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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A challenge to climate science deniers

Sou | 10:29 PM Go to the first of 101 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts, who runs the climate conspiracy blog WUWT, tries to make a living from a couple of sources these days. One relies on science and the hard work of scientists to forecast weather. Anthony puts all his faith in models, piggy backing on the efforts of scientists to sell his weather wares.

The other source of his income is rejecting the work of those same scientists. He earns a few bucks from denying climate science.

If you think that's odd, well he's not the only one. There are a few science denying weather people in the USA who make a living regurgitating the weather forecasts of NOAA and science from NASA, while denying the science itself. Joe Bastardi for example.

Today Anthony is claiming that it's not true that 97% of the scientific literature that looks at the causes of global warming attributes it to human activity (archived here). This is despite the fact that there are a number of studies that have provided evidence of this. He hasn't put forward any evidence disputing this number. Nor would he (or could he). Anthony Watts is in the disinformation business, not the information business. He thinks it quite sufficient to repeatedly claim something is "bogus" for his readers to believe it's bogus. He thinks that if he tells a lie often enough, there will be some people foolish enough to believe him. And he's correct. There are people in the world who are so keen to "believe" him, that they'll put their own willingness to believe the lie ahead of the welfare of the human species and every other species on the planet.  They'd rather see the world as we know it end than "believe" climate science.

So I am issuing a challenge.

Update: After four days, not one person has come close to accepting the challenge. Not one. Not even the vaguest of attempts. No-one will be surprised at that.

Sou 11 October 2015

The challenge to deniers

My challenge to deniers is to come up with a number, and back it up with evidence. If you think Anthony Watts is correct, then what do you say is the proportion of scientific papers on the subject, that show that it's human activity that is causing global warming?

And the second part of the challenge is, if you don't believe that it's the extra CO2 in the atmosphere that's causing global warming - if you don't "believe" in the greenhouse effect (which Anthony now it seems, doesn't any longer) - then what has caused this?

Data source: GISS NASA

Needless to say, whatever you as a science denier put forward, it must be backed up with credible evidence. An impossible task, you'll find.


  1. They are not going to take your challenge. 1. They can not. 2. They don't need to take it. At least, while there are journalists using the "balance" theory for interviews. They don't have to provide a credible alternative theory, because they are going to find channels to disseminate their misinformation without creating anything sensible as an "alternative theory".

  2. Haven't you heard? The cause of the second part of your challenge is scientists fudging the numbers to keep the grant money rolling in.

    1. Apparently, they believe that a few billion $ divvied up among 10,000 or more climate researchers is somehow making them all fabulously wealthy while the several trillion $ in profits generated annually by the fossil fuel industry distributed among a few thousand major stockholders is mere pocket change and not worth lying to keep it flowing.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. (Resubmitted minus a couple of stupid typos)

      And the lion's share of that few billion goes into designing/building supercomputers and designing/building/launching research satellites. Subtract that out of the mix, and the climate-scientists' share of all that juicy grant funding shrinks even more.

    4. I guess that depends on the country and the instituton. In my country, as a teacher in a public university, if you get funding, you can hire other researchers for your group, you can buy computers, laboratory material, books or travel to meetings (limited expenses, no 4 * hotels allowed). The thing that you are NOT allowed to do with research funding is receiving it in your bank account. The relevance of research funding for your personal incomes is exactly void.

  3. Sadly I have to agree with jon. Egos often trump commonsense, as we are all aware, so all the mental effort and billions of words already expounded on this subject shows no sign of diminishing as the disaster evolves....An acceptance of basic physics and a daily visit to The Keeling Curve is all that's required to see the reality of the dire situation we are in so there is really no excuse for deliberate ignorance or a "balanced view" anymore.

  4. check out jo nova and the NEW SCIENCE nuttery series, real facepalm stuff

  5. For the second part, a litany of previous skeptic attempts to do the same thing can be read from the titles of Skeptical Science Arguments. This is the story of the opposition.

    It's the sun, cycles, faulty temperature records, cosmic rays, Urban Heat Island, Little Ice Age, ocean, dropped stations, aerosol thinning, microsite influences, climate regime shift, land use, methane, albedo, solar cycles, it's unpredictable, CFCs, drop in volcanic activity, global brightening, ozone, satellite microwave transmissions, waste heat, satellite error, overestimated, only a few degrees, headed into cooling, soot, internal variability.

    This second part isn't a reasonable "challenge", because it asks for too much. It asks in a barely-serious way for a Final Solution that would incidentally overthrow 150 years of science. Which we know isn't going to happen.
    The proposal comes off as a disparagement, because it is excessive. A "put up or shut up". Which of course it is. Fair game. It reflects reality.

    The problem is that it takes away from the very real practical use of the first part as a challenge. Because the 97% is so easy to refute, therein is an argument for its own legitimacy.

    The skeptics need only go thru that 97% that are 'AGW' papers and find some 'skeptic' papers, to prove it wrong.
    This would be much easier than it was for the original researchers, since the skeptics wouldn't have any of the limitations originally imposed to assure a 'fair' result.
    For example, they could start with any lists of skeptic (or otherwise) scientists, who objected to how their abstracts were classified.
    They could look at the papers rated 'skeptic' and see which papers they cited, and which papers cited them.
    They could also look for the same in skeptic papers not in the study, because they were older or newer or didn't meet the criteria.
    The skeptics could go to their own lists of skeptic climate scientists, and see if any of their papers were included in the 97%.
    Andy Skuce at Skeptical Science makes this point, about how easy it should be to falsify the 97%. According to him some skeptics have already started lists of supposed exceptions. Which could be a starting point...
    And there's presumably the option of a skeptic crowdsourcing effort among, say WUWT readers, to find exceptions. The manpower available would be more than enough.
    And from an assembly of all the possibilities, could be chosen those abstracts in the 97% that shouldn't be there...

    Apparently this still hasn't been done, several years later. Seeing that something so easy to falsify is still standing is arguably proof itself of the robustness of the "97%". Q.E.D.

