A Reply to Cook and Oreskes on Climate Science Consensus

By Warren Pearce, , Reiner Grundmann, Mike Hulme, Sujatha Raman, Eleanor Hadley Kershaw and Judith Tsouvalis

Published in: Environmental Communication

In their replies to our paper (Pearce et al., 2017), both Cook (2017) and Oreskes (2017) agree with our central point: that deliberating and mobilizing policy responses to climate change requires thinking beyond public belief in a scientific consensus. However, they both continue to defend consensus messaging, either because of “the dangers of neglecting to communicate the scientific consensus” (Cook, 2017, p. 1) or because “‘no consensus’ … remains … a contrarian talking point” (Oreskes, 2017, p. 1). Both highlight previously conducted market research by fossil fuel companies which suggested that
scientific uncertainty provided a political weapon in fighting regulation, concluding that incorrect public perceptions of the scientific consensus weaken support for policy action (Oreskes, 2017, p. 2). It is odd that scholars accept corporate research as proof of a claim about the relation between knowledge and decision-making, when the academic evidence cited in our Commentary provides numerous examples to the contrary. Grundmann and Stehr (2012) examined the literature regarding the relation between scientific information and policies (including climate policy), finding that what matters most for effective policy is the identification, and use, of levers for action such as taxes, regulation, incentives or public investment, not scientific consensus.

Public opinion data also cast doubt on the importance of consensus messaging. In Table 1, we summarize relevant 2017 national survey data of US public attitudes and knowledge (Leiserowitz, Maibach, Roser-Renouf, Rosenthal, & Cutler, 2017; Marlon, Fine, & Leiserowitz, 2017). Although one should be cautious interpreting such surveys, the data shows a clear majority position among Americans: that climate change is real, important and worrisome, and that the US should take policy action and invest in public education. These positions have been reached in the absence of accurate knowledge about the scientific consensus. There is little evidence here that supports the notion shared by Cook, Oreskes and various fossil fuel companies: that disinformation about scientific consensus begets public opposition to policy.

Despite this evidence, Cook (2017) and Oreskes (2017) appear convinced that public understanding of scientific consensus is essential for developing effective climate policies. Even if this “gateway belief model” could be proved in laboratory studies,1 it holds questionable significance in the real world where sources of competing information always exist (Kahan & Carpenter, 2017). Science itself provides fertile ground for such discrepancies, as two current examples demonstrate. First, the debate over the hiatus/pause in global temperature increase was not invented by fossil fuel interests, but is a subject of genuine scientific disagreement (Medhaug, Stolpe, Fischer, & Knutti, 2017). Second, there is increasing expert debate regarding how much carbon dioxide can be emitted while keeping global temperature rise below 1.5°C (Millar et al., 2017a, 2017b; Peters, 2017; Rathi, 2017). For climate scientists, there is no obvious consensus about questions such as these. On the other hand, Cook, Oreskes and others persist in messaging the minimalist fact that human influence on a changing climate is uncontroversial amongst scientists.

To reiterate our Commentary, we agree there are occasions where this consensus is worth stating. However, there will always be public voices of dissent, and drowning them out with consensus messaging is implausible (Aklin & Urpelainen, 2014). Far better to design sustained public engagement on climate change around possible policy options, rather than allowing the needle to get stuck on consensus messaging which offers little when it comes to planning policy responses. Instead, it is necessary to open up the normative dimensions of policies such as carbon taxes, geoengineering or radical societal transitions to public scrutiny and debate (Nisbet, 2014), and to find new policy measures that can attract cross-partisan support (Ryan, 2015).

Cook (2017) interprets our argument as playing into the hands of climate disinformers. Far from it. It is the insistent demand that publics will only engage in relevant policy debates once they have adopted a “gateway belief” that is playing into the hands of those who wish to slow-down climate policy design and implementation.

Greater public participation in defining policy solutions will help challenge the current system, where policy interventions are presented as value-free responses to scientific facts, leaving science vulnerable to political attacks that scientists and their allies are ill-equipped to repel (Jasanoff, 2010; Pearce, Brown, Nerlich, & Koteyko, 2015; Raman, 2017; Wynne, 2010). Starting with specific policy proposals, and exploring their normative assumptions, is likely to prove a better public engagement strategy than the promotion of consensus messaging.

For example, the UK Government’s “My2050” online tool enabled members of the public to design their own energy pathway to the UK’s 2050 carbon reduction target. Participants adjusted different elements of energy generation and demand within their pathway, revealing the normative assumptions regarding energy trade-offs embedded in the policy target (Mohr, Raman, & Gibbs, 2013). Complementary deliberative dialogues allowed participants to reflect more extensively on the target’s demands, with the results informing recommendations for decision-making (Sciencewise, 2012). In this model, members of the public are assumed to have something to contribute to crafting societal responses to climate change, rather than seeking to correct some deficiency in their understanding of the issue (Nuccitelli, Cook, van der Linden, Leiserowitz, & Maibach, 2017). Also, Pidgeon, Demski, Butler, Parkhill, and Spence (2014) report that in their deliberative workshops, some participants who were sceptical about climate change were nevertheless enthusiastic about transition beyond fossil fuels.

Publics around the world possess a rich understanding of the climates they live with, the risks they face, and the potential changes they would like to see. Mobilizing and engaging these views are the proper building blocks for public debate, not an insistence that knowledge of a single number is a pre-condition for political progress.


Full paper with citations here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17524032.2017.1392109?journalCode=renc20

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78 thoughts on “A Reply to Cook and Oreskes on Climate Science Consensus

  1. Formatting might need to be addressed.
    I see this:

    Despite this evidence, Cook (2017) and Oreskes (2017) appear convinced that public
    understanding
    of scientific consensus is essential for developing effective climate polices. Even if this
    “gateway

    That spacing carries through the whole post.
    Might just be on my end.

    • With all of those carriage returns, it looks like the article got copied from an application that retained end-of-line formatting.

    • Well, not exactly what I see but still not right.
      (understanding and “gateway were the only words on their lines.)

      • By the way, a consensus only proves dominant opinion, not fact. From there it becomes a call to authority’

      • When I started grade school, the scientific consensus was that the earth’s crust was stable and all the continents were where they had always been. I’ve seen other scientific consensus fall throughout my life. I don’t believe scientific consensus it the be-all and end-all of scientific discussion.

    • I read that Oreskes was trying to get Cook, Hansen, Schmidt and Trenberth pushed to the side since she thought she would be better at leading the climate movement.

      [Let’s get some rumours started because Oreskes clearly likes to fight dirty and maybe we can get them just fighting amongst each other. This is how US politics works now, rumours/dirty tricks].

