A New Blacklist

From Roger Pielke Jr.’s Blog

A New Black List

Little did I know it, but I am intimately associated with the world’s most accomplished “climate skeptic.” But he is not actually a skeptic, because he believes that humans have a profound influence on the climate system and policy action is warranted. More on that in a second.

A new paper is out today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (which I’ll call APHS10 after the author’s initials) that segregates climate scientists into the “convinced” and the “unconvinced” — two relatively ambiguous categories — and then seeks to compare the credentials of the two groups. The paper is based on the tireless efforts of a climate blogger, self-described as “not an academic,” who has been frustrated by those who don’t share his views on climate change:

I’ve also grown all too familiar with the tiny minority of ‘climate skeptics’ or ‘deniers’ who try to minimize the problem, absolve humans of any major impact, or suggest there is no need to take any action. I’ve gotten pretty fed up with the undue weight given to the skeptics in the media and online.

What qualifies one to be on the APHS10 list of skeptics, which I’ll just call the “black list”? Well, you get there for being perceived to have certain views on climate science or politics. You get on the black list if you have,

signed any of the open letters or declarations expressing skepticism of the IPCC’s findings, of climate science generally, of the “consensus” on human-induced warming, and/or arguing against any need for immediate cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.

In fact, it turns out that you don’t even have to sign an open letter or argue against immediate cuts for emissions. You can simply appear unwillingly on Senator James Inhofe’s list. A co-author of APHS10 warns on his website (but not in the paper) of the perils of relying on the Senator’s list:

I caution readers to take this with a grain of salt: a number of experts have been included despite their strong support for GHG reductions. However, the list does record a significant number of people who are outspoken critics of Kyoto or of efforts to cut GHG emissions generally.

So you can find yourself on the black list as a “climate skeptic” or “denier” simply because you express strong support for greenhouse gas reductions, but have been critical of the Kyoto approach. On the other hand, a scientist like James Hansen, who has expressed considerable disagreement with aspects of the IPCC consensus, finds himself on the list of people who are said to agree with the IPCC consensus. In fact, it appears that simply being a contributor to the IPCC qualifies one to be on the list of those who are defined to be in agreement with the IPCC consensus and/or demand immediate action on emissions reductions and support Kyoto (unless of course one doesn’t qualify, in which case you are placed on the other list — it is complicated, trust me).

So what does this new paper measure exactly? Hell if I know. But it is clear that in the climate debate there are good guys and there are bad guys, and to tell them apart, it is important to have a list. A black list.

Back to the world’s most accomplished “climate skeptic.” That would be my father who not only tops the black list but also would be near the top of the list of acceptable scientists based on his credentials, had he been placed there. What sort of views does my father hold that would qualify him to lead the “climate skeptics” list?

I was copied on his reply to a reporter today and can quote from that. He provides this rather ambiguous statement:

I am not a “climate skeptic”.

Note to Dad, there is no better evidence of your denier credentials than denying that you are a denier. Trust me — been there, done that. Far from being a skeptic, my father has long argued that the IPCC has underestimated the human influence on the climate system, which includes but is not limited to carbon dioxide, a view that is pretty mainstream these days, thanks in part to his work. Does he “try to minimize the problem, absolve humans of any major impact, or suggest there is no need to take any action”? Well, no.

What my father does do is ask questions, challenge preconceptions, advance hypotheses and test them with data and analysis, followed by publication of his work in the world’s leading climate journals for a period of decades without much regard for whether his work supports or challenges a consensus — in short, he does exactly the sort of thing that makes you one of the most published and most cited scientists of your generation. But in the bizarre world of climate science deviation from or challenge to orthodox views on science or politics is enough to get you on a list as the top bad guy.

APHS10, co-authored by a leading climate scientist (Steve Schneider) and appearing in the premier journal of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) may very well mark a new low point in the pathological politicization of climate science. But hey, at least now we have a list. A black list.