    1. Seeing that something so easy to falsify is still standing is arguably proof itself of the robustness of the "97%"

      That seems like a reasonable argument to me, but it may hide a subtle warmist flaw that only a Galileo or a Feynman could spot.

    2. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
      "...[He] played a major role in the scientific revolution during the Renaissance. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for heliocentrism." Wikipedia
      He was there at the BEGINNING.

      Climate Science's Galileo should be someone who was there at the BEGINNING.
      Maybe Svante Arrhenius (1859-1927)
      " 1896 he was the first scientist to attempt to calculate how changes in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could alter the surface temperature through the greenhouse effect." Wikipedia

      I fully acknowledge that my ideas could be taken apart by everyday lesser mortals.
      But I am confident that today I needn't worry about exposure by any nouveau climate science Galileo. Because the "97%" of climate scientists consensus means that we are at the END of the developing acceptance of Anthropogenic Global Warming.

      I do concede that it could be a denier aligned with the 3% skeptic climate scientists who invalidates my arguments. But this wouldn't be someone from the front of a new movement, it'd be someone allied with the rump end, the last hold-outs...of the existing one.

      Climate science abusing deniers, when they appropriate Galileo to their side, show a similar willingness to abuse history.

    3. The "Galileo Gambit" is well recognized as false reasoning.

      In that vein, the "debunking" of the 97% consensus is an almost perfect example of the scholasticism that produced much of the opposition to Galileo. All Galileo ever asked of his opponents was to look rather than to "know" beforehand. All his opponents ever did was to deny there was any need to look.

      Any REAL Galileo or Feynman would suggest meeting actual scientists and asking. For example, our resident deniers could attend an AGU meeting or even simpler go to some research universities in their regions and have coffee in the relevant lounges.

      Like the cardinals of old, however, actually looking is not their style. At some level, they know going that route will show them wrong and their need to win politically overrides any need at all to examine the subject objectively.

    4. What cracks me up about Galileo vs Religion case is the similarity to Darwin vs Religion centuries later. The second case is largely erased from denialist history because some prominent deniers are on the wrong side of that one.

      For the next bloggie awards denialist websites should be in the comedy section: I could vote for them then.

    5. The Galileo Gambit
      They made fun of Galileo, and he was right.
      They make fun of me, therefore I am right.

      And Galileo was not right. He "knew" heliocentrism was correct but his actual theory was wrong. That's part of what got him into trouble with the Church. If you are advancing a controversial theory, some proof is useful; his theory predicted one tide a day.

      The Church could have handled heliocentrism, it did not affect any core doctrine. They just needed a good enough theory.

      Oh and slandering the reigning (and extremely paranoid) pope was not a good idea. Actually I don't think he was slandering the pope but the pope thought he was.

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    7. jk-- Which part of Galileo's theory was wrong? He had a mystical attachment to circular orbits, I know, which isn't quite right, but he was right a lot more than he was wrong.

    8. Mainly that Galileo ignored his contemporary Kepler's hypothesis of elliptical orbits, and that he proposed an explanation for tides that doesn't work (I haven't looked into the latter).

    9. Just from memory the mathematics of epicycles was so well refined and developed that it could predict better than the heliocentric model with elliptical orbits in its infancy let alone circular orbits.
      The old trap of using arbitrary variables without any underlying mechanism to fit data. Fitting high order polynomials to short noisy data is just mathturbation.

      This goes for Fourier Analysis of Climate data and models to try to omit partial derivatives. If I can call it that! More mathturbation.

      Unless you know and understand the mechanisms behind your so called Fourier Analysis you will always find lovely coefficients that fit your delusions. Factor X is one delusion that comes to mind.

      As far as tides go the hand-wavy argument about the two bulges in the oceans is wrong. The two tides per day were explained to me when I was a young lad thus: The ocean nearest the Moon is attracted by the Moon and leaves the Earth behind. The Earth in turn leaves the Ocean opposite the Moon behind. This is sort of correct?

      No it is simply because of the warping of space time causing a gravitational gradient. This was not fully understood until Einstein came out with General Relativity.


    10. Bert, that's a very astute parallel between empty curve-fitting and epicyclic theory. Ptolemy's actually was quite a bit better-behaved because the planetary orbits are in fact nicely periodic.

      As for the tides, it's true that Einstein pushed the conceptual model of what's going on in gravitation far beyond what Newton could, but there really isn't anything in the theory of the tides that can't be done perfectly well in the weak field, i.e. Newtonian, limit.

      Now, GPS timing and navigation, that's another matter!

    11. @unknown
      I don't remember all the details as I am more of a behavioural scientist than a physical one. As magna and Bert from Elthan point out the epicyle argument alone was a problem although I think people studing astronomy knew the epicycle theory did have problems but seemed to work better.

      For a relatively quick and fun read see He covers a lot of the scientific controversy as well as some of the political. The entire Transition to Heliocentricity thread covers a lot of the issues.

      For real details you would probably have to read one or two of:

      De Santillana, G. (1955). The crime of Galileo. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

      Drake, S. (1970). Galileo studies: Personality, tradition, and revolution. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

      Drake, S. (1980). Galileo. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

      and quite likely

      Wootton, D. (2010). Galileo: Watcher of the Skies (First Edition). Yale University Press but I am only on Ch. 2 so I am not sure.

      I think that De Santillas ( 1955) is essential as he covers the policial issues leading up to Galileo's trial and these are key to understanding what happened.

      One of the real problems for Galileo was that when he published his new book Pope Urban (VIII?) thought that he was being mocked as “Simplissimus” in the book.

    12. palindrom you are quite correct that Newton's laws are adequate for astronavigation of Nasa's space probes. You must forgive me for being a forgetful old fart.

      The perfect invisible spheres that the epicyclic theory postulated as a mechanism that the planets rode on had a bit of a problem with Jupiter's moons. I think the Pope refused to look at these moons through Galileo's telescope as they were just artefacts!

