Re-evaluating the manufacture of the climate consensus

From Dr. Judith Curry’s Climate Etc.

Posted on August 21, 2019 by curryja |

by Judith Curry

A new book by Oppenheimer, Oreskes et al. entitled ‘Discerning Experts: The Practices of Scientific Assessment for Environmental Policy‘ makes a case against consensus seeking in climate science assessments.

I have long railed against the consensus-seeking process used by the IPCC (see my previous blog posts on this topic).  And particularly, my paper:

Oppenheimer has long voiced concerns about consensus (e.g. his 2007 paper).  However, Oreskes has been consensus enforcer in chief, originating the 97% thingy.

I haven’t read their new book, but authors Oreskes, Oppenheimer and Jamison have written an essay on their book in Scientific American, entitled Scientists have been underestimating the rate of climate change.

You can see where this is going from the title of this article; most of this is an attempt to justify alarmism. But they make some interesting points.  Excerpts:

<begin quote>

“In our new book, Discerning Experts, we explored the workings of scientific assessments for policy, with particular attention to their internal dynamics, as we attempted to illuminate how the scientists working in assessments make the judgments they do. Among other things, we wanted to know how scientists respond to the pressures—sometimes subtle, sometimes overt—that arise when they know that their conclusions will be disseminated beyond the research community—in short, when they know that the world is watching. The view that scientific evidence should guide public policy presumes that the evidence is of high quality, and that scientists’ interpretations of it are broadly correct. But, until now, those assumptions have rarely been closely examined.”

“Among the factors that appear to contribute to underestimation is the perceived need for consensus, or what we label univocality: the felt need to speak in a single voice. Many scientists worry that if disagreement is publicly aired, government officials will conflate differences of opinion with ignorance and use this as justification for inaction. Others worry that even if policy makers want to act, they will find it difficult to do so if scientists fail to send an unambiguous message. Therefore, they will actively seek to find their common ground and focus on areas of agreement; in some cases, they will only put forward conclusions on which they can all agree.”

“The push toward agreement may also be driven by a mental model that sees facts as matters about which all reasonable people should be able to agree versus differences of opinion or judgment that are potentially irresolvable. If the conclusions of an assessment report are not univocal, then (it may be thought that) they will be viewed as opinions rather than facts and dismissed not only by hostile critics but even by friendly forces. The drive toward consensus may therefore be an attempt to present the findings of the assessment as matters of fact rather than judgment.

“The combination of these three factors—the push for univocality, the belief that conservatism is socially and politically protective, and the reluctance to make estimates at all when the available data are contradictory—can lead to “least common denominator” results—minimalist conclusions that are weak or incomplete.”

Moreover, if consensus is viewed as a requirement, scientists may avoid discussing tricky issues that engender controversy (but might still be important), or exclude certain experts whose opinions are known to be “controversial” (but may nevertheless have pertinent expertise). They may also consciously or unconsciously pull back from reporting on extreme outcomes. (Elsewhere we have labeled this tendency “erring on the side of least drama.”) In short, the push for agreement and caution may undermine other important goals, including inclusivity, accuracy and comprehension.”

“In our book, we make some concrete recommendations. While scientists in assessments generally aim for consensus, we suggest that they should not view consensus as a goal of the assessment. Depending on the state of scientific knowledge, consensus may or may not emerge from an assessment, but it should not be viewed as something that needs to be achieved and certainly not as something to be enforced. Where there are substantive differences of opinion, they should be acknowledged and the reasons for them explained (to the extent that they can be explained). Scientific communities should also be open to experimenting with alternative models for making and expressing group judgments, and to learning more about how policy makers actually interpret the findings that result.”

<end quote>

JC reflections

In seeking to defend “it’s worse than we thought” about climate change, Oppenheimer, Oreskes et al. have opened up a welcome can of worms. Consensus seeking and consensus enforcement have trivialized and politicized climate science for decades.

It has been clear for some time that the conclusions of the IPCC Assessment Reports are too tame for the activist/alarmists.  In fact, quoting the IPCC is a favored strategy of the so-called ‘contrarians’ (including myself).  It remains to be seen if Oreskes can drop the 97% consensus rhetoric (I doubt it).

