then it will be with science in mind, In that case I will be very interested in following its development, its progress and in seeing the results.

    John

  118. Eamon Butler says:

    Reading through the comments here, It’s clear that there are a lot of major faults with the Cook 97% Consensus. Any one of the criticisms, throws the survey result into a downward spiral.
    Perhaps, putting all of these points, into a single paper, and written with the humble layperson,(like me) in mind, could dismantle the 97% myth. Getting it to appear in the public domain seems to be difficult. Maybe the Times would oblige again.

  119. Amr marzouk says:

    Ignore Cook et al, they will go the way of gas lighting.

  120. Chip Javert says:

    What a waste of time – a warmest group analyzed the data and (SURPRISE!) found 97% agreement. Non-warmests are now proposing to analyze the exact same data with the expectation of finding (SURPRISE!) less than 97% agreement.

    Who is the target audience for this colossal waste of time & why would ANYBODY find this to be credible?

    Can any reasonable person answer “yes” to either of the following questions:
    1) Would anything of substance actually change if non-warmists perfectly re-did this meaningless & silly survey?
    2) Given reputational damage already heaped on the survey & its authors, would re-doing the survey have a positive impact on the scientific or public discussion (if, so, how?)?

  121. Chip Javert says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    May 21, 2014 at 2:00 pm
    For folks who claim there is no consensus I would say this:
    A) what evidence do you have
    B) why resist an attempt to properly measure the consensus present in the literature.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    News flash for Steven Mosher: the scientific consensus that Earth was the center of creation was overturned in about 1675; consensus against the photon was overturned about 1920; consensus against plate tectonics overturned about 1970.

    Frankly, where in the scientific method is weight given to consensus?

  122. Scott Basinger says:

    Great idea. Maybe have the good folks at scienceofdoom participate.

  123. Michael D says:

    Brandon, here’s one suggestion for handling the stats (I would not be surprised if you have already planned this):
    a) Given the full set of abstracts {W}
    b) Select (in secret) a subset {Q} < {W} of maybe 20 abstracts that is representative of the range of possible assessments
    c) Have a balanced group of experts (some warmers, some skeptics) assess and discuss the set {Q}, to determine the "canonical" classification of each abstract in {Q}. Keep this information confidential (it might be best to do it at the end of the data collection phase).
    d) For each volunteer assessor k, assign a subset {Wk} of abstracts to evaluate. In every case, {Wk} should include all elements of {Q} though in unmarked random positions in the list.
    e) Ensure that there are enough volunteers to assess all abstracts multiple times.
    f) Run a special statistical analysis to detect patterns in the assessments, such as: are some assessors biased; do the average assessments change as the assessors gain experience, etc.
    g) Remove data contributed by assessors who performed poorly on the canonical set.

  124. Max Lansing says:

    When I first heard of the 97% consensus it reminded me of the election results of an election in North Korea or Russia. The kind of an election where 3% of the electorate might eventually disappear. As for your idea, please don’t. I believe it would lead to an inaccurate public poll of their opinion.

    Perhaps a scientific poll with a control for responses, double blind so no one knows who responded with what answer would be the best methodology. But it is unnecessary. We know the flaws of the Cook survey mentioned above.

    Mr. Watts, keep up the good work and the good fight.

  125. Reasonable Guy says:

    I think I would volunteer. I would however suggest to have a pre-question about ECS to allow the reviewers to be classified. This would think provide a view about bias.

    Do you know what ECS is?
    Yes: What do you think ECS will be : 0-1, 1-2 etc
    No: Do you consider yourself to be a Skeptic, Alarmist, (provide examples to be sure the definition is understood)

  126. The statement “97% of scientistcs believe in climate change (or global warming)” means nothing.
    What exactly do the agree on? Let’s refute the claim as meaningless and ask what they estimate the warming in degrees will be caused by increased CO2 emissions at a certain date (like 2050) and the ppm value used in the estimate.

  127. Truthseeker says:

    Eustace Cranch says:
    May 21, 2014 at 9:08 am

    No. Reality is not subject to majority vote. Don’t legitimize the idea.
    ———————————————————————————————-
    You are correct that the universe is not a democracy and does not care what we, or anyone else, thinks.
    However, there is the argument to take the club that they have been using and hitting them over the head with it, over and over again, just to take it away from them if nothing else.

  128. Hey guys, I’m afraid I didn’t see this post until just now, so I missed a lot of comments. I don’t think I can answer all 100+ of them now. I’ll try to just address some central concerns. One is expressed by Martin A:

    Ridicule Cook and co. Don’t emulate them.

    A lot of people seem to think this project would be done to find out what the “consensus” truly is. That’s incorrect. I don’t believe rating abstracts can tell us that. What I believe is rating abstracts can tell us how good or bad Cook et al’s methodology and data were. That brings us to a point expressed by people like Ken G:

    I think the whole consensus argument is political BS, that it doesn’t matter, never did, and never will, so why keep beating this dead horse?

    This argument does matter. It matters quite a bit. It shouldn’t, and it certainly should be based upon work as shoddy as that done by Cook et al, but “shouldn’t” rarely matters. Most people who hear about the “97% consensus” will never understand why Cook et al’s results are meaningless.

