Consensus? What consensus?

The warmists all bang on about consensus in the scientists and amongst the scientists. Consensus, despite empirical evidence to the contrary, that the earth is warming, catastrophically, and it is all our fault.

Well how about that consensus eh?

Contrary to reports, global warming studies don’t show 97% of scientists fear global warming

Apart from a handful of eccentrics, everyone believes in the reality of manmade climate change. That’s the message of a recent paper in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the latest in a series of similar efforts that have been used as a stick with which to beat policymakers. But scratch at the surface of any of these publications and you find that there is considerably less to them than meets the eye.

The earliest paper in this series, by Peter Doran and Maggie Kendall Zimmerman of the University of Illinois, reported the results of an opinion poll of climate scientists that Zimmerman had prepared for her MSc thesis. The headline conclusion – that 97% of climatologists thought that mankind was having a significant impact on the climate – was widely reported at the time.

However, although the survey was sent to over 10,000 scientists, there were actually only 79 responses from climatologists, so the 97% figure represented just 75 individuals. And what was not reported in the paper or in any of the ensuing publicity was that many participants were appalled by the survey and recorded their feelings at the time, calling it simplistic and biased, and suggesting that it was an attempt to provide support for a predetermined view. 

Would it be wrong to call that lying? I don’t think so…like warming this is simply made up to suit their argument which is a wonky as the pseudo-science they are peddling.

A second paper, by William Anderegg and colleagues, took a rather different approach, dividing scientists into those who were “convinced” and “unconvinced” by the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and then assessing their relative numbers and their scientific credentials. It was observed at the time that the authors appeared to be trying to create a handy blacklist of scientists non gratae, and so their conclusions – that 97% of scientists were “convinced” and that their expertise was greater than that of their “unconvinced” colleagues – were unsurprising.

But again, the problems with the paper were manifold. One of the authors explained on his blog (but not in the paper) that the list of “unconvinced” included some who were only there because they objected to the Kyoto approach to greenhouse gas reductions. Others observed that the list of “convinced” scientists included some who objected strongly to the IPCC’s take on climate change.

Two strikes…

The latest paper, by John Cook and colleagues, made an extraordinary impact, having been mentioned thousands of times on the internet within hours of its release, and being cited on President Obama’s Twitter feed and by the U.K.’s Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey. The authors of the new paper are all associated with the activist website Skeptical Science, and it is therefore perhaps unsurprising that the paper was written with the express purpose of making a political impact.

We know this because a security lapse at the Skeptical Science website led to its private discussion forum being exposed to public view. Among the threads was one in which the protagonists revealed that the purpose of the research was to demonstrate an overwhelming consensus on climate change.

It is also not surprising that some of the methodology was profoundly disturbing. The authors reviewed the abstracts of published climate papers to assess how much these could be said to be supportive of manmade climate change. However, Cook and his colleagues adopted a deliberately vague formulation of climate change, namely “humans are causing global warming.” This completely avoided the key question of the climate debate, namely “how much warming?”

Three strikes and they’re out…time to call in the investigators to get to the bottom of the great global warming swindle.

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