Sunday, June 2, 2013

Startling about face by Anthony Watts agreeing at least a 97% scientific consensus

About Face: Anthony Watts is now arguing scientific consensus on AGW is at least 97%

I do wish climate science deniers would make up their minds on things.  Anthony Watts keeps getting himself in a muddle and doesn't know if he's coming or going.  Earlier he was telling big fat lies about the scientific consensus on climate change, falsely claiming it was less than 97%.

Now, in a startling turnaround, he seems to be arguing that the consensus is greater than 97%.  He quotes Richard Tol writing:

Including “global” before “climate change”, Cook et al. dropped 33 of the 50 most cited papers.

I don't know if Tol is correct or not.  But if he is, it should be obvious to everyone that the 50 most cited papers would confirm that humans are causing global warming, if they took a position on the matter.  Adding them could only strengthen the numbers.

As an aside, the Tol argument is about sample size and distribution not about the validity of the consensus.  There is no suggestion that the result would have been any different had the Cook study examined a larger number of papers.  The Cook study examined more than ten times the number in the Oreskes study.

Anthony Watts is a climate science denier according to the Rational Wiki definition, though he waxes and wanes as the mood takes him.  Richard Tol is behaving like a denier.  He agrees global warming is happening and is dangerous.  He just doesn't want to do anything to stop it.  (That plus the fact that he's actually aligning himself with the idiot science denier poptech.  Update: 20/6/13  Poptech in the comments has kindly provided a link to a link to another take down of his list at the Carbon Brief - Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 and a link to his rebuttal of the rebuttals in the comments. )

At least they are now both conceding the 97% plus scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming.


  1. Richard Toll's position is a very strange position for someone to take. That is - someone who believes that climate change is happening and that humans are responsible but that he doesn't think we should do anything about it. I suppose this is also Lomborg's view. But to have this view they have to conclude that humans of the future do not matter and that we have no ethical obligations to future generations. I think that we do and that the rights of people today are just the same as the rights of people 100 or 200 years from now.

    1. Yes, I don't know what game Richard Toll is playing. He may have decided he's not getting the recognition he wants by the mainstream so he's trying for glory with the denier crowd.

      Or he might have some personal animosity towards the researchers. Does he know them personally? If so, why doesn't he sort it out in private first? If not, then what is the cause of his petulance? A mystery.

      Richard doesn't seem to be disputing the 97% as such. Or at least I've not read him disputing these actual findings or those of similar studies that had the same results. What he seems to be saying is they should have looked at an even larger sample of abstracts. I've no idea why - he isn't clear about that. 12,000 papers on the general subject, with almost 4,000 expressing a position is a sample more than large enough for valid conclusions. It's way more than any other peer reviewed study.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Martin, I've just fixed them all, I think.

  3. Replies
    1. Welcome, Andrew. Sorry, but I fail to see any decent rebuttal however I'm perfectly happy for you to have pointed this out and I'm sure my readers will give it their close attention. What I read seemed to be mostly along the lines of "not fair, he said my list was nonsense". Or "but I don't mean the paper is skeptical of AGW, I just mean there's something in it we can use to fight off any efforts to shift to clean energy" or similar. (Perhaps you meant to link to something else?)

      I did notice your claim that E&E has an editorial board. Of course they do. They don't always/often? subject the articles they publish to peer review. E&E prides itself on being contrarian.

      Fortunately you handily provide a link to a website on which it shows that some of the authors on your list have been telling you for years that you've wrongly listed their work. So thanks. I'll update my article accordingly.

      The Carbon Brief's take down of poptech's silly little list

      Carry on. John Cook's given you a hand identifying something like 78 out of 12,000 or so who sometime in the past twenty years were still trying to deny the obvious. That should give you heart :D


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