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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2 Thoughts on “Hot Topic cites Cook’s lies, both happy

  1. Richard C (NZ) on 27/03/2015 at 11:01 am said:

    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.

    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 were taken as evidence nonetheless. Papers on carbon taxes naturally assume that carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming – but assumptions are not conclusions. Cook’s claim of an increasing consensus over time is entirely due to an increase of the number of irrelevant papers that Cook and co mistook for evidence.

    The abstracts of the 12,000 papers were rated, twice, by 24 volunteers. Twelve rapidly dropped out, leaving an enormous task for the rest. This shows. There are patterns in the data that suggest that raters may have fallen asleep with their nose on the keyboard. In July 2013, Mr Cook claimed to have data that showed this is not the case. In May 2014, he claimed that data never existed.

    The data is also ridden with error. By Cook’s own calculations, 7% of the ratings are wrong. Spot checks suggest a much larger number of errