On the 97 percenters: 'You Must Admit, They Were Careful'

Guest essay by Brandon Shollenberger

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

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

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

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

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

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

They obviously knew this wasn’t supported by their work.  So what did they do?  Did they correct it?  No.  They promoted it.  Time, and time again, they promoted this tweet despite knowing it was a grossly inaccurate description of their work.  How could they be careful to always describe their results accurately then promote gross inaccuracies about their results?  Simple.  They aren’t lying if they aren’t the ones saying it.

That’s it.  That’s their strategy.  They say things like, “Humans cause global warming” knowing most people won’t realize they’re meaning “some amount of global warming.”  When someone misunderstands them, they promote that misunderstanding.  They then tell us they “were careful” not to say untrue things themselves.  For example, from the same link as the tweet from “Barack Obama”:

Ninety-seven percent of scientists say global warming is mainly man-made but a wide public belief that experts are divided is making it harder to gain support for policies to curb climate change, an international study showed on Thursday.

The important thing to realize is they did this very carefully.  They intentionally used wording that could be easily misunderstood then promoted misunderstandings that arose from it.  In other words, they laundered lies.

As a note, the piece Nuccitelli’s quote comes from has a great deal that’s wrong about it, including the fact the author completely misrepresented my communication with him.  Try to ignore that for now.  Cook et al’s rampant dishonesty is far more important.

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July 28, 2013 5:27 pm

There does seem to be a certain amount of dishonesty in that paper, but it IS the promotion that counts, isn’t it? All the CAGW proponents use the “97% of all…” line. This paper was deigned to push that and the author’s knew full well what the proponents would do with it.
Love the Blackboard’s remark, “I tried. I tried to be generous. I tried to find some technical issue for why John Cook’s latest survey would not produce a random sample of the 12,000+ papers in his database. I tried to find some innocent programming mistake we could all understand….”
And this is what they push as hard science and then they call us “deniers” for pointing out that it’s nothing more than BS.

July 28, 2013 5:33 pm

Half truths are more dangerous than lies…

July 28, 2013 5:41 pm

CAGW is a great example of obscurantisme in all its aspects.
How dare you question us, we know better.
Deliberately writing obscurely, to hide intellectual vacuousness.
Appealing to emotion.

David Ball
July 28, 2013 5:46 pm

What difference can it possibly make now? Damage is already done. That lie has gone around the earth twice. Used even by the POTUS.

July 28, 2013 5:49 pm

“97% of scientists agree” based on a survey of 4000 papers and they managed to get the president to say it, goes to show it’s all about the message and not looking at the study. This has done no end of harm for science and humanity.

Peter Miller
July 28, 2013 6:03 pm

At the end of the day, there is AGW and CAGW.
Most sceptics accept there is some AGW, but that it is not quantifiable due to the myriad factors involved. In any event, it is of minor importance compared to the impact of cyclical changes in the Sun’s energy output.
and the Earth’s orbit. In other words. It is a mildly interesting phenomenon.
CAGW, on the other hand, is a figment of imagination in the minds of the scientifically challenged.
AGW is a non problem, while CAGW is a hoax. So much for climate science.

July 28, 2013 6:06 pm

I find that most in the media & the public affected by them always say “97% of scientists”, including the president, not of “actively publishing climate scientists”. Of course even that is tendentious, since 75 out 77 cherry picked individuals responding to questions worded so that even most skeptics might assent to them is gross opinion survey malpractice, designed not to discovery anything but to provide an easily spread advocacy sound bite.

Ian H
July 28, 2013 6:08 pm

What difference can it possibly make now? Damage is already done. That lie has gone around the earth twice.

Yes indeed. And the truth is only just now getting its boots on. However the truth has very big boots. And those who promoted the lie are now in for a kicking.

July 28, 2013 6:09 pm

David, the difference is this: most people aren’t advocates one way or another. They fall somewhere in the middle. It’s one thing to be wrong, everyone is wrong sometimes. It’s another thing to be a liar and to try to sell a lie and to insist people accept a lie. Once those people in the middle realize that these arguments aren’t just mistakes, but outright lies, they will turn on the alarmists. Once they lose their credibility, they’ll never get it back. I’m convinced the reason the people are beginning to turn against this nonsense now, and they are, is because of all these ridiculous positions and predictions which get more and more outlandish. That’s what turned me.

July 28, 2013 6:14 pm

The goal for us is to expose these people as liars. Give them all the rope and hang them. This will be the next round in this fight. They must be exposed as liars who intentionally lie. Look how far the “climategate” thing went. That didn’t have much media support at the time, but once it got out it began turning people. Support for global warming was nearly unanimous ten years ago, now I’d say a full one-third of people think it’s nonsense and many of those who support it only do so as a “fad issue.” For politicians they shouldn’t try to attack the science of global warming, they need only attack what these alarmists want to do: carbon taxes, etc. We’ll always win that fight, even now. With more exposes showing that these alarmists are intentionally lying or misrepresenting data or facts (there were two such incidents this week) the people will turn against them altogether.