    You can actually look to Skeptical Science to see why this is true. As John Cook has said many times, people will tend to not accept criticisms of an idea if they don’t have an alternative. Saying, “Cook’s et al’s work sucks” won’t change people’s minds. Saying, “Cook et al’s work sucks; look at this to actually understand the issue” may.

    Related to these ideas is that is expressed by Steve Lohr:

    Reanalyze? Yes. By crowd-source? No. A proper examination of the data would be very helpful. A crowd-source would be a free-for-all mash up of ideas, which isn’t good for finding the truth.

    The point of this project would not be to find “the truth.” The point would be to provide material for people to look at in order to understand the issues. A “free-for-all mash up of ideas” is fine for that. It lets people see the ideas then examine the data for them. If half of your raters have on bias while the other half have another, you can see that in the data and examine its effects.

    Bruce Richardson asks a relevant question:

    How could this be done without appearing to support that idea that the existence or nonexistence of a consensus among “scientists” is scientifically relevant?

    If people hear both, “There’s a 40% consensus,” and, “There’s a 97% consensus,” I think they’ll tend to find the “consensus” argument far less compelling. I think this is an effective way of showing people a claim of “consensus” is pretty much meaningless.

    AnonyMoose raises important concerns about the backend of a project like this:

    An interesting idea. I don’t know if existing software can handle the rating, but there is software for websites for rating various things…. At a minimum, you’d want a Cpanel or managed WP service. In addition to the W3 Total Cache plugin, also drop something like CloudFlare.com in front of the site. You might need antispam filtering such as Akismet.

    My current plan is to create this system from scratch (aside from cannibalizing code). I’d use a MySQL server with hand crafted web pages. I’d use PHP and Javascript for account control and database I/O. If there wound up being enough interest in the project, I might add in another component to make data analysis more practical on the server itself. Until then, I’d probably do more the complicated analyses by downloading the data and running R code on my machine. Another important concern from AnonyMoose is:

    In addition to the one-through rating project, however you design your formal study, design the rating site so it can keep running. Let casual visitors later create an account (even if it’s one which might go away if you’re running low on storage), rate random papers, and they can see how their own ratings compare to previous ratings.

    One benefit of a design like mine is it would be easy to scale. Additional projects could be added right along side it. And since I’d intend to have ratings done in sets by subsample, we could even change what’s being looked at as we go if problems are found. Another important issue is raised by Joe Born:

    If the rating operation is to be open to all comers, it would need to be possible for readers to slice and dice the results in accordance with who the (anonymized?) raters were: which ones rated most or least consistently with the others, for instance, and what are examples of a given rater’s more-controversial ratings..

    This is one of the primary appeals to a system like I describe. There would be no reconciliation phases, no tie-breaks, no nothing. Everyone would have all the data, and they could examine any parts or combinations of it they wanted. We’d be able to look for things like rater bias by comparing each rater to one another (even across specific abstracts or sets of them).

    That said, I don’t think the initial system would allow too much in this regard on the server itself. Creating the code to run analyses like that in your browser would take a significant amount of time. At least in the beginning, more complicated analyses would probably require downloading the data yourself.

    Even then, I would be happy to help by writing up R code to run tests on your own computer. I’m sure others would be too. And who knows, maybe some people would eventually contribute the code to make those analyses possible server-side.

  129. Dagfinn says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    May 21, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    For folks who claim there is no consensus I would say this:
    A) what evidence do you have
    B) why resist an attempt to properly measure the consensus present in the literature.
    —————————————————————————————————————
    The consensus is not “present in the literature”. If it exists, it is expressed in the literature, but the expression is not the consensus. Therefore, it cannot be measured in the literature unless you have independent evidence of a strong correlation between the actual views of scientists and the expression in the literature.

  130. Dagfinn says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    May 21, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    The only reasons not to do it.

    A) you think its a waste of time.. well DONT HELP THEN
    B) you are afraid of the answer.
    —————————————————————————————————————
    The study design is incurably flawed. Both because we don’t know how the literature reflects the views of scientists and because there is no way to guard against bias among volunteers. Maybe more reasons as well.

  131. Jake J raises a concern which is important to address:

    I like the idea, but I think you’ll be attacked for bias. Critics will say that, by using Watts Up With That to recruit reviewers, you effectively solicited people who would lowball the consensus numbers. If you could find ways to control for this bias, then I think it’s an interesting idea.

    .

    As I said above, I intend to allow people to examine individual rater ratings. Critics will be able to look at each abstract and see how different people rated it. They can then look at each person who rated and and see how they rated other abstracts. They can even look and see what the answers would have been if they removed raters they felt were biased.

    Additionally, critics will be able to participate directly. I'll invite critics to to rate a set of abstracts then compare their results to everyone else's. I'll then invite everyone to discuss the disagreements and see what they think.

    Mindert Eiting raises a concern which helped trigger this idea:

    If you do this, Brandon, note that raters should get a minimum amount of training in judging aspects of summaries. You should use at least three raters for each summary, which allows you to detect outliers among the raters.

    I don’t agree raters should be forced to practice as a person can disregard anything they “learn” while doing it, but the opportunity to practice is definitely important.

    However, the more interesting issue to me is the idea I “should use at least three raters” so I can “detect outliers.” This is an important point to me because my hope is to have more than three raters for each abstract. I’d want five, or maybe even ten. That lets us examine thigns like bias much more effectively, and it’s a reasonable goal since I intend to only examine ~100 abstracts at a time.