  2. By Warren Pearce, , Reiner Grundmann, Mike Hulme, Sujatha Raman, Eleanor Hadley Kershaw and Judith Tsouvalis
    Published in: Environmental Communication
    In their replies to our paper (Pearce et al., 2017), both Cook (2017) and Oreskes (2017) agree with ourcentral point: that deliberating and mobilizing policy responses to climate change requires thinking beyond public belief in a scientific consensus. However, they both continue to defend consensus messaging, either because of “the dangers of neglecting to communicate the scientific consensus” (Cook, 2017, p. 1) or because “‘no consensus’ … remains … a contrarian talking point” (Oreskes, 2017, p. 1). Both highlight previously conducted market research by fossil fuel companies which suggested that scientific uncertainty provided a political weapon in fighting regulation, concluding that incorrect public perceptions of the scientific consensus weaken support for policy action (Oreskes, 2017, p. 2). It is odd that scholars accept corporate research as proof of a claim about the relation between knowledge and decision-making, when the academic evidence cited in our Commentary provides numerous examples to the contrary. Grundmann and Stehr (2012) examined the literature regarding the relation between scientific information and policies (including climate policy), finding that what matters most for effective policy is the identification, and use, of levers for action such as taxes, regulation, incentives or public investment, not scientific consensus.
    Public opinion data also cast doubt on the importance of consensus messaging. In Table 1, we summarize relevant 2017 national survey data of US public attitudes and knowledge (Leiserowitz
    Maibach, Roser-Renouf, Rosenthal, & Cutler, 2017; Marlon, Fine, & Leiserowitz, 2017). Although one should be cautious interpreting such surveys, the data shows a clear majority position among Americans: that climate change is real, important and worrisome, and that the US should take policy action and invest in public education. These positions have been reached in the absence of accurate knowledge about the scientific consensus. There is little evidence here that supports the notion shared by Cook, Oreskes and various fossil fuel companies: that disinformation about scientific consensus begets public opposition to policy.
    Despite this evidence, Cook (2017) and Oreskes (2017) appear convinced that public understanding of scientific consensus is essential for developing effective climate polices. Even if this “gateway belief model” could be proved in laboratory studies,1 it holds questionable significance in the real world where sources of competing information always exist (Kahan & Carpenter, 2017). Science itself provides fertile ground for such discrepancies, as two current examples demonstrate. First, the debate over the hiatus/pause in global temperature increase was not invented by fossil fuel interests, but is a subject of genuine scientific disagreement (Medhaug, Stolpe, Fischer, & Knutti, 2017). Second, there is increasing expert debate regarding how much carbon dioxide can be emitted while keeping global temperature rise below 1.5°C (Millar et al., 2017a, 2017b; Peters, 2017; Rathi, 2017). For climate scientists, there is no obvious consensus about questions such as these. On the other hand, Cook, Oreskes and others persist in messaging the minimalist fact that human influence on a changing climate is uncontroversial amongst scientists.
    To reiterate our Commentary, we agree there are occasions where this consensus is worth stating However, there will always be public voices of dissent, and drowning them out with consensus messaging is implausible (Aklin & Urpelainen, 2014). Far better to design sustained public engagement on climate change around possible policy options, rather than allowing the needle to get stuck on consensus messaging which offers little when it comes to planning policy responses. Instead, it is necessary to open up the normative dimensions of policies such as carbon taxes, geoengineering or radical societal transitions to public scrutiny and debate (Nisbet, 2014), and to find new policy measures that can attract cross-partisan support (Ryan, 2015).
    Cook (2017) interprets our argument as playing into the hands of climate disinformers. Far from it. It is the insistent demand that publics will only engage in relevant policy debates once they have adopted a “gateway belief” that is playing into the hands of those who wish to slow-down climate policy design and implementation.
    Greater public participation in defining policy solutions will help challenge the current system, where policy interventions are presented as value-free responses to scientific facts, leaving science vulnerable to political attacks that scientists and their allies are ill-equipped to repel (Jasanoff, 2010; Pearce, Brown, Nerlich, & Koteyko, 2015; Raman, 2017; Wynne, 2010). Starting with specific policy proposals, and exploring their normative assumptions, is likely to prove a better public engagement strategy than the promotion of consensus messaging.
    For example, the UK Government’s “My2050” online tool enabled members of the public to
    design their own energy pathway to the UK’s 2050 carbon reduction target. Participants adjusted different elements of energy generation and demand within their pathway, revealing the normative assumptions regarding energy trade-offs embedded in the policy target (Mohr, Raman, & Gibbs 2013). Complementary deliberative dialogues allowed participants to reflect more extensively on the target’s demands, with the results informing recommendations for decision-making (Sciencewise, 2012). In this model, members of the public are assumed to have something to contribute to crafting societal responses to climate change, rather than seeking to correct some deficiency in their understanding of the issue (Nuccitelli, Cook, van der Linden, Leiserowitz, & Maibach, 2017). Also, Pidgeon, Demski, Butler, Parkhill, and Spence (2014) report that in their deliberative workshops, some participants who were sceptical about climate change were nevertheless enthusiastic about transition beyond fossil fuels.
    Publics around the world possess a rich understanding of the climates they live with, the risks they face, and the potential changes they would like to see. Mobilizing and engaging these views are the proper building blocks for public debate, not an insistence that knowledge of a single number is a pre-condition for political progress.

    ——————————–
    not sure I fixed it or not.

    • “…or radical societal transitions to public scrutiny and debate ”

      Real climate scam to alter the nature of governance in the West from Democracy to unaccoutable Bureaucracy. That is their radical societal transition. A Big Brother knows best and what is good for you and your family kind of government. And if you resist, we get you fired from your job and take your bank accounts.

  3. Still on the theme that the opposition to their position is motivated by “fossil fuel interests”. As if being motivated by a desire to satisfy the declared position of the political figures behind the movement (and their funding) is somehow pure.

    • I would point out that “fossil fuel interests” consists of approximately 100% of the population. And this includes those climate alarmists who have deluded themselves into thinking they receive no benefits or even critical services from fossil fuels.

  4. Cook and Oreskes are climateers pushing political propaganda on an un-educated public. They hide like data cowards behind their fake “messaging” science and meaningless institutional credentials.

    These two are still simply feeding off the climate gravy train to push a garbage science.

    • fortunately the authors of the article are happy to show oreskes and cook the right way to achieve their fabian fantasies.

      • Their scam is like pushing on a balloon. They push to correct some obvious /distortion lie here, and a bulge appears on the other side. Such is the nature of lies. They are just trying to stay ahead of media/publishing cycle and hoping no one notices they are fakers feeding at the climate trough.

      • Yep, and the right way is to get folks personally involved . . get them invested, with some challenges they can “help” overcome, like “public participation in defining policy solutions” . . and maybe we could have contests, and award ribbons, and even trophies . . maybe even Nobel prizes, for the best slogans, and inspiring songs, to get people really enthusiastic . .

    • Uneducated includes a large percentage of university graduates. ‘Industrial democracy’ has resulted in 75% of enrolment that shouldn’t even be there. They’ve invented entirely new :disciplines’ taught by low frade teachers just to be able to seat them. A little education is a dangerous thing indeed.

      • Off topic, but with the moderator’s permission.

        I must agree with Gary on the state of “higher education” today. Way back when Reagan was President and Dan Rather was on CBS news Rather did a long story on how bad the Reagan’s economy was. His example was that some female college graduate from Florida could not get a job in her chosen field, some area of what was colloquially called “Basket Weaving” back in the late 60’s to at least the early 70’s, i.e. the social “sciences”. When I went to college, I looked at the annual list of degrees and projected salaries for graduates, and signed up for chemical engineering, not some social since degree path that paid nothing.

        When you look at a college catalog today there is a preponderance of such tripe. (no, not British, the term just fits) When I was in college in the early 70’s only 6 hours of basket weaving classes were required. Most all of those classes which are now currently REQUIRED were created to give the graduates of such programs, like that gal from Florida, jobs. Just think of all the master’s and doctoral degrees given in those fields so that those graduates can now teach at the university level. Current policies require almost every business to higher Diversity this or Women’s studies that graduates, for non-productive overhead positions created for the reprogramming anyone who believes in self reliance, individual accountability, or gender and color blind assessments of ones value to a corporation/business. SO ultimately Rather’s goal has been achieved. Look at Cook and Oreskes, and in my opinion all of “climate science”. All useless societal overhead wasting the increased value of the goods and services provided by hard working productive employees/taxpayers.

        BTW, that was the LAST episode of CBS evening news or any network evening news I ever watched. 60 Minutes was out soon thereafter. They always had a problem with some business, never with some government program. From then on I read newspapers until the advent of Fox News, where conservative values were occasionally espoused. Now I pretty much just use the internet to research what is brought to my attention by newspapers and TV news, since almost all “reporters” currently show obvious bias in their reporting. Usually something akin to the truth is out there on the WWW thank to blogs like this.

        So thank you Anthony for your ongoing efforts to provide a forum where otherwise invisible information can be found.

  5. I disagree that consensus is a proper goal for ANY scientific activity. As Einstein is supposed to have said: “There is no right or wrong – there is only experiment”. To say that there should be consensus is to presuppose that there is a ‘right’ answer (to agree on) or a ‘wrong’ approach not worth considering. This rightness or wrongness is fallout from the politically correct concept that there must be a right answer to any question. Often this results from instructors or professors (who are acknowledged to be authorities in their field) that treat their instruction as inviolate. If they said so in a lecture or class then it must be so – there is no room for error. eg: the social sciences lecturer who categorically assumes (and states) that to be born white means the person must be racist – and everything follows from that assumption. The problem of course is the logic: Whatever it is that makes all white persons racist, it must also follow that all black persons must always be racist – and for the same reasons (whatever those are). If we seek consensus about the ‘white racist’ argument we are either arguing for the suppression or elimination of the white race or both. Neither goal is likely to succeed.

  6. Look, to these fools the rest of us are just too stupid to understand so we must be repeatedly told that all of the scientists have already figured it out therefore we should simply shut up and do as we are told if we do not want to contribute to the destruction of the planet. They always attempt to say it nicely but this is what they are saying boils down to in the end.

    • Nicely? You aren’t listening.

      They call anyone who doesn’t think the way they want them to think ignorant, stupid, selfish or evil. Some have suggested incarceration, removal from public office, and even murder.

      • They always begin “nicely” I did not address their manner of response once they are told to stick it where the sun does not shine. But they always begin everything “nicely” with the hope of drawing in as many as possible and hope that as few as possible will notice when they then attempt to take someone’s head off.