July 28, 2013 6:22 pm

Hey Brandon, Disagreed with the wisdom or a recent post, but this hits the target nicely imvho.
Great job.

July 28, 2013 6:24 pm

School teachers in the US are moving to a new set of education standards called “Common Core”, it has not approved the science component yet but Math and English Language Arts are in place. They use word problems in math that emphasize CAGW issues like Carbon Footprint, English projects like writing your congressman to advocate for stronger climate legislation, and community organizing 101 as young as first grade. The new pending science standards are already full of Micheal Mann’s hockey stick principles. Who needs truth when you have K-12 and a global progressive propaganda train?
I’ll give you a preview, they focus on consensus, not the scientific method.

July 28, 2013 6:25 pm

It’s how they roll. I’d like to see some focus put on Dana’s recent use of the Marcott ‘scythe’; he would know Marcott himself described the blade portion as not robust, but yeah once it’s out there interpretations roam free.

July 28, 2013 6:28 pm

When someone says or does something essentially dishonest, though within the letter of the law, you can say they are liars, manipulative and purposefully misrepresenting, because he can not tolerate “his” day in court.
When you speak the truth, you can have it shouted from the rooftops during the brightness of noon. When you seek to mislead, you have to speak quietly in dark corners late at night, and use the hearsay of others to promote your work.
Dana, Cook … how far would you go to have your piece dissected in the court of public opinion? All these statements should give you cause, but cause only to worry.

David Ball
July 28, 2013 6:38 pm

Ian H says:
July 28, 2013 at 6:08 pm
Jorge says:
July 28, 2013 at 6:14 pm
I used to have rose coloured glasses on. I took them off.
From my perspective, and I have been involved in this “debate” a long, long, time, I never dreamed the president would use a blatant lie in promotion of the AGW meme. I know what this tells me. What does it tell you?
All the Universities (meaning our future power brokers and people in positions of control) are holding all the cards for our future. These people regard the general public as “stupid”, so even if the public are aware of the deception, those in power feel they know better than the hoi-polloi. Bureaucrats are wringing their collective hands in anticipation of a carbon tax.
The truth is still getting it’s boots on. It will be written out of history once the victors are in total control.
The boots aren’t as big and powerful as one might hope.

Brandon Shollenberger
July 28, 2013 6:45 pm

Hm. A bit of formatting appears to have gotten lost/removed as the opening of this was a quote from a comment I made at The Blackboard. It might be better this way though. It just makes the second sentence of the second paragraph sound a little weird.

July 28, 2013 6:52 pm

Alvin says:
July 28, 2013 at 6:24 pm
Local school boards & state textbook buyers need to push back, & IMO some will.
As Monckton so aptly points out, “consensus climate science” sometimes ignores consensus, as in going with Mann’s bogus hockey stick instead of the mountain of evidence for a global Medieval Warm Period, grown ever higher since IPCC embraced Mann, et al.

July 28, 2013 6:53 pm

It is no excuse, when your intent is to deceive, to say, “I didn’t actually lie.” Intent is what matters.
These guys intended to deceive, and in many ways succeeded: At least fooling some of the people some of the time. Where there could have been greater understanding they made understanding less. Where Truth could have been clarified they muddied it. And love?
In order to deceive your fellow man I assume you would have to imagine the deceit was for some “greater good.” You would assume you were wise, and everyone else was stupid, and therefore it was in the best interests of others to suspend their right to become educated, to remove their ability to chose wisely, and to basically dictate their decisions. In other words, theirs is a dictatorship mentality.
What dictators forever fail to see is that, besides denying others freedom by imposing a sort of marshal law, they are denying themselves the viewpoints of others, and accepting a narrow myopia instead. Over and over history shows that the more a despot attempts to gather power, the less powerful his people become, and eventually the weaker his nation becomes, as short-term gains give way to long-term misery.
In conclusion, though fellows like Cook and Nuccitelli may well, in their own minds, twist logic around to a place where they can say, “I deceive others for their own good, because I love them,” under keen analysis it always seems to be that they detest, distrust, and basically don’t love their fellow man.

Gunga Din
July 28, 2013 6:57 pm

David Ball says:
July 28, 2013 at 6:38 pm
… These people regard the general public as “stupid”, so even if the public are aware of the deception, those in power feel they know better than the hoi-polloi.

