We’ve had the climate wars, now we have the consensus wars, and it appears Cook’s side and his publisher aren’t playing fair with the numbers, or with the review/rebuttal process.
Dr. Richard Tol writes via email:
Two critiques on Cook will be published tomorrow [today Toll adds ERL just sent me an email that the paper is published (it isn’t actually), so the embargo is off] . I attach mine. I have not seen the other.
Cook’s rejoinder is attached too.
This is what I wrote to Associated Press:
Unfortunately, Environmental Research Letters does not believe in open discussion and forced me to hide the rather severe methodological critique on Cook’s 2013 paper behind a superficial literature review.
This allows Cook 2016 to hide their response to my critique; but they admit that Cook 2013 misleads the reader on the independence of the raters and on the information available to the raters. This is normally sufficient for a retraction: the data behind Cook 2013 are not what Cook 2013 claim they are.
Cook 2016 ducks my other critiques:
(1) sample size is unknown;
(2) there are systematic differences between the raters; and
(3) the people who collected the data in phases 2 and 3 had access to the results of phase 1 and phases 1 and 2, respectively (while there are systematic differences between the results from phase 1, 2, and 3).
As to the consensus on the consensus, if you carefully pick results from the various studies, then you see agreement. If, on the other hand, you look at all the data, then the various consensus studies strongly disagree with each other.
This is what I wrote to the Guardian
It’s a funny thing that – you exactly reproduce someone else’s findings and they accuse you of misrepresentation. It’s their numbers. If this is wrong, it is their fault.
Their Q: I was wondering if you have any comment or reaction to these authors of previous consensus studies who have said you misrepresented their research
Cook’s paper: Consensus on consensus- final (PDF)
The second rebuttal to Cook will be added once we have it and will appear here.
Meanwhile the climate news PR machine is gearing up to claim Cook has conformed er confirmed, the 97% consensus, with this story from Michigan Tech:
Consensus on Consensus: Expertise Matters in Agreement Over Human-Caused Climate Change
A research team confirms that 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is caused by humans. The group includes Sarah Green, a chemistry professor at Michigan Technological University.
“What’s important is that this is not just one study—it’s the consensus of multiple studies,” Green says. This consistency across studies contrasts with the language used by climate change doubters. This perspective stems from, as the authors write, “conflating the opinions of non-experts with experts and assuming that lack of affirmation equals dissent.”