      I also watch with interest your very good efforts at debunking all the denialists and fellow DK nutters at other comment threads ie the Guardian. Bert

  6. You might as well ask Richard Tol to #FREEtheTOL300

  7.  what do you say is the proportion of scientific papers on the subject, that show that it's human activity that is causing global warming?

    There's the rub.

    I'd say pretty close to 0 percent.

    1. And that's why you are known here as a science denier, marke. You provide no evidence to back up your dumb claim that there are no scientific papers on the subject that show it's human activity that is causing global warming.

      All it takes is one paper to show you are wrong. But I can produce a report referencing oodles of papers to show you are wrong.

    2. (I wonder. Perhaps English is not marke's first language. It could be he's trying to act the joker, given his bolding of the word "show". His poor command of the English language caused his "joke" to miss the mark - whatever mark he was aiming at.)

    3. Never underestimate the ignorance stupidity and malice when blended with self righteousness! The delusional god botherers in the poorly educated states of 'merica are full of this obscenity.

      I have a very long list somewhere of all these cretins who were found wanting after sinning. Yet they re-emerge as 'saved' by their fictitious god that 'forgave' them.

      The Earth was meant to end AGAIN yesterday!

      These denialists are in the same category as far as I am concerned. Feckless fuckwits that are either deluded or out to delude you.

      My generation was the first en masse to rebel against the 'establishment'. We stood there and said 'fight your own fucking wars'. I still remember the look on their faces while they mumbled treason, cowards etc.
      And 'they' saw that education was not 'good'. So the last decades have been spent in many countries to reduce education to the absolute lowest common denominator 'fit only for mindless consumption!' after 'slaving for a minimum wage.'

      The battle plan is to get a bit more than 50% of the population undereducated so they will vote against their own best interests.

      I personally think that humanity is better than this. If it is not then they are like the turkeys looking forward to Christmas.

      This is how I still feel after all these years of trying not to become cynical.


    4. The point being " close to zero".

      Most of the papers referenced in the' 97% surveys' simply refer to CC, sometimes as an accepted fact, sometimes not so clearly.
      It is undoubtedly a difficult concept to prove and to summarize that in a single paper.

      And I'd rather hoped you would point me to that one paper.

    5. What "one paper"? I've already pointed you to hundreds of papers. Are you so incapable of doing your own research? Looks to me you're regressing to utter nutter land and are on the wrong blog. Try Prison Planet or one of the creationist blogs. They are more your speed.

      I've already pointed you to the AR5 report. There are lots more IPCC reports, which show categorically that humans are causing global warming and have references to lots of papers. Given your past performance, I don't believe you have even opened one of those reports. Are you saying now that you can't read or that you can't understand what you read or that you refuse to read (or maybe don't know how to follow a hyperlink)?

      Your statement that there are "zero" papers has already been disproven. It's nonsense. You seem to have shifted from a position of so-so lukewarmer denialism to utter nutter ignoranamus-style denialism.  Since Google is beyond you, and you've shown little evidence of being able to do your own research, here are some older papers for you, to get you started:

      Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming? Wallace S. Broecker (1975)

      Svante Arrhenius on atmospheric CO2 and water vapour (1896)

      Guy Stewart Callendar (1938) - The Artificial Production of Carbon Dioxide and its Influence on Temperature

      The Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climatic Change by Gilbert N. Plass (1956); Tellus Vlll

      Restoring the Quality of Our Environment - Report of the Environmental Pollution Panel President's Science Advisory Committee (to Lyndon B Johnson, 1965) ; Appendix by Roger Revelle et al

      The Bakerian Lecture.-On the Absorption and Radiation of Heat by Gases and Vapours, and on the Physical Connexion of Radiation, Absorption, and Conduction. By John Tyndall 1861

      You are talking through your hat, marke, if you think that there are "zero" papers that show that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that adding CO2 to the air adds to the greenhouse effect. The IPCC report and most scientific papers have what's called a list of references. That's how you find lots more papers on the subject.

    6. Articles in 'The Astrophysical Journal' simply refer to gravity, always as an accepted fact, so marke would deny the existence of gravity through perusing the magazine.

    7. marke could as easily "prove" there is no consensus on evolution by looking in biology journals and finding that most articles "merely" accept evolution.

      For your edification, marke, a competent peer reviewer will not let slide simple invocation of contentious theories as correct in a scientific paper. ONLY if there is consensus will that be allowed.

    8. It seems to me that marke has decided to show his gratitude for Sou's recent intervention on his behalf by going into full out troll mode.

    9. Yes - it's a classic example of concern trolling, typically used by people lacking backbone.

    10. I am not sure if marke is lacking backbone. He is certainly lacking any point.

      When will he actually make a point of any substance worth thinking about?

    11. I'd have thought that the authors who credited their own papers as supporting AGW theory would know better than Marke what their papers said.

    12. Milicent...

      Actually looking in the real horse's real mouth is something a denier would never engage in.



      In the year of our Lord 1432, there arose a grievous quarrel among the brethren over the number of teeth in the mouth of a horse. For thirteen days the disputation raged without ceasing. All the ancient books and chronicles were fetched out, and wonderful and ponderous erudition such as was never before heard of in this region was made manifest. At the beginning of the fourteenth day, a youthful friar of goodly bearing asked his learned superiors for permission to add a word, and straightway, to the wonderment of the disputants, whose deep wisdom he sore vexed, he beseeched them to unbend in a manner coarse and unheard-of and to look in the open mouth of a horse and find answer to their questionings. At this, their dignity being grievously hurt, they waxed exceeding wroth; and, joining in a mighty uproar, they flew upon him and smote him, hip and thigh, and cast him out forthwith. For, said they, surely Satan hath tempted this bold neophyte to declare unholy and unheard-of ways of finding truth, contrary to all the teachings of the fathers. After many days more of grievous strife, the dove of peace sat on the assembly, and they as one man declaring the problem to be an everlasting mystery because of a grievous dearth of historical and theological evidence thereof, so ordered the same writ down.