I don’t know if I’d say “stupid” so much as “controllable”.
Control the information that people have to form an opinion and you’ve got them.
The first amendment to the Bill of Rights in the US talks of freedom of the press and freedom of (not “from”) religion.
Blogs and sites like WUWT are the present day embodiment of the “small town paper” the US’s Founding Fathers sought to keep free from Government control. (Even the Government they were forming.)

July 28, 2013 7:03 pm

97% of scientists agree with Dr. Roy Spencer that man’s contribution to global warming is minimal.

July 28, 2013 7:03 pm

Stock photos with the stock imprint still in place.
It’s not lies, it’s just shoddy crap.

July 28, 2013 7:07 pm

Unfortunately, the local school boards are either powerless to stop the process or complicit in allowing their Educrat overlords to take away their responsibility in exchange for federal grants and other funding. The 2009 Stimulus started the process, but the effort goes back to the Clinton Administration to nationalize the education of our children. Pearson is the largest publisher behind the new standards, along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
If any of you are interested in getting up to speed on this topic, here are some links
If you have the time, listen to this youtube/podcast/conf call
We need honest scientific minds in this effort to protect our children.

July 28, 2013 7:16 pm

“The important thing to realize is they did this very carefully. They intentionally used wording that could be easily misunderstood then promoted misunderstandings that arose from it. In other words, they laundered lies.”
Yes, and then they laugh all the way to the bank.

July 28, 2013 7:19 pm

Perhaps warmist would recognize the deceit here: Take a poll result which shows 90% of the population of the US favors supporting our troops and then argue that anyone opposed to any presidential escalations in overseas conflicts is outside the consensus. The next step is to generalize from this to the basic understanding that you can’t identify a broad consensus and the use it to marginalize views within that consensus.

Richard M
July 28, 2013 7:24 pm

I like to refer to the 97% lie as a bait and switch scheme. Most people connect this to con men. I believe many people can relate to this better than just calling them dishonest.

July 28, 2013 7:24 pm

Upon reading thispost,,,,,,,,, “Big Snake Oil” came to mind.
Fascinating, if it is accurate, no?

Richard Hill
July 28, 2013 7:42 pm

“Local school boards & state textbook buyers need to push back,”
What is the use of that?
The APS, the AGU and similar have a clear position on the topic,
and the textbook writers follow them.

July 28, 2013 7:50 pm

It is irrelevant whatever %age of climate or other scientists think ‘humans are causing global warming’.
The issue is whether, and by how much, anthropogenic CO2 is warming the climate.
You can add that to the list of dishonesties.

July 28, 2013 7:55 pm

now they may use your headline as well for their PR campaign…

July 28, 2013 8:00 pm

No doubt that the author didn’t communicate with Dana very well…
“Another co-author, Dana Nuccitelli of Skeptical Science, said she was encouraging scientists to stress the consensus “at every opportunity, particularly in media interviews”.
I should think that Dana would insist that the reference to hism gender be corrected.
On the other hand, the article that’s linked in the tweet accurately summarizes the selection and classification of the papers, doesn’t it?
“Experts in Australia, the United States, Britain and Canada studied 4,000 summaries of peer-reviewed papers in journals giving a view about climate change since the early 1990s and found that 97 percent said it was mainly caused by humans.
They also asked authors for their views and found a 97 percent conviction from replies covering 2,000 papers.”

July 28, 2013 8:08 pm

Since Obama publically claimed that there has been accelerated warming in the last 10 years which is an outright lie, and anyone who has looked at the data knows that is not true, what difference does it make about this 97% half truth lie? Make the lie big, and make the half truth as devious as possible. The public will believe it – that is one truth that will never go away. The only thing that will bring the public around is for the Laurentide ice sheet to start rebuilding, but when that happens it really won’t matter any more anyway.

Chad Wozniak
July 28, 2013 8:59 pm

@Alvin –
What you bring up is only the tip of the Common Core iceberg. CC is nothing but an indoctrination program, designed to keep kids from acquiring critical thinking, and telling them to give up their constitutional rights “to be safe.” (As Ben Franklin said, he who gives up his liberty for safety has neither.)
It should be illegal as hell for teachers to use kids to conduct a political campaign, like the one you describe where they are to write their congressman to ask for tougher climate control laws. That’s pure politics, not education, let alone science – not only is it a waste of time that could be used to teach kids something useful, like economics (which is as important a part of life as science, and which I think should be taught starting in the first grade so that hopefully we wouldn’t have such a grossly economically illiterate public). And IMHO, it’s child abuse, misleading kids and scaring them with tales of impending CAGW doom. It got so bad in England that the zillions of complaints from parents of how their kids were being subjected to this abuse that the authorities in the UK pulled global warming from the educational agenda. I only hope that happens here.
I personally won’t be comfortable until the left is entirely purged from the educational system at all levels, from preschool to graduate school.