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62 thoughts on “A New Blacklist

  1. I would consider it an honor to appear on such a black list. It might constitute evidence of a will and an ability to think independently and critically. Murray

  2. Jim Prall, green totalitarism little helper, has a blog:
    http://birdbrainscan.blogspot.com/

    From his website: “NOTE: on my website below I have many more names than just those that were used in the paper, including those who have not signed any statement either way, and names that I have added since the paper was written. First reactions at The Guardian, CanWest News Service via Vancouver Sun, Science Magazine, Union of Concerned Scientists DeSmogBlog Climate Progress …

    Yes, he has many more names… Be afraid, be very, very afraid: repent, convert or else?

    The best line is : “including those who have not signed any statement either way”

    And U of Toronto is paying this little green Beria…

  3. That’s one of the finest pieces of science writing I’ve ever seen. I’m going to use it in tutorials! Thank-you, Dr Pielke!

  4. These folks had better be careful, because the worm might turn.

    Italy has just indicted scientists for failing to predict an earthquake. What if an anti-Obama is elected and decides to go after climate scientists who failed to predict global cooling? They should keep in mind that the internet never forgets.

  5. Why give a no-name AGW believer any air time just because they haphazardly put together a ‘black-list’?

  6. Just how the counting goes in our country, the Czech Republic. On this page by one author of the libelous paper (Prall)

    http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/skeptic_authors_table.html

    you will find four Czech flags. Your humble correspondent is listed as the 23rd most cited climate scientist on this planet. ;-)

    If you look at the flags, the Czech team has two deniers – myself with citation counts {344,228,170,150} [total 892] and the trained climate scientist Petr Chýlek with {160,131,106,103} [total 500] – and two alarmists – Jiří Blumel with {2,0,0,0} [total 2] citations and Josef Zbořil with {1,0,0,0} [total 1] citation. Guess who is better! Well, the Czech skeptics (892+500=1392) are more achieved by nearly three orders of magnitude than the Czech alarmists (2+1=3). :-)

    For more comments of mine, see
    http://motls.blogspot.com/2010/06/black-list-study-heretics-are.html

  7. Let’s not forget that Stephen Schneider contributed two chapters to ‘Global Warming:The Greenpeace Report’ published by the Oxford University Press in 1990.

    With his other well known quote about massaging the message, one cannot say he is not a ‘campaigning’ scientist who might just have a certain amount of bias.

  8. Eddie says:
    June 22, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    “Why give a no-name AGW believer any air time just because they haphazardly put together a ‘black-list’?”

    I believe that the question was answered quite well in the “Mikado”. Any time one of the believers designates their self “Lord High Executioner”, we should all be very, very aware. They want control and subservience, they will accept nothing less, and they will direct, violence toward those who fight the control, or refuse to be subservient. He’s just flagged the extremists into action.

  9. Really they have made a poor, lazy or biased research of non-believers….they are by the hundred thousands.

  10. On the blacklist, it has most, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th # of cites per Google Scholar. Al Gore is a senior adviser to Google.

  11. There is an spanish language saying: “He who goes to bed with kids wakes up peed”
    These bedwetters are getting worrisome.

  12. Some people politicize everything. They have tried to politicize literature classes, religion classes, history classes, etc. Now it is the turn of science to be politicized. It is because they see everything through a political prism and can see no reality outside their narrow minds. They are so focused that they think all questions can be settled by political methods, when those methods obviously don’t apply.

  13. The simple fact that such lists are being created demonstrates that the “listers” are insecure in their positions to begin with. Soon there will be lists of “listers” and other such foolishness.

  14. Thanks,
    Your link to the U. S. Senate Minority Report: “More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims [2008-2009]” is great.

    One has to seriously question if any Scientist (other then the authors) currently support the IPCC conclusions. Odd that they claim a “majority” of consensus when there clearly isn’t one.

    If they continue with the blacklist nonsense, they are likely to find themselves in early retirement.

    Regards,
    John from CA

  15. Richard Courtney over on Yahoo’s Climate Skeptics has suggested that we develop some sort of icon that can identify us as deniers and contrarians. I think this would be a terrific idea. But my design skills are abysmal.

  16. Enneagram says: June 22, 2010 at 1:07 pm
    “Really they have made a poor, lazy or biased research of non-believers”

    I think you have that wrong.

    They have not made a poor, lazy or biased research; they have made a Computer Model of a first approximation of a typical non-believer.

