Global warming's Stephen Schneider: The Light That Failed

Tom Fuller

Reposted from

By Tom Fuller

The publication this week of a paper titled ‘Expert Credibility in Climate Change’ in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences will certainly do nothing to raise the credibility of the authors, those attempting to defend the paper in the media, or climate science itself.

The paper itself is junk science. It attempts to define climate scientists by their belief in global warming as a potential disaster and then attempts to see just how expert they are by looking at how many papers they’ve published and how many times other scientists cite those papers.

The project failed miserably, getting incorrect names, scientific specializations and numbers of citations. Scientists all over the internet are having an ‘I’m Spartacus’ moment, saying that if they are going to get lumped into the skeptic camp, at least the study could have accurately got their names and number of publications correct.

Spencer Weart, author of The History of Global Warming, rejected the paper decisively, saying a first reading showed so many defects that the paper should never have been published. He was not alone.

The second worst thing about this paper is the evil it has the potential to unleash. In the course of preparing this paper, the authors collected the names of signatories to various petitions regarding global warming. Some of them were of a skeptical nature. Some were pretty innocent–saying that the signatories agreed that there was no consensus on global warming’s ultimate effects and scope. But now, this list exists in one place and has a title on it–and no matter how they pretty the title up, it’s essentially ‘Damned Global Warming Denialists Who Should Never Get a Job or Get Published Ever Again.’ And that is how it will be used, despite the pious protestations of some who don’t want to be around to see the dirty work get done.

But by far the worst thing about this paper is what it will do to Professor Stephen Schneider of Stanford University, listed as co-author of the paper, and the man who eased this garbage into print by virtue of being a member of the NAS (which meant he could publish without peer review).

Stephen Schneider has authored or co-authored more than 450 papers (although the data used for the study says 683), mostly about climate change, and he is an expert on the subject.

Schneider started his career boldly. Back when scientists were actively trying to prevent the threat of nuclear war, a group of them (including my personal favorite communicator of science, Carl Sagan) advanced the concept of Nuclear Winter, saying that a nuclear war would result in a prolonged period of blocked sunlight, destroying agriculture and meaning that the survivors would envy the dead. Very dramatic picture and their campaign was effective politics.

But Schneider found the data (and my hero) was wrong, and showed that what had been called nuclear winter would in fact be more like nuclear autumn. Going against the mainstream and many respected scientists, Schneider made his bones.

He did it again. In 1971, he co-authored a paper that suggested that aerosols could cool the atmosphere enough to usher in the next ice age, although he was clear that it would take a lot of time. But by 1976 he had come to the conclusion that CO2 would not only counteract the aerosols, but that it was warming the atmosphere.


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Sad, but how many scientists have sold their souls in the name of AGW?


He failed long before he lent his name to the blacklist. He failed when he sold out his ethics in favor of promoting CAGW.

carrot eater

So if you go out of your way to sign a public declaration of some sceptic viewpoint, trying to draw public attention to your viewpoint, that’s OK. If other sceptics compile lists of sceptics or sceptic publications to try to impress people by showing how numerous they are, that’s OK. But if somebody takes those same lists and does some analysis on them, then suddenly those exact same lists, the ones that sceptics had been previously publicizing to anybody who would listen, become dastardly? That’s so tenuous, it’s comical. And really? Everybody knows people like Lindzen, Spencer, Christy, Svensmark are sceptics, nobody needs any sort of list to tell them that, and yet they are still getting published.
Mind you, I don’t think it’s a very good paper, but this particular response to it just doesn’t make any sense.

Amino Acids in Meteorites

Stephen Schneider minced no words in blaming Katrina on global warming :

Mike Jowsey

@carrot eater says:
June 24, 2010 at 8:37 pm
Quoting a comment from the original article:
marty says:
For anyone who stills doubts the maliciousness of this list, I would like to point out other lists that circulate in academia and have had adverse effects on the members careers.
There are several lists circulating on Creationists in science. They pretend to be collectons of people who believe in the bible literally and fix the science to conform to the timetable in Genesis. In reality, it contains anyone who has criticized Darwin, plate tectonics or the big bang. It contains people who have used creationism in the context of Dirac or Obukhov who were hardly religious.
There is another more famous list of antisemetics in academia. Of course all you have to do is criticize any aspect of Israels behavior to get on this list.
I know from first hand experience that both of these lists have been used to deny employment to qualified candidates.
I know 14 people on Prall’s blacklist. They are fine people. They don’t deserve this.
June 24, 4:53 PM

Richard Steckis

Bear in mind that the primary author of this damnable paper is not even a scientist (he is a computer programmer) and Schneider is a propogandist.
How on earth did this morass of disinformation ever get to be published in PNAS without Schneider’s influence.