Chad Wozniak
July 28, 2013 9:03 pm

Bradley –
One is reminded of Einstein’s comment that it only takes one demonstration by one scientists to prove millions of others wrong.
The 97 percent gimmick is a rather crude and unimaginative example of a fundamental logical fallacy, argumentum ad verecundiam – the appeal to authority, which of course holds no water when the “authority” is dead wrong.

July 28, 2013 9:05 pm

Richard Hill says:
July 28, 2013 at 7:42 pm
Some states have a lot of say in what goes into textbooks, regardless of what scientific bodies advise, unless, as in the case of creationism, the federal courts get involved:

Chad Wozniak
July 28, 2013 9:06 pm

@Ian H –
When the kicking starts, can each of us posters here have a turn at it? Grrr!!

Bennett In Vermont
July 28, 2013 9:08 pm

Caleb said on July 28 at 6:53 pm
Wow, an excellent diatribe, in a gentle sort of way.

July 28, 2013 9:10 pm

Friends of Science have issued three press releases on the alleged 97% consensus through PRWeb.
with table http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/Consensus.pdf
“The Economist reports on IPCC CO2 Sensitivity as Friends of Science Issues a Statement on claims of 97% Scientific Consensus on Global Warming and Climate Change. Recent comments by President Obama and high profile eco-activists like Canadian David Suzuki stating that there is a 97% scientific consensus on global warming and climate change are misleading the public, say Friends of Science. Four key studies on consensus show that scientists only agree that human activity has caused some warming – not dangerous warming.”
“Only 65 Scientists of 12,000 Make up Alleged 97% on Climate Change and Global Warming Consensus According to Breakdown of Cook et al study, say Friends of Science. In response to multiple inquiries from media and global warming advocates, Friends of Science issue this release to expose the statistical manipulation evident from the break down of the Cook et al paper.”
“Friends of Science Challenge the Cook Study for Bandwagon Fear Mongering on Climate Change and Global Warming. Detailed analysis shows that only 0.5% (65 of the 12,000 abstracts rated) suggest that humans are responsible for more than 50% of the global warming up to 2001, contrary to the alleged 97% consensus amongst scientists in the Cook et al study.”

Latimer Alder
July 28, 2013 9:33 pm

Would you buy a used car (pre-owned automobile) from Nutticcelli and Cook?
If so, call me. I have a bridge that may interest you…..

Pamela Gray
July 28, 2013 9:49 pm

A person in position of paid power can bring about utter destruction. A single career can be destroyed as well as the lifespring of entire nations. Beware the advertised belief, no matter what the belief.

July 28, 2013 10:18 pm

It is extremely difficult to expose a half truth for what it is, particularly if the audience is pre-disposed to that point of view. Instead of trying to refute the claim, embrace it.
Yes Mr/Ms Naive, 97% of scientists agree that humans are causing warming. Are you aware that there is considerable disagreement among those same scientists as to the magnitude of the warming and the costs of mitigation versus adaptation?
Then you throw in one or two links to get them going on their own quest for facts instead of rhetoric. Like these:
Or whatever your favourite is. Those who refuse to look are lost causes that no amount of information, facts and logic will convince anyway. Those who do look… have taken a step on their own. You still can’t convince them, they have to become interested enough to do the research and convince themselves.

July 28, 2013 10:21 pm

IMO, the Cook et. al. ‘97%’ paper was a very, very cleverly constructed piece of ‘disinformation’ of which the KGB at the height of the Cold War would have been proud, and should be carefully, dissected, analysed and publicised as such by us skeptics and especially by those of us skilled in understanding and combating sophisticated disinformation programs. That it fooled (or was simply found useful to) those in positions as high as the UK Hoiuse of Lords and the President of the USA demonstrates its very effectiveness, and should serve as a warning to skeptics and the public at large of the guile and cunning of those promoting this scam. We must fight on, for as long as it takes, till truth prevails over lies and information prevails over disinformation.

July 28, 2013 10:39 pm

DGH says:
July 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm
On the other hand, the article that’s linked in the tweet accurately summarizes the selection and classification of the papers, doesn’t it?
“Experts in Australia, the United States, Britain and Canada studied 4,000 summaries of peer-reviewed papers in journals giving a view about climate change since the early 1990s and found that 97 percent said it was mainly caused by humans.
They also asked authors for their views and found a 97 percent conviction from replies covering 2,000 papers.”

1. Authors of papers not dealing with attribution (e.g., on impacts and mitigation, which are more numerous) may call themselves climatologists, but they do not have relevant expertise on what causes climate change. They’re just bystanders. Only authors dealing with attribution (atmospheric physics and chemistry) should be polled.
2. Papers on attribution written in the last five years are most relevant. Papers that are more than ten years old should be down-weighted.
3. Authors need to be asked the sort of probing questions that the 2007 George Mason U. survey asked, such as how confident are they in climatology’s knowledge-state and projections, how much of a threat do they consider future warming to be, etc. Cook and N. must have been aware of those questions, but deliberately avoided asking them.
Someone should commission George Mason or somebody to do a survey with the points above in mind.

