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The 99.99% pure climate consensus – how to ignore thousands of skeptical scientists

Posted By Joanne Nova On July 12, 2015 @ 3:50 am In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Climate science consensus, peer review publication. "Chance of a skeptical paper getting past peer review gate-keepers is 0.0058%"


Joy. It’s another profoundly unscientific “consensus” study. At least one person thought that the  97% PR figure was not enough, and that magic 99.9% would sway the crowds. As if there was even one fence-sitter sitting, waiting, saying, “97% was too low…”

For the herding type of human, “consensus” is magnetically convincing. Not so for the independent minds who have seen prediction after prediction fail. If a 97% consensus on a highly complex, immature science is difficult to believe, a 99.99% one is comic. More of the same unconvincing stuff will do nothing except set off the BS meter.  This new study will sway no one. The supernatural purity of it will work against “The Cause”.

A consensus is the one and only argument of the unskeptical, and they are doing it to death.

One fan, James Powell, was so enthused he spent nine months reading titles and abstracts of 24,000 papers, and found only four scientists (4!) who didn’t agree with the consensus. Some 69,402 other scientists apparently endorse “the consensus” (whatever it is) because they used the terms “climate change”, or “global warming” and they didn’t also make a clear statement that it was false, or claim that something else explains the rise in temperatures better than CO2. I’m pretty sure the perfect 99.99% consensus includes Roy Spencer, William Braswell, Richard Lindzen, and pretty much any other publishing skeptic you can name bar The Special Four Skeptics: F. Gervais,  S. Avakyan,  Will Happer,  and Heinz Hug.

Here’s the news:

The 97 Percent Scientific Consensus on Climate Change Is Wrong—It’s Even Higher

[The consensus is 99.99%] …”according to James L. Powell, director of the National Physical Sciences Consortium, who reviewed more than 24,000 peer-reviewed scientific articles on climate change published between 2013 and 2014.  Powell identified 69,406 authors named in the articles, four of which rejected climate change as being caused by human emissions. That’s one in every 17,352 scientists. “

Avoiding thousands of skeptical scientists is a  minor achievement. Surveys of meteorologists, geologists and engineers, show half or more are skeptics. Likewise lists of thousands of named skeptics who endorsed a very skeptical statement far outnumber his “list” of unsurveyed believers-by-default.

But his study may give us insight into the size and purity of the government-funded climate science industry, which apparently numbers around 70,000 scientists. Though it could be that he’s inadvertently measuring the odds of getting a paper published in the peer review press with both “climate change” and an actual definitive statement that something other than CO2 causes it  — the odds are about 0.0058%. No wonder most professional scientists know to avoid those magic keyword combinations. Though in Powell’s study, if you discussed how the sun explained global warming in the conclusion or the press release (but not the abstract or title) you’d be listed as endorsing the “consensus”. Smile!


Given the $7 billion in funding from the US government for the 2015 financial year, marked for climate science and clean energy, it is hardly surprising that there are a lot of papers about “climate change” and “global warming”. There are a lot of people studying how big the crisis might be, how to solve the crisis we might be having, and what the effects of this crisis might be (if we are having one). What there is not, are institutions of people specifically tasked to investigate how minor CO2 is, how beneficial it is, or to assess if the Sun controls most of our climate. Around the Western world there is no government funding specifically to audit or find problems with the man-made global warming theory. There are no programs with the sole purpose of finding natural causes to provide the counter arguments ($0). The purity is near complete. Skeptics mostly have to fund themselves. That’s a very high barrier to publication.

How to ignore thousands of scientists:

  1. Pretend that science is not about cause and effect, arguments, or evidence. It’s a voting game. Do we vote for gravity?
  2. Assume that “peer review” is part of the Scientific Method. Too bad for Edison, Einstein, Darwin, and those other non-reviewed guys and gals. Their work doesn’t count.
  3. Cut the study years back to 2013 – 2014. Who knew that these were the magic years of “scientific truth”?
  4. Include thousands of irrelevant studies. It’s hard to believe there are 12,000 papers a year studying the cause of global warming. Does his study include every possible variation of the effects of global warming instead, like lemur movements, and butterfly ranges? Hard to say without access to “Web Of Science”, but Powell guesses we’ll say these papers are not about global warming, and provides an example of a paper, which not so reassuringly … is not about global warming. Read the title: “Investigation on critical breakdown electric field of hot sulfur hexafluoride/carbon tetrafluoride mixtures for high voltage circuit breaker applications.” He argues that the authors say it is about global warming, because they mention the keywords “global warming” in the abstract. (I don’t suppose they they might be trying to justify their work or funding?) These authors may well be believers who are searching for a substitute for the greenhouse gas called SF6, but they aren’t studying the cause of warming. Have they even read a single paper discussing the critical water feedback assumption in climate models? Why would they? It’s not their job.
  5.  Set the bar absurdly high. The abstract has to say “AGW is false” or specifically say that some other cause better explains global warming. This filters out, or counts as “believers”, scores of studies which imply that natural warming is more important, or that the models are exaggerating warming, or find observations that contradict some aspect of anthropogenic global warming, or are just plain cautious. The authors can discuss that in their conclusions, or leave the obvious implications unsaid — it’s easier to get published that way, and besides, abstracts  are strictly limited, usually to 150 or 250 words, so no author is going to waste this precious space. These authors get included as “believers”.

