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How many climate scientists are climate skeptics?

Posted on 22 June 2010 by John Cook

There have been various surveys or petitions claiming that thousands of scientists are skeptical that humans are causing global warming. The thing is, when you peruse these lists, you find very few scientists who actually have expertise in climate science. So what do the experts think? A 2009 survey found that over 97% of actively publishing climate scientists are convinced humans are significantly changing global temperatures (Doran 2009). Now a new study has digged into this topic a little deeper and broader. As well as covering a larger number of climate scientists, they also researched how many papers each scientist published and how often their work was cited (Anderegg 2010). How many published climate scientists think most of recent global warming was due to human activity? Between 97 to 98%.

The results are strikingly consistent with Doran's earlier work. The overwhelming majority of climate experts think humans are causing climate change. Next, they dig a little deeper. They examine the number of publications by each scientist as a measure of expertise in climate science. What they find is the average number of publications by unconvinced scientists (eg - skeptics) is around half the number by scientists convinced by the evidence. Not only is there a vast difference in the number of convinced versus unconvinced scientists, there is also a considerable gap in expertise between the two groups.


Figure 1: Distribution of the number of researchers convinced by the evidence of anthropogenic climate change and unconvinced by the evidence with a given number of total climate publications.

An alternative measure of the quality and credibility of a scientist's contribution is the number of times their work is cited by other scientists. Again, there is a considerable gap between the number of citations of papers by convinced scientists and unconvinced scientists.


Figure 2: Distribution of the number of researchers convinced and unconvinced of human caused climate change with a given number times cited for each researcher’s average of the first through fourth most-cited papers.

Skeptics claim there is no scientific consensus, that there are many scientists who don't think humans are causing global warming. However, when it comes to climate experts, we have a numbers gap, an expertise gap and a credibility gap between the scientists convinced of human caused global warming and climate skeptics.

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Comments 101 to 129 out of 129:

  1. In #36, Larry Weisenthal mentions that

    "At best, investigative research results in single step advances, which change no paradigms."

    This is true. But the problem with this statement, in context with the ongoing conversation, is paradigms don't generally need to be changed. They're paradigms because they're based on a preponderance of evidence. The paradigm-changing work in climate change was done eighty years ago, when CO2 was definitively demonstrated to have the ability to warm the atmosphere (see Spencer Weart's book, for a history of this). The power of science lies in the very fact that most work is done one step at a time, building on solid foundations. Sure, it's sexier to make multi-step leaps, and occasionally that's needed. But most such efforts fail because they flout existing evidence. And most paradagm-changing work succeeds because the existing paradigm is flouting evidence. Such is not the case in climate change.

    The fact that most funding goes to research that proposes to build on established results (not to repeat what's already been done, but to push forward a little bit) is a strenght of the enterprise of science, not a weakness. Honestly, I'm becoming exhasperated with this "lone wolf" idyll that is so frequently and speciously proffered.
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  2. JMurphy @ 98

    The Catholic Church in Italy also overlapped overwhelmingly with the scientific establishment of the time having built the first universities and resurrecting the spirit of scientific enquiry from classical times. There was a strong pro-Galileo faction within the Church. Galileo was allowed to publish his views - the only condition was that he restrict himself to presenting the Copernican view as a mere hypothesis rather than as an established 'fact' which at the time was not as far fetched as it seems today.

    The guiding principal was the notion that 'The Bible teaches us how to get to heaven, not how the heavens move.' However, if a scientific hypothesis seemed to contradict some aspect of the Biblical account (in this instance, a reference in the Book of Joshua in which God made the sun stand still in the sky lengthening the day and allowing the Israelites to win a convincing victory), scholars were expected to treat the Biblical account as authoritative unless very strong evidence to the contrary was available.

    In other words, 'an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence.'

    Galileo was no diplomat (he also fudged his famous leaning tower of Pisa experiments). He published a dialogue in which he made the proponent of the Ptolemaic system appear a buffoon. Not surprisingly, this got under the establishment's skin. The result: Galileo officially silenced and a public relations disaster for the Catholic Church.

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
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  3. dhogaza #99 writes:

    "You mean they weren't spending all their time whining about being blacklisted...?"

    It's not-very-sincere of the denialists to be shrieking aobut a blacklist when Cuccinelli is being subjected to judicial persecution.

    There's an update on that in the Washington Post.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/virginiapolitics/2010/06/an_albermarle_county_judge_has.html
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  4. #62 Roy Latham
    "Even more interesting would be "Are climate models an accurate predictor of climate?" Since measurements are running below two-sigma of the predictions, that would tell how many climate scientists are paying attention."

    This is interesting. You apparently have the data that will completely debunk all this AGW malarkey. Please provide a source, so we can all be convinced by the data.
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  5. Phila # 66 – the idea of conspiracy has never entered the equation from my perspective when it comes to addressing the Scientists themselves. However scientists are people and accordingly come with all the foibles you see in the general population. The concept of personal bias and conflicts of interest are not in any way new to the scientific community. There are groups that have been formed to address these issues as they can play a role in subverting the process.

    What I have found with my own spot checking is that some scientists that were involved with the IPCC have also been signatories of various letters and petitions to governments with the appearance of offering an independent perspective on the findings of the IPCC. To me it is wrong to do so.


    Robhon # 68 – My personal perspectives on all petitions, both those for and against, are simply a reflection of the position of a number of people (in these cases scientists) who have stated a position of either for or against the findings/recommendations of the IPCC. It seems the press coming from the IPCC side is always saying how there is a scientific consensus about their findings, which riles other scientists such as myself. The only way of stepping up to question the validity of such a statement is to create something like the petition in question – to show there are scientists out there who dispute the “scientific consensus” postulations.

    I don’t know if you looked into the Anderegg et al paper further, but if you had, you would have found that while they used a database of 1,372 climate scientists for their survey. After accounting for duplication, the list was reduced to 903 names for those in favour and 472 for those against. Of the 903 names, 619 were contributors to the IPCC reports. If those had been removed the survey would have then reports on the results from 284 CE scientists and 472 UE scientists which would likely have produced results offering different interpretations.

    Doug_bostrom # 70…”BIGGER SIGH””…

    Are you saying that the only scientists that know what they are talking about are those that participated in the IPCC work? Certainly there must be more in the worlds than the simple 1 or 2 thousand that were involved that could present an independent perspective? In this instance I do not accept the argument put forward as I believe the results are biased towards their opinion and hence are not independently derived. In Anderegg et al’s paper, 472 qualified scientists holding a contrary view were surveyed while 284 independent scientists supporting the theory were surveyed.

    You are simply trying to deflect away from an obvious weakness in the process with the rest of your post. The issue of potential bias and conflicts of interest in propagating a process used to garner widespread support is being discussed, not the comical antics followed by both sides in this debate. Professional organizations go to great lengths to minimize or eliminate bias and CI’s.

    E # 77 - your post is nonsensical unless you live in a place where it is customary to have a doctor give you a diagnosis over the phone. To better understand Conflicts of Interest:

    http://www1.od.nih.gov/oma/manualchapters/ethics/2400-04/main.html

    Here are some forms of bias that occur regularly in scientific reporting:

    Definitions of interpretation biases
    Confirmation bias—evaluating evidence that supports one's preconceptions differently from evidence that challenges these convictions
    Rescue bias—discounting data by finding selective faults in the experiment
    Auxiliary hypothesis bias—introducing ad hoc modifications to imply that an unanticipated finding would have been otherwise had the experimental conditions been different
    Mechanism bias—being less sceptical when underlying science furnishes credibility for the data
    "Time will tell" bias—the phenomenon that different scientists need different amounts of confirmatory evidence
    Orientation bias—the possibility that the hypothesis itself introduces prejudices and errors and becomes a determinate of experimental outcomes
    To allow any bias to exist using the argument that those involved are experts is ludicrous IMHO.


    The Walrous - # 80 – From my perspective, the mechanism driving the earth’s climates is vastly complex and not completely understood by us – we learn new things every day. CO2 as a greenhouse gas is not in dispute – the fact only increases in CO2 are considered the driving force behind a rise in the mean global temperatures is what many are questioning. What about the vast increase in water vapour, which is a stronger greenhouse gas than CO2, that has occurred over the past 60 years or so? What about the real effect of CO2 from jet aircraft vs near surface generated CO2?

    Before HUGE sums of money to the third world are committed (this is what the IPCC’s raisin d’etre was all about) we have to make sure that we understand what is going on beyond a correlation between two sets of data.
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    Moderator Response: The comment on complexity is an argument from incredulity. CO2 as the only driver of climate is discussed here. The contribution of water vapor to warming is discussed here. Please continue any discussion of these topics in the appropriate threads.
  6. As a final post, I want to bring your attention to a paper written by Jason Johnston from the UofV School of Law which was published by U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 10-08 entitled "Global Warming Advocacy Science: A Cross Examination"

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1612851

    In a nutshell, Mr. Johnston's paper closely resembles my personal view when it comes to the theory of AGW.
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    Moderator Response: That paper rehashes many of the claims already addressed in the list of skeptic arguments. Please restrict any future commentary on these topics to the appropriate post.
  7. Geo Guy as I said it's an inconvenient fact that researchers practicing in the field of climate science are ipso facto the best source of information on climate science and those researchers are necessarily involved in the IPCC process one way or another; in point of fact the pool available is not so large as to make it possible to exclude all IPCC-connected scientists and in any case excluding the best minds available for political reasons is folly.

    And yes, I'll take every opportunity to point out the artificial nature of this discussion and what engendered it, namely such folks as Luntz who put their very best effort into distracting the public from science and its lessons. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to repeat myself.
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  8. Geo Guy reminds us of the latest fad in "auditing", that of having lawyers critique hard sciences when they're not actually attempting to prosecute scientists for the crime of uncertainty. Thanks for the clarification on your perspective, Geo Guy.
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  9. doug # 107 - at the expense of me repeating myself, I do not disagree with your that the researchers practicing in the field of climate science are ipso facto the best source of information on climate science. However not all of them were involved in the work done by IPCC. Therefore to provide support to the results of that IPCC work, using the same scientists is wrong. As Anderegg et al point out, the limited database that they used did have a total of about 700 + names of scientists who were not involved with the IPCC work. From my perspective, it would have been much more acceptable to provide the survey results from that subset of participants as that would have eliminated any bias.
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  10. #103--correction

    I meant, of course that Cuccinelli is subjecting Dr. Mann to judicial persecution.

    I don't think he will succeed.
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  11. Geo Guy
    My scenario was meant as a hypthetical. Your recognition of it as ridiculous is precisely the point.

    Anyways, the point of the Anderegg study is to show whether a majority of scientists actively studying climate science agree with the IPCC conclusions. It's an opinion poll meant to reflect the opinions of the total population of scientists studying climate, not an independent assesment of the IPCC results. Conflict of interest has no relevance here. Their opinion remains their opinion whether they were involved in the work or not. If it just so happens that a large number of the most active scientists were also involved in the IPCC report, that does nothing to diminish Anderegg's results, in fact, it strengthens them.

    What you propose is actually an answer to a related but very different question: "out of the population of climate scientists that didn't contribute to the IPCC, how many agree with its conclusions?". The answer to that question may be interesting in its own right, but it doesn't have much bearing on the conclusions made by Anderegg. He is attempting to quantify a consensus out of the total climate scientist population, not a subset independent from the IPCC reports.

    I will agree there are other legitimate arguments to be made as to how the poll questions were worded, but talking about "conflict of interest" with regard to an opinion poll just doesn't make any sense.
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  12. Geo Guy - are you serious? You prefer a lawyer's rehash of long-debunked arguments to the opinion of experts? Do you approach your personal health care in the same way?

    Lets try the acid test. I would expect climate scientists to readily point to data which might be measured which would cause revision of their theory. (Not a climate scientist but for me, 20 years of cooling, upper stratospheric warming, a better TOS heat balance that was inconsistent with GHG models would be examples as would a complete, physically consistent model of climate able to explain better all known measurements). My experience of denialists is that they would argue against even the oceans boiled.

    So what is your bottom line for changing your mind? (and if GC and JohnD are reading, I would love to hear yours).
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  13. Good to see Prall co-author this study. I've cited his work here before. It's detailed, careful, and meticulous.

    Tobis has a nice post on this. The disconnect with logic "skeptics" have (blacklists?) is remarkable. The charge is based on the simple fact that names of skeptics have been published. Um...they were already published in the petition(s). By such logic, skeptics have blacklisted themselves.

    I have zero sympathy for the skeptical types who whine in this manner. We live in a world where a scientist expressing skeptical views of climate science (at any level) becomes an instant celebrity.
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  14. @Hypnos at 19:03 PM on 23 June, 2010

    "How ridicolous can it get? If you have concerns about a growing mole do you go to an oncologist or a philosophy professor?"

    That is a strawman argument.

    If you believe I claim any man on the street can have an informed opinion then you do not believe what I believe. If you believe it matter who claims something then you believe in argument by authority.

    Authorities are not always right. Non authorities are wrong most of the time, but from this it doesn’t follow that authorities always are right and that non authorities always are wrong.

    Therefore if someone make a general sweeping claim (like the OP does in this article) that several argument made by several non authorities are wrong then one should be really suspicious about such claims and not believe in it before evaluating the dismissed claim made.
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  15. #102 chriscanaris at 01:15 AM on 24 June, 2010
    Galileo was no diplomat (he also fudged his famous leaning tower of Pisa experiments). He published a dialogue in which he made the proponent of the Ptolemaic system appear a buffoon.

    Worse than that. Dialogo (published in March 1632, Florence) featured Simplicio (a convinced Aristotelian character, proponent of the Ptolemaic system) after Maffeo Barberini, his former friend and admirerer, who was the ruling pope, Urban VIII by then. As Simplicio looks rather silly most of the time, the pope was not happy at all.

    It was popular science, a bestseller, written in Italian, not Latin, the proper language for scientific papers. On top of that his treatment of tides (fourth day) as proof of terrestrial motion was fundamentally flawed.



    First undeniable proof of Earth's motion came in 1727, almost a hundred years later, by the discovery of an unpredicted effect, stellar aberration. James Bradley was looking for stellar parallax, which was predicted since Aristarchus' time, but as usual, he has found something else. The first successful stellar parallax measurement was performed in 1838 by Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel on 61 Cygni.



    Science takes time.

    In 1783 Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel published his paper on Solar Motion and introduced the term Solar Apex. Therefore not even the Heliocentric world view was correct, the Sun also moved (toward Lambda Herculis).

    The Catholic Church was more or less up to date with science. In 1758 they dropped the general prohibition of books advocating heliocentrism and in 1822 the Sacred Congregation of the Inquisition allowed printing of heliocentric books in Rome.

    In 1916 Albert Einstein explained God does not care. A center of your choice is as good as any other.

    Then came the ultimate triumph of Geocentric World View with the adoption of WGS 84 and advent of GPS.
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  16. Re: Moderator Response to #105 Geo Guy at 04:49 AM on 24 June, 2010 [...] Please continue any discussion of these topics in the appropriate threads.

    It would be much easier to do that if links to last several comments would be listed in left column below

    Latest Posts

    .
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    Moderator Response: The last several comments already are collected together. Click the "Recent Comments" link in the blue horizontal bar that is at the top of every page. Each comment's time-date stamp is a link to that particular comment's original location.
  17. Gavin Schmidt and Eric Steig have posted a useful discussion of this paper at RealClimate.