      —Francis Bacon, 1592 (?--author and date attribution debated).

    13. @ jgnfld: that is an early 20th century satirical piece.

      But in a related vein, that Aristotle claimed that men have more teeth than women is easily verified.

      "Males have more teeth than females in the case of men, sheep, goats, and swine; in the case of other animals observations have not yet been made: but the more teeth they have the more long-lived are they, as a rule, while those are short-lived in proportion that have teeth fewer in number and thinly set." (Aristotle, History of Animals, D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson translation)

      Aristotle is wrong for all the species he mentions, and there is no difference between male and female dentition with the exception of large tusks in boars. Nor does the number of teeth:life expectancy correlation hold.

    14. The "show me the One True Paper" gambit is a common one among some denialists, Marke is not saying anything new. Those making the gambit are probably aware that AGW is built on several foundations, including the physics of CO2 and electromagnetic radiation, quantification of human-caused CO2 emissions, quantification of CO2 sinks including the ocean and vegetation, evaluation of positive and negative feedbacks, etc, etc. No "One True Paper" exists that covers the wide range of information that leads to the conclusion that anthropogenic emissions of GHGs are significantly warming the planet.

      It's a stupid "gotcha" attempt that no one interested in the actual science of climate change would ever ask.

  8. Hi Bert,

    That's strange, but from my viewpoint all the righteousness seems to emanate from those who would save the world, and save it now(!!).

    I'm more of the viewpoint that we'd better understand what is happening, what we are doing, and what we should be doing before leaping in, boots, slogans, and all. No righteousness on my part, just questions.

    If it were not for the doubting voices raised, we'd likely all be embroiled in a world wide carbon trading economy run by the World Bank, the UN, and Goldman Sachs.

    I don't know about you, but I'm glad we have avoided that so far.

    And, in the meantime, understanding and technology advances.

    1. Your implied personal incredulity is a logical fallacy, marke. It's Telltale Technique No. 2 of climate science denial.

      Just because you don't accept science and "have questions", it doesn't mean there aren't sufficient answers to act. It's been clear for decades that putting more and more greenhouse gases in the air is going to cause harm. And it's increasingly clear that it is already doing so. It is equally clear that we must act now. It's hopefully not too late to stop 3 degrees of warming, though it's probably too late to stop 2 degrees of warming.

    2. True. And if not for the (industry funded) "doubting voices" raised about the cancer-tobacco connection, thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people need never have died rather appalling deaths.

    3. Well that's strange, rightneousness don't emanate from the maffia much, whodathunk!

    4. Can we say marke does not exist as his/her scratching's are barely lucid. Bert

  9. I suppose it's telling that "saving the world" from climate change is considered a lesser goal than saving the world from markets that might address climate change. When controlling externalities, markets suddenly become hopelessly corrupt, but when controlling the rest of the economy, they are "efficient."

    1. CCE, who is saying markets are "hopelessly corrupt" when controlling externalities? AFAICT, much of the resistance to a carbon tax, as an efficient way to internalize climate-change costs of fossil-fuel use, are from small-government types who don't believe in externalities anyway.

    2. Mal, an international carbon trading market will not work ( currencies, economic cycles, Greece, hard to monitor, hard to measure, easily rorted, bureaucratic playground, multinational finance companies).

      It can be made to appear to work, for 50 years or so, as were the various versions of communism.

      A regional tax (ie, for each currency/economy) may work.

      Re free markets? Think unintended consequences:

      Increased CO2 output per unit by manufacturing in China.

      Steel, 2.8 times, cast iron 4.1x, polypropylene 18.4x.

    3. Markets=communism. Got it.

      Also, I was going to get out of bed this morning, but fear of unintended consequences convinced me not to.

    4. cce, I tried to find a reference but I couldn't, but I do understand that most people die in bed so staying in bed can also have I intended consequences. Catch 22?

    5. Lets stop and think for a moment what the consequences - unintended or not - of climate change denial are. I wonder how many billions of people have to be placed in harm's way before deniers worry about what I am sure every one of them will claim were 'unintended' consequences.

      But I'd imagine the lawyers will tell them that they were not unintended consequences, they were known consequences. Its not black helicopters that deniers should be worried about, its lawyers empowered by the hatred of all humanity. The only defence deniers will have will be the impossibility of getting a fair trial, and I doubt anyone will give a damn about that.

    6. Good point Catmando. Perhaps skeptics should argue for some kind of suspended animation machine to prevent anything unexpected from happening. The machines could run on coal, because burning fossil fuels is the one thing in the universe that we don't have to worry about.

    7. Marke, I don't advocate a carbon trading market. As a US citizen, I support a Hansen-style "fee" (i.e. tax) and dividend plan. I'd tax fossil fuel production at the mine, wellhead, or port-of-entry, at a rate proportional to carbon content. I'd also impose a Border Tax Adjustment (i.e. tariff) on imported goods proportional to the carbon emitted to make them.

      I'd make the system revenue neutral, by giving every federal tax filer an equal share of the revenue in an annual check. That means, of course, that those who use more fossil energy in absolute terms than the national average would pay those who use less. That would provide extra incentive for everyone to use less, in addition to the price signal at the gas pump or in the utility bill.

      The tax would not need to internalize the full cost of climate change, but only enough of it to eliminate the price advantage fossil fuels have over carbon-neutral sources. Market forces would then drive the transition to a carbon-neutral economy to completion.

      There's much more to be said, of course. I Am Not An Economist, so I'm happy to leave the details to them. See

      I should also state that I'm not optimistic that my country's political system can get a carbon tax right. One can always hope, though, and commenting on blogs is "free".

  10. HS, but in the mood of this blog : what's bothering me now is that I thought France was more or less rid of hardcore denialism (some luckwarmers were there, but at least you did not need to rebutt the same stupid memes over and over and over again).
    And then, this month : denialism makes front cover of a hardcore right-wing (but mainstream) newspaper - Valeurs Actuelles, usually publishing about how the "socialist" government will destroy our country, or about the islamic threat (nope, not the islamist threat as one would have thought ...) ; a denialist book from a weather forecaster (just like Wattsie) got also published out of nowhere. Just before the COP21 conference in Paris. And out of nowhere the deniers are back in the newspaper site comments in force ...

