Claim: There is no 97% climate consensus

TheNZThrower

Active Member
It seems like a fairly well known advocate for the use of fossil fuels, Alex Epstein, has published an old 2015 Forbes article (yah, I'm beating another dead horse again) postulating that there is no 97% consensus on anthropogenic global warming.

Epstein writes:
Here are two questions to ask anyone who pulls the 97% trick.


1. What exactly do the climate scientists agree on?

Usually, the person will have a very vague answer like "climate change is real."

Which raises the question: What is that supposed to mean? That climate changes? That we have some impact? That we have a large impact? That we have a catastrophically large impact? That we have such a catastrophic impact that we shouldn't use fossil fuels?
To answer Epstein's question that certainly wasn't made in bad faith, we shall turn to a 2014 survey of the American Meteorlogical society by Stenhouse et al. and correct him by saying that climate scientists agree that global warming is occurring and that it is predominantly driven by humans. To quote Stenhouse et al.
Climate science experts who publish mostly on climate change and climate scientists who publish mostly on other topics were the two groups most likely to be convinced that humans have contributed to global warming, with 93% of each group indicating their concurrence.
In addition, Stenhouse et al. noted that greater expertise in climate science predicted a greater likelihood that anthropogenic global warming is harmful, though the perception of consensus was the strongest contributing variable:
Confirming all four hypotheses, the regression analyses showed that greater expertise, more liberal ideology, greater perceived consensus, and lower perceived conflict each predicted higher levels of certainty global warming was occurring, higher likelihood of viewing it as mostly human caused, and greater ratings of future harm. Together, the independent variables explained 37% of the variation in certainty that global warming is occurring and 29% of the variation in views on global warming harm.
Unfortunately, Stenhouse et al. didn't give a precise percentage of the scientists who thought global warming would be harmful, but his findings still do cast doubt on Epstein's thesis and agenda. But Epstein still claims the following in ignorance of Stenhouse et al.'s findings.
What you'll find is that people don't want to define what 97% agree on--because there is nothing remotely in the literature saying 97% agree we should ban most fossil fuel use.
Epstein then makes the following statement:
If you look at the literature, the specific meaning of the 97% claim is: 97 percent of climate scientists agree that there is a global warming trend and that human beings are the main cause--that is, that we are over 50% responsible. The warming is a whopping 0.8 degrees over the past 150 years, a warming that has tapered off to essentially nothing in the last decade and a half.

uncaptioned Sources: Met Office Hadley Centre HadCRUT4 dataset; Etheridge et al. (1998); Keeling et al. (2001); MacFarling Meure et al. (2006); Merged Ice-Core Record Data, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
The first fallacy that Epstein commits is the implication that the effects of warming can't be significant because 0.8 degrees of warming is a relatively small amount. This is both an appeal to intuition and an argument from personal incredulity. Just because one cannot intuitively conceive of how such a small change in warming could have a significant effect does not mean it can't have such an effect. An increase in the blood alcohol level from 0% to 0.4%, according to Healthline, may seem like a small number, but it still doesn't mean it isn't lethal.

The second fallacy that Epstein commits is claiming that the warming has ceased in the last decade from 2015. This is another example of the cherry picking fallacy, which is a common climate contrarian tactic: select tiny periods where warming has stopped or ceased and use that to prove that the warming is non-existent, or not CO2 driven. Well then by that logic, it must therefore be the case that divorce rates in Australia are increasing because they increased within a few years after Y2K:
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The reason why cherry picking tiny periods of data to infer a longer trend is faulty is, as everyone surely knows, because real life trends rarely are linear.

The third fallacy that Epstein commits is that of distorting the visual representation of the data in two manners. Though the main critique of this graph comes from a software developer by the name of Sam Fiddis on his blog, I still feel it is a valid critique overall and I will briefly summise it as follows:
  1. Epstein deliberately used a differing aspect ratio for the grid of the temperature graph than for the CO2 graph, which makes the warming trend look flatter than it really is as to make the CO2 and temperature trend seem out of sync with one another.
  2. Epstein also deliberately cut off the CO2 graph at 275ppm mark to eliminate any empty space underneath the trend line, while leaving the same empty space beneath the temperature trend intact to give the illusion that the latter is flatter
  3. Epstein deliberately and arbitrarily connected the successive record temperature highs and lows with dotted lines to give the illusion that the trend fluctuates more than it actually does. If he were to draw a proper line of best fit for each arbitrarily long section he connected, they wouldn't link up with each other at all.
Or to put it this way, if he were to properly draw a line of best fit in the graph, this would be the result:
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And if he were to keep the grid aspect ratio the same between the two graphs, this would be the result:
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And if we were to look at the source for his data from the Met Office Hadley Centre (or HadCRUT4) and many other reputable sources, we get this graph:
1644165446124.png
And if we look at the updated HadCRUT5 from the same source, we get this:
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Both dataset, as observed, show a much more glaring and consistent warming trend than Epstein's graph does. So Epstein is either dishonest, or dumb, or both, and I will be continuing this in the next post.
 