A serious study of consensus would look only at papers aiming to assess the cause of global warming. Even papers on Arctic ice and Mt Kilimanjaro wouldn’t count. It would study the conclusions, not just the abstracts. It would still be profoundly unscientific — as any “consensus” study is — but it might at least raise it above the level of propaganda, having some sociological value. The Powell study is a parody. Ahem. But he is selling a book.

A better study of a consensus would survey scientists themselves instead of guessing what they think, and it wouldn’t just survey “climate scientists” but all scientists.  The Scientific Method is the same no matter what field of science it is applied to. Any study that claims there is a consensus among scientists is being dishonest if it limits its attention to a tiny subgrouping of science. (As if only a secret guild of approved members have received the magic training.) If climate scientists have overwhelming evidence, they’d have no trouble convincing nuclear physicists, materials engineers, industrial chemists, and geologists — yet they are failing dismally.

A thousand holes in the theory is a 99.9% consensus?

From James Powell’s methodology:

2. I looked for clear statements that AGW is false or that some other process better explains the rise in global temperature. I did not count articles that report some discrepancy, such as the growth in Antarctic sea ice for example, but do not use that discrepancy as the basis for claiming that AGW is false. Any theory has discrepancies, observations that the theory cannot yet explain. They provide the next set of research problems. One discrepancy does not falsify a theory.

So one discrepancy does not falsify a theory? Einstein would disagree with that, but what would he know?

“No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”

Albert Einstein

Powell rules out Energy and Environment, a journal that publishes skeptical papers — because it has the wrong classification in WOS. (Web of Science). The truth about the atmosphere will come with the right labels, didn’t you know? Whatever…

Skeptics can cite over 1,000 papers

I think the real intellectual depth of this project is revealed here. Powell has seen the list of 1,350 papers that skeptics cite and argues that these don’t count because “they are not about man-made global warming”. If only he applied the same standard to his “in” list? He points at one paper on the  Popular techology list that discusses how volcanic activity under Antarctica generates large amounts of meltwater. Powell announces “What does this have to do with AGW? Nothing. Magmatic activity does not explain why between 2002 and 2012 Antarctica lost 69 ± 18 gigatons (billion tons) of land ice per year. One might as well say that the hot spot under Yellowstone is responsible for global warming.” In other words, Powell, who admits he believes the theory of man made global warming, and says that only expert opinion matters, has put his own not-so-expert and prejudiced judgement onto 70,000 papers. He has decided the implications of each finding, and knows how many gigatons of ice lost in Antarctica are due to volcanic activity that we can’t really measure. Who needs radar altimetry (which shows Antarctic ice mass is gaining or staying the same?)

So a paper showing that ice melting might not be due to AGW does not support skeptics, but a paper discussing the critical breakdown electric field of SF6, definitely supports the consensus? One standard for thee…

Possibly most of the thousand studies showing that climate models are wrong would count as “believer” articles in the Powell survey because they don’t effectively say “AGW is false” in the abstract. A study could show climate sensitivity is a mere sixth of what the IPCC claims, but that would be a believer article too, I presume, because it still discusses some warming due to man-made CO2 and may not offer an alternative cause.

He’s reduced the scientific debate to a “Yes:No” question. How much warming will man-made CO2 generate? “Yes” says James. Everything above zero is a consensus. Awesome. Welcome to the Idiocracy.


UPDATE: TdeF at #16 on the size of the “climate” researcher field

Also if you just count only meteorologists with a bachelor’s degree in Meteorology as true Climate Scientists (and that excludes Dr. Karl, Al Gore,Tim Flannery and the entire Climate Council), there are just 11,100 in the US according to the bureau of labor statistics.

UPDATE#2: Less than half of climate scientists agree with the IPCC “95%” certain claims that man-made CO2 is the major driver of climate change. 

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