    It stinks from miles away a think tank hidden move to sink COP21 and France president (with a presumaly left-wing leaning), it could be interesting to see if it happens elsewhere in the world. The surge of denialism, I mean.

  11. marke's latest is so jaw-droppingly crazy that I have to wonder if there's any point in keeping him around in hopes that he'll say something useful.

  12. Responses to your challenge will be fall into the 8 letter word category as typified by the classic cryptic crossword clue - Across 1. …. (8) or "clueless"

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  14. Here's my CHALLENGE - one time, just ONE TIME, I would like to see a "believer" precisely define EXACTLY what is meant by this 97% consensus - and THEN to back up the SPECIFIC consensus study that supports that conclusion. (After all, it is those who make a claim like "97%" that should back it up with specifics and details).

    So for example, which words in the brackets below would be the right ones to choose to complete this sentence:

    97% of climate scientists believe that the current warming trend will (possibly/probably/almost certainly) continue for (several years/several decades/ indefinitely), and that human activities cause (some/a significant amount/more than half/nearly all) of this warming, and since this warming (may/is likely to/will almost certainly) result in (difficult, but manageable/dire, and irreversible) consequences, then it is (worth considering/absolutely necessary) to make (some, significant, drastic) changes to our global energy policies (withing a few decades, within a few years, immediately).

    I sincerely doubt that anyone will take me up on this challenge - which I will then accept as a tacit admission that the science is NOT settled, and the debate is NOT over - as it is certainly important to narrow this statement down considerably before we undertake drastic changes that are likely to have consequences of their own.

    But maybe I'm wrong - so please, if someone knows of a consensus study out there that is more specific, please show it to me. For example, is there some study that shows that 97% of climate scientists believe that:

    ...the current warming trend will almost certainly continue indefinitely and that human activities cause nearly all of this warming, and since this warming will almost certainly result in dire, and irreversible consequences, then it is absolutely necessary to make drastic changes to our global energy policies immediately.

    1. Are you for real?

      The Cook paper is here, you can read it yourself:;jsessionid=EABD7E1BE0256E1071C4FC99E3BA6263.c1

      I'll help you out. Table 2 defines the terms. Section 3 states the results. Categories 1, 2, and 3 are the numerator in the 97%: papers whose abstract states or implies that global warming is anthropogenic. Categories 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 are the denominator: all papers that have some position. Category 4 is the no-position category. So, of the papers that claim some position in their abstract, over 97% state or imply that global warming is caused by humans.

      If you find this a surprising finding, just replicate the study. It's not hard: just download a bunch of papers and read the abstracts. Time consuming, sure, so you might want to just chose a random subsample.

    2. Last time I looked, the criteria used by the Cook paper was to determine whether those papers that expressed an opinion on climate change accepted that the warming would continue and that human activity was a "significant" factor. There are very little specifics there - certainly none that would narrow down the sample sentence I gave to one that would indicate urgent action is needed.

      Which is why I'm sure you declined my challenge - since I don't think you could show me some hair-raising "nearly all", "almost certain" and "dire consequences" statement that could in any way be supported by that study. Hence, that's the reason why several papers from known skeptics got included in that 97% amount on the Cook study, since even skeptics who question the urgency and intensity of the warming still believe that it is likely to continue, is some cause for concern, and that human activity is some significant factor - albeit on a very wide and as yet indeterminate range.

    3. You clearly are as unfamiliar with any of the consensus studies as you are with climate science, Michael. I'd guess you get your denial from denier blogs and don't read science. You are unfamiliar with HotWhopper, too. Try using the search bar up top and look for "scientific consensus" or "97%". You'll find your challenge has been met here a lot more than once. Just as it's been met in the literature and on blogs all over, many more times than once.

      What is equally clear as you being a fake sceptic, is that you are a wimp, not willing to take up the challenge. All denial, no effort, no research, no knowledge.

      George Montgomery got it right.

      Oreskes04 - tested the consensus position as described in the then most recent IPCC report: "the consensus of scientific opinion is that Earth's climate is being affected by human activities: “Human activities … are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents … that absorb or scatter radiant energy. … [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”. She tested the hypothesis by "by analyzing 928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords “climate change”". 75% of abstracts either explicitly or implicitly accepted the consensus position. 25% did not state a position. She found no scientific papers that rejected the consensus. In other words, of the abstracts that took a position, all 100% accepted the consensus.

      Doran and Zimmermann (2009) did an opinion survey rather than look at papers. Of the experts who took part (ie climate scientists who are actively publishing), 97% said "yes" to the question: "Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?".

      Anderegg et al (2010) did a study of climate scientists who have published 20 or more climate science papers, and tested the proportion who were convinced by evidence vs those who were unconvinced by evidence re the IPCC AR4 statement: "it is “very likely” that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for “most” of the “unequivocal” warming of the Earth's average global temperature in the second half of the 20th century". They found that 97-98% agree with the IPCC.

      Cook et al (2013) did a similar study to Oreskes, but with more abstracts covering more years (back to 1991). They found that of the papers that took a position, 97.1% supported the consensus "that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW)". They also did a survey of the authors of those abstracts and found that 97.2% of authors endorsed the consensus.

      If you weren't a fake sceptic, you could do your own research and see what the scientific consensus is, just like the above people did. You could either look at scientific papers or ask climate science researchers.

      That was my challenge.

      You don't get to issue a challenge until you've met mine. Not here at HotWhopper.

    4. In other words, putting aside any other issues that there may be with the Cook study (a much longer discussion), even if I accept that it shows that 97% of climate scientists believe that SOME warming will continue, and that human activity is a SIGNIFICANT contributing factor - is that supposed to be enough information on which to base making drastic changes to our energy policies?