In twitter discussion on this article, Gavin hits the nail on the head:

Whenever Michael Mann interacts with me, he comes loaded with this statement “uncertainty is not your friend,” “uncertainty is a two-edged sword.”  In the same vein, there are two tails to these distributions.  The problem is not only extreme events on the high end, but all the neglected natural processes that have been marginalized (e.g. in attribution analyses) or neglected (e.g. in future projections); these natural processes can contribute to tails on both ends of the distribution.

My solution to the problem identified by Gavin is addressed in my new paper, which will be posted tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Lets stop manufacturing consensus about climate change.  Lets open up the scientific debate on climate change and celebrate disagreement and use it to push the knowledge frontier of climate science.  The whole consensus thing has done little to reduce global CO2 emissions, which was the point of the whole exercise.  It’s time for new approaches to both science and policy.

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82 thoughts on “Re-evaluating the manufacture of the climate consensus

        • I’m not sure that’s what Scissor meant exactly DJ, but while I’m being a bit juvenile, I think your quote could best be applied to another climate nut case.

          Speaking of climate nut cases, late news but, in case anyone didn’t hear i,t Jay Inslee dropped out of the presidential race or more likely, the race for the participation trophy. Ironic that the most prominent remaining climate warrior, Steyer, will actually be funded by fossil fuel money. You couldn’t make it up.

          • Also in the news today, Democrats cancelled the entire climate debate they had scheduled.

      • I’m not wasting my time reading the book.

        It could be mildly interesting to see her contradict herself just a few short years after her first bearing of false witness on the same subject, however, I understand your point Mr. Macrae.

        Furthermore, at $77.02 (hardback) and $29.33 (paperback), I don’t fancy being a direct cause of my lucre becoming filthy by lining her pockets with it.

        • i picked up one of her books at the opshop for 1$;-)
          cant bring myself to read it
          BP doesnt need the damage
          might have to do a “pommy pensioner” and burn it on these cold nights to keep warm;-))

  1. “the reluctance to make estimates at all when the available data are contradictory”

    Reluctance to make a decision based on a contradiction? Reluctance?!? And, these people are considered “scientists”?

    Do “scientists” have any training in logic? Any conclusion can be derived if you have a contradiction. There should be no policy decisions based on a contradiction.

  2. Strangely enough, the msm don’t have a problem with pushing the tails to make it look like ‘it’s worse than we thought’.

    • BDTP, not only do the msm not “have a problem with pushing the tails to make it look like ‘it’s worse than we thought’”, they deliberately seek to sensationalise every utterance of climate scientists, so long as they are players in “the cause”.

      The race for “clicks” is all-pervasive.

      As per Judith’s observations on the issue, who has ever seen a story in the msm headlined –

      AFTER EXHAUSTIVE RESEARCH, CLIMATE SCIENTISTS UNABLE TO EXPLAIN THE INFLUENCE OF CLOUDS ON CLIMATE BEHAVIOUR

      • Said it before, don’t know what it’s called, but there was a great film about a newspaper journo & his assistant, told by the Editor in Chief to go out & get some news, & if they couldn’t find any, to go out & make some!!! Nothing changes, heh?

      • I don’t think the news ware any more honest, in a time where people could not access information themselves. It was just much harder to prove them false.

  3. Good posting as a lead-in to your paper tomorrow, Dr. Judith. “Discerning Experts” suggests what, that everyone else is a pack of Crap Weasels? Their paper is a lame attempt to claim they are woke on the issue of not depending on consensus when in reality they depend on it. Looking forward to tomorrow!

  4. “Lets stop manufacturing consensus about climate change. Lets open up the scientific debate on climate change and celebrate disagreement and use it to push the knowledge frontier of climate science.”

    In other words, let’s get back to doing science.

    ‘The whole consensus thing has done little to reduce global CO2 emissions, which was the point of the whole exercise.”

    That and to destroy any hint of dissention.

    “It’s time for new approaches to both science and policy.”

    Wrong. It’s time to resurrect the old approaches to both science and policy.

    • ‘The whole consensus thing has done little to reduce global CO2 emissions, which was the point of the whole exercise.”
      Right there is science gone bad. Not one scientist has ever demonstrated that CO2 controls temperature and geologic history says that there is either no connection or, CO2 increases lag warming and do not precede it. Why were a ton of scientists trying to reduce CO2 without ever proving it effects temperature in the first place?
      Imagine how much more we might know about our climate if billions had not been wasted trying to pin warming from the LIA, no less, on the innocent CO2 molecule and such things as cow farts?