    Then they fed in the international telephone listings and adjusted the Model until the output list matched the pre-determined outcome. Don’t you understand anything about climate scientology?

    Research is so old school, too much work, all that messy data. Who needs it?
    Computer Models is where it’s at, clear you mind, loose the pencil, get with the times!

  17. In the mean time, the daily mean temperature and climate north of the 80th northern parallel will barely make it above zero Celsius this year.

  18. I looked in vain for my name on this list, but I was overwhelmed by the data. Who knew that there were over 500 “deniers”? Aren’t there supposed to be many fewer?

    I did notice the entry in line 233, however. I know a Peter Oliver who is in fact a kiwi (as alleged here), and I know of another who is a British mathematician. The Peter Oliver I know could not possibly be the one intended here, and the mathematician (who gets about 90% of the citations on Google) looks wrong too. Then I scrolled to the right, to check the usually hidden columns. Specialty = geology doesn’t fit either, and “retired research scientist” must refer to someone else altogether.

    The Wikipedia links don’t appear to be helpful. They are present whether the alleged denier is in Wikipedia or not. There are in fact two Wikipedia links, the first of which appears to link to a disambiguation page. For Peter Oliver, the most plausible Wiki links are to a footballer and a rock star wannabe. Do you think that’s who they meant?

    All in all, I think I prefer real science to statistics and tables.

  19. Why does anyone take Schneider seriously after he admitted that he believes it is OK to fool people:

    Stephen Schneider of the National Center for Atmospheric Research described the scientists’ dilemma this way: “On the one hand, as scientists, we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but-which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but; human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. DISCOVER OCTOBER 1989, Page 47, Bold Added

    I have a few more of these justifications for lying to the public at: http://www.sustainableoregon.com/oktolie.html

    Thanks
    JK

  20. The Anderegg+3 paper in PNAS counts articles and citations for whitelist and blacklist authors, without deflating by number of authors. Thus, the influential 2007 article in the International J of Climatology by Douglas, Christy, Pearson and Singer counts as 1 article for each of these presumably mostly blacklist authors, and a cite to it counts as 1 cite for each. The similarly influential 2008 critique of that paper by Santer + 16 coauthors counts as 1 article for each of these presumably mostly whitelist authors, and a cite to it counts as 1 cite for each.

    On a raw basis, this important exchange therefore would add 4 papers to the blacklist, and 17 to the whitelist, if all authors are indeed present on the opposite lists. And each cite to each paper would add 4 cites to the blacklist, but 17 to the whitelist.

    Anderegg+3 do recognize that ideally one would deflate by number of co-authors, but guess that the effect probably averages out across the two groups, and therefore conclude that their failure to deflate probably induces no bias. However, my suspicion is that on average, the whitelist authors have gamed the system more aggressively than blacklist authors.

    In any event, it would be amusing to replace the traditional “et al.” in citations for multiply authored papers with “et n”, eg Douglas et 3 (2007), Santer et 16 (2008).

    Anderegg+3 also argue that age differences may “bias” the results in favor one group or the other, because older researchers tend to have more articles and more citations. Here they do actually collect some preliminary data, and find that the mean year of receiving a PhD is 1977 for blacklist researchers, but 1987 for whitelist researchers. But (speaking as one with a 1973 PhD), shouldn’t having a long and active career make one more illustrious than someone else with an equally active but shorter career? Why is this a bias? (For purposes of salaries and promotions, I have argued that cites in the last 5 or 10 years are a better measure of current professional prominence than lifetime cites, but that it shouldn’t matter how old the cited article is.)

    Anderegg+3 do admit that self-cites should not count, but just assume that this will average out across groups. But if there is indeed a tendency for one group to have more co-authors, they will also tend to have more self-cites, assuming that cites by co-authors are counted as self-cites, as they should be.

    It might be possible (for someone else) to sample say the first 10 or 20 names in each list to check if there is any obvious bias in number of co-authors.

  21. Jim Cripwell is looking for a designed badge? Simple, only a bright green star is fitting both the lister’s intent and his friends real goals. I am sure Pattison can get Hoggan to market it…

  22. The guy who made this list has put a link to Wikipedia to “me”. Bad luck for the guy. The link it to one of Norways fameous poets/authors with the same name……(who died in 1993).