The Engineer
July 28, 2013 11:13 pm

Essays like this give unnecessary credance to that ridiculous paper from cartoonist John Cook.
It doesn’t matter at all what idiots who call themselves “Climate Scientists” write in their abstracts, it what they can prøve by the ACTUAL REAL SCIENCE that matters. And here is the rub. Nowhere in the 12.000 (or 4.000) papers is there a single piece of reliable evidence that human emissions of CO2 are having the claimed effect.
And lets get to bottom of this “climate scientist” rubbish as well – there is no such thing. There are geologists, there are physicists, meteorologists, chemists and astro-physicists, some of whom work on climate-related subjects.
A climate scientist is not someone who; by sheer bloody accident, happens to write the words “global warming” into the title of their paper. I would guess that would include about 11.000 biologists – who know absolutely nothing about climate, but who know a quick shortcut to research funding.

July 28, 2013 11:32 pm

It’s even more egregious than Brandon thinks:
Prof Mike Hulme:
” …in one place the paper claims to be exploring “the level of scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW” and yet the headline conclusion is based on rating abstracts according to whether “humans are causing global warming”. These are two entirely different judgements.”
This simple observation undermines the ‘97% consensus’ paper, but neither of the Authors contributing to this thread http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2013/7/27/weekend-update-the-distracting-counterproductive-97-consensu.html have acknowledged it or addressed it, despite several invitations to do so.
They have taken a few potshots at Hulme in a vague sort of way though.
This is standard Modus Operandi for some of those on the warm side of the debate, and one of the major reasons why the majority of people in the UK and elsewhere are sceptical of their claims. They avoid substantive debate on issues of logic and quantification and instead offer innuendo against those making awkward observations.

July 28, 2013 11:51 pm

I think many who have read any significant proportion of the climate ‘science’ slanted output knows full well that it is all carefully produced to provide as much alarmism as possible, often without any hint of actual scientific basis.
This is the primary problem – that no real peer review has been undertaken, and the ‘bandwagon’ allowed many non-climate scientists to get involved, accentuating many publications because of the phrase ‘global warming’. The mere fact that ordinary folk (who are not really climate science orientated) can debunk or at least draw serious doubts about the so called ‘science’, literally within minutes on the internet – is a prime illustration of just how bad the whole process (peer review) became.
In essence, the various editors of various publications saw that the CAGW hype was getting in the news. In the same way as tabloid newspapers seek ‘readers’ with headlines and eye-catching photos – so the ‘science’ papers did the same.
The likes of Nuticelli, Connolley, etc – jumped on the bandwagon too! Self gratifying, self perpetuating NON scientists taking advantage of the crap peer review process.
As I have said before – the main loser here (apart from Joe Public) will be the scientific method and scientists in general. Alarmism in science simply does not work – and infiltration of ‘science’ by those with personal agendas is paramount to scientific anarchy.
Joe public already despises scientists for getting things wrong (e.g. simple weather forecasts!, or this or that is good/bad for you, etc). Does anyone think science can return from this over-hyped scam? Somehow, I think not, at least not for many years.

July 29, 2013 12:50 am

No doubt there are many problems with the 97% paper. But didn’t the tweet – with the link – accurately describe the 4000, 2000, and all of that?

Steve C
July 29, 2013 12:52 am

We need to start referring, in print and in speech, to “the 97% lie. Everywhere it turns up. Until Joe Public gets the message.

July 29, 2013 1:12 am

When anyone commits the logical atrocity of “appeal to authority,” I say to them “So we should listen to the scientists about the existence and severity of AGW – because they’re scientists, right?” And they say “Absolutely – they’re the scientists.” I say “So we should listen to the experts in science, and not challenge experts speaking with authority within their field of expertise.” They assert this as an axiom.
I then say “So the scientists have no business talking about financial markets, economics, public policy responses right – they should ONLY opine on the scientific variables and not get involved in stuff they know nothing about, right?” At that point they start to go wobbly, but they have to agree.
Then I say “So why shouldn’t I listen to Lord Monckton about the appropriate policy response? His field of expertise is in public policy.” They don’t like that at all.

Brandon Shollenberger
July 29, 2013 1:28 am

I just came across another fascinating comment by Dana Nuccitelli:

I agree with Tom Curtis’ comment on Pile’s guest post, which was pretty terrible. Not only in his mischaracterizations of our paper, but also in his defense and praise of Andrew Neil. I thought it was pretty appalling.