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Mendel

Senior Member.
The zigzag "temperature anomaly" trend line is so unusual that I feel confident it's a deliberate attempt to mislead. No source using this uncritically is trustworthy, either because they're malicious, or because they have no clue (or both).
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
Yeah, I'm sure what remains of mankind, will, as the planet becomes uninhabitable
and the human race dies a slow tortuous (self-inflicted) death, they'll be cheered by
a declaration that "It was only 95.7% of climate scientists who repeatedly warned us."
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
The zigzag "temperature anomaly" trend line is so unusual that I feel confident it's a deliberate attempt to mislead. No source using this uncritically is trustworthy, either because they're malicious, or because they have no clue (or both).

I agree, buuut.... after reading too many financial charts, what that emphasises to me is "higher highs and higher lows", and every technical analyst in the world will conclude that's very good evidence for there being an underlying upward trend. So it almost acts against his case, if viewed with the right mindset! (But yes, it's still inappropriate.)
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
The zigzag "temperature anomaly" trend line is so unusual that I feel confident it's a deliberate attempt to mislead. No source using this uncritically is trustworthy, either because they're malicious, or because they have no clue (or both).
I always hate it when graphs are used (in media) that have no error bar or even a statement of uncertainty. It happens more often then not, and apparently nobody cares (not even the journalists etc).
But agreeing datasets taken using completely different methods (satellites, probes etc), is very convenient.
 

AmberRobot

Active Member
Yeah, I'm sure what remains of mankind, will, as the planet becomes uninhabitable
and the human race dies a slow tortuous (self-inflicted) death, they'll be cheered by
a declaration that "It was only 95.7% of climate scientists who repeatedly warned us."
A man was having constant headaches, piercing pain. He went to a doctor, who told him he had an inoperable brain tumor and was going to die. He didn’t like that prognosis so he went to another who said the same thing. Then another. And another. Eventually, 19 doctors all told him he had a brain tumor and was going to die. But then he found a 20th doctor who said he didn’t think it was a tumor and the man said, “phew! I knew it was nothing to worry about!”
 

TheNZThrower

Active Member
Moving on...

Epstein proceeds to dedicate another section to debunking John Cook's 2013 paper demonstrating that 97% of abstracts that express an explicit position on the reality of global warming endorse the position that it is anthropogenic, or man-made. He starts off by stating that:
Here is Cook’s summary of his paper: “Cook et al. (2013) found that over 97 percent [of papers he surveyed] endorsed the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause.”

This is a fairly clear statement—97 percent of the papers surveyed endorsed the view that man-made greenhouse gases were the main cause—main in common usage meaning more than 50 percent.

But even a quick scan of the paper reveals that this is not the case. Cook is able to demonstrate only that a relative handful endorse “the view that the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause.” Cook calls this “explicit endorsement with quantification” (quantification meaning 50 percent or more). The problem is, only a small percentage of the papers fall into this category; Cook does not say what percentage, but when the study was publicly challenged by economist David Friedman, one observer calculated that only 1.6 percent explicitly stated that man-made greenhouse gases caused at least 50 percent of global warming.
In case anyone didn't know, this is the article that Epstein was referring to that cited the 1.6% figure. Epstein follows by stating that:
Where did most of the 97 percent come from, then? Cook had created a category called “explicit endorsement without quantification”—that is, papers in which the author, by Cook’s admission, did not say whether 1 percent or 50 percent or 100 percent of the warming was caused by man. He had also created a category called “implicit endorsement,” for papers that imply (but don’t say) that there is some man-made global warming and don’t quantify it. In other words, he created two categories that he labeled as endorsing a view that they most certainly didn’t.
Now Epstein is clearly trying to make it seem like Cook et al. only created non quantitative explicit and implicit endorsement categories without also doing the same for positions rejecting AGW via omitting key details of the study. If we look at the criteria for endorsement vs rejection of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) as articulated by the paper, we notice that Cook et al. apply the same set of metrics they do to studies endorsing AGW (Levels 1-3) to those rejecting AGW (Levels 5-7):
1644167740851.png
What this means is that contrary to what Epstein implies, any paper that quantifies the anthropogenic forcing as being less than 50% will always be classified as a paper that rejects the consensus; and even if a paper doesn't quantify how much warming humans are responsible for, per the methods of Cook et al., the paper will still be classified as a paper that rejects the consensus if it either explicitly says that AGW is not supported by the evidence, or implies that natural mechanisms are the primary cause of most of the warming. This is henceforth a good example of lying by omission.