    Cheers

    Pål

  23. The Climate blacklist will become a badge of honor just like the McCarthy blacklist did. If you were on it because you fought against government bullying, you became a fearless hero in hind-sight.

    The same will happen with those that fight the good fight against the mindless intimidation of the AGW fear group. The blacklistees over time will become courageous heroes.

  24. and exactly how desperate are they?

    This is Schneider, right? That says of course we have to exaggerate and make it worse than it really is, then dumb it down and use sound bites, cause our audience is too dumb to get it any other way.

    Schneider that thinks it’s ok to lie and make things up, and thinks his audience is too dumb to get it any other way.

  25. I was just chatting with Piers Corbyn on the phone, and he was upset that they had not put him as number 1 on the list!

  26. I thought the science was settled. Why are all these people (some genuine scientists!) being listed as unsettled? Now I’ll have to start asking questions instead of just listening to what I’m told.

  27. And still on we go in this merry dance and no-one has bothered to measure CO2 forcing in a large scale laboratory simulation.

  28. Not just not an academic, not even a real computer programmer, just a tech support (“Er…lets try turning it off and on again and see if it works”). Impressive C.V., it lists every book he’s ever read, maybe he should divide it into lists of those he’s read and those he’s understood. His job seems to give him large amounts of free time to pursue his C-AGW-OCD (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). For all his hand-wringing about the STASI, he is exactly the sort of person that enthusiastically denounces people in totalitarian regimes “for the greater good”.

  29. JaSu says:
    June 22, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    “On the blacklist, it has most, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th # of cites per Google Scholar. Al Gore is a senior adviser to Google.”

    While I never believed Al invented the internet, I often suspected he put the MISinformation superhighway on it.

    Makes me proud to be a skeptic.

  30. I think Pielke has misnamed the list – shouldn’t it be the Whitelist?

    And if ever someone bothers to develop a list of alarmist scientologists, it could be named the Redlist, on account of the obvious impetus towards global serfdom whence all comrades face towards the North Pole three times a day to pay homage to the great and angry Ice God sitting on the right hand of Gaia Mother Earth.

  31. I think Mr. Pielke has suffered the same fate as the scientists that are beginning to question the field of absolute faith in evolution or the possibility of an intelligent designer. As the Movie, “Expelled” told us, the mere question, or inference of tolerance is enough to get you blacklisted, lose funding, and get ousted from your position even if you have tenure.

    The alarmist side will suffer no question or inferance of tolerance. They will only abide total allegiance and compliance. There is no other reason for the blind totalitarian circular logic that is known as ACGW. To accept defeat or the possibility of being wrong is insufferable to them. Yet they are the teachers of science which supposedly the epitome of critical thinking. What is the first law of Criticial Thinking 101… Ask yourself if you could be wrong!
    That rule has long since been thrown out all windows of ACGW thinking, along with what used to be known as the Scientific Method which used to be vaunted above all other scientific discussions.

  32. Eddie says:
    June 22, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Why give a no-name AGW believer any air time just because they haphazardly put together a ‘black-list’?
    _______________________________________________________________
    Because the ‘black-list’ is a “peer reviewed” paper in a science journal and has been picked up by the main stream media. This represent a new low for modern science, a global Lysenkoism.

    When I think Science is lying in the gutter, I find some “psycientist” trying to push it into the sewer.

  33. More from Delingpole today. I could not say it any better:

    as the Climategate emails made abundantly clear – “unconvinced” scientists were deliberately shut out of the peer-review process by the “convinced” ones?

    And how many scientists, with bachelor of science degrees or higher, have signed the Oregon Petition expressing doubts about Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)? 31,000 plus.

    And how many of the supposed 2500 climate scientists responsible for the IPCC “consensus” were actively involved in the sections to do with AGW? 53.

    And how many scientists does it require to successfully falsify – ie prove wrong – a shabby, tired old theory like “Phlogiston”, or “Geocentrism”, or “Dangerous, unprecedented Man Made Global Warming?” One.