      • Canada is under attack both internally and externally… we need help, I’m fighting as best as I can but I have no degree, I am however not stupid and have a voracious reading appetite. The UN – IPCC (who controls it?) is obviously (to me) using the AGW due to CO2 emissions bullcookies, to impose taxation(we don’t have the cash) and energy rationing to the western democracies, through the fraudulent Paris accords. I now believe there’s far more sinister motives behind this whole mess. Our government is forcing all sorts of crap on us at a breakneck speed. Please send links or emails to links on the science for AND against Here’s a video displays the crook we have running our show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6&v=pd-sLM8yuyQ

      • Bradley: You are not alone. As a fellow Canadian, I too feel the intense pressure and outrageous costs to which you refer.
        Although only my first degree was in Science, I’m fairly confident that having a degree is not necessary to see through the entire CAGW scam, as it’s not science, it’s politics.
        Therefore, it is not a matter of further understanding (of science) but rather realizing how the multiplying silly left-wing mentalities can be easily solicited (using your money) to help destroy any country.
        Like you, I too scan, read, and collect the literature, constantly looking for the “gotcha” solution which will finally put an end to the entire hoax. However, down underneath I realize that I will eventually have to accept my own advice and understand that no amount of science will shut the alarmist crew down as it is like arguing with a stubborn 3 year old, using only relevant factual information. To these people, the supposed reward is everything…

    • crowcane – They only think we are “too stupid to understand” when it suits them to think that. If they like what we think, then we “possess a rich understanding of the climates [we] live with•.

      • But that is just an act in the end. Just a way of encouraging those who are agreeing with them to continue to agree with them. Never believe for a moment that they will ever actually credit the average citizen with enough sense to run their own life.

  7. It seems to me that the answer is under our noses. We just need to apply the Scientific Method.
    1. Observe the world
    2. Form a hypothesis
    3. Create a quantitative model
    4. Describe falsification criteria
    5. Test predictions

    The fact is that ‘Climate Science’ has not made it past point 3. There is no model.
    We as sceptics make the mistake of indulging the scare mongers by going onto their turf to debate and then spending forever chasing clouds.

    We should demand a model and falsification criteria. Once all predictions have been shown to be correct we will consider the model ‘credible’ and may start acting on it. While there is no model that has not been falsified we need do nothing other than keep referring warmists to the Scientific Method.

  8. I’ll wait until the editors correct the formatting; that was impossible to read. (Unfortunately Andy’s was not much of an improvement.) Please do better. (At least resubmit as a correction of formatting). Is this another reason to abandon WordPress?

  9. There is no scientific consensus regarding the AGW conjecture. Scientists never registered and voted on the matter. But such a consensus would not matter anyway. Sceince is not a democracy. The laws of science are not some form of legislation. Sceintific theories are not validated through a voting process.

    There is plenty of scientific rational to support the idea that the climate sensivity of CO2 is really zero. The initial radiametric calculations came up with a climate sensivity of CO2 of 1.2 degrees C not factoring in feedbacks. One researcher has found that these calculations failed to take into consideration that a doubling of CO2 will cause a slight decrease in the dry lapse rate in the troposphere which is a cooling effect. The reduction in the dry lapse rate will decrease the climate sensivity of CO2 by more than a factor of 20, reducing the climate sensivity of CO2 to less than .06 degrees C.

    An important part of the AGW conjecture is that CO2 based warming will increase the amount of H2O in the atmosphere which will cause even more warming because H2O is really the primary greenhouse gas and molecule per molecule is a stronger absorber of IR than is CO2. Those that believe in the AGW conjecture like to assume an amplification factor associated with H2O of 3. However, the AGW conjecture completely ignores that H2O is a primary coolant in the Earth’s atmosphere moving heat energy from the Earth’s surface to where clouds form via the heat of vaporization. According to some energy balance models, more heat energy is moved by H2O via the heat of vaporization then by both convection and LWIR absorption band radiation combined. The cooling effect of more H2O is also evidenced by the fact that the wet lapse rate is significantly less than the dry lapse rate which indicates that more H2O has a net cooling effect. So instesd of an amplification factor of 3 we should use an amplification factor of 1/3 which would yield a climate sensivity of CO2 of less than .02 degrees C which is a trivial amount.

    The AGW conjecture depends upon the existance of a radiant greenhouse effect caused by trace gases with LWIR absorption bands. The AGW conjecture completely ignores the fact that good absorbers are also good radiators and what ever LWIR photons are absorbed are eventually radiated away. The so called greenhouse gases do not trap heat any more than any other gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. In fact the non-greenhouse gases will tend too hold onto heat energy longer than the so called greenhouse gases because the non-greenhouse gases are such poor LWIR radiators to space. Since heat transfer by conduction and convection dominates over heat transfer by LWIR absorption band radiation in the troposhere, the fact that the so called greenhouse gases absorb LWIR radiation makes little difference.