That aside, Cook et al. merges the first and last three categories on the chart above as follows:
To simplify the analysis, ratings were consolidated into three groups: endorsements (including implicit and explicit; categories 1–3 in table 2), no position (category 4) and rejections (including implicit and explicit; categories 5–7).
Thus they come to the following results on the degree of agreement on consensus:

Screen Shot 2022-02-07 at 11.30.06 pm.png
This is where the 97% figure comes from, and as you notice that as an aggregate, all studies rejecting AGW from categories 5-7 are included here. Which brings us onto the article Epstein mentioned where he got his 1.6% figure from: a website promoting libertarian economics called Econlib. According to their analysis of Cook et al.'s raw data, only 64 out of 11,000+ papers, or 0.5% of all papers analysed, or 1.6% of all the papers expressing a position on AGW explicitly endorse and quantify AGW, or 0.5% of all papers. But they then quantify the total number of papers rejecting and quantifying AGW as being only 9 out of 11,000+ papers, or 0.07% of all papers. Divide 9/64 and you get 14% of papers rejecting AGW, and hence an 86% consensus, which is still pretty damn large. But that aside, the article engages in some rather deceptive framing of the methodology as follows:
So 64 out of 11,944, or 0.5%, take the view that humans are the main cause of global warming... The 64 who think the main cause is humans is, drum roll please: 1.6%.
Notice something? The article framed the 1.6% as the scientists who think AGW is real, when it is only the number of papers endorsing and quantifying the impact of AGW, rather than all papers that endorse AGW - as indicated by their use of language in support of it - but don't have anything quantifying the degree of AGW above 50%. This is not the same as not quantifying the degree of AGW at all, either above or below 50%. In addition, Cook et al. conducted another survey by directly asking the authors of the studies assessed to rank them on the same 1-7 scale that was used:
In a second phase of this study, we invited authors to rate their own papers. Compared to abstract ratings, a smaller percentage of self-rated papers expressed no position on AGW (35.5%). Among self-rated papers expressing a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed the consensus. For both abstract ratings and authors' self-ratings, the percentage of endorsements among papers expressing a position on AGW marginally increased over time. Our analysis indicates that the number of papers rejecting the consensus on AGW is a vanishingly small proportion of the published research.
Hence not only did less of the papers ranked by the authors state a position on AGW, but 97% still came out in support of it.

So the verdict is: Epstein isn't technically wrong, but nevertheless still present Cook et al.'s thesis in a manner that is misleading, and hence he is still dishonest.

EDIT: I have also noticed that Econlib made the following comment on Cook et al.
Unfortunately, in their data set, Cook et al put 4a, those that do not address the cause of global warming, with 4b, those that express the view that humans’ role in global warming is uncertain or undefined. It would be nice to separate them, but we can’t unless we have the even rawer data.
Even though I will grant for now that this statement is technically true, it is once again a form of lying by omission. How? Because if you look at Cook et al.'s results as outlined above, they do separate the papers that have no position vs those that adopt a stance of uncertainty.

To be continued...
 

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FatPhil

Senior Member.
You shouldn't be counting abstracts, you should be counting scientists. Otherwise you're imposing an gameable weighting function on the value of each scientists' opinion. Worse, one that is shapeable by the opinions of only a few scientists who can act as gatekeepers on editorial boards. There's a clue in the word - consensus requires sentience, not double-spacing.
 

