Hot Topic cites Cook’s lies, both happy

Leyland and Carter: the rebuttal that isn’t and the hypocrisy that is featured Gareth Renowden (GR) purporting to rebut Leyland and Carter (L&C) in their article Right of reply – Responding to Hot Topic, which was in turn a response to Renowden’s blog post (mirrored on SciBlogs) containing typically ad hominem-filled attacks on a scientific analysis by one sceptical engineer and a sceptical scientist.

In that “Dom Post failed its readers” blog post GR contributes a vapid series of mis-statements, diversions and lies which I won’t bother with.

But then he quotes L&C in their original Dominion Post article Hypothetical global warming: scepticism needed which got me properly annoyed:

6: We can now be confident that man-made carbon dioxide does not cause dangerous global warming and that the predictions of computer models of the climate are worthless.

In responding to this, GR decides to quote a pack of lies in contradiction:

Wrong. Carter and Leyland may assert their personal confidence, but that is not shared by the vast majority — 97% or thereabouts, however it is measured — of the scientists with genuine expertise in this field. To act on their say-so would be like backing a three-legged horse in the Melbourne Cup.

First, GR doesn’t address the worthiness of model predictions. Is he so satisfied with them, or are they not important enough to defend?

Second, he doesn’t seem to realise how silly it is to cite Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature, by Cook et al. — the infamous ‘97% of climate scientists’ paper, published in 2013. It’s packed with fatal flaws, as has been revealed by several competent reviewers—and I don’t care that President Obama cited the study, if it’s wrong, it’s wrong.

Because the paper certainly doesn’t cite 97% of climate scientists. Why not? Because they didn’t question climate scientists. In any case, as Richard Tol tells us, the 97% refers to papers, not scientists.

GR should try reading it to see how very wrong he is to cite it.

Christopher Monckton, among others, has debunked it comprehensively. His conclusion is that Cook’s data shows that the much-quoted 97.1% should be 0.3%. It contains many other errors.

Monckton’s conclusion

The non-disclosure in Cook et al. of the number of abstracts supporting each specified level of endorsement had the effect of not making available the fact that only 41 papers – 0.3% of all 11,944 abstracts or 1.0% of the 4014 expressing an opinion, and not 97.1% – had been found to endorse the quantitative hypothesis, stated in the introduction to Cook et al. and akin to similar definitions in the literature, that “human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW)”.

Richard Tol has an admirable analysis too.

A selection of Tol’s comments

The sample was padded with irrelevant papers.
Cook enlisted a small group of environmental activists to rate the claims made by the selected papers.
Cook claims that the ratings were done independently, but the raters freely discussed their work.
Two years after publication, Cook admitted that data quality is indeed low.
Cook’s employer argued that releasing rater identities would violate a confidentiality agreement. That agreement does not exist.
Cook thus broke a key rule of scientific data collection: Observations should never follow from the conclusions.
This would have been an amusing how-not-to tale for our students. But Cook’s is one of the most influential papers of recent years. The paper was vigorously defended by the University of Queensland (Cook’s employer) and the editors of Environmental Research Letters, with the Institute of Physics (the publisher) looking on in silence. Incompetence was compounded by cover-up and complacency.

Tol’s conclusion

Cook’s 97% nonsensus paper shows that the climate community still has a long way to go in weeding out bad research and bad behaviour. If you want to believe that climate researchers are incompetent, biased and secretive, Cook’s paper is an excellent case in point.

I can tell you it will not be a waste of time to review Tol’s article, which is not very long and is richly linked to sources.

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Richard C (NZ)
Richard C (NZ)

I can’t load Richard Tol’s blog article in my browser for some reason. I’m making do with his article in The Guardian: ‘The claim of a 97% consensus on global warming does not stand up’ by Richard Tol Dana Nuccitelli writes that I “accidentally confirm the results of last year’s 97% global warming consensus study”. Nothing could be further from the truth. I show that the 97% consensus claim does not stand up. At best, Nuccitelli, John Cook and colleagues may have accidentally stumbled on the right number. Cook and co selected some 12,000 papers from the scientific literature to test whether these papers support the hypothesis that humans played a substantial role in the observed warming of the Earth. 12,000 is a strange number. The climate literature is much larger. The number of papers on the detection and attribution of climate change is much, much smaller. Advertisement Cook’s sample is not representative. Any conclusion they draw is not about “the literature” but rather about the papers they happened to find. the papers they happened to find. Most of the papers they studied are not about climate change and its causes, but many… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)
Richard C (NZ)

[Renowden] – “the scientists with genuine expertise in this field” Sigh. My sincere apologies for repeating the same stuff over and over and over and over and over………… But this seems to be necessary for a certain clique in todays society. This from a reply to Simon, much of which is also a repeat: >”They are the experts, you are a lay-person” They are experts in what exactly Simon? We’ve been over this while you were away (‘Profiteers of Doom’, ‘Kelly Censures Royal Society’) so you’re a bit behind in the discussion but I’ll repeat some for your benefit. The prerequisite for climate science is meteorology surely. Firstly, are Wratt, Reisinger and Renwick qualified in the fundamentals? Fundamentals which, I note, includes the thermodynamics of the atmosphere without recourse the the greenhouse effect i.e. temperature is derived from mass, gravity and pressure as per Maxwell, Carnot and Clausius and the US Standard Atmosphere compiled for the space race. Are Wratt, Reisinger and Renwick experts in all of that? I doubt it, probably wouldn’t know where to start. Dave Frame has physics qualifications so at least he has a head start but whether he’s… Read more »

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