Jim Cole

Schneider has always been an ambulance-chaser.
His “scary scenarios” comment is typical of his career. First it was Sagan-inspired “nuclear winter” and then it was Hansen-inspired “catastrophic global warming”.
Not clear that he has actually published any real, hard, empirical science on anything. Just lots of scary opinion thing-ies.
As a geologist, I look back over tens of millions of years Earth history and see clear, consistent evidence of far greater climate extremes than today – both hot and cold – and note that nothing approaching a “tipping point” has ever materialized. Things change, but life goes on.
Most of Earth history has been hotter than today, and somehow species have evolved and survived and exploited diverse ecological niches to prosper – or have failed and gone extinct. That’s how it goes.
Schneider and his gang are now attempting to black-list scientists who dare to express skepticism of their Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming paradigm with this pathetic little paper based on opinion-list-searches. How sad. How desperate. How scary for the future of wide-open scientific research (if anyone attaches significance to this sophistry).
Let’s have a wide-open debate on observations, data, facts, and testable theories. No more appeals to authority, name-calling, or fallacious claims that computer model results are “results” or “data”.
C’mon Steve. Man-up! Show us your DATA.

Amino Acids in Meteorites

Stephen Schneider is from the 60’s. That will help some people understand where he is coming from.

Carrot eater,
Your argument fails. If a scientist signed a petition circulated before the IPCC frame of reference used as the adjudicating criterion for inclusion as a UE (Unconvinced Expert) in the paper, he or she is being judged as not agreeing with something that hadn’t yet been written.
Further, if a scientist signs a relatively innocuous petition that says that a consensus on global warming has not been reached in 1988, that scientist is now lumped with all skeptics.
And don’t say this won’t happen and won’t be abused. There are science blacklists now against those who purportedly don’t believe in evolution (although many do, but disagree with some of the polemics used against Christians) and those who are considered anti-Semitic (although many of them are nothing of the sort, but have had the temerity to criticize Israeli policy at some point in their careers. Some of the scientists on this list are Jewish.)
This is cheap, scummy, politically motivated McCarthyist garbage, and what it speaks volumes of those who defend it.


They are obviously getting desperate at this point. They don’t have much time. I can see November from my house.

Stephen H. Schneider is second on this list of Warmist advocates;
having co-written written this Warmist propaganda letter;
which “was sent to federal agencies” on Friday, March 12, 2010.


Jim Cole says:
June 24, 2010 at 9:01 pm
Schneider has always been an ambulance-chaser.
In Search of the Ultimate Disaster.

Amino Acids in Meteorites

I may have a lower view of him than Tom Fuller. Stephen Schneider appears to have left off the possibility of reasoning over global warming. His tone in this video is of finality, it seems:


carrot eater says: “yatta-yatta, yatta-yatta…Everybody knows people like Lindzen, Spencer, Christy, Svensmark are sceptics, nobody needs any sort of list to tell them that, and yet they are still getting published. yatta-yatta, yatta-yatta.”
They may now gradually find it harder and harder to get published. Less famous, younger scientists on the list may become unemployable more rapidly. But the most evil effect lies in forcing other scientists to be silent, lest they be added to the list, or, worse, to alter their results so as to appear to be “good scientists.” There are stark historic parallels; I need not enumerate them.
The sanctimonious mask of green righteousness has come off, revealing a hideous face of despotic terrorism beneath it. Now is the time to remember: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

UK Sceptic

Better one light that failed than the many that will get switched off if this AGW BS is allowed to run its course.
The list is shameful and unworthy of someone purporting to be any kind of scientist.


I think the real point is that since the Warmists blocked dozens, if not hundreds, of articles by ‘skeptics’ with their peer review censorship (‘peer’ meaning fellow believer and likely collaborationist) , that the ‘skeptics’ must be dullards. Because they could not get published.
Not that the Warmists can not tolerate debate.
Is anyone but me thinking that we have gone well outside of science and entered politics?