  5. From the article: “Lets stop manufacturing consensus about climate change. Lets open up the scientific debate on climate change and celebrate disagreement and use it to push the knowledge frontier of climate science.”

    I agree with your sentiment, but I doubt many on the alarmist side will agree. They have a lot at stake in maintaining that CAGW is real, and the “97% Consensus” is an integral part of that promotion.

    Every alarmist and their brother falls back on the “97% Consensus” to sell CAGW. One doesn’t have to have any knowledge to claim that 97 percent of climate scientists agree with the CAGW scare, and that’s what the unknowledgeable use. You hear it all the time, because it is effective at shutting down the conversation.

    Btw, the real consensus connected with the “97%” study was about 0.3 percent consensus in reality. The “97% consensus” and CAGW are all a Big Lie.

    • The problem is that there can never be a “scientific” debate on climate change, because the manner in which our climate changes cannot be determined scientifically – certainly not in a period of time as pitifully small as a human lifespan. All scientists can do is collect data on whatever statistics are currently in vogue as to what constitutes climate, and speculate on the causes of such change. But no actual experimentation will ever take place to scientifically determine causation, no statistical approximation can be measured from a sample population of a single Earth’s climate, and so forth. The scientific method has no tool available to objectively quantify what climate scientists (read: propagandists) want to measure.

      Any “debate” on these things is entirely subjective, hence not scientific.

  6. It’s a cookbook!

    They are placing their shingle out for the next insane, advocacy-driven policy march over anyone or fact in their way. This is the cookbook for the ones in the tank tracks of the next blitzkrieg.

  7. Reduce CO2 emissions???
    What a bizarro idea. That sort of claim must have a political basis.
    CO2 is good for life on Earth.
    More CO2 emissions would be a clear benefit to life on Earth.

    • And there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and there is plenty of scientific rationale that the Climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero.

  8. 1.6% not 97%

    https://www.econlib.org/archives/2014/03/16_not_97_agree.html

    John Cook is one of the leading authors of the studies showing the 97% consensus which includes the claim that 97% of climate scientists believe mankind (CO2) is the primary cause of the recent warming.

    Two major errors in the study
    A) Cook lumps the 3 groups of responses into one group as if the all three groups believes mankind is the primary cause of the warming 1,Explicitly endorses and quantifies AGW as 50+% : 64
    2,Explicitly endorses but does not quantify or minimize: 922
    3,Implicitly endorses AGW without minimizing it: 2910

    B) the second major error is none of the studies where the author opined on the cause of the warming studied the cause of the warming. In other words, none of the studies conducted a study of the cause of the warming and therefore had not basis in the study to opine on the cause.

    Very sloppy and unscientific study – gotta wonder if these studies are indicative of the quality of other climate studies

    • Amen Brother

      It’s been my beef all along. A set of data having nothing to do with causes of climate change just throws in a clickbait line of “ due to man made climate change”, and that is taken as that the study itself is evidence supporting the alarmist position.

      But alas, I’ve come to the conclusion the the human intellect has devolved to a point that such chicanery is embraced and celebrated. The King truly does not have any clothes.

  9. They may also consciously or unconsciously pull back from reporting on extreme outcomes. (Elsewhere we have labeled this tendency “erring on the side of least drama.”)

    In other words, extraordinary theories need extraordinary evidence.

    Imagine applying any other choice to the threat of alien invasion by the flying saucermen.
    The severity of the outcome is terrible. The hypothesis is long established. Many signs of flying saucers have been reported.
    But seriously, spending the defence budget on this is crazy.

    Without extraordinary evidence, climate change is just the same.

  10. Maybe they are afraid that the consensus of scientists is moving against climate alarmism. They are just trying to get ahead of that wave and be able to dismiss it when someone throws in their face that the consensus of scientists believe that climate change is not a problem.

    • BINGO!!, M.McG. As the truth emerges into the light of what has been underway all along that will prove embarrassing to continuing participants, some of the rats sense that the ship is sinking and a bit of smoke may screen being identified as a charter player in the deceit. Their dreaded foresight of the collapse of their fake narrative prompts cutting their losses by virtue-signaling a reasonable countenance. They’re real charmers, they are.