  34. If you need any logo design or artwork, I’ll volunteer myself and my daughter. Neither of us would ever go into any type of science, and as a sci-fi writer, there’s not a whole lot of chance I’d be getting tenure anywhere, pro- or anti-AGW. I just asked her if she believed in AGW and she said, “aw Hell no.” Very few of my students have believed in it. They must redouble and triple their efforts. Obviously a nutritional or IQ deficit.

  35. The curious recurrence of claims to be climate scientists.But no data, no replication, no use of scientific method.No science=nonscientists. Fiddler on the roof, tradition,tradition springs to mind. The fraud of our century is being slowly revealed and I am enjoying the show. These people are scared and rightly so.We did not attack them, but they appear to have attempted to hamstring our society. Justified payback is a beast. And the internet never forgets. To the list makers I have this to say.”Ha ..Ha.”

  36. I could agree with the simple criterion of: denying that CO2 is a greenhouse gas (which is basically what most skepticists do).

    But this: “and/or arguing against any need for immediate cuts to greenhouse gas emissions” puts me entirely off.
    For clarity: blacklisting can be done sometimes. At the mathematics department we blacklist people who think the square root of two is a rational number, for instance.
    Like many skepticists, this guy seems to think that being convinced of AGW automatically implies being convinced of a ‘need for immediate cuts to greenhouse gas emissions’. Interestingly this puts ‘The Cardinal of Global Warming’, that is me so entitled by Anthony, on this blacklist :)

  37. I’m amused to see Antonio Zichichi listed at #7 on the table of sceptics and described as ‘Emeritus’ with a pHd.

    He also happens to be the President of the Federation of World Scientists.

  38. ‘Do Not Trust Anyone Who Has Their Hand In Your Pocket!’
    (From “Ancient Cave Dweller Wisdom”, ~4Million BC/BCE, Anonymous)

    According to this article there appears to be fewer “Doctors of Philosophy” than those with PhD’s. The Modern Era is becoming more and more dangerous to all forms of life on Earth; it must be the heat, or the lack of oxygen, or perhaps there’s something in the water. Something is driving the poor lemmings over the cliff, what can it be?

  39. In fairness, James Hansen thinks the IPCC is being far too conservative – not the best example, I think, to advance the argument. However, it’s worth noting that Spencer Weart on Skeptical Science expressed his discomfiture with the paper and its approach.

  40. dfbaskwill says:
    June 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Thats sometimes the case when a group of men know instinctively that they are believing something passionately, but where logic demonstrates that the propositions are untrue and unsound.

    Persecution is used in theology and extremist politics, not in mathematics or physics, as in the former cases, the propositions are based on belief than fact.

  41. Jim Cripwell says:
    June 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Richard Courtney over on Yahoo’s Climate Skeptics has suggested that we develop some sort of icon that can identify us as deniers and contrarians. I think this would be a terrific idea. But my design skills are abysmal.

    On another thread I posted, “I suggest a round button showing slanted hockey stick slashed through with a standard red “NO” line (forming an X-shape). Simple and clear.”

    But now I think that maybe that wouldn’t be unambiguous enough, so I suggest a horizontal hockey stick with an upward-pointing blade on the right.

  42. Can we say someone has too much time on there hands? Our good PNAS presenter should maybe take the time to do some actual science and see if maybe the people on his list are cognizant of something he is not noticing.

  43. Bill Daly says:
    June 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    The Wikipedia links don’t appear to be helpful. They are present whether the alleged denier is in Wikipedia or not. There are in fact two Wikipedia links, the first of which appears to link to a disambiguation page. For Peter Oliver, the most plausible Wiki links are to a footballer and a rock star wannabe. Do you think that’s who they meant?

    Do you know what he gets up to on weekends? ;-)

    Paal Brekke says:
    June 22, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    The guy who made this list has put a link to Wikipedia to “me”. Bad luck for the guy. The link it to one of Norways fameous poets/authors with the same name……(who died in 1993).

    Cheers

    Pål

    There’s nothing like checking your work – and that’s nothing like it.

  44. Well I still believe they make better Owl boxes, than climate observatories; so I would say a wise old owl would be a good icon for the enlightened who don’t buy the CO2 silliness.

  45. Washington ,July 2012
    “Mr Lindzen,are you now,or have you ever been,a member of the sceptics party?

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