This probably doesn’t appear fascinating. It seems like the sort of reaction one would expect from Nuccitelli. What’s fascinating only becomes apparent if you read the comment he says he agrees with, specifically:

Based on the paper, if you “explicitly minimize [or] reject AGW as less than 50%”, you reject the consensus. So, we now know, apparently that all those AGW critics believe that AGW is responsible for 50%+ of warming over at least the last 50 years (and possibly over the twentieth century). There is no other coherent way to read the paper.

By agreeing with this comment, Nuccitelli says the only “coherent way to read the paper” is that their “consensus” is humans are “responsible for 50%+ of warming over at least the last 50 years.” This is peculiar as the only difference between the first and second categories is the first category is for abstracts which quantify the anthropogenic component as 50%+. If all papers endorsing the consensus say the anthropogenic component is 50%+, what possible reason would there be to split the first and second categories as they did? That wouldn’t be one.
This was probably just a careless mistake on Nuccitelli’s part, but it’s still fascinating. If this was a mistake, it shows Nuccitelli promoted something that misrepresented his work simply because he liked what it said. If it wasn’t a mistake, Nuccitelli intentionally mislead people by saying he agreed with Tom Curtis’s comment.
That is, unless Nuccitelli actually agrees with Tom Curtis. In that case, Nuccitelli may be honest, but he has no idea what he’s talking about.

July 29, 2013 1:42 am

‘humans are causing global warming’

A good scientist should say:

‘humans are causing SOME global warming’

There was a sharp rise in global surface temperature between 1910 and 1940 not attributed (mostly) to man’s greenhouse gases as per IPCC. Furthermore, the temperature rise from the end of the Little Ice Age (~1850) to 1940 was ‘mostly’ natural. The question is HOW MUCH of the recent rise is caused by man? HOW MUCH warming will a doubling of co2 cause? This is at the core of the debate. Dana is a dishonest fossil fuel paid ‘shale‘.
Here is Professor Mike Hulme (Lead author IPCC 2001 Third Assessment Report) on the Cook Dana ‘study’.

Ben Pile is spot on. The “97% consensus” article is poorly conceived, poorly designed and poorly executed. It obscures the complexities of the climate issue and it is a sign of the desperately poor level of public and policy debate in this country that the energy minister should cite it. It offers a similar depiction of the world into categories of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ to that adopted in Anderegg et al.’s 2010 equally poor study in PNAS: dividing publishing climate scientists into ‘believers’ and ‘non-believers’. It seems to me that these people are still living (or wishing to live) in the pre-2009 world of climate change discourse. Haven’t they noticed that public understanding of the climate issue has moved on?


July 29, 2013 1:46 am

Anyone who is not a specialist in a particular scientific field tends to accept consensus as a short-cut. The alternative is to do a lot of hard work to become an expert oneself. For example, I accept some of the wilder deductions of quantum mechanics if most physicists agree they are correct. But in that case, as soon as a proposition is falsified by experiment, the consensus can change pretty quickly. Luckily, few political decisions are made on the basis of the current predictions of string theory.
We know that consensus is not science, but we have also seen that a lot of influential people up to and including world leaders think that it is.
That makes the 97% lie very important.
So how about doing the survey again, openly asking a fair and neutral question this time and then publishing the result without manipulation?

July 29, 2013 2:04 am

They are not liars. They firmly believe in this delusion and they mistake belief for fact. A weird footprint is absolute proof of an alien invasion and so on.
Not so long ago, I heard someone claiming creationism has scientific merit. This person was not lying. He is simply and profoundly confused as to what constitutes knowledge and what constitutes belief.

Brandon Shollenberger
July 29, 2013 3:23 am

Txomin, I don’t see a way one can claim they are not dishonest. They intentionally use specific wording in order not to give untrue answers. That shows they are fully aware other, more exaggerated, claims wouldn’t be supported by their data. Despite this, Cook et al promote those exaggerated claims without doing anything to correct them.
They knowingly promote claims they wouldn’t make themselves because the claims are false. No amount of spin can stop that from being dishonest.

July 29, 2013 3:31 am

When you look at Cook’s introduction, rather than the abstract, he actually says
“We examined a large sample of the scientific literature on global CC, published over a 21 year period, in order to determine the level of scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW).
And co-author, Mark Richardson, is quoted as saying
“We want our scientists to answer questions for us, and there are lots of exciting questions in climate science. One of them is: are we causing global warming? We found over 4000 studies written by 10 000 scientists that stated a position on this, and 97 per cent said that recent warming is mostly man made.
These are both outright lies.

David L.
July 29, 2013 4:03 am

What percentage of scientists during the 15th and 16th century “knew” the Earth was the center of the universe?