  11. But Dr. Judith, that would require doing actual, reproducible SCIENCE instead of propagandizing, terrorizing children, troughing, and whinging. What fun would THAT be?

  12. It is still amazing to think that while virtually the entire world of adult humans recognizes and rails against the human fallacy of submitting to peer pressure as a justification for doing all manner of stupid and destructive things, the climate alarmists still insist on peer pressure as the sine qua non of decision logic.

    Or, as the Borg stated so often in the world of science fiction television: “You WILL be assimilated!” And all the viewers of those shows knew exactly what is sacrificed in the name of assimilation! Your very humanity!

    Just ask all those Germans who gave into to nazi peer pressure.

    Guiding one’s scientific research, analysis, hypothesizing, and advocating on the basis of peer pressure – what climate alarmists now label “consensus” – is of course the diametric and polar opposite of scientific endeavor.

  13. So how about the following consensus:
    “It is very likely that the majority of the modern warming is due to natural causes and to some extent has been exaggerated due to factors such as UHI, poor thermometer placement, and rural station dropout, but some authors whose paychecks depend on it, think that it’s mostly man’s fault”.
    I Wonder if that would suit Gavin. No?

  14. J Curry is encouraged that the authors think consensus is not a good goal. However their case doesnt include serious departures from consensus such that they would consider offerings from sceptics. Their idea, though not seen as such, is that consensus is made up of rabid, end-of-world alarmists much diluted by more cautious or more measured warming proponents and they want the latter to get more backbone and not try to be so ‘reasonable’.

    I’m impressed that a Harvard scholar (Oreskes) would display such a grievous lack of logic in her philosophical reckonings. There is a gaping hole in this thesis. Knowing 1) that grants in this politically charged field are mainly proffered for getting alarmist conclusions, and 2) promotions, star status, awards etc. and even fears of losing your job (a regular occurrence) are the inducements faced by climate scientists, the first guess on the make-up of the climate consensus should be that the moderate end of the continuum includes scientists with considerable doubt and scruples who are staying just within acceptable bounds to be safely part of a consensus. Among them will be those former believers who recognize the entire meme has been falsified by predictions (now ‘projections’) that proved to be 300% overboard when caught up with by observations, and a two decade ‘Pause’ during which CO2 emissions were galloping. The makeup of the consensus is derivable from the late Stephen Schneider’s admonition that climate scientists wanting to be effective need to hype and lie.

    There is no changing of minds in this piece by Oreskes and her conclusion that the climate crisis is worse than we thought, should be, on the evidence, that there is no real crisis.

  15. When was the last time that scientists needed consensus to understand the nature? But politicians, yes.

  16. And there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and there is plenty of scientific rationale that the Climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero.

  17. Lets stop manufacturing consensus about climate change. Lets open up the scientific debate on climate change and celebrate disagreement and use it to push the knowledge frontier of climate science.

    Well, that’s not going to happen. Certainly not in the media. Kip Hansen posted this link back in June:

    Transforming the media’s coverage of the climate crisis

    “Climate Change” is about to be replaced by “The Climate Crisis” The media is orchestrating this Orwellian change in broad daylight.

    Here’s a cartoon for your amusement Link

    Orwell’s pigs did it in the dark of night.

    • More sinister though is the increase in conflation of the climate crisis and environmentalism, often in consecutive sentences but more frequently with a “we must combat ….” sentence in between. So dear readers, if you don’t agree to combat the climate, you hate the environment.

      There is no need for a course beyond Propaganda 101 for these parasites.

  18. Judith,

    Bless you. You are patient and unassuming.

    But one day, perhaps you will realize that Gavin, Mann and others are actually your enemies in a large battle for the “soul” of science.

    Their tack is to demean others, refuse debate and claim victory based on authority.

    Science, however, does not kowtow to “authority” or models, even if pretty.

    These fellows’ models are definitely NOT pretty, nor do they replicate nature very well. Certainly not enough to make claims like “… at least half of late 20th Century Warming was due to human GHG emissions.”

    Time to challenge the ridiculous claims.

    More power to you. But do be brave enough to get off the Lukewarmer Fence. Do it for Science.

  19. There is no consensus regarding the validity of the AGW conjecture. All claims of consensus are just speculation. Scientists never registered and then voted on the validity of the AGW conjecture. But even if they had the consensus would have been meaningless because science is not a democracy. The laws of science are not some sort of legislation. Scientific theories are not validated by a voting process. Consensus is politics and not science.