TheNZThrower

Active Member
After looking at Cook et al's study again, they did mention that in order to qualify as at least implicitly rejecting AGW, let alone explicitly, it requires a paper to only say that a major portion of global warming is manmade as indicated in Level 5 in the methods screenshot. However, a major portion is not necessarily a majority, as it generally means just a significant portion, which doesn't have to be a majority. So I think this might lend credence to Epstein's claim somewhat. But then again, I believe that endorsement means merely acknowledging that measures to cut carbon emissions are necessary, which implies that humans have a significant enough warming impact that cutting emissions matters. So whaddya think of my attempt at devils advocate?
 

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Mendel

Senior Member.
However, a major portion is not necessarily a majority, as it generally means just a significant portion, which doesn't have to be a majority.
Is this covered by the actual ratings? because I'd read this differently, with anthropogenic causes being more important than natural causes.

And then there's the self-rating part of Cook 2013:

To complement the abstract analysis, email addresses for 8547 authors were collected, typically from the corresponding author and/or first author. For each year, email addresses were obtained for at least 60% of papers. Authors were emailed an invitation to participate in a survey in which they rated their own published papers (the entire content of the article, not just the abstract) with the same criteria as used by the independent rating team.

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So that's 97% as well.
 

TheNZThrower

Active Member
In response to a consensus paper by Verheggen et al. 2014, Social Psychologist Jose L. Duarte published a response paper that said many of the scientists they've surveyed are not climate scientists:
Verheggen et al. report a survey of scientists’ views on climate change. However, they surveyed a large number of psychologists, pollsters, philosophers, etc. The number of nonclimate scientists who responded is undisclosed, and is likely unknowable given the design...

Verheggen et al. searched the topics “global warming” and “global climate change” at Web of Science, and surveyed the authors of all the resulting articles. This produced 6000 of their pool of 8000 authors (1868 responded.) Examples of the WoS results:

Gonzalez, G. A. [political scientist] An eco-Marxist analysis of oil depletion via urban sprawl. Environ. Polit.2006, 15, 515–531.

Entman, R. M. [political scientist/media researcher] Improving Newspapers’ Economic Prospects by Augmenting Their Contributions to Democracy. Int. J. Press-Polit.2010, 15, 104–125.

Harribey, J. M. [economist] The unsustainable heaviness of the capitalist way of development. Pensee2002, 31 – +.

The searches yield 14,144 articles, with likely overlap. If we deselect the Social Science and Arts & Humanities indices—which the authors did not do—we lose 1235. Counting only the subset of 895 such papers from the “global warming” search, they plausibly represent 380 authors. (14 144/6000 = 2.36 papers per author.) Notably, authors classified as Other Expertise—a plausible destination for psychologists, eco-Marxists, etc.—were especially likely to respond to the survey (Figure S1, Supporting Information.)
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Duarte appears to have came to this conclusion via the fact that Verheggen didn't mention whether he did or didn't exclude certain papers from his search:

Approximately 6000 names were assembled from articles with the keywords “global warming” and/or “global climate change”, covering the 1991–2011 period via the Web of Science.
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Let's have a look at the supplementary material of Verheggen et al. 2014, which was cited by Duarte, to see if there is a good reason to suspect that the former may have included those ''irrelevant'' papers:

Screen Shot 2022-11-19 at 1.00.29 pm.pngScreen Shot 2022-11-19 at 1.00.21 pm.png
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So it appears that none of the fields of expertise tagged with ''other'' have anything to do with psychology, philosophy or political science (which is where eco-Marxism will belong), so it's unlikely that Verheggen et al. actually included any papers in the aforementioned categories except for Harribey's paper. However, it could be the case that Gonzales listed himself as an economist, or Verheggen et al. listed him as an economist.
 

TheNZThrower

Active Member
In addition, Duarte also critiques Cook et al.'s paper. His blog post is long, so I will include this section that summarises his main points:
The Cook et al 97% paper included a bunch of psychology studies, marketing papers, and surveys of the general public as scientific endorsement of anthropogenic climate change. This study was multiply fraudulent and multiply invalid already – e.g their false claim that the raters were blind to the identities of the authors of the papers they were rating, absolutely crucial for a subjective rating study. (They maliciously and gleefully revealed "skeptic" climate science authors to each other in an online forum, as well as other authors. Since they were random people working at home, they could simply google the titles of papers and see the authors, making blindness impossible to enforce or claim to begin with. This all invalidates a subjective rater study.)
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His main issue is that Cook et al. didn't control for whether the raters can google the titles, and they included papers that are irrelevant to climate change. He also refers to a forum post where one of the raters in Cook et al. linked to one of the papers that was rated, and rated it as explicit endorsement:
For a glimpse of the thinking behind their inclusion of social science papers, see their [Cook et al.] online discussion here, where they discuss how to rate a psychology paper about white males and "denial" (McCright & Dunlap, 2011). Yes, they're seriously discussing how to rate a psychology paper about white males. These people are deeply, deeply confused. The world thought they were talking about climate science. Most of the raters wanted to count it as endorsement (unlike the psychology papers listed above, the white males study didn't make the cut, for unknown reasons.)
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Here's a screenshot of the post:
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However, the final rating according to Cook et al. was ''no position'' and it was put into the ''not climate related'' category.
Screen Shot 2022-11-19 at 3.04.47 pm.png
 