    John Whitman raises a question about publishing results:

    Also, unless the idea proposed by Brandon Shollenberger is targeted and put on a track for publication in a major scientific journal, why spend the effort?

    I don’t think results need to be published in a journal to have a strong impact, but that’s not too important. A lot of scientific work isn’t done with a publication in mind. It’s done to learn things. It’s often only after you’ve done a lot of work that you’ll be able to perform a study the results of which can be published.

    Michael D suggests I might have already planned something. I won’t quote it because of how long it is, but I can confirm I have had a similar idea from the start. Aside from some details of implementation, there’s only one important difference: I would not just remove data from anyone. What I’d do is calculate many different results with many standards for which raters to include. I’d also encourage people to make their own suggestions about what data to filter.

  132. Thanks for fixing my HTML tag!

  133. Dagfinn says:

    Brandon Shollenberger says:
    May 21, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Jake J raises a concern which is important to address:

    I like the idea, but I think you’ll be attacked for bias. Critics will say that, by using Watts Up With That to recruit reviewers, you effectively solicited people who would lowball the consensus numbers. If you could find ways to control for this bias, then I think it’s an interesting idea.

    As I said above, I intend to allow people to examine individual rater ratings. Critics will be able to look at each abstract and see how different people rated it. They can then look at each person who rated and and see how they rated other abstracts. They can even look and see what the answers would have been if they removed raters they felt were biased.
    —————————————————————————————————————————
    If you want to be scientific, you should be worried about bias itself, not just about being attacked for it. The way this is being framed, it looks to me like “bias is OK if it supports our views and we can get away with it”. I understand that may not be what you intended.

    Your suggested solution looks like a flimsy band-aid to me. Bias is natural and normal. You will find differences between raters. It’s commendable to let critics inspect the results, but as far as I can tell there’s no objective way to interpret the differences, so you will be arguing with the critics for eternity. You can invalidate the results, but not validate them.

    Maybe you should ask Mike Hulme who said that the Cook et al study was “poorly conceived, poorly designed and poorly executed”. See if he thinks your design is any better.

  134. Dagfinn, Jake J suggested critics would cite a particular form of bias as an issue. I outlined a powerful method for examining the effect of that issue. I have no idea how you interpreted that as suggesting “bias is OK if it supports our views and we can get away with it.”

    Your suggested solution looks like a flimsy band-aid to me. Bias is natural and normal. You will find differences between raters. It’s commendable to let critics inspect the results, but as far as I can tell there’s no objective way to interpret the differences, so you will be arguing with the critics for eternity.

    There is no need to “interpret the differences.” One doesn’t need to understand why a bias exists in order to see it or examine the effect of it. At the most basic level, one can take the “lowest” and “highest” raters as demonstrating the full range of bias. That gives you boundary conditions on what the “right” answers are.

    There is little reason there would be extensive arguing about the results. Critics can propose whatever filters they like. Those filters would be applied and the results examined. The results would be easily verifable, meaning the only arguments would revolve around what filters are “right.” The worst case scenario is we’d wind up with a situation where everyone could agree:

    If you believe A about the data, the results show B.
    If you believe X about the data, the results show Y.

    But disagree about whether A and/or X are true. Laying out people’s differences in such a clear manner would be useful. This is especially true since those differences could be easily checked against individual abstracts.

    Additionally, the rating system I’ve proposed is quite simple. That greatly reduces the extent of bias. It also means inappropriate ratings are more easily verified.

  135. Eva says:

    I don’t quite understand the philosophising about this issue. The Abstract itself clearly states that it is NOT 97% of all papers. Out of 11,944 scientific peer-reviewed papers on “global warming”, 66.4% express *NO* position on anthropogenic (man-made) global warming. Of the reminder that endorsed some position (32.6%), 97.1% suggested it was man made – i.e. it is a majority of a third of scientists that enforce it, NOT a majority of scientists. What’s there to argue about. The media had purposefully twisted the facts to suit the media status quo.

  136. Richo says:

    I don’t believe that their is any benefit in repeating the survey as it will only confirm what we already know that funding of climate science by governments is corrupt a process and bias towards funding submissions that infer CAGW.

  137. Lord Jim says:

    So, what constitutes a “consensus” exactly? Is it just a headcount? Is one Lindzen really equal to one newly minted PHD? I would suggest a more qualitative (as opposed to quantitative) assessment is in order.

  138. mem says:

    I wouldn’t bother repeating Cook’s’ travesty. It was a politically corrupt set up from the start. Far better to start again and do it properly. But to do so will cost money as it needs to be done by an accredited social research company that is not politically aligned. Material would need to be kept confidential as many scientists still fear career backlash for coming out on the global warming issue although this is starting to turn the other way here in Australia. Colleagues now talk openly about the damage the climate movement has done to science and the dreadful waste of public resources that could otherwise have been used productively. Let’s put it this way, the only people here that would welcome a meet with Michael Bent Hockey Stick Mann are the ousted Green Party and a few toady followers in the leftist media. To do it again, nah, move on. Cook is a useful idiot and a jerk . Most of the world knows this now and he will never be anything else.

  139. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Don’t do it, is my advice. It is better to demonstrate that the original one was flawed.