    A real greenhouse does not stay warm because of the action of IR absorbiing greenhouse gases. A real greenhouse stays warm because the glass limits cooling by convection. It is a convective greenhouse effect that keeps a real greenhouse warm. There is no radiant greenhouse effect that keeps a real greenhouse warm. So too with the Earth’s climate system. Gravity along with the heat capacity of the atmosphere and the depth of the troposphere provide a convective greenhouse effect. Derived from first principals, the Earth’s convective greenhouse effect keeps the Earth’s surface on average 33 degrees C warmer than it would otherwise be. 33 degrees C is the amount derived from first principals and 33 degrees C is what has been measured. There is no additional warming caused by a radiative greenhouse effect. A radiative greenhouse effect has not been observed on Earth or anywhere else in the solar system for that mater. The radiative greenhouse effect is science fiction. Hence the AGW conjecture is science fiction. This is all a matter of science.

    • Nice post. I liked the entirety, but I really enjoyed this particular line.

      “Scientific theories are not validated through a voting process.”

      No kidding. The whole consensus line is thrown out mostly by those who can’t form an honest debate.

      • If I read correctly, they undermine their own work. All of their suggested “debate” topics are based on acceptance of the “consensus”. I don’t see any options up for debate that would not accept the consensus position. An open discussion of the “wait and see” option would be most welcome. Instead of criticizing those still pushing consensus they should have said “thanks O and C” we’ll take it from here! I can’t believe hundreds of academics are paid to conduct such research. All it does is reinforce acceptance of manipulation and propaganda. Sales reps- nothing more.

  10. Nobody can claim comprehensive, first hand knowledge of how industries think or how academics think. It is futile to argue that one or the other has a view that is better or can be trusted more, or better represents society in general.
    A limited comment from my decades in industry is that people in industry are overwhelmingly more intent on finding the “truth” of a matter than how to twist it to corporate advantage. It takes a lot of effort and energy to create a lie and support it. It is much more fun to be positive and truthful.
    That is, people in industry, and I presume in academia, have an innate trait of truth and fairness that mostly drowns out labels that soft science tries to attribute to them.
    I am not interested in such “divide and rule” tactics. They are irrelevant to the harder question of whether mankind is causing harmful climate change, using fact and not belief. Geoff.

    • I think you give academics too much credit. They are assumed to be alturistic but like civil servants they too know which side their bread is buttered. Their near unanimous response to Brexit is related strongly to the source of much of their income from EU (despite the fact that it comes from UK taxpayers minus some ‘overheads’ skimed off in Brussels/Strasbourg).

    • The operative word isn’t “academic” it’s “leftist”. Their only “operative truth” is they are waaaayy smarter than you so shut up. Or else.

  11. From the article: “For climate scientists, there is no obvious consensus about questions such as these. On the other hand, Cook, Oreskes and others persist in messaging the minimalist fact that human influence on
    a changing climate is uncontroversial amongst scientists.”

    Minimalist fact = Lies

    There is no consensus. The 97 percent consensus these liars keep quoting and pushing on an unsuspecting public is actually less than a 2 percent “consensus”. Or in other words, no consensus at all.

    The 97 percent consensus has been debunked. Look it up.

    • The 97% consensus was never “bunked”. No group of any type EVER has 97% of its members agreeing like that. Except maybe the Westboro Baptist Church and the Klan.

  12. From the article: “Public opinion data also cast doubt on the importance of consensus messaging. In Table 1, we summarize relevant 2017 national survey data of US public attitudes and knowledge (Leiserowitz, Maibach, Roser-Renouf, Rosenthal, & Cutler, 2017; Marlon, Fine, & Leiserowitz, 2017). Although one should be cautious interpreting such surveys, the data shows a clear majority position among Americans: that climate change is real, important and worrisome, and that the US should take policy action and invest in public education.”

    Science shouldn’t be governed by opinion polls, because many taking such polls are really not familitar with the subject matter and cannot have a valid opinion.

    I saw a report on tv the other day claiming that 60 percent of Americans thought the Special Counsel Mueller was doing a good job.

    And I thought to myself, that is a ridiculous answer because there is no way they can know what kind of job Mueller is doing, good or bad, because Mueller is operating behind closed doors and the public has very little idea exactly what he is doing from one day to the next.