TheNZThrower

Active Member
His main issue is that Cook et al. didn't control for whether the raters can google the titles, and they included papers that are irrelevant to climate change. He also refers to a forum post where one of the raters in Cook et al. linked to one of the papers that was rated, and rated it as explicit endorsement:
For a glimpse of the thinking behind their inclusion of social science papers, see their [Cook et al.] online discussion here, where they discuss how to rate a psychology paper about white males and "denial" (McCright & Dunlap, 2011). Yes, they're seriously discussing how to rate a psychology paper about white males. These people are deeply, deeply confused. The world thought they were talking about climate science. Most of the raters wanted to count it as endorsement (unlike the psychology papers listed above, the white males study didn't make the cut, for unknown reasons.)
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Addendum: I didn't realise that Duarte did notice that the paper didn't make the cut.

Addendum 2.0: The paper did make the cut, as it was included in the survey (though this depends on what Duarte means by ''make the cut''. perhaps it refers to whether it was included as endorsing AGW).
 
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FatPhil

Senior Member.
So that's 97% as well.

Can anyone spell "self-selecting sample"?
What proportion of papers on supersymmetry support M-theory? I reckon 97% is an easy target to beat.

Which doesn't mean I think one side or the other is wrong (and I've deliberately left that sentence ambiguous as to which argument I'm talking about, just to add further confusion under the cloak of explanation).
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
For a glimpse of the thinking behind their inclusion of social science papers, see their [Cook et al.] online discussion here, where they discuss how to rate a psychology paper about white males and "denial" (McCright & Dunlap, 2011). Yes, they're seriously discussing how to rate a psychology paper about white males. These people are deeply, deeply confused. The world thought they were talking about climate science. Most of the raters wanted to count it as endorsement (unlike the psychology papers listed above, the white males study didn't make the cut, for unknown reasons.)
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Funnily enough, that 2011 paper came under our radar, over our radar?, just in the last week or so - there's a more modern version, and brought over this side of the atlantic:
https://www.researchgate.net/public...hange_denial_among_conservative_Norwegian_men
In their article ‘Cool dudes: The denial of climate change among conservative white males in the United States’ the authors state: ‘Clearly the extent to which the conservative white male effect on climate change denial exists outside the US is a topic deserving investigation.’ Following this recommendation, we report results from a study in Norway. McCright and Dunlap argue that climate change denial can be understood as an expression of protecting group identity and justifying a societal system that provides desired benefits. Our findings resemble those in the US study. A total of 63 per cent of conservative males in Norway do not believe in anthropogenic climate change, as opposed to 36 per cent among the rest of the population who deny climate change and global warming. Expanding on the US study, we investigate whether conservative males more often hold what we term xenosceptic views, and if that adds to the ‘cool dude-effect’.¹ Multivariate logistic regression models reveal strong effects from a variable measuring ‘xenosceptic cool dudes’. Interpreting xenoscepticism as a rough proxy for right leaning views, climate change denial in Norway seems to merge with broader patterns of right-wing nationalism.
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TheNZThrower