    The AGW conjecture seems plausible at first but upon closer inspection one finds that the AGW conjecture is based on only partial science and is full of holes. For example, the AGW conjecture depends upon the existence of radiant greenhouse effect caused by trace gases in the Earth’s atmosphere that have LWIR absorption bands and that supposedly trap heat. The reality is that good absorbers are also good radiators and that the greenhouse gases also share sensible heat energy with surrounding molecules. If any heat trapping is taking place it would be by the non-greenhouse gases because they are such poor LWIR radiators to space. Such a radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed in a real greenhouse , in the Earth’s atmosphere, or anywhere else in the Solar System. The radiant greenhouse effect is nothing but science fiction so hence the AGW conjecture is science fiction as well.

    The reality is that, based on the paleoclimate record and the work done with models, the climate change that we are currently experiencing is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. Despite the hype, there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on science and there is plenty of scientific rationale that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero. So even if the entire world completely stopped the burning of fossil fuels, the effort would have no effect on global climate.

    Even if we could somehow stop the Earth’s climate from changing, extreme weather events and sea level rise would continue because they are part of the current climate. So there is nothing to be gained by lowering CO2 emissions. The world would be better off if we concentrated on improving the global economy.

  20. Let’s face it, the only source nowadays for climate policy is the MSM. Not even the bogus IPCC SPM gets a look in these days. Notice how the IPCC never claims that the MSM is misrepresenting it?

    How did ‘2C is worse then 1.5C by 2030’ become ‘We have 12 years to save the planet.’?

    How often is WUWT quoted on the news? Or the GWPF? Or Paul Homewood? Or Pierre Gosselin? It doesn’t matter what honest scientists like Judith Curry decide to publish if they are eternally kept outside looking in?

  21. The whole consensus thing has done little to reduce global CO2 emissions, which was the point of the whole exercise.

    Indeed. As this post details, California’s highly touted reduction of 5 million metric tons between 2016 and 2017 is overshadowed just a mite:

    This reduction brings California’s total CO2 emissions to 351 million metric tons versus the rapidly growing world’s developing nations 2017 CO2 emissions that totals 20,889 million metric tons with that level of emissions bing [being] 68% higher than all CO2 emissions from the developed nations.

    The developing nations CO2 emissions are forecast by EIA to climb through 2050 (use the link under the Publications and Tables window to get to the EIA IEO 2017 detailed data) by an additional 8,770 million metric tons to a total of 29,660 million metric tons with that emissions level being 2.26 times greater than all CO2 emissions from the developed nations forecast in 2050.

    California could reduce emissions to zero and it would amount to about 16 months increase from developing nations. Perhaps the people who actually control human CO2 emissions have a different consensus.

    Quite simply the world is not going to stop making steel, aluminum, concrete, glass and a host of other energy-intensive materials unless something better comes along. Nor will we go back to transporting goods by oxcart or crossing oceans in sailing ships (Gretta Thunberg’s publicity stunt notwithstanding).

    Unless radical technology breakthroughs emerge around the time Oreskes et. al. publish their next paper, total human CO2 emissions will continue to increase to 2050 and beyond, consensus or not.

    Consider that LED lights first appeared in the mid 1960’s and only in the last 10 years or so have they been a practical replacement for everyday lighting needs. It’s taken over 50 years of development to get to this point but we could today reasonably undertake replacing a very large portion of the world’s installed lighting capacity with LEDs. Now consider how much larger a job it would be to replace most of the world’s CO2-emitting energy usage, but with technology we don’t currently have.

    I don’t keep track of these predictions, but I think 2050 is at least two Armageddons from now — three if you count AOC’s statements. If we really get serious about new energy technology, we just might be able by 2050 to start deploying it on a large scale.

  22. This reads to me like an overture to a rebranding, or remessaging, that has been the subject of some of the worst of the warmista “studies”.
    I did not see a single indication of any shift in the general basic hypothesis that CO2 is the thermostat of the Earth, that warming is disastrous and to be much feared, or any of the rest of the unsupported and unsupportable nonsense spewed by these activists.