      For most national leaders, I would think not. Certainly, I would want to know more about how much warming was projected and how much of that warming could realistically be affected by any drastic changes I made - which would certainly be much less if the "significant" contribution by humans was closer to 20% than 90%. After all, if something close to half the warming is caused by other factors, than we also need to project what is likely to happen as a result of those other factors - since it very will could be that our human caused warming is actually offsetting what might otherwise be some catastrophic future cooling!

    5. So aside from your ad hominems, you naturally cited studies (with which I am familiar) that use some descriptors like "significant" or "most" to describe the warming. The problem I have is that these studies are often cited by folks who represent them as meaning something that they do not - which is to conclusively prove that urgent action is needed, and that significant changes to our global energy policies that result in lower CO2 emissions will save us from dire consequences that will most certainly follow if we do not take that action.

      Even if the claim that "most" of the warming is human caused is correct - that's still a wide range of possibilities. For example, if 55% of the warming is human caused and 45% if caused by other factors, then even if we changed what we do, the earth would continue to warm because of those other factors, just at a slower rate.

      Also, the "most" descriptor is "mostly" used with regard to the past warming. The question of future warming is also one that relates to issues of climate sensitivity based on how various feedbacks would affect that warming, as I'm sure you are aware. Hence I would naturally expect scientists to have greater uncertainty about their projections the further into the future we go, given those uncertain variables.

    6. But Sou, thanks anyway for the effort - it was appreciated. However, as you were clearly unable to specifically define a detailed statement that is both supportable by any consensus study that would also justify urgent changes to our energy policies (also known as - "my challenge") - then I will accept your surrender, as stated, as a tacit admission that the debate is not over and the science is not settled.

    7. Michael Davison: I challenge you to find me a formal study showing a 97% consensus among engineering papers that fossil fuels can be used to perform work. Go ahead, find me one.

      Until then, surely it would be folly to put in over $500 billion in annual subsidies for mining fossil fuels, when the science isn't even settled as to whether they can be used for anything!

    8. What a rude man is Michael Davison. First he comes barging in arms flailing with his CHALLENGE, being too wimpy to meet the challenge I laid out.

      Next, when he's shown to be wrong, when his ignorance is laid bare, does he offer an apology? Does he admit he was wrong? Nope. In an about face, he claims he knew all along what the consensus studies were showing. He seems to meekly accept the consensus that we're causing global warming, but then launches into denial of the need to mitigate. That's probably where he's really coming from. He doesn't want anyone to take action to slow global warming. A warped version of free market ideology? Does global warming threaten his view of how his world should be?

      BTW - flattery will get him nowhere. He implies he regards HotWhopper as the last word on science, but it's not. (He wrote: "I sincerely doubt that anyone will take me up on this challenge - which I will then accept as a tacit admission that the science is NOT settled, and the debate is NOT over ".

      The fact that humans are causing global warming is "settled science". There is a lot of science that isn't settled, which is why research continues (duh!). However the greenhouse effect has been accepted as real for a very, very long time. You'll be hard-pressed to find any scientist who disputes it.

      I don't believe Michael when he says he "would want to know more about how much warming was projected...". If that were true he could easily find out just by reading science. Ergo, it's not true. He's behaving like a typical climate science denier. All shout, no substance. Scrambling to pretend he's still on high ground. He's not. His belated, grudging "thank you" notwithstanding.

      (Michael's organ grinder must be quite talented. He can construct whole sentences, though they don't make a lot of sense.)

    9. Sou - I truly interested in knowing what you think is accomplished by your proclivity to make multiple derogatory personal statements about me? Is based on a desire to inflict pain in the mistaken belief that I would somehow take offense (I don't)? Is it based on the belief that such statements bolster your status among other here (I doubt that it would, but if so, it would reflect poorly on them)? Is it based on the notion that such statements enhance the credibility any other points you made in your post?

      It really is fascinating, so if it's not to much trouble, I would love to know what truly is your motivation for this.

    10. PS - pardon the grammar mistakes on my last post - it's getting late for me. But feel free to use that as ammo on your next reply, if you are so inclined.

    11. Which statements of fact do you think are derogatory? The fact that your comments don't make sense? The fact that you wimped on the challenge? The fact that you don't mean what you write when you claim you want to see projections (which are all there in the literature for you to see if you wanted to)? The fact that you are behaving like a typical science denier?

      Let me know which statement you find derogatory and I'll explain why I'm willing to say what I think.

      Meanwhile, you can mull over your own derogatory comments when you arrived here shouting your "challenge". I don't need to ask you to explain your motivation. It's as clear as the motivation for conspiracy theories we see every day on denier blogs.

    12. PPS - let me approach this another way. So let's accept what you claim as the consensus is correct - that 97% say humans cause "most" of the warming, and that, therefore, humans do indeed cause "most" of the warming. This still does not address my question or my challenge, unless you think that this statement alone is one that is sufficient enough to justify drastic energy policy changes.

      What is meant by most? Is it 51%? Is it 99%? Is it some unknown range between those two?

      Does that matter? I would think so, since if we make drastic changes i would be under the belief that the benefit of making those changes justifies the cost. But what if our contribution to the warming is closer to 51% than 99%, and then even after we make those changes, the 40-49% of warming caused by other factors still occurs?

      And perhaps our focus all along should therefore have been on mitigation rather than on preventing the unpreventable.

      I eagerly await finding out what kind of personal insults you will substitute as an answer to those questions this time.

    13. The 97% consensus paper I linked to above; if you continue to refuse to read it, I can't help you.

      As for how much warming humans are responsible for, it's likely somewhere between 90% and 110% of the warming.

      The IPCC report is fairly clear: the warming attributed to anthropogenic influences alone is similar to the warming that's actually seen. The underlying natural trend is probably negative, but could be slightly positive -- regardless of the sign it's an order of magnitude smaller than the trend attributed to human activity.