Al Gored

“the man who eased this garbage into print by virtue of being a member of the NAS (which meant he could publish without peer review).”
“publish without peer review”!
Well, that’s ironic. And it certainly does explain some other things in the PNAS.
This junk paper is recognized as junk even among the “convinced”…


It was designed from the very beginning as a blacklst, I dare to say. All manifestos, lists of “sceptic papers”, books on “deniers” could not be used toi deny employment and/or grants, for sure not directly, because it might result in discrimination suits. Now – like in case of eugenics – PNAS has confirmed with its authority that “deniers and sceptics” are less productive scientifically, that they can not obtain grants. So many employment commitees will have a “hard and scientific proof” that it is justifiable to deny employment to so poorly promising guys. You origin in “bad folks”you stay with them, it opens road to – lets call it – apartheid in climate science. Nice design 🙂


CE – “…and does some analysis on them”. The data collection methodology and “analysis” in that paper is appalling. If that’s your idea of analysis you need to go back to school. But perhaps you know better than those two sceptics, Weart and Steig.

Ray Boorman

It shows the very low standards now accepted in some parts of the scientific world that this “paper” would be published by NAS. It should have been in Hustler, Mad, or some other satirical publication.

Some more videos where Steven Schneider appears:

Martin Brumby

Whatever goes around comes around.
When people survey the wreckage of the economy as they shiver in the dark, it is reasonable to suppose that they may be just a tad hacked off at the AGW fabulists and eco-fascists that are the architects of this whole sorry scam.
When that happens and the peasants turn up with flaming torches and pitchforks, I trust that someone will be around to give them copies of this paper. That will help people identify who it was that was more interested in advancing their career and taking cushy well paid sinecures playing with computer models, completely careless of truth and the consequences of their junk science lies.

Having seen the methodology for the creation of lists and ranking of people published in PNAS, the questions is NOT about the scientists currently on the lists. The question is what does this say to the next generation of scientists.
personally if I were a grad student i’d sign every AGW petetion I could.
Anyway, what really interest me are the NON signers. The category that nobody
is looking at. Hulme is a Non signer
What does it mean to be a NON signer? that’s the fasinating category.

Not sure that such a long black list is so bad. It confirms that if we kick off a new peak peer review journal that it will b big, diverse and well resourced. A journal that makes accurate predictions will beat one that makes dud predictions. An expensive journal is only important if governments and libraries buy it. It is also important if its cheap, accurate, imaginative and sells well to the public. If governments accept it as evidence in government enquiries and court cases. If it is not accepted a journal can quickly disappear. Does anyone remember the soviet science and news magazine Sputnik?
Or the dozen or so journals titled ‘Soviet Journal of…’ Some still exist but under new names and editors. The journals Science, Nature, etc are on shaky ground.
If a developed country backs a more open but more cautious journal then industry, sound science and scientists will gravitate to that country. It, and its journal, will advance.

AdderW (not PCAGW)

“publish without peer review”
I believe Galileo, Newton and Einstein did that too

richard telford

If producing a list of scientists unconvinced by the evidence for global warming is so dangerous, why did nobody warn Morano when he made his list of 650 “dissenting” scientists? A list compiled with on flimsy evidence and without consulting those included. I personally know one scientist who objects to being included as it completely miss-represents his work and views.
That Morano’s list should have been praised, and the current list (which is not published in PNAS) should engender so much rage suggests a certain lack of consistency in the logic of the so-called skeptics.


The BBC headlined this yesterday morning, just another”drip” in their continuous “drip,drip” feed of AGW drivel.

Alan the Brit

You guys have said it all. BTW, it’s not fair, I want to be on the list, I hate being left out!
On a more serious note, it’s amazing how these people who would have apparently virtuously spurned extemists such as the murderous Lenins/Stalins/Hitlers/Polpots et al, yet are perfectly at ease with using their political tactics to achieve their aims! The aforementioned were all Socialists I am lead to believe.


Craig Bohren had some interesting recollections of Mr Schneider:
“In particular, Steven Schneider, now at Stanford, previously at NCAR, about 30 years ago was sounding the alarm about an imminent ice age. The culprit then was particles belched into the atmosphere by human activities. No matter how the climate changes he can correctly say that he predicted it. No one in the atmospheric science community has been more successful at getting publicity. NCAR used to send my department clippings from newspaper and magazine articles in which NCAR researchers were named. We’d get thick wads of clippings, almost all of which were devoted to Schneider. Perhaps global warming is bad for the rest of us, but for Schneider and others it has been a godsend.”

Mike Haseler

Personally I would be proud to be on the list of those who are sceptical, because the real scientists is always a sceptic unless or until the evidence proves otherwise.
The irony is that real scientists care about the science and will have nothing but contempt for the idiots who dream up these PR stunts to try to support bogus pr-science.