    There is a lot of discussion this week about a new paper in PNAS (Andregg et al, 2010) that tries to assess the credibility of scientists who have made public declarations about policy directions. This come from a long tradition of papers (and drafts) where people have tried to assess the state of the ’scientific consensus’ (Oreskes, Brown et al, Bray and von Storch, Doran and Zimmerman etc.). What has bedevilled all these attempts is that since it is very difficult to get scientists to respond to direct questions (response rates for surveys are pitiful), proxy data of some sort or another are often used that may or may not be useful for the specifics of the ‘consensus’ being tested (which itself is often not clearly defined). Is the test based on agreeing with every word in the IPCC report? Or just the basic science elements? Does it mean adhering to a specific policy option? Or merely stating that ’something’ should be done about emissions? Related issues arise from mis-specified or ambiguous survey questions, and from the obvious fact that opinions about climate in general are quite varied and sometimes can’t easily be placed in neatly labelled boxes.

    Given these methodological issues (and there are others), why do people bother?

    The answer lies squarely in the nature of the public ‘debate’ on climate. For decades, one of the main tools in the arsenal of those seeking to prevent actions to reduce emissions has been to declare the that the science is too uncertain to justify anything. To that end, folks like Fred Singer, Art Robinson, the Cato Institute and the ‘Friends’ of Science have periodically organised letters and petitions to indicate (or imply) that ‘very important scientists’ disagree with Kyoto, or the Earth Summit or Copenhagen or the IPCC etc. These are clearly attempts at ‘arguments from authority’, and like most such attempts, are fallacious and, indeed, misleading.

    They are misleading because as anyone with any familiarity with the field knows, the basic consensus is almost universally accepted. That is, the planet is warming, that human activities are contributing to the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (chiefly, but not exclusively CO2), that these changes are playing a big role in the current warming, and thus, further increases in the levels of GHGs in the atmosphere are very likely to cause further warming which could have serious impacts. You can go to any standard meeting or workshop, browse the abstracts, look at any assessment, ask any of the National Academies etc. and receive the same answer. There are certainly disputes about more detailed or specific issues (as there is in any scientific field), and lots of research continues to improve our quantitative understanding of the system, but the basic issues (as outlined above) are very widely (though not universally) accepted.

    It is in response to these attempts to portray the scientific community as fractured and in disagreement, that many people have tried to find quantitative ways to assess the degree of consensus among scientists on the science and, as with this new paper, the degree of credibility and expertise among the signers of various letters advocating policies.


    The post has numerous embedded links, discusses methodological problems w/Anderegg et al and how significant those may be. Well worth reading the whole thing.

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  18. In the way of progress on the central issue Anderegg's paper addresses, that of the disproportionately loud voice of often unfounded dissent, the AGU makes this announcement:

    Climate experts available to answer journalists’ science questions

    WASHINGTON-A growing number of climate scientists are signing up with the American Geophysical Union (AGU) to serve as sources for the news media of accurate scientific information about climate. So far, more than 115 climate specialists have volunteered for AGU’s new referral database. The database will enable AGU staff to readily match questions from reporters to experts in relevant disciplines. All of the scientists who have signed up to date are members of AGU, the world’s largest organization of Earth and space scientists, which has 58,000 members.

    AGU is establishing this new service in order to better address journalists’ needs for accurate, timely information about climate science. This initiative follows another effort that was conceived of and organized by AGU members last December around the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. That project brought together journalists and climate scientists, via email, so that reporters covering the conference could get climate science questions answered around the clock.

    The new referral service will receive journalists’ questions and other queries via emails or phone calls to AGU’s press office staff, who will then pass queries along quickly to appropriate scientist-volunteers. This new service will match scientists to reporters’ queries primarily during business hours (East Coast USA) and will be ongoing.

    ...

    Questions should focus on science, not on policy, and should include a deadline so that responses can be returned with appropriate speed. Answers to questions will reflect the responding scientists’ knowledge and research and do not represent official positions of the AGU.


    More
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  19. Given what Schmidt, Steig, Revkin and even Slate have been saying in the past couple of days, can we all agree that in this case John (Cook) should have shown at least some hints of "healthy skepticism" about the PNAS paper?