      There's a number of studies that all find similar results despite using different techniques, so that gives pretty good confidence. Research continues on getting the precision down, but it's quite clear now that it's way more than half the warming.

    14. Numerobis - thank you for the informative reply. With regard to your statement that the human responsibility for the warming was "somewhere between 90% and 110% of the warming", I would be interested in knowing the source of that information, particularly if the claim is that this is also part of the "consensus", since at those levels then one could expect significant benefits from - and therefore a justification for - making drastic changes to our energy policies.

    15. Like I said - you're in no position to make a challenge. And contrary to what you claimed, I have answered your questions. You might not want to accept the answers, but they are all there and in some detail. It's one thing I'm known for - answering dumb questions from science deniers.

      You, on the other hand, refuse to read the science. From IPCC AR5: "The best estimate of the human induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period."

      In other words, all of the (net) warming since 1950 has been caused by us.

      Stop acting dumb, quit the tone trolling, and do some research.

      Before I respond to any of your shouted challenges, here's another one for you or anyone reading. How many of the 5 telltale techniques of climate change denial has Michael used? There's at least two: the strawman logical fallacy and "impossible expectations".


      Page 48: "It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed
      increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to
      2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in GHG concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together (Figure 1.9).
      The best estimate of the human induced contribution to warming is
      similar to the observed warming over this period. GHGs contributed a
      global mean surface warming likely to be in the range of 0.5°C to 1.3°C
      over the period 1951 to 2010, with further contributions from other
      anthropogenic forcings, including the cooling effect of aerosols, from
      natural forcings, and from natural internal variability (see Figure 1.9)."

      As Figure 1.9 shows, natural forcings and natural internal variability are basically zero, with error bars out to 0.1C. So basically all the warming is anthropogenic.

      For the full list of references, you need to dig up the WG1 report. There's been quite a few studies on this precise issue.

    17. Michael Davison is simply trolling, slightly more literate sounding but every bit as scientifically ignorant as your garden-variety troll.

    18. Yeah, I'm assuming the goal posts will have moved by the time there's a reply.

    19. For example, from the Cook study grouped the papers analyzed into three categories:

      1 - Papers explicitly stated humans are the primary (greater than 50%) cause of recent global warming. Total = 1.6%

      2 - Papers explicitly stated that humans contributed to the warming, but did not specify that amount. Total = 23%

      3 - Papers implied that humans contributed to the warming, but again, did not specify how much. Total = 72%

      So yes, 1.6 + 23 + 72 rounds up to 97%, but what statement can really be justified about the "consensus" opinion on the level of human contributions based on the above data?

    20. Numerobis - thanks for the citation to the IPCC study, which does support the levels that you cited in your earlier reply. However, as stated, it would be even more meaningful if it could be shown that this "90-110"% range you cited was also part of the consensus.

      With reference to your other comment - that's not moving the goal posts as it's what also said in my last response - which I followed up with data from the Cook study to reference exactly what I meant. So I guess my question boils down to this - is there a 97% consensus that supports the same ranges that you cited, and referenced to the IPCC report?

    21. BTW - by far the greatest uncertainty in projections is the uncertainty about the actions that societies will take to mitigate. Will we act quickly enough to reduce CO2 emissions?

      At the moment, with current pledges, we have improved, but are still on track for unsafe warming - 3.5 °C of warming by 2100, with a range of uncertainty of 2.1 – 4.6°C (and it doesn't stop there). It's not too late, provided deniers efforts to keep us in the smog age don't delay things.

      IMO if we don't act in a planned way, and warming continues unabated, then economies will suffer (civil unrest, drought, famines, floods, rising sea level etc). That will most likely reduce emissions a lot, and put a lid on total atmospheric CO2. But the cost will be huge. Much greater than the cost of shifting to clean energy.

    22. Michael Davison - you've been told what the different consensus studies were assessing. If you are not happy that they are answering your own specific question, then do your own study. All it takes is a bit of work. It's not rocket science, and you never know, you might even learn something about climate. (Which is undoubtedly one of the main reasons you and other deniers daren't do it.)

      Which brings us back to the challenge in the original article. Not a single person who denies the scientific consensus - that we are causing global warming - has attempted to do any research to determine the level of consensus for themselves. Michael is just doing what deniers typically do - fudging and avoiding the issue. The issue being that we need to continue to take action to reduce CO2 emissions.

    23. Sou, I note that on more than one occasion you have said that I was in "no position" to make a "challenge" - while at the same time, you, more than anyone, have provided multiple replies to my challenge.

      And what else is it - if not the ability to generate replies - that puts someone in a position to be able to make challenges?

      I therefore would be remiss if I did not once again express my gratitude, since more than anyone else, you have thus elevated me to that lofty position! And who knows, perhaps on one of your future replies you may even hit upon some definitive answer to my challenge with a supportable and specific consensus statement that would also clearly justify making immediate and drastic changes to our energy policies.

    24. The evidence is all there. It's compiled in scientific journals and consolidated in the IPCC reports.

      Which only goes to show that no amount of evidence will persuade a hard core climate science denier that it is necessary to do what governments, businesses and individuals are doing - working to reduce CO2 emissions.

      I think that, like other deniers who've commented at HotWhopper before, Michael just wants to have the last word. And what a silly word it is.

      Governments are working to develop and implement policies to make short, medium and longer term changes and shift away from fossil fuels. Michael insists on calling that "immediate and drastic changes" as if they are going to shut down all coal plants tomorrow and ban all petrol-fueled vehicles today.

      That's nuts, but typical of the run-of-the-mill denier.

    25. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    26. Michael's deleted comment has been moved to the HotWhoppery.


    27. Michael, just out of interest: are you a Jeremy Clarkson fan?

    28. Let's change the wording a bit:

      For example, from the Biology study grouped the papers analyzed into three categories:

      1 - Papers that explicitly stated evolution is the primary (greater than 50%) cause of natural variation. Total = probably about .1%

      2 - Papers that explicitly stated evolution contributed to natural variation, but did not specify that amount. Total = maybe 5%

      3 - Papers that implied that evolution contributed to natural variation, but again, did not specify how much. Total = 94%

      So yes, .1 + 5 + 94 rounds to 99%, but what statement can really be justified about the "consensus" opinion on the level of evolutionary contributions to natural variation based on the above data?