Active Member
To continue, the first paper included in Cook et al. 2013 that Duarte has an issue with is a paper he claims is on a public survey of stoves:
http://www.joseduarte.com/blog/cook...-associations-white-males-and-the-97#comments
Chowdhury, M. S. H., Koike, M., Akther, S., & Miah, D. (2011). Biomass fuel use, burning technique and reasons for the denial of improved cooking stoves by Forest User Groups of Rema-Kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary, Bangladesh. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 18(1), 88–97. (This is a survey of the public's stove choices in Bangladesh, and discusses their value as status symbols, defects in the improved stoves, the relative popularity of cow dung, wood, and leaves as fuel, etc. They mention climate somewhere in the abstract, or perhaps the word denial in the title sealed their fate.)
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Of course, the abstract of the paper in question states the following:
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13504509.2010.532906
Use of biomass fuel in traditional cooking stoves (TCS) is a long-established practice that has incomplete combustion and generates substances with global warming potential (GWP). Improved cooking stoves (ICS) have been developed worldwide as an alternative household fuel burning device, as well as a climate change mitigation. A study was conducted among female Forest User Groups (FUGs) of Rema-Kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary, Bangladesh, to assess the status of ICS disseminated by the Forest Department (FD) under the Nishorgo (2009) Support Project, along with the community's biomass fuel consumption pattern. Wood consumption was highest (345 kg month−1 household−1) followed by agricultural residues (60 kg month−1 household−1), tree leaves (51 kg month−1 household−1) and cow dung (25 kg month−1 household−1). Neighbouring forests of the sanctuary was the core source for wood fuel, with little or no reduction in the extraction even after joining the FUG. Twenty-two species, both indigenous and introduced, were preferred as wood fuel. None of the respondents were found willing to use ICS although 43% owned one; either as a status symbol or to meet the conditions of the FD for membership in FUG. Seven negative features of the disseminated ICS were identified by households, which made them unwilling to use them further. Manufacturing faults may be responsible for some ICS demerits, while the FD failed to convince the community of the benefits. A proper examination of the disseminated ICS efficacy is crucial, with active involvement of community members. The Sustainable Energy Triangle Strategy (SETS) could be implemented for this purpose. Findings of the study are of immense importance in designing a strategy for the introduction of ICS into Bangladesh.
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So because the abstract mentions an issue with traditional cooking stoves as being contributors to global warming, and mentions how improved stoves have the potential to mitigate climate change as a consequence, they got classified as a mitigation paper that implicitly endorses the consensus without quantification:
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Now Duarte's main issue is that the people working on the paper aren't really experts in climatology or meteorology, and the paper itself takes AGW as a given; thus it would be inappropriate to include them as part of a proper climate consensus.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Now Duarte's main issue is that the people working on the paper aren't really experts in climatology or meteorology, and the paper itself takes AGW as a given; thus it would be inappropriate to include them as part of a proper climate consensus.
does he define "proper"?

the authors are scientists, they obviously agree mankind contributes to global warming, so they're part of the global scientific consensus.

if you only allow climatologists, then you probably have to scrap all "mitigation" papers. but that'd be a pretty drastic change in methodology. if you're demanding this, you'd be saying that everyone who writes mitigation stidies has no clue about global warming. On the other hand, we can probably assume that GW deniers don't write mitigation papers, so that category is predictably going to push the average up

My opinion is that to include mitigation papers is a legitimate choice, and if you'd have liked to choose differently, you ought to write your own paper.
 

TheNZThrower

Active Member
does he define "proper"?

the authors are scientists, they obviously agree mankind contributes to global warming, so they're part of the global scientific consensus.

if you only allow climatologists, then you probably have to scrap all "mitigation" papers. but that'd be a pretty drastic change in methodology. if you're demanding this, you'd be saying that everyone who writes mitigation stidies has no clue about global warming. On the other hand, we can probably assume that GW deniers don't write mitigation papers, so that category is predictably going to push the average up

My opinion is that to include mitigation papers is a legitimate choice, and if you'd have liked to choose differently, you ought to write your own paper.
However, my counter to your point is that in order to write a mitigation paper in a certain field (e.g. economics), you don't really need that comprehensive of a knowledge on climate science, or just assume AGW is happening and go from there.
 

TheNZThrower

Active Member
In addition, you don't really want to rely on a non-climatologist to give you an accurate picture of something pertaining to climatology, though understanding the full impacts of climate change requires understanding other fields of science (e.g. marine biology for its affects on marine organisms).
 

Inti

Senior Member.
Another critic of Cook’s study was Richard Tol of the University of Sussex. He produced several papers (not peer-reviewed or published in respected journals) attacking Cook’s methology, debated at length in And Then There’s Physics.

Tol wrote that

The conclusions of Cook et al. are thus unfounded. There is no doubt in my mind that the literature on climate change overwhelmingly supports the hypothesis that climate change iscaused by humans. I have very little reason to doubt that the consensus is indeed correct. Cook et al., however, failed to demonstrate this. Instead, they gave further cause to those who believe that climate researchers are secretive (as data were held back) and incompetent (as the analysis is flawed).