Skeptic Student

There was a time when I believed in AGW (the melting glaciers on Nat Geo, etc. were pretty convincing to a teenager), and I believed that we had to take cautious action. Once I began to inform myself about the facts, I became less convinced and now thanks to blogs like this, I have become a skeptic. But as an undergraduate physics/mathematics student at a relatively liberal university and with dreams of a PhD, I thought it would be best for my academic future if I kept my name away from such a controversial subject.
I’d only recently convinced myself that I don’t have to worry about posting my name to my views. It’s very commendable that some of you can wear this skeptic badge with courage and pride, but I have to pass.

Eric (skeptic)

The top signers of APS09, a moderate statement, ( ) are preeminent physicists. Compare to the top signers of Bali07 which is alarmist, and there is one Nobel prize winner, then Trenberth, then various coauthors and random hockey stick generators. The latter are not even written up in the pro-alarmist Wikipedia. It says to me that real science is moderate and alarmism is not science.


“Non Signers” – those who were given a chance to repent but did not avail themselves of the grace of Al Gore. I’ve some red robes around here I can forward to Dr. Schneider – address?

Beth Cooper

Tom Fuller says that Schneider is mildly famous among skeptics for his scary scenarios. Does he mean ‘famous’ or ‘infamous’?

Ulric Lyons

Maybe no one should be called an `expert on climate` unless they can explain natural variation.

Another Ian

In this book
Richardson, Hal. 1957. One-man War: The Jock McLaren Story. Griffin Press, Adelaide
whose main character and actions in WW2 guerrilla warfare is pretty well described if you search for the Wikapedia listing of above.
A quote wrt this thread is
“McLaren’s numerous land and sea guerrilla actions so disrupted Japanese operations that eventually the Japanese placed a reward of 70,000 pesos on McLaren’s head.”
The book records his response – to laugh and set about raising the price
and that seems an appropriate response to this listing

carrot eater

Mike Jowsey:
Nice try, but it doesn’t add up. The gentlemen on these lists quite happily and quite voluntarily put themselves on those lists by signing petitions and public declarations and the like. The lists already existed, and were publicised by the sceptics to show that they existed. They weren’t any sort of secret. Now suddenly the same lists are bad?
If I recall correctly, this very website recently had a blog piece listing 500 sceptic journal articles, or somesuch. I guess that was a blacklist too?
Sceptics sometimes point to the Oregon Petition to show how numerous they are in number. Go to that website, and you have a nice handy list, all in one place. That’s a blacklist too? [not that I think that particular list is meaningful]


I’m Skeptacus!

carrot eater

GrantB: I didn’t say it was a well-done analysis. In fact, in my very first comment I said I didn’t think it was a good paper. So don’t put words in my mouth.
All I’m saying is that this blacklist stuff is silly. All these people quite happily signed these public declarations. So the fact that they signed these things was never a secret, nor did they want it to be.


It strikes me as ironic that a paper called “Expert Credibility in Climate Change” is authored by CAGW (sorry, ACC) advocates with the following credentials:
A 2008 BA graduate in Biology who is now in a PhD programme.
A computer techie working as a Senior Systems Pprogrammer (academic background not known).
A BA in a self-designed major of “Ethics and Intellectual History” with an MBA in business.
AND Stephen Schneider who ushered the paper into publuication presumably without peer review.
What suggests the idea that this might not be intellectual work of the highest calibre?

Graham Dick

Jim Cole says:
June 24, 2010 at 9:01 pm
“Most of Earth history has been hotter than today”
and, according to Prof Plimer’s Heaven+Earth, “Polar ice has been present for less than 20% of geological time” (page 10). Indeed, “The Earth is normally free of ice” (page 40). So naturally driven downward trends in ice should come as no surprise.

carrot eater

Tom Fuller: for what it’s worth, the FAR is from 1990, and the oldest sceptic declaration being considered is from 1992. But I also think the 1992 and 1995 lists are too old to use, because somebody’s assessment may have changed since then. But that’s a rather different argument than your headline one. It’s your argument that fails, because it just strains credulity to think that taking a small number of very well-publicized lists, each one celebrated by sceptics, and putting them all on one website turns it into a blacklist. Wikipedia has for years had a page listing sceptics. Sceptics would point to it, as a show of numbers. Was that a blacklist?