  140. David A says:

    A key criticism of the Cook et al paper is they didn’t define the “consensus” they were looking for. There’s a lot of confusion as to whether that “consensus” position is weak (e.g. the greenhouse effect is real) or strong (e.g. humans are the primary culprits).
    ==========================================================
    AH!!, still not correct! The strong position of proponents should be “humans are the primary culprids, AND the warming affecfts are CATESTROPHIC!

    That is what the entire debate is about. To see a good version of the a strong statement, see the Oregon petition where over 35,000 scientist state,..
    ” There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of cabon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gase, is causing, or will, in the forseeable future cause CATESTROPHIC harm to earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substanial scientific Sevidence that increases in carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal enviroments of the earth.”

    There is no statement signed by any proponents of CAGW which states the opposite, which would read…
    There IS convincing scientific evidence that human release of cabon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gase, is causing, or will, in the forseeable future cause CATESTROPHIC harm to earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substanial scientific Sevidence that increases in carbon dioxide produce many HARMFUL effects upon the natural plant and animal enviroments of the earth.”

    Ther is not one survey of scientist that makes this claim. The 97% claim is a pitiful, a farce, and fradulant.

  141. David A says:

    “I’m thinking 100 “Endorse AGW” abstracts to start with should be enough”

    Again, the same error. Why leave the “C” out af AGW???? Never leave the “C” out/ Without the “C” CAGW is a purely academic exercise, of NO political value. WUWT is making a mistake in leaving the C out.

    Hell, the truth is that C, the G and the W are all MIA.

  142. David A says:

    Sceptics are under mo compulsion to accept the rebranding of CAGW to CC, (Climate Change). I encourage all skeptics to call it CAGW, and demand the proponents prove a consensous on that.

  143. Jim G says:

    The “conflict of interest” factor is too high to properly evaluate the truth of the responses. Are they presently beneficiaries of grant funds or other income based upon AGW theory, is their department, their school, their company, etc?

  144. thallstd says:

    I like this idea for selfish reasons. I think it would be interesting to see the results. To see how many published papers actually quantify A’s contribution to ACC.

    But I don’t think it will have any impact beyond blog & forum debates. Even if the results completely refute the 97% claim, the press will ignore it and the warmists will dismiss it. It will provide one more arrow in the quiver of counter arguments to the 97% claim but I doubt it will convince the true believers. It won’t stop the EPA from issuing new regs, the IPCC from creating alarmist summaries, Obama or Kerry from demonizing fossil fuels. There is IMO, no anthropogenic way to derail the ACC gravy train – only time and the climate itself will do that.

    And even if it manages to refute Cook’s study – the 97% consensus will live on through the studies/surveys of Oreske, Doran, Anderegg and whatever others there are. I think this has merit as an example of how subjective such studies can be. But by itself will not accomplish much.

    To augment it, it may be useful to discredit the premise and methodologies of all of the 97% studies. Yes, each has been discredited at some time in the past in some post or another. But to my knowledge there is no one place anyone can go to find all of the critiques. That, I think, would be worth having. And if it shared the same url as Brandon’s idea then that survey would support the arguments that the premise and methodologies are flawed.

  145. Dagfinn says:

    Brandon Shollenberger says:
    May 22, 2014 at 12:56 am

    There is no need to “interpret the differences.” One doesn’t need to understand why a bias exists in order to see it or examine the effect of it. At the most basic level, one can take the “lowest” and “highest” raters as demonstrating the full range of bias. That gives you boundary conditions on what the “right” answers are.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————
    You may have a point about the boundary conditions. Assuming that you have full range of bias, that is. You would have to know that somehow. Of course, if the range is too broad, the result will be of less value. What you can’t do is correct for the overall or average bias to find the “right” answer, since you don’t know how large it is or even in what direction it has.

    The only reason this comes up is because of the indirect method of assessing the views of scientists. Asking them directly seems so obviously superior.

  146. we could say “X% believe in global warming, Y% say humans are responsible for Z% of it.”

    The first clause is meaningless.
    100% of geologists believe in global warming because even in the scope of human recorded history (cave paintings) we were in an ice age. The world is warmer than it used to be — by a lot.

    So, go ahead and ask the Cook question and categorical responses, as he stated them without alteration. This is your control. If you cannot replicate the control, it begs other questions of Cooks methodology as well as yours,

    Then ask the more specific quantifiable questions that really matter:
    Global warming has been (Xp90, Xp50, Xp10) degrees C, from Date1 to Date 2, by what measure?
    Y0% say UHI accounts for at least Z0% of signal (or is unmentioned, null)
    Y1% say CO2 accounts for at least Z1% of total global warming (or is not mentioned. null)
    Y2% say ALL GHGs account for at least Z2% of total global warming.

    There is likely to be a one-to-many element here with one paper sourcing several probability estimates of Z*.

    There must also be a sampling of how many such statements in the abstracts are supported by research in the paper and not just references to other papers.

  147. Dagfinn says:

    Brandon Shollenberger says:
    May 22, 2014 at 12:56 am

    Dagfinn, Jake J suggested critics would cite a particular form of bias as an issue. I outlined a powerful method for examining the effect of that issue. I have no idea how you interpreted that as suggesting “bias is OK if it supports our views and we can get away with it.”
    —————————————————————————————————————————–
    I absolutely didn’t intend that as an accusation. I was trying to make a point, perhaps clumsily. The point refers to discussing rater bias, not as a problem in in itself, but only as something you need to handle because someone else accuses you of it. So it’s about what you didn’t say. Of course, I may have missed something.