    • The Oppenheimer et al book is a call to “double down” on the crisis. The thrust is that the search for consensus causes scientists to hold back on what they think is going to happen, reduce the likely outcomes so they all “play nice”. What they want is for them to release the hounds, go for that 17C projected warming and don’t be shy about it.

  23. “It has been clear for some time that the conclusions of the IPCC Assessment Reports are too tame for the activist/alarmists”

    This is despite the fact that the IPCC is over-estimating the effect of CO2 emissions by at least a factor of 3 such that the actual ECS is about 1/3 of the presumed nominal value and significantly below the claimed lower bound. The +/- 50% uncertainty bounding the presumed nominal value with isn’t even enough to span the actual effect!

  24. I really thought that all scientists would want to ensure they were not tainted with ‘univocality’ – that their work was original.

  25. …and I await another 30 minute + delay before my comment is allowed. WUWT is the loser here.

    • It’s not just you being delayed. The posts seem to be batched every 20-30 minutes. If it hits the moderation queue, I think you get notified immediately.

      BTW, what’s univocal is the shrill proclamations of impending doom which they are deluded into believing is based on science, but in fact is based on a house of cards built from presumptions, misapplied analysis, denial of basic physics and an overwhelming desire for the effect of CO2 to be large so as to confirm their bias arising from a political position.

      What will cause this house of cards to collapse is the realization that first principles requires that the effect on the net surface emissions from the next solar W/m^2 will be indistinguishable from the effect on those emissions from the average W/m^2 already arriving from the Sun.

      • There is nothing Westerners like so much as a story line which holds that they are leaders of thought, philosophy and action.

        This meme has deep historical roots going back to Scotland in 1690 when the first inklings of the Enlightenment stirred. (FWIW, most people are not aware that Scotland had the most educated population in Europe in the 1700’s.)

        Generally, Enlightenment-materialism brought advances in science that were not paralleled by advancements in spiritual development. The result is a philosophy in which religion is seen as a problem to be resolved rather than a source of spiritual guidance for material choices. Materialist philosophers want to control the high ground of ethics and morals, essentially by fiat and majoritarian assertion.

        The mooted climate catastrophe is a mortal version of a destiny of brimstone and eternal loss. It is not even very well hidden. “Do what I say or you’ll roast.” Not very creative.

        Note well that the argument is not about the data, but about its interpretation. “I will interpret the meaning of the data because I have standing to do so and you don’t.”

        Data tampering is in service of one particular interpretation, not a search for enlightenment. It’s immoral. How does that help supply the missing ingredient?

        It is interesting to watch old lessons being re-learned.

    • It is everyone. It seems posts only show up just after the top of every hour.
      Virtually zero comments post right away, unless they happen to be made around the top of the hour.
      And as noted, if a comment goes to moderation, you get informed of that and it appears immediately with a note informing you of moderation…until screen is refreshed and then it disappears until the top of the hour.
      And it is not just this site…it seem to be all wordpress blogs about climate, although I do not know the extent of it.

  26. Michael Crichton on consensus science.

    “I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.
    Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.
    Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.
    There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.

    (Dr Crichton then goes on to discuss several prominent examples of “consensus science” whereby many people died by it use to stifle science, mostly because of egos at play).

    (Dr Crichton sums up “consensus science:”

    “Finally, I would remind you to notice where the claim of consensus is invoked. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough.

    — excerpts taken from his Caltech Michelin Lecture, January 17, 2003. (with my bold for emphasis

    The above points on consensus science from Dr Crichton need to driven home in every undergrad and high school science class as a Lesson 1 on day 1. The video of his delivery of his Caltech address is available someplace on YouTube if the Alarmists haven’t forced it to be taken down.

    • “State of Fear” should be required reading at the HS level. As should “1984” and “Animal Farm” by Orwell.

  27. ‘Scientists have been underestimating the rate of climate change.’

    What units is ‘climate change’ measured in? Has it been going up or down?

  28. Great quote from Dr. Michael Crichton:

    “Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled…Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus…Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough. Nobody says the consensus of scientists agrees that E=mc2 . Nobody says the consensus is that the sun is 93 million miles away. It would never occur to anyone to speak that way.”