July 29, 2013 4:06 am

So how many papers support the notion of dangerous human caused global warming DAGW or CAGW, which is the supposed reason for all the climate policies that are imposed or planned that are costing trillions?
0%, 1%? Anybody knows?
Makes a big difference!

July 29, 2013 4:13 am

It seems like there would be a simple strategy for debunking the 97% statistic, offer a number of opinions in a range of sample statements to the authors of the misleading statistic and ask which ones of them fall in or out of the consensus. Then take the same sentences and ask those who have heard it but are not on the inside the same question. When the categorizations mismatch horribly go back to the authors and ask what they are going to do about the misinterpretation of their work. If the authors lie and put the demarcation point to match popular perceptions, you get them a different way.
It doesn’t take a genius to build the list.
1. all global warming is caused by humans
2. most global warming is caused by humans
3. about half of global warming is caused by humans
4. a minority of global warming is caused by humans
5. a small minority of global warming is caused by humans
6. a miniscule amount of global warming is caused by humans
7. an unmeasurably small amount of global warming is caused by humans
8. no global warming is caused by humans
How many of the statements would the authors put into their list? How many would outsiders put in their list? You could probably fund the survey with a kickstarter in no time flat.

July 29, 2013 4:33 am

@Brandon Shollenberger
Writing (and speaking) defensively is a common tactic we all use when we don’t want our arguments to be misconstrued by others. This does not constitute lying. In regards to allowing/encouraging others to go beyond what’s stated, it’s also common practice and a legitimate (political) strategy.
Nonetheless, it is fair for you and I to disagree. In my opinion, they are fools, not liars. And, while they are manipulative, I would charge them with doing so in an infantile way before a devious one.

July 29, 2013 5:18 am

Brandon and Txomin… remember George Costanza… “It’s not a lie….. if YOU believe it”

July 29, 2013 5:39 am

This is in a published paper where they are supposed to not have logical/definitional errors. If it says one thing in the abstract and Intro.
to the paper and then their actual analysis does not reflect what they said
it does, this is a problem. It’s either extreme stupidity or dishonesty. If you are
so intent on creating propaganda that you no longer recognize the truth or that you are bending it, I’m not sure which of the two categories above apply. Perhaps it’s stup-onesty. Saying something in a twitter or verbally you might be right, but in any longer document or when you are called out on it and then you continue to prevaricate, I can’t condone it.

July 29, 2013 5:54 am

Why all this serious analysing of an obviously purely propagandistic attempt at giving the old 97% number a new foundation, after its original one turned out to be 72 of 76 guys answering 3 wishy washy questions that even a skeptic would answer with yes.
Nuccitelli, Cook and all their collaborators have already shown themselves to be dishonest tools just by starting that idiotic endeavour. No person with a brain takes them seriously. Not even the warmists who pretend to; even they are not stupid enough to not see what was done.
Warmism might have started out of sheer incompetence but anyone who is still on that side now knows himself what a liar he has become.

July 29, 2013 7:12 am

Txomin says:
July 29, 2013 at 2:04 am
They are not liars. They firmly believe in this delusion and they mistake belief for fact. A weird footprint is absolute proof of an alien invasion and so on.

You have been tricked. Here are a few smoking guns.
Global Warming changed to Climate Change.
Climate Change changed to Extreme Weather (no evidence provided of trends).
Hot surface temperature went deep sea diving.
Antarctica sea ice grown blamed on Ozone then on warm water.
IPCC temperature projections and divergence explained away (don’t believe your lying eyes)
They are lying. They know it. It’s not about co2 it’s about de-industrializing the world and restricting energy to restrict population growth in developing countries.
Here are some quotes at http://www.green-agenda.com/
Here is just one climate scientist in a candid moment.

Dr. Phil Jones – CRU emails – 5th July, 2005
“The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. OK it has but it is only 7 years of data and it isn’t statistically significant….”
Dr. Phil Jones – CRU emails – 7th May, 2009
‘Bottom line: the ‘no upward trend’ has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.’

Don’t be fooled again. These climate scientists know full well what is going on but won’t admit it. They are behaving like politicians and activists.

July 29, 2013 7:34 am

Jimbo says:
July 29, 2013 at 7:12 am
“Dr. Phil Jones – CRU emails – 7th May, 2009
‘Bottom line: the ‘no upward trend’ has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.’ ”
Best part is the “Before we get worried.”
I thought the reason for worry was the increase in temperature; not the lack of warming.

July 29, 2013 8:21 am

Nutticelli: “… the ~4,000 abstracts that took a position on the cause of global warming”
So they openly regard it as a “cause” not a scientific issue.
So their survey apparently shows that 97% of scientists take a position on a cause. That may be nearer to the truth than they intended.