  148. Michael D says:

    Interesting that you are broadening our scientific vision for this initiative, Brandon. In particular I find it interesting that you are motivated to investigate the validity of Cook-like processes. i.e. ask questions like “if we modified Cook’s process in xxx way, would that make it valid?” and “what do the statistics mean?”

    Once you have all the machinery in place, presumably the same machinery could be used to ask other questions, such as “is there a consensus that antibiotics are good” (a loaded question!!). We may begin to see patterns such as “if a concept is widely accepted, then only papers that question that concept will be ‘original research’ and thus publishable.” Thus Cook’s foundational concepts may be more deeply flawed than his experiment design.

  149. thallstd says:

    “if a concept is widely accepted, then only papers that question that concept will be ‘original research’ and thus publishable.”

    Actually there appears to be a bell curve relationship to the strength and duration of widely accepted conclusions/results/beliefs.

    This New Yorker article is an eye-opener on the impact of consensus on any field of study. It goes beyond gatekeeping and beyond climate science, which the article doesn’t even mention.

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/12/13/101213fa_fact_lehrer?currentPage=1

  150. Dagfinn:

    You may have a point about the boundary conditions. Assuming that you have full range of bias, that is. You would have to know that somehow.

    If critics wanted to claim bias was an issue, I’d expect them to do some ratings so they could tell us what the “right” answer is. They’d have a hard time convincing people otherwise.

    I guess you could suggest there is bias in some people that didn’t participate, but I don’t think that’s an issue.

    What you can’t do is correct for the overall or average bias to find the “right” answer, since you don’t know how large it is or even in what direction it has.

    True enough, but we can look different response types. We may not be able to tell which patterns are “right” since popularity doesn’t give us that answer, but we can see what possibilities there are.

    The only reason this comes up is because of the indirect method of assessing the views of scientists. Asking them directly seems so obviously superior.

    That could be useful, but it would be pretty much useless as a response to Cook et al.

    Stephen Rasey:

    The first clause is meaningless.
    100% of geologists believe in global warming because even in the scope of human recorded history (cave paintings) we were in an ice age.

    I’d like to think most people understood I meant “anthropogenically induced global warming,” or “the greenhouse effect,” or the like. I would be more precise when writing rater guidelines, but I prefer not to have to worry about doing it in every blog comment.

    Michael D:

    Once you have all the machinery in place, presumably the same machinery could be used to ask other questions

    Aye. It’d require creating new tables in a database, inserting the new data and modifying some interfaces, but that’s about it. We could even switch out what kind of data is being studied, such as by replacing abstracts with public statements.

  151. Michael D says:

    That link from thallstd is very interesting and potentially relevant. Here is the money quote:
    “The journals only wanted confirming data. It was too exciting an idea to disprove, at least back then.” … after a new paradigm is proposed, the peer-review process is tilted toward positive results. But then, after a few years, the academic incentives shift—the paradigm has become entrenched—so that the most notable results are now those that disprove the theory.”
    Thanks!

  152. Since this is at the bottom of a long post it probably is irrelevant … but my opinion is:
    “Asking the wrong question over again will not solve anything.” The question is a poor question to start with. It is like asking “When did you stop beating your wife?”

    Has the earth warmed since 1850? Is that even a relevant question anymore looking at the many studies of long term climate?

    It seems to me after studying weather and climate for a large part of my life as both a part of my profession and my avocations; after 50 years I have come to the conclusion that it is “50 Shades of Grey”, to steal a phrase. In my part of the world (Western Canada), I regularly experienced highs of around 40 degrees C as a child, floods, drought, 55 degrees below weather, and as and adult, repeat and stir gently all through the next 60 years. Is it warming? Yeah; in some places. Is it cooling? Yes; in some places. Is it caused by humans activities? Yes, in cities, industrial developments, and in some places with certain types of agricultural and deforestation/reforestation practices. Is the human contribution large or small – I think everyone is guessing – it is like the measurement problem. What are we measuring? Are we measuring the right thing? How good are the measurement tools? What are the biases? How accurate are the measurements? (They may be precise, but how accurate are they and as for the averages – we are comparing ever changing modern technology with old thermometers and all with siting issues.)

    I am not quite 70 but I have verbal and written family history from the 1850’s from the time of my great grandfathers. Other than having transformed the surface of the earth north of 49 from a very harsh, difficult place to live in to a place that is pretty comfortable and liveable, I don’t know how much humans affected temperature relative to natural variability. It many be that the weather patterns are less severe than in my great grand parent’s day, but it is hard to tell because even my grandmother’s ranch house had frost and ice on the inside of the log walls winter mornings when I was a child. Now, I live in a heavily insulated farmhouse with a water to water heat pump and a temp cast wood fireplace that keeps things at plus 20 degrees C or more when it is 40 degrees C below 0 outside. I conclude that I MUST be adding heat to the atmosphere along with my livestock or I would die and they would die.

    When I cut hay in my fields cleared from trees in the boreal forest, I am adding heat to the atmosphere. But if I wasn’t cutting hay, and modern man wasn’t here, then thousands of hectares of forest would burn every year. How do I compare the two amounts of heat? Man is adding heat to the planet, but what is the amount relative to what the earth would produce naturally all on it’s own.