    This 60 percent approval rating is based soley on the fact that the MSM has not reported anything bad about the Mueller investigation so many in the public assume things must be going good.

    Quoting of a poll that cannot have any meaning as fact, is good evidence for being wary of polls.

    • This is so true of most surveys that fail to screen folks for an understanding of the topic under consideration, whether climate, criminal investigation, effective tax rates, immigration policy options, etc.

  13. Too many climate warming advocates fail to consider what motivates the average John Q. Public.
    When the public begins to believe that warming is accelerating and will be increasing harmful, they ask the question: “what is to be done”? Then they hear things like increased taxes and energy bills, public limits on how and when energy can be used, brown-blackouts, etc., things that don’t sound good to them. So they ignore the situation.

    Look at the health area. Health professions bombard the public saying don’t eat this food it’s bad for you, and lack of exercise will ruin you health. The public generally believes it, but does these things anyway. Why? Because those foods taste good and more exercise is uncomfortable. Science logic alone is woefully inadequate.

  14. So Oreskes, Cook and gang are full of crap while this paper tries to clean up their mess….
    One wants to drown skeptics out.
    The other wants to ignore them into irrelevancy.
    Both miss the piint compketely.
    But hopefully they will duje it out and dedtroy each other in the proess.

  15. There has never been a consensus about global warming.
    The first big public push for this idea seems to have begun in Al Gore’s mind, and articulated as “the science is settled.” Even if someone else said it first, was anyone listening? Gore’s purloined photo of Mama Bear and cub on an ice block brought lots of attention. If you have a better explanation — post it.
    Even as the “consensus” was being formalized in the “97%” papers there were thousands of intelligent and credentialed folks saying otherwise. Did “fossil fuel companies” have any influence on those? Not just no, but hell no.
    From historical studies (including paleo) and any of the sciences there is enough evidence to refute a simple CO2 control on Earth’s climates. Note the ‘s’ there.

    • If you have a better explanation — post it.

      Momma bear was teaching baby bear how much fun it was to be a bear?

  16. The consensus thread has been exercised many times over what it warrants. Nothing more needs to said. The issue was put bed by Einstein in 1906. The debate is over. Move on.

  17. “…[W]hat matters most for effective policy is the identification, and use, of levers for action such as taxes, regulation, incentives or public investment, not scientific consensus.”

    Actually, what matter most for effective policy is having all the guns, the morality of a toad, and a belief that the end justifies the means.

  18. If there were a consensus among climate scientists about global warming and the physical science they claim is the basis for consensus, then the 35 or so climate models that appeared in the IPCC AR5 would show convergence compared with similar models from 20 or 30 years ago.

    The model projections have not converged because the modelers cannot agree upon the role of water vapour or clouds.

    At a public forum, Gavin Schmidt, now director of the GISS would not even discuss the Svensmark hypothesis that galactic cosmic particles (GCR) interact with the solar wind and Earth’s magnetism to modulate cloud formation by forming cloud condensations particles

    The climate scientists do not agree the role of clouds and water vapour in the climate system, but will not consider the only hypothesis that would explain what is observed: the climate models don’t work.

  19. I feel sorry for Oreskes. Nature has done her no favours and yet she keeps fighting for nature in it’s war on human beings.

    • “Nature has done her no favours” – Now THERE is the understatement to end all understatements. LMAO.

      Actually, though, it’s more like “she keeps fighting for leftist ideology in its war on human beings…”

  20. “Scientific Consensus” is an oxymoron. Science does not proceed through consensus it proceeds through continual challenge to hypotheses and theories. It is the failure to accept falsification that is the problem with the [‘anthropogenic global warming’ ->’global warming’->’climate change’->’climate’] proponents as they lapse into ambiguity and marketing approaches instead of facing real science.

    • Couldn’t agree more. As Michael Chrichton put it – “If it’s a consensus, it isn’t science.”

      My way of putting it is, “Consensus is antithetical to science.”

      There mere fact that they’re talking about “consensus” shows that it ISN’T science, but rather a political agenda. Consensus is, after all, a creature of politics, NOT science.

  21. Instead of constantly moaning and blaming everybody else for everything that they predict, model, hypothesis, model, suggest, model that is supposedly going to go wrong with the climate “unless we do something”, the “something” invariably being the climate activist scientist’s own personal pet and generally utterly impracticable project for ” fixing” the climate.
    Could all those wannabe scientific “climate fixers” please describe to this lay person at least, just what they want the NEW Global Climate to conform too as a Climate ?