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bz17rNCpfuDNRllTUWlzb0ZJSm8/edit page 9

A pyrrhic victory indeed for deniers of the consensus. Tol says Cook reaches the correct conclusion about the consensus level, but in the wrong way. If Toll is right, the deniers lose. If Cook is right, the deniers lose!

After trying (unsuccessfully, I’d say) to pick holes in Cook's methodology, Tol ended up admitting that :
The literature has been overwhelming pro-AGW for 20 years or more. The people who I know that disagree with the consensus are well aware that they are a tiny minority.

From <https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/richard-tols-fourth-draft/#comment-822

Richard Tol also says: "The consensus is of course in the high nineties. No one ever said it was not. We don’t need Cook’s survey to tell us that.
https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/richard-tols-fourth-draft/#comment-822>

So one of the most credible and numerate critic of Cooks research ends up agreeing with his key conclusion.

As if the lack of any real research from the denialist perspective hadn't already told us that they are a tiny ideologically driven. They have never produced their own peer-reviewed research on the balance of views among climate scientists, because (a) there are very few of them, and (b), if they tried, they would only confirm that Cook and the other researcher 90% plus figures are correct.


Another example where deniers admit the fact of the consensus.
Roy Spencer is perhaps the most academically credible denier of human causation. Yet he ended up admitting the overwhelming consensus amongst climate scientists and then using it as “evidence” that those scientists are conspiring to hide the “truth”.

Spencer's arguments in The Great Global Warming Blunder were critiqued extensively in a three-part series by Utah geochemist Barry Bickmore
https://bbickmore.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/roy-spencers-great-blunder-part-1/

[23],[24],[25].

"In the book, Spencer says:

" I find it difficult to believe that I am the first researcher to figure out what I describe in this book. Either I am smarter than the rest of the world’s climate scientists–which seems unlikely–or there are other scientists who also have evidence that global warming could be mostly natural, but have been hiding it. That is a serious charge, I know, but it is a conclusion that is difficult for me to avoid. (p. xxvii)"

"But as Arthur Smith pointed out, after addressing the problems with Spencer's model[26], "... The first thing a true scientist should think of in a situation like this doesn't seem to have even occurred to Spencer. "What if I'm wrong?"

He was."
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
However, my counter to your point is that in order to write a mitigation paper in a certain field (e.g. economics), you don't really need that comprehensive of a knowledge on climate science, or just assume AGW is happening and go from there.
that's an insulting assumption
I don't expect scientists who work on climate change mitigation to be clueless about climate change
I expect them to have read and understood key papers from climatologists
(and the greenhouse effect is really not that hard to understand)
you don't have to gather the data yourself
you can rely on data gathered by others
In addition, you don't really want to rely on a non-climatologist to give you an accurate picture of something pertaining to climatology, though understanding the full impacts of climate change requires understanding other fields of science (e.g. marine biology for its affects on marine organisms).
the claim is not "97% can give a nuanced discussion on all aspects of climate change"

the claim is that they agree it's man-made, and the assumption is that these are smart people with access to the relevant literature, who, working in the field, have spent some time thinking about it

it's kinda like relying on your doctor to be able to treat you (better than most non-doctors could) even though they didn't come up with the treatment themselves: it's good enough to rely on

you are falling into a trap of fomenting doubt where there's no evidence that this doubt is warranted
it's a standard conspiracy theorist method that leads straight down the rabbit hole

don't neglect to doubt the climate change deniers
 

TheNZThrower

Active Member
Another critic of Cook’s study was Richard Tol of the University of Sussex. He produced several papers (not peer-reviewed or published in respected journals) attacking Cook’s methology, debated at length in And Then There’s Physics.

Tol wrote that



https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bz17rNCpfuDNRllTUWlzb0ZJSm8/edit page 9

A pyrrhic victory indeed for deniers of the consensus. Tol says Cook reaches the correct conclusion about the consensus level, but in the wrong way. If Toll is right, the deniers lose. If Cook is right, the deniers lose!

After trying (unsuccessfully, I’d say) to pick holes in Cook's methodology, Tol ended up admitting that :


From <https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/richard-tols-fourth-draft/#comment-822


https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/richard-tols-fourth-draft/#comment-822>

So one of the most credible and numerate critic of Cooks research ends up agreeing with his key conclusion.