    So now when you ask a young scientists who has been educated in the last 30 years with all the hype surrounding the evils of global warming, I think you can guess his answer. Ask some one like me who has watched cattle dying from cold and suffocating in snow drifts while standing up against drift fences, in trees and draws; and starving in droughts with grasshoppers eating more feed than the livestock could; and having watched at least three cycles like that I am not worrying a lot about “Global Warming” of a fraction of a degree. The WEATHER is different every year and we experience weather.

    We don’t “experience” climate. The random selection of 30 year periods to describe “climate” in a zone is a CONSTRUCT.

    As an engineer, I would NEVER rely on the 30 year “averages” of climate provided by Environment Canada. Since you can get 60 to 100 years of data (possibly “adjusted”) even in relatively recently developed Western Canada, I would want to use the best available data, AND if possible do a site reconnaissance before designing anything since 100 years of data may be inadequate if there is geotechnical, geological or other information that suggests “weather” has been more extreme in the recent past than the current 30 year climate story tells you.

    If I am designing something that may last 50 to 100 years, it is not appropriate to use a 30 year segment of averages. Even some engineering associations caution that longer series of records and projections must be considered.

    As for sea level rise – having designed water side facilities on both salt and fresh water where the daily or annual variation in water level may be measured in terms of several metres, I have trouble with worrying about a couple of centimetres.

    I just came back from skiing on the disappearing snow in the Rockies last week, and went to a two day 100 mile horse endurance ride event last weekend. Three or four climate zones, 300 km. It finally broke 20 degrees C this week where I live. Weather forecasters made a big deal of it since it took until mid May for Spring to start – Summer is now 30 days away and the twilight is already lasting past 11:00 PM at this latitude. The trees finally started getting green this past weekend and four days later are nearly in full leaf. Weather and nature are amazing. Man’s understanding – not so much.

    But that is weather.

    Is the climate getting warmer? Are humans the cause? Human activity has an impact but how much? What is the likely amount that the AVERAGE world temperature changed in the last 150 years and how much was due to humans?

    Does anyone think it matters to someone who lives in an area of the world that can see the temperature change by 80 degrees+ C in one season; by 40 degrees C in a day; by 25 degrees C in a few minutes.

    Seems to be a question that should be left to a few good academics as it really is not significant from a practical perspective in so far as the effects of climate change, assuming they are in the plus direction, are relatively slow and not relevant to most people’s life times. Some people try to tell us that it is going to be, but for older folks like me, I think we might be better off working on stopping the killing in Syria, or finding a cure for cancer and a host of other social and medical problems. Weather is weather and I don’t care if climatologists say 30 years defines climate. I would not build on an obvious flood plain just because it hasn’t flooded in 30 years when I can see with my own eyes that it has flooded in the “recent” past and undoubtedly will again. I would not want to build on a sinking river delta in an earthquake zone like people all over the world do and expect to be immune from the disaster that will eventually occur, even though it may not be in my lifetime as no one actually knows when the thousand year flood or the next unconsolidated silt shaker is going to come along.

    The question of reviewing the Cook et al. paper to me, is irrelevant and meaningless as you are asking people who are so focused on a particular ideology, that they don’t see the forest.

    Didn’t mean for this to turn into the rant that it did; but I just can’t get worried about a fraction of a degree or even a degree in the next 100 years; especially when natural variability might wipe it out and go a great deal in the other direction.

    Regional changes are important and the fact that some regions are warming or cooling or gaining or losing ice/snow is something we need to pay attention to – though that again is mostly weather. In the mountains to the west of me, we have a whole lot more snow than last year so people are walking on pins and needles waiting to see what the freshet will bring. I should worry about a fraction of a degree increase in global temperature per decade that was already supposed to have wiped out the ski resorts ( several of which had record snowfall events this year – must have been AGW).

    in summary, I don’t think redoing a survey that asked irrelevant questions will provide much useful information. People who dig holes, are experts in digging holes so they keep digging. That still may not tell you a great deal about holes if they haven’t measured anything relevant while they were digging.

    Wayne Delbeke, P.Eng. (long retired from Engineering to farming and retiring again)
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Rapid Temperature Changes:

    From: http://www.mountainnature.com/Climate/Chinook.htm
    “An Introduction to Chinooks

    Along the eastern slopes of the Rockies, the Chinook wind provides a welcome respite from the long winter chill. Few people spend very much time along the eastern slopes without experiencing these wonderful warm winds. The change can be dramatic. On Jan. 11, 1983, the temperature in Calgary rose 30°C (from –17°C to 13°C) in 4 hours, and on February 7, 1964, the temperature rose 28°C (51°F°), and the humidity dropped by 43 percent.”

    And from: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070730193034AAA4YM0
    “The greatest temperature change in 24 hours occurred in Loma on January 15, 1972. The temperature rose exactly 103 degrees, from -54 degrees Fahrenheit to 49 degrees. This is the world record for a 24—hour temperature change.

    The greatest temperature change in 12 hours happened on December 14, 1924. The temperature at Fairfield, Montana, dropped from 63 degrees Fahrenheit to -21 degrees at midnight. This 84-degree change in 12 hours stands as the greatest 12-hour temperature change recorded in the United States.