      Or Michael could simply hop on over to the nearest research university and have coffee in the relevant faculty lounge and ask around. But we know he would never do that.

    29. "Here's my CHALLENGE - one time, just ONE TIME, I would like to see a "believer" precisely define EXACTLY what is meant by this 97% consensus - ..."

      And there it is. The wriggle room, shouted in CAPITALS, to refuse to accept anything given in reply because it does not define EXACTLY what is meant by 97% consensus. This is the setting of impossibly high criteria that cannot be met, backed up by the ridiculous notion that Davison is the only arbiter of what constitutes an EXACT answer.

      As I do not (often) indulge in ad-hominem: .

    30. "I sincerely doubt that anyone will take me up on this challenge ..."

      I think a few have taken up the challenge and more than met it. (If you drop the stupid criteria).

      Thanks to the people who have done this and have the patience to deal with the grinding, relentless refusal of deniers to offer honest discussion.

    31. Oh, I was wrong, the goalposts didn't move. It's just that all the evidence anyone had provided got thrown out and the original question repeated as if nothing had happened.

    32. numerobis

      The goalposts were never put up in the first place.

    33. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    34. Michael's latest deleted comment has been moved to the HotWhoppery. Sou

    35. Michael Davidson


      You could use the normal emphasis available (bold, italic, underline) like most people do. It seems to be a trait of deniers to use capitals.

      Your attempts to justify your requirement of an exact definition are just weak. The Cook paper specifies that very carefully. Your ruse to extend it to dire predictions and policy is just transparently you trying to raise straw arguments. You are just trying to cause confusion.

      "We examined a large sample of the scientific literature on global [climate change], published over a 21 year period, in order to determine the level of scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW)."

    36. The comment to which Jammy was responding was also deleted. It held nothing new. (It was not worth my time relocating it to the HotWhoppery.)

    37. Jammy - I didn't know bold was an option in this chatbox, although it must be as I see you have a way of doing that.

      I agree, there are some questions answered by the surveys, but there are also some that are not - and those unanswered questions, in my view, relate to the differences between dire predictions that would necessitate urgent action, as opposed to more moderate levels of concern and/or uncertain ranges of estimated human contributions, that would indicate more study is needed before we start making significant, and perhaps consequential, changes.

      Or to put it another way, the consensus has been cited by the President and Sec. of State to meant that there is a 97% consensus that the earth is warming (agree), that it is human caused (agree with a caveat) and is "dangerous" (would love to bold that last word if I knew how). So does the consensus study show this - that 97% of scientists think there is any level or urgency or danger over this issue?

      It would be great if someone could back that up, as I see this representation frequently, and I don't see the source for that in any of the consensus studies.

      On a final note, if this comment is deleted and/or moved, then it will be my last reply to anyone.

    38. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    39. Michael, go read the IPCC reports before making any more uninformed comments. The consensus studies that I'm aware of were mainly to let people know that scientists agree we are the cause of the current warming. Almost half Americans wrongly think that there is disagreement among scientists on that point. There is none to speak of. Once a person understands that almost all experts agree that it's us, studies show that they are more able to accept the science. If you want to know the proportion who think it will be dangerous, ask them yourself or read the literature. When you find out it's most experts (which it most likely is), then going by your form here, your next quibble will be "how dangerous".

      From the FAQ of WG2 AR5:

      FAQ 5: Can science identify thresholds beyond which climate change is dangerous?
      Human activities are changing the climate. Climate-change impacts are already widespread and consequential. But while science can quantify climate change risks in a technical sense, based on the probability, magnitude, and nature of the potential consequences of climate change, determining what is dangerous is ultimately a judgment that depends on values and objectives. For example, individuals will value the present versus the future differently and will bring personal worldviews on the importance of assets like biodiversity, culture, and aesthetics. Values also influence judgments about the relative importance of global economic growth versus assuring the well-being of the most vulnerable among us. Judgments about dangerousness can depend on the extent to which one’s livelihood, community, and family are directly exposed and vulnerable to climate change.An individual or community displaced by climate change might legitimately consider that specific impact dangerous, even though that single impact might not cross the global threshold of dangerousness. Scientific assessment of risk can provide an important starting point for such value judgments about the danger of climate change.


      We are on pace to warm ten times faster than any time in the past 65 million years. Think about it. What value do you place on the world as you know it? Any? Some? None at all?

      The melting of WAIS is now probably unstoppable - it just depends on how quickly you are willing to let it add to the sea level.

      Do you care? Is your cosy (make-believe) world more important to you than the fate of your fellow humans? Is it more important to you than the fate of other species? Are you even aware that our fate depends on the fate of the world and other species? Or are you so wrapped up in not shifting to clean energy that you're willing to doom future generations?

      Like I say. You've been around climate stuff for long enough to know better. So stop behaving like a denier troll and go and learn something about it. Start with the IPCC reports. There is no grand climate conspiracy.

      (You are a guest here.Calling your host a liar is not good form. Nor is repeated denier trolling. Nor is tone trolling or complaining about moderation. Nor is promising "goodbye" and then returning. Read the comment policy.)

    40. We could call him Dame Nellie Melba! She was renowned for her repeated 'final performances'. Bert

    41. Yep - so predictable. Happens almost invariably with people who cross the line.

      Michael's very last HotWhopper comment has been posted at the HotWhoppery. . He spat the dummy, probably because he had a desperate need to play the martyr. He can - just not here. His (petulant) show is over.

      Let's get back to science.

    42. Correction: the very last comment that's going to be published.

  15. I take everyone's point, however Michael won't be responding, so I'm deleting the final few comments and closing the thread. If I come across anyone doing another study of consensus, I'll let you know.