    From his speech: Aliens Cause Global Warming (2003): http://www.drroyspencer.com/2019/01/aliens-cause-global-warming/

  29. It is worth noting, in this complex World of ours that, according to NASA, the gases in Earth’s atmosphere include: Nitrogen – 78%, Oxygen – 21%, Argon – 0.93%, Carbon dioxide – 0.038%. Trace amounts of neon, helium, methane, krypton and hydrogen, as well as water vapour. Atmospheric methane is calculated at being at 0.00017% (1.7 parts per million by volume) of the total atmosphere, related to anthropogenic activities.

    The percentage of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere is only a sliver at 3% of the total CO2 in the total atmosphere. On the other hand 0.00017% of anthropogenic activity gases is CH4 puts it into perspective. A much greater and instant threat is the ‘huge’ rise in earthquakes, which have risen by 256% (1750-2015), and produce massive amounts of CH4. Experts are predicting many more earthquakes in the future which will release further massive amounts of methane (making anthropogenic releases ‘pale into insignificance’ in comparison – It’s like blaming a single smoker for all the pollution problems in the world.

    Activists have convinced many that the eating of Beef is a major contributor to greenhouse gases and that we cut down, or better still, stop eating it all together. YET the production of RICE grown in paddy fields (global consumption of rice has seen an increase over the last several years. In the 2018/2019 crop year, about 490.27 million metric tons of rice was consumed worldwide, up from 437.18 million metric tons in the 2008/2009 crop year) generates so much MORE methane (CH4) than beef production but NOT A PEEP said regarding rice. Sciencedirect.com estimates rice production, worldwide, is responsible for 10 and 70% of the total anthropogenic methane emissions. (Why such a wide range is unknown)

  30. “Experts known to be controversial” is gobbledygook. Experts know their stuff and as a result are generally right on their subject matter. Controversial is a relative and subjective term and cannot be considered as fact. Known is fact. Oreskes and co are playing with language which is what they have done all along. What they really meant to say is experts who point out flaws in supposedly logical arguments are a darn nuisance.

  31. I thought perhaps Dr. Curry had her rose-colored glasses on again if she thought anything good might come of this. I thought to comment. Then I read this, by Gary Pearce. So good it is worth quoting.
    Gary Pearce said:

    J Curry is encouraged that the authors think consensus is not a good goal. However their case doesnt include serious departures from consensus such that they would consider offerings from sceptics. Their idea, though not seen as such, is that consensus is made up of rabid, end-of-world alarmists much diluted by more cautious or more measured warming proponents and they want the latter to get more backbone and not try to be so ‘reasonable’.

    On another note, this caught my eye.
    The authors Oreskes, Oppenheimer and Jamison said:

    In short, the push for agreement and caution may undermine other important goals, including inclusivity, accuracy and comprehension.

    Let’s take this apart a bit.
    1) the push for agreement and caution may undermine other important goals, including inclusivity
    The push for agreement undermines inclusivity???????????
    2) the push for agreement and caution may undermine other important goals, including … accuracy
    As near as I can tell, this statement is only TRUE when I am right and you are wrong, therefor we should not seek agreement. Otherwise this statement is FALSE. (TRUE | FALSE, logical Boolean values here)
    3) the push for agreement and caution may undermine other important goals, including … comprehension
    This statement must be TRUE, because it is utterly incomprehensible to me.

    • There is no departure from their own certainty about what is “true”.
      There are a lot of ways to interpret the whole message they present, but it would be a mistake to think it is meant as a softening of opprobrium towards skeptic, or any uncertainty about CAGW.
      One thing they seem to be saying, among others, is that talking about consensus has been unmasked for what it is: Unscientific garbage that convinces no one of anything, and can be used by critics of the climate mafia to point out how utterly unscientific they are.

      What the warmistas do not seem to be capable of comprehending is that people know they are full of crap, and have learned to ignore their hair on fire lunacy. Or that jumping up and down and screaming louder does not and never will make anyone sound more believable, or the things they scream about sound more factual.
      People ignore lunatics because they say nothing useful.
      And no one forgets it when you lie to them.

  32. For climate science to get back on track they would need to have one of those memory erasing devices from the Men in Black movie.