    What they intend the global climate to look like and how all the myriad of phenomena that makes up the present global climate have to change to conform to the Perfect Climate of Climate scientist’s Nirvana that seems to be the goal of great mass of those climate scientists who subscribe to the “consensus” belief of the imminent man made destruction of the climate.

    That whole cabal of alarmist climate alarmist scientists have NEVER condescended to describe to us, the deplorables and street level peoples, or described in detail to us laypersons who finance their activities 100%, NOT once have any of that large number of climate “consensus” scientists described in detail the type of Global Climate theybnare aiming for and hacve set in place programs to achieve,NOT once have they described the proposed characteristics of the New Global climate that will be so different from today’s Global Climate and how it will so much more beneficial to Life on Earth and in what way that they are endeavouring to achieve this through sacrificing so much of mankind’s technological and social progress achieved at such a great cost in treasure and lives over the last 5 centuries.

    The whole cabal of today’s self serving climate alarmist scientists and their hallowed “consensus” are seemingly and almost universally utterly incapable of clearly articulating to us lay persons exactly what they are trying to achieve in the shape, form and characteristics, both major and minor, that they intend for the NEW “consensus” delivered Global Climate.

    Like any project, major or minor, unless you have a reasonably clear definition of what you are trying to achieve and what your preffered end goal is and therfore what and how and when and with what instruments you intend to use to achieve that defined goal, you are doomed to failure.

    Nowhere over the last two decades of watching climate alarmism, have I EVER seen anywhere a climate “alarmist” scientist who has written down and spoken about and been quoted on the shape and characteristics and advantages and disadvantages, both minor and major of the New Global Climate that the “consensus” scientists hope to achieve by their program of massive changes in our present global society that has been shaped by humanity’s entire social and technological advances of the last few centuries.

  22. In this model, members of the public are assumed to have something to contribute

    To finish for them: “but only in this case. The public are a bunch of useless idiots as we all know”.

  23. Social scientists like these start with the assumption the climateers are right. This group sounds very ‘reasonable’ given the assumption. They suffer from selective hearing. They don’t hear that all serious, scientifically literate sceptics really want is a simple laydown of the real empirical evidence that indicates global warming to be an existential threat. Is that asking too much? Why would they withhold such evidence? They have no evidence. Hey, I like the climate, the greening, the big harvests- a good life could be had by all if trillions weren’t being thrown away that could otherwise be invested in the economy.

  24. So foaming at the mouth hysterically isn’t working so they are putting on their “thinking caps”. Maybe if they just admitted they want totalitarian communism imposed on the globe some people would be attracted to their message. Reading their paper I’m not too worried about their thinking caps.

    I’d be happy to make three gay wedding cakes a week and help them with some of their other ideas if they would let this desire to run the world on wind and solar go.

  25. Is it not true that almost every scientific “consensus” in history
    was eventually was found to be wrong,
    ranging from slightly wrong, to completely wrong?

    Not that wild guess predictions of the future climate have anything to do with real climate science,
    especially after 30 years of grossly inaccurate predictions!

    Predictions of the future are usually wrong.
    Why should predictions of the future climate be different?
    Especially since the causes of climate change are still open for debate,
    except in the closed minds of the CO2 is Evil Cult.

    • Exactly. Or to look at it another way, every advance in science has come from those who disagree with the viewpoint that prevailed at the time. Never from those who “agreed” with the “consensus” viewpoint.

      I agree with the scientists who disagree with the CAGW claptrap – because the scientists who disagree are correct. Even though the scientists who disagree may not have a pat explanation for whatever changes to the climate are currently occurring or have occurred in the past, the admission of their incomplete knowledge is at least a step forward in understanding, by way of continued seeking of knowledge via the scientific method. The “consensus” pseudo-scientists’ insistence that the answer is known while the predictions based on such supposed “knowledge” are repeatedly shown to be false is not going to advance the state of so-called “climate science” beyond that of religious dogma.

  26. “Environmental Communication”
    ===============

    This is the distinguishing feature of the modern climate cult.
    The message has to be incessantly “communicated” to the public, and if they fail to believe it wholesale, the psychology department of Climate Incorporated gets mobilized to disparage and marginalize the doubting Thomases, using pseudoscientific psychoanalysis methylated with epithets.

    No real branch of science works like that.

    • Your last sentence says it all.

      Best description of the whole “climate change” BS story ever penned –

      “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” – H.L. Mencken

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