    Otherwise, one could write that Skeptical Science vigorously criticises any evidence against man-made global warming and yet eagerly, even blindly embraces any argument, op-ed piece, blog or study that supports global warming.

    As per the end of the Slate article, "Hyping this paper [...] simply reinforces the dangerous perception that climate activists will credulously push any news that might further their case. For those who care about this issue, that's tragic."
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  20. Omnologos, are you getting your information second-hand by any chance? One could write anything if one does not bother to do fact-checking.

    Revkin:

    - The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the full slate of 831 authors for its fifth assessment of the causes and consequences of climate change, due in 2014. There are many names familiar to Dot Earth readers. The panel made a point of noting its effort to include a wide range of views. Have a look around the working groups (links to lists) and discuss notable participants.

    - A paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences attempted to sort hundreds of publishing climate scientists into two categories — those convinced and unconvinced of the basics on human-driven global warming — and found nearly all of those with long, heavily cited publishing records were convinced.

    Not surprisingly, the study has been embraced by proponents of swift action to curb greenhouse gases and attacked by skeptics. More surprisingly, at least a few seasoned climate researchers who are eager for action on emissions also found the work wanting.

    In a comment following a post by Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado describing the “black list” effect of such labeling efforts, Eric Steig, a geochemist at the University of Washington and contributor to the Realclimate.org blog, criticized the paper’s methods and intent, saying he was “totally appalled.”


    Where do you find Revkin's comment?

    Meanwhile, given Steig's contribution to RealClimate today (which I'm guessing you've not actually read) I'd say it's likely he's taken a closer look. Maybe Revkin should ask again. As to Pielke's "blacklist" it's a silly canard and seems accepted as such outside of WUWT.

    It's clear this paper touched a nerve in a painful way, hence all the squeals of outrage and references to Nazis etc.
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  21. Re: Moderator Response: The last several comments already are collected together. Click the "Recent Comments" link in the blue horizontal bar that is at the top of every page. Each comment's time-date stamp is a link to that particular comment's original location.

    Thanks, I haven't noticed. It helps a lot. As soon as people start using it the discussion can get more focused.
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  22. #95 and #100: you may appreciate this article I wrote a while back, somewhat provocatively titled "When old men kill their children".
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  23. This is so funny. On one hand we have Watts and Goddard doing grotesquely inept maths with percentages so that they can claim "Western snow pack is 137% of normal." And the Hoi Polloi crowd goes wild: "I've had so much snow this winter." Skepticism nowhere to be found.

    On the other hand we have the Anderegg survey and statements like this in Slate: "perception that climate activists will credulously push any news that might further their case."

    The double standard has gone so far, it's downright ludicrous. But no "skeptic" protest is to be heard.

    Skeptics by name only, a name they actively empty of all the substance it used to have.
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  24. I would have been interested in seeing the charts above with an added dimension of time. The reason I say that is because I get the impression that the deniers believe that the anti-AGW researchers are like a voice in the wilderness that will eventually be proven correct. It appears to me that, about 100 years ago, AGW proponents were the voice in the wilderness. Over time, and much research, their position has grown in strength. In that light, the anti-AGW proponents are more like the last holdouts rather than leading edge drivers of a new paradigm.
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  25. It's unfortunate, but we are in a situation where a judgment has to be made, because withholding a decision is the same as deciding to do nothing, and made by those who really aren't capable of understanding the deeper technical aspects of the science. It's rather like a jury faced with rather technical forensic evidence. They have only the judgements of the experts to base their decision upon. I think that is why there is as much interest in the consensus argument as there is.
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  26. ChrisG @124,

    "It appears to me that, about 100 years ago, AGW proponents were the voice in the wilderness. Over time, and much research, their position has grown in strength."

    You make an outstanding observation Chris! Have you read Weart's book "The discovery of global warming"? Probably.

    In 1910, scientists thought Arrhenius was out to lunch. Specifically, skeptics thought that the saturation effect was problematic to his thesis. The skeptics' argument "the CO2 effect is saturated" was raised 100 years ago, and over time science and observations have since dismissed that concern. Yet to this day, that argument is still being made by "skeptics".