    The entire science needs to go back to the drawing board and realize that the Earth in reality is not a smooth, mostly solid surface with no heat capacity; and that the atmosphere is not a solid glass panel which is above the surface in the first place due to radiative emissions from the surface.

    https://arxiv.org/pdf/0707.1161.pdf
    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1012.0421.pdf

  33. I was talking with an alarmist, and asked him what he considered the strongest argument for his side. Of course, it was the 97% thing. I pointed out that technically this was a well-known logical fallacy and asked him for his SECOND strongest argument…

  34. Consensus about science (Greek for knowledge) is not a bad thing, but the problem is that science only progresses through those who break with the consensus or the sceptics (Greek from inquiry).

    Putting it mathematically
    … Science = sum of Scepticism.
    Or
    … Scepticism = rate of progress of Science.

    So, during a period of relative stagnation, we expect a large amount of “science”, but during a period of relatively fast change in ideas we expect a large amount of scepticism. Neither is wrong, nor can one live without the other. Science is the stable body of knowledge, scepticism is the unstable change or progress in knowledge. Without a body of science to progress, scepticism would be meaningless, but without all those sceptics in the past, there would be no current body of knowledge.

  35. “Since the early 2000s there has been little disagreement among scientific experts over the fundamental evidence supporting the existence, origin, and societal significance of anthropogenic climate change (CC). Yet, while an anthropogenic cause is supported by an overwhelming majority of climate change scientists (CCS), climate change contrarians (CCC) have successfully organized a strong voice within politics and science communication in the United States.” – Nature 2019

    https://blogdredd.blogspot.com/2019/08/the-warming-science-commentariat-15.html

  36. “Lets open up the scientific debate on climate change and celebrate disagreement and use it to push the knowledge frontier of climate science. ”

    Naive in the extreme. Science was never the issue. Modern environmentalism emanated from the Club of Rome gang of Apex Predators led by the likes of Rockefeller, Strong, Agnelli etc.

    Faux science was always employed a the wedge to a New Dark Ages program. The West was most susceptible but also the most intensively propagandized. Meanwhile the ROW, led by China, laugh as the West embraces economic suicide, led by a dim witted autistic adolescent.

  37. “…minimalist conclusions that are weak or incomplete.”

    Whenever I reviewed a paper, I would always be on the lookout for adjectives. They are rarely needed in scientific papers and are at best a poor substitute for data. For instance, don’t tell me the temperature is “high” give me the actual temperature. At worst, adjectives that are poorly defined in the context of the paper just hide fuzzy thinking (as above).

    Also, I always expected every assertion to be demonstrated by reference or an example. I would have just scribbled “Show, don’t tell!” at the end of the quoted sentence if I were the reviewer/editor.

  38. In 1920’s and beyond a relatively large and influential group of Russian ex-pats dominated the dialogue
    In the West about ousting the Bolshevik’s and restoring civilization. Aside the fact that many were Bolshevik double agents or soft social revolutionaries their efforts came to nothing.

    It’s with that thought in mind consider where the “climate change” movement is and the tepid inside the obscure margins this dated skeptical focus is placed. The climate movement is planning to replace capitalism, suspend the 1st, 2nd and 4th Amendments in the US, has managed to purge X and Y chromosomes from gender identification and has expanded their ambitions to that of Mao’s cultural revolution. This is the fashion of skeptic dissent???

    Anyone who caught Mark Steyn on Tucker Carlson last night should get the point. Aside from fostering a dozen other political sciences ready made for totalitarian inclinations the Climate Change radicalization couldn’t care less about a 97% rebuttal. Dr. Curry while somewhat has moved toward a more reasonable outlook (after reaching a safe retirement status it should be noted) is still about 15-20 years behind in her orthodox dissent (which is still measured dissent at that). This can’t be the face of mainstream climate dissent if freedom on Earth is to have a fighting chance. Let’s stop day dreaming in the weeds. Dr. Curry has yet to acknowledge the green and climate movements as largely leftist political operations, let alone as they were conceived. Without that basic lack of candor where could she lead the broader climate debate?

  39. charles the moderator,

    “Scientific communities should also be open to experimenting with alternative models for making and expressing group judgments, and to learning more about how policy makers actually interpret the findings that result.”

    Reminds on “thesis, antithesis >> synthesis.

    charles the moderator, your aim is synthesis with Oppenheimer, Oreskes et al.

    Keep that in mind!

  40. Re-evaluating the manufacture of the climate consensus

    charles the moderator /
    ___________________________________________________

    Re-evaluating,
    charles the moderator / on bended knees.

    ___________________________________________________

    What’s that game.

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