As if the lack of any real research from the denialist perspective hadn't already told us that they are a tiny ideologically driven. They have never produced their own peer-reviewed research on the balance of views among climate scientists, because (a) there are very few of them, and (b), if they tried, they would only confirm that Cook and the other researcher 90% plus figures are correct.


Another example where deniers admit the fact of the consensus.
Roy Spencer is perhaps the most academically credible denier of human causation. Yet he ended up admitting the overwhelming consensus amongst climate scientists and then using it as “evidence” that those scientists are conspiring to hide the “truth”.

Spencer's arguments in The Great Global Warming Blunder were critiqued extensively in a three-part series by Utah geochemist Barry Bickmore
https://bbickmore.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/roy-spencers-great-blunder-part-1/

[23],[24],[25].
I have found a Guardian article written by Tol, who says:
There is disagreement, of course, particularly on the extent to which humans contributed to the observed warming. This is part and parcel of a healthy scientific debate. There is widespread agreement, though, that climate change is real and human-made.
Content from External Source
So while he acknowledges the consensus, he seems to not acknowledge a consensus on how much warming is contributed by anthropogenic forcing.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
So while he acknowledges the consensus, he seems to not acknowledge a consensus on how much warming is contributed by anthropogenic forcing.
i'd be suspicious if everyone agreed on an exact number
it took ages to exactly measure the speed of light
which is a lot easier to pin down than global warming
 

Inti

Senior Member.
I don’t think Tol claims that; in fact I give him more credit than that. Human causation is central to the consensus under discussion, and in the other sources I mentioned Tol does not seem to deny it.

Quote from Tol (2014):

“There is no doubt in my mind that the literature on climate change overwhelmingly supports the hypothesis that climate change is caused by humans. I have very little reason to doubt that the consensus is indeed correct.”

Cook et al produced a lengthy response to Tol’s Guardian article, “Twenty Four Critical errors in Tol (2014) (pdf)
Tol, 2014 (T14) agrees that “the literature on climate change overwhelmingly supports the hypothesis that climate change is caused by humans” but disputes the methods used in C13. However, T14 contains a number of critical errors that falsify key conclusions, include fundamental mathematical mistakes, use inappropriate statistics, and make unsubstantiated assertions (Cook et al., 2014 or C14). This report documents 24 errors in T14 that falsify its conclusions.
http://sks.to/24errors

Further Sources linked here; https://skepticalscience.com/graphics.php?g=111

And this is another relevant response to criticism by Cook et al.

https://skepticalscience.com/97-percent-consensus-robust.htm

More generally, as Tol admits repeatedly, attempts to claim that almost all researchers with relevant expertise agree that climate change is happening primarily because of human actions seem absurd to those who know the field.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
More generally, as Tol admits repeatedly, attempts to claim that almost all researchers with relevant expertise agree that climate change is happening primarily because of human actions seem absurd to those who know the field.
is this what you meant to write? could you please provide a quote to support it?
 

Inti

Senior Member.
i'd be suspicious if everyone agreed on an exact number
it took ages to exactly measure the speed of light
which is a lot easier to pin down than global warming
I agree, demanding close agreement would be an example of "impossible expectations" which Cook mentioned, one of the five characteristics of science denialism, (Diethelm, P., & McKee, M. (2009). Denialism: what is it and how should scientists respond?. The European Journal of Public Health, 19(1), 2-4.)
 

Inti

Senior Member.
is this what you meant to write? could you please provide a quote to support it?
Definitely not! I was drafting in Word on my tablet, and obviously I mangled the process of copying so it reverses my meaning. Thanks for pointing it out.
 

MapperGuy

New Member
Conspiracies thrive on the concept that the consensus is always wrong. The higher the percentage of climate scientists that agree on something the greater is the proof they are wrong, wrong, wrong! Right?

Even trying to put a number on the percentage feeds the conspiracists. If you just said "the majority" agreed on something without trying to quantify the size of that majority you would rob them of at least some of their fervor. Trying too hard to make a case, in this case, hurts your case.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Even trying to put a number on the percentage feeds the conspiracists. If you just said "the majority" agreed on something without trying to quantify the size of that majority you would rob them of at least some of their fervor. Trying too hard to make a case, in this case, hurts your case.
I like to think it helps establish a convincing picture of what reality is like, for those who might otherwise be tempted to go down that rabbit hole. Having this big number means you can shut down "what does the other side say" news reporting, which the media would often do with majority/minority issues.
 
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