    Callander faced a skeptical and dubious audience when he made his presentation to the Royal Met. Soc. in 1938. Back then (in the late thirties) and to quote Weart "The idea that humans were influencing global climate by emitting CO2 sat on the shelf with other bric-a-brac, a theory more peculiar and unattractive than most".

    Astounding to think that after all our collective advances in the science and knowledge, and multiple, independent lines of evidence supporting the theory of AGW, that to this day there still remain intelligent and well-educated people who remain highly skeptical and who still hold opinions geld back in the early 20th century.

    So a fully concur when you say "In that light, the anti-AGW proponents are more like the last holdouts rather than leading edge drivers of a new paradigm."
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  27. doug_bostrom (#120): Revkin writes "For starters, one aspect of such efforts that I find troubling is the definition of categories...". And that's "for starters" 8-)

    In one of the comments at DotEarth, Revkin also links to Weart's comment #12 in this thread. Have a look.

    Finally, Revkin points to Keith Kloor's blog, that opens with "Judith Curry identifies what she considers to be “the big flaw” in the PNAS paper".

    And what have you been reading at RealClimate? How about this: "we note that once the categorization goes beyond a self-declared policy position, one is on very thin ice because the danger of ‘guilt by association’. For instance, one of us (Eric) feels more strongly that some of Prall’s classifications in his dataset cross a line"

    I say, even the guys at RealClimate could see the "methodological issues" with the PNAS paper, and felt free to talk openly about those. Where's instead the evidence that, in this circumstance, Skeptical Science has not "credulously pushed any news that might further its case"?
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  28. Folks interested in a formal social sciences approach to expert thinking about climate change might want to check out this paper:

    Expert judgments about transient climate response to alternative future trajectories of radiative forcing
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  29. The complete Revkin comment omnologos believes dramatic:

    For starters, one aspect of such efforts that I find troubling is the definition of categories. Convinced/unconvinced begs a question: Convinced of what? That human-driven warming is real, is dangerous, requires a response focused on emissions reductions (or adaptation), or…? There is such a continuum of reasoning on the part of those lumped as “unconvinced” that the entire effort threatens to lose meaning.

    Not exactly an excoriation, I'd say.

    It would indeed be nice if some folks w/core activity in social sciences took up this topic, especially as there's been such a concerted effort to deceive the public on what's what in mainstream climate research. Anderegg et al are filling a vacuum but it's beginning to leak. See my post immediately above this one.
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  30. omnilogos fudges a bit:

    "And what have you been reading at RealClimate? How about this: "we note that once the categorization goes beyond a self-declared policy position, one is on very thin ice because the danger of ‘guilt by association’. For instance, one of us (Eric) feels more strongly that some of Prall’s classifications in his dataset cross a line"

    I say, even the guys at RealClimate could see the "methodological issues" "


    I saw what you did there. *One* of the two authors of that article at RealClimate (Eric Steig) is on record as having issues with the paper (though from the looks of this article *he co-signed), he's dialed waaaaay back from being 'appalled'). Gavin Schmidt, not so much, apparently. The rest of the 'guys' at RC haven't chimed in.

    And of course, if you read the *whole* RC article, not just the sentence that looks most condemnatory, you'll get a different picture of what the 'RC guys' think of it, compared to what omnilogos claims.

    And of course, both 'guys' sign on to the fact that there really is a consensus:

    "They are misleading because as anyone with any familiarity with the field knows, the basic consensus is almost universally accepted. That is, the planet is warming, that human activities are contributing to the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (chiefly, but not exclusively CO2), that these changes are playing a big role in the current warming, and thus, further increases in the levels of GHGs in the atmosphere are very likely to cause further warming which could have serious impacts. "


    All the angry buzzing of skeptic wasps over this paper, just shows how threatening scientific consensus is to them. Their 'successes' are occurring almost entirely in the public relations, not scientific, domains. Historically this isn't tenable; science will out.
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