    The temperature at the Great Falls International Airport on January 11, 1980, rose from -32 degrees Fahrenheit to 15 degrees in seven minutes when Chinook winds eroded an Arctic airmass. The temperature rose from 47 degrees in just seven minutes, making it the record for the most rapid temperature change registered in the United States.”

  153. @Brandon Shollenberger at 10:04 am

    I’d like to think most people understood I meant “anthropogenically induced global warming,” or “the greenhouse effect,” or the like

    I think you are still massively underestimating the problem with the statement:
    “X% believe in global warming

    It is meaningless without the parameters:
    How MUCH global warming?
    Over what TIME FRAME is the warming?
    What is the uncertainty in warming?
    and the mechanism of the warming.?

    I can “believe in global warming” and even more so believe in “the greenhouse effect” and simultaneously believe that global temperatures have been cooling over the past 15 years. The Greenhouse Effect keeps this planet from freezing. The Greenhouse Effect still operates even as glaciers and continental ice sheets advance during indisputable Global Cooling.

    The fundamental subterfuge of the original Doran 97%, was more or less forced agreement to a trivial question without the ability to answer with subtlety and uncertainty. If you ask the same poorly framed question, it will be no surprise to get a similar result.

  154. Brian H says:

    The Engineer says:
    May 21, 2014 at 9:23 am

    There is NO such thing as a climate scientist – officially, only physicists, metereologists, geologists and astro-physicists.

    Spelling ‘meteorologists’ is beyond the enjinearing skill set? :D

  155. Brian – the standard engineering graduation joke is: “Last week I couldn’t even spell engingear, now I are one.” Course that wasn’t totally true as we were required to take writing and humanities to broaden our experience to match our foreheads. 😁😁😁

    From an old engingear that studied meteorology in environmental studies, good for understanding a lot of things in engineering design.

  156. Mary says:

    I am not going to offer an opinion on whether to do this, other than to reiterate what has already been said: We already know that there was a concerted effort to prevent papers from being published if they did not support the CAGW theory. That, in itself, taints the results of a study of published papers.

    I have been wondering for some time why we keep using the warmists’ 97% figures. Why don’t we use the actual numbers? They’re much clearer and, I think, more convincing. Rather than trying to explain to the average Joe why “97% of climate scientists” is bogus, why not just say, “Yeah, 97%–that’s 75 scientists”? And, rather than debunking “97% of papers,” say, “97% means 41 (or 64 or whatever the actual number really is).”

  157. Poptech says:

    Steven Mosher says:
    May 21, 2014 at 2:00 pm
    For folks who claim there is no consensus I would say this:
    A) what evidence do you have
    B) why resist an attempt to properly measure the consensus present in the literature.

    A) All scientists on the planet have never been polled to their position on climate change.

    B) There is no way to properly measure such a thing because there is no way to determine the actual size of the relevant literature. Every bibliographic database is incomplete and any choice of search terms may exclude relevant literature.

  158. Poptech says:

    “…and that Brandon’s attention to detail will be an asset.”

    ROFLMAO. The last people you want doing such a “study” is Brandon and Mosher, didn’t you learn anything from the Muller debacle?

    REPLY: Brandon had nothing to do with Muller or BEST. He lives in Illinois. – Anthony

  159. Non Nomen says:

    Wayne Delbeke says:
    Brian – the standard engineering graduation joke is: “Last week I couldn’t even spell engingear, now I are one.” Course that wasn’t totally true as we were required to take writing and humanities to broaden our experience to match our foreheads. 😁😁😁

    From an old engingear that studied meteorology in environmental studies, good for understanding a lot of things in engineering design.
    =========================================
    Engineers of the world, look and laugh_

  160. Alec Rawls says:

    Found it. Here is the official “consensus” position that late 20th century warming was mostly caused by human increments to CO2, as asserted in AR5 (Summary for Policymakers p.17):

    It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together. The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period. {10.3}.

    Fifty years of some of the highest solar activity levels in the geologic record, dozens of studies showing strong correlations between solar activity and temperature, and their “best estimate” is that ALL of the modest amount of warming over this period was due to fossil fuel burning.

    Suggests two “consensus” questions to ask climate scientists and other participants:

    1) How likely do you think it is that more than half of planetary warming since 1950 has been human caused? (extremely unlikely, unlikely, likely, extremely likely)

    2) What is you best estimate (or maximum likelihood estimate) of the amount of post-50s warming that was caused by human activity? (0-25%, 25-50%, 50-75%, 75-100%)

  161. @Alec Rawls at 9:45 am
    Neither of the 2 questions quantify how much warming is there. Nor do they provide any breakdown as to source:
    CO2, Other Carbon Compounds, Solar, Ocean Cycles, Volcanic aerosols, air pollution soot, other.

    I had to think carefully about your #1 and #2. They don’t quite ask the same thing. #1 is asking about the upper 50% tail of the distribution.
    #2 is asking the “Best Estimate”, which is of dubious utility since the Best Estimate of a probability distribution could occur below the P90 or above the P10. One should never assume Best Estimate to be anywhere near the P50 or mean. So, I’d avoid the term Best Estimate and chose Median or 50% above and below middle.