Martin Brumby

The denier deniers are quite busy lately, with re-runs of old and discredited scare stories (Arctic sea ice melt etc.), whitewashing work parties (Oxburgh and chums), Buff Huhne (in between extra curricular activities) rallying the faithful:-
SECRETARY of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne says the real challenge for a Britain recovering from recession is to build a “different kind of economy… “one that cuts our carbon emissions to tackle climate change and which makes our energy secure in a volatile world.” He went on: “I want Britain to be the best place in the world to do energy business. To lead the world in decarbonising the economy. To develop the unique products and processes that will power the second industrial revolution – the green revolution – just as steam, coal and iron drove the first.”
And now we have The Great Moonbat entering the lists, as ever, with a lively and completely dishonest defence of the corrupt, incompetent IPCC and their shroud waving claims as dreamed up by WWF:-
Of course, Moonbat is a turgid little prat but I have to point out that we can now look forwards to all the usual suspects braying that, not only Richard North but WUWT and all deniers everywhere have been totally “discredited” and Pachauri and the IPCC entirely vindicated.
This may deserve a posting on its own. Note that as Richard North points out:-
“the (Press) complaint was directed at the weakest link, The Sunday Times, which had made some errors in attribution.
Although these errors did not affect the substance of the case, the paper has chosen to go far beyond that needed, and conceded that “the IPCC’s Amazon statement is supported by peer-reviewed scientific evidence.” This simply is not true.
However, the central falsehood having been endorsed now by The Sunday Times, this has been sufficient for the WWF to declare a victory and cut and run, thus displaying the corporate cowardice and mendacity that one would expect of this odious organisation.”
Naturally, all this has little to do with any kind of science and far more to do with money and power. That is to say, politics.
Expect this whole AGW scam to get a lot more nasty and dirty before long!


carrot eater, your comments are disingenuous; it is not the sceptical side of this debate which has ferociously promulgated the unscientific and unscrupulous idea of consensus science, an oxymoron; the sceptics have been forced into this bean-counting as a response to obtain traction in the court of public opinion via the media. The simple fact is this; the CAGW thesis [sic] is now mainstream; it has the imprimatur of the establishment, an irony since the green paradigm has always thrived on being against the establishment; accordingly, CAGW now has its bureaucratic support structures, its vested interests and its educational programs; to think those aspects will not resist a contrary position is ridiculous. This paper is a threat against non-conformity, nothing more.

stephen richards

This says more about PNAS than anything or anyone else.

stephen richards

and don’t forget the hateful, popularist regime in the background (Obama). This current administration ouzes hatred like nothing I have ever witnessed.


It says in the article this was a Cold Winter in the Northern Hemisphere? Are they kidding or something? Canada had its warmest winter on record by far with temperature anomalies being positive 10 degrees in many high latitude regions. Just because the US and England were cold doesn’t make the whole northern hemisphere cold… Canada covers more Land than both combined and the entire country as a whole had its warmest winter whereas only parts of the United States were cold.


Bad data, dubious hypotheses, over-drawn conclusions…
But hey, it’s (this paper) climate science.


“It says in the article this was a Cold Winter in the Northern Hemisphere? Are they kidding or something? Canada had its warmest winter on record by far with temperature anomalies being positive 10 degrees in many high latitude regions. Just because the US and England were cold doesn’t make the whole northern hemisphere cold…”
Your protesting is pointless, because it is a matter of fact that the Northern Hemisphere was colder. Your problem originates from comparing Canada against the US and England, yet you have omitted Russia and China entirely. Russia alone is larger than Canada.
The NH was colder. Deal with it.


Who is William R.L. Anderegg?
Donna Laframboise wrote an article at nofrakkingconsensus.
The lead author of a research paper causing an uproar in the climate science world appears to be a student. Six months ago, a person with this same name (and an identical e-mail address) uploaded a blog post during the December 2009 Copenhagen climate summit.
Describing himself as “a student at Stanford University” William R. L. Anderegg was witness to an event that will long be remembered for the number of limousines imported into Denmark so that the earth-friendly delegates might spurn free public transit.
Certain that the occasion was historic, this naively young mind writes:

To say there is diversity here would be a bland verbal tribute to the stunning myriad of life. To say this is a conference of complex and difficult issues would be capturing only a molecule of water in a turbulent river. To say that this entire thing is overwhelmingly chaotic would pay tribute merely to a single snowflake in a whiteout blizzard…
As a student studying climate change, I knew that this was an astounding opportunity to attend this conference. As a young person, I knew this was an opportunity to shape the world that our generation will inherit.

Could you run that by me, again? The lead author of a paper which purports to assess the achievements and credibility of hundreds of collective years of scientific expertise, that lead author is a climate change student at Standford University?
The same Stanford University at which paper co-author Stephen Schneider happens to teach?