July 29, 2013 8:32 am

The Cook/Nutticlotti paper is scientific fraud. I have given the journal that published their nonsense the opportunity to publish a response correcting the errors. For the true “consensus” their own data file shows is that just 0.3% of all 11,944 papers endorsed the standard definition of the climate consensus – that more than half the warming since 1950 is anthropogenic. The devices the authors used to get from 0.3% to 97.1% were intended, by deception, to deceive, and hence to perpetuate the large losses inflicted on general taxpayers by the mad climate policies of most Western governments. We shall see whether the journal publishes my comment setting the facts straight. If not, another case for Mr. Plod the Policeman.

Henry Galt
July 29, 2013 10:02 am

Brandon Shollenberger says:
July 29, 2013 at 1:28 am
Very good catch. I think he is dumb and this proves it 😉
Me thinking he is dumb does not move him out of the ‘dishonest’ segment of my Venn diagram 8)

Chris R.
July 29, 2013 11:52 am

To Caleb:
Dictators seldom come with their pathologies fully displayed.
No, they come laden with promises and concern for the people.
Dictators make the claim that the public have been duped or
coerced by the past regime, and they (the dictator) are here to
make things right. Only later do the dictators show their true,
pathological nature.
Who knows? Over the long years, out of the many, many dictators
the human race has endured, some may even have started out
by believing their own hype. But when they put their theories
into practice, the people do NOT react as theory says the people
are supposed to react. So the dictator shoots a few more people,
and tinkers with the machinery of government some more. After
a time, the dictator fears to give up power, because he has too
much blood on his hands.

Brandon Shollenberger
July 29, 2013 12:33 pm

Paul Homewood, thanks your comment. I had never seen that quote from Mark Richardson before. I’ve read dozens of comments from the authors, and so far, that’s the only time I’ve seen one say Cook et al’s results show the consensus is “recent warming is mostly man made.”
Txomin, I’m afraid your response doesn’t answer anything. You discussed two different things that didn’t cover the situation I described. That’s unfortunate as I almost never accuse people of lying, but in this case, I believe it is impossible to avoid.

J Martin
July 29, 2013 2:05 pm

That really is a condemnation of the poor quality and shocking lack of professionalism amongst Obama’s advisor’s that they didn’t look into the veracity of that highly suspicious 97% quote before they passed it onto him.
Let’s hope the military advice he gets is of a higher standard.

J Martin
July 29, 2013 2:36 pm

Is the bulk of the population really gullible enough to think that 97% of scientists ever agree about anything ?
Clearly some people are. Obama for one, several journalists and newspaper editors and maybe a handful more.
Nutticelli and co are deliberately misleading people as they seek to achieve their aims, in some fields one could go to jail for that. Surely it is time that those laws were extended to include areas such as climate science.

July 29, 2013 3:06 pm

It is not unusual to charge fools with malice, but it is just an excuse to be able criminalize their behavior.

Crispin in Waterloo
July 30, 2013 2:56 am

Txomin, Brandon’s complaint against you is valid. You are going to have to put up or shut up.
I am still quoting your essay. May the (police) force be with you.

Chuck Nolan
July 30, 2013 5:28 am

From the link:
“Experts in Australia, the United States, Britain and Canada studied 4,000 summaries of peer-reviewed papers in journals giving a view about climate change since the early 1990s and found that 97 percent said it was mainly caused by humans.”
“Another co-author, Dana Nuccitelli of Skeptical Science, said she was encouraging scientists to stress the consensus “at every opportunity, particularly in media interviews”
“Global average surface temperatures have risen by 0.8 degree Celsius (1.4F) since the Industrial Revolution.”
First, “Experts in Australia, the United States, Britain and Canada”
The article doesn’t mention anybody’s field of expertise.
Would that be “data manipulation”?
Dana’s a Sheila? Who knew?
Is the media ridiculing our boy Scooter?
I believe the industrial revolution ended sometime around 1840 or so….
The temp went up (?) 0.8 ° C in 170 years and that’s a problem?
Sensitivity is therefore 0.8/170 x 100 = 0.47 ° / century.
Run, hurry up and get “Scooter” Chicken Little…We need to get the word out. /sarc
And this is coming out of the LIA.
What happened to 8.0 ° C in less than 85 years?
Sheesh! “What a moroon…What an ignoramatus.” h/t to Bugs Bunny.
They must have another motive but, I just can’t believe they are that coordinated.
Ya gotta wonder.
They’ve got the money.
They’ve got Big Business.
They’ve got the scientists.
They’ve got the politicians.
They’ve got the media….
And they still can’t get it done.
I guess the only thing they’re missing is the truth.

Brian H
July 30, 2013 7:27 pm

The full quote should be promoted loudly: “97% of scientists agree: Humans cause a little bit of global warming.” The truth shall set us free.

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