    Your #2 will confound these two cases into the same response.
    I believe human activity has caused 75-100% of the warming (and I believe warming is about 0.5 deg C)
    I believe human activity has caused 25-50% of the warming (which I believe the total warming is 2.0 deg C)

    I point out that it is possible for someone to believe that human activities have added 1.5 deg C to Global Temperatures, and simultaneously hold that the total warming is only 0.7 deg C. I.e. were it not for human activity, we would have experienced a significant cooling from natural variability. The questions that are asked should not preclude this possibility.

    Strictly speaking, I would avoid the term “warming” in the questions asking about changes in Global temperature. It is a blatant bias in the question. After 30 years of indoctrination, we are no longer aware if the bias any more.

    So, I reject both of your questions.
    Ask instead something that nails down absolute size of the temperature change from which you can deduce a human component.
    #1) How much total Global Temperature Change has the world experienced since 1950 (in deg. C)? Give a P90, P50, P10 (80 % confidence) three point estimate range.
    #2) How much total Global Temperature Change since 1950 is the result of human activity (in deg C)? Give a P90, P50, P10 (80 % confidence) three point estimate range.

  162. RACookPE1978 says:

    Stephen Rasey says:
    May 23, 2014 at 3:11 pm
    (challenging) @Alec Rawls at 9:45 am
    Neither of the 2 questions quantify how much warming is there. Nor do they provide any breakdown as to source:
    So, I reject both of your questions.
    Ask instead something that nails down absolute size of the temperature change from which you can deduce a human component.
    #1) How much total Global Temperature Change has the world experienced since 1950 (in deg. C)? Give a P90, P50, P10 (80 % confidence) three point estimate range.
    #2) How much total Global Temperature Change since 1950 is the result of human activity (in deg C)? Give a P90, P50, P10 (80 % confidence) three point estimate range.

    OK, but let us continue further, and reject even those questions. But keep that train of thought.

    Sequence 1. Is the earth warming in today’s climate?
    Question 1) How much has the earth warmed between 1650 and today?
    Question 2) How much has the earth changed between 1200 and today?
    Question 3) How much has the earth warmed between 1945 and today?
    Question 4) How much has the earth warmed between 1974 and today?
    Question 5) How much has the earth warmed between 1996 and today?

    Sequence 2.

    Question 1. Of all of the warming between 1650 and today, how much do you attribute to Man’s release of CO2?
    A. Less than 1/3 of the change in temperature.
    B. Between 1/3 and 2/3 of the change in temperature.
    C. More than 2/3 of the change in temperature.

    Question 2. Of all the warming measured between 1945 and today, how much do you attribute to Man’s release of CO2?
    A. Less than 1/3 of the change in temperature.
    B. Between 1/3 and 2/3 of the change in temperature.
    C. More than 2/3 of the change in temperature.

    Question 3. If Man’s release of CO2 were stopped (if CO2 levels were to be stopped from increasing past today’s 400 ppm) would the climate in 2100 be
    A. Less than today’s average global temperature.
    B. Not significantly affected by any change in CO2 from Man’s activities.
    C. Significantly higher than today’s average due to lags in the forcing.
    D. Unknown, the climate that far away cannot be predicted with today’s technology and resources.

  163. Martin Lewitt says:

    RACookPE1978, Your question 3, response C, you probably had in mind “climate commitment” or “lags in warming due to the thermal capacity of the oceans”, rather than “lags in the forcing”. These would occur with constant or even reduced forcing. Of course, the climate would be significantly higher, only in the statistically significant sense.

  164. David L. Hagen says:

    Any statements on warming or cooling require a clear time period:

    Have global temperatures been warming:
    Since the Little Ice Age
    Since 1900
    Since 1950
    Since ~1998 or 2000

    Have global temperatures been cooling:
    Since the Holocene Optimum
    Since the Roman Warm Period
    Since the Medieval Warm Period
    Since about 2005

    Is part of the global warming attributed to human/anthropogenic causes?

    What portion of global warming is due to human/anthropogenic causes?
    Unstated
    Statistically insignificant e.g. ~5%
    Minor ~15% to 50%
    Most > 50%
    Dominant > ~80% or ~90%

    Is part of the global warming attributed to natural causes?
    Unstated
    Statistically insignificant e.g. ~5%
    Minor ~15% to 50%
    Most > 50%
    Dominant > ~80% or >~90%
    ——————-
    I see these are similar to RACook’s comments.
    1/3, 2/3 boundaries are simpler. However IPCC uses “Most” which is > 50% and now uses 95% confidence etc.
    How best to ask on distinguishing between statistically significant, vs minor, vs most, vs major.

  165. David L. Hagen says:

    The major problem with “climate change” or “global warming” “is happening” its use as an equivocation for “catastrophic majority anthropogenic global warming”.
    Suggest questions to clarify. e.g.:

    What does “climate change” mean?
    Global warming or cooling for periods longer than 30 years.
    Humans are increasing global temperatures.
    Both.

  166. Ursa Felidae says:

    Brandon,
    Perhaps consider an alternate project:
    A database of scientist’s and their views on the global warming debate. As others have suggested, specific questions that can be quantified, and that cover ALL of the issues in the debate, with links/references to the actual papers/research that has provided their position.

    The key to making this work, is what the others here have suggested, very carefully worded questions that allow a scientist to specifically and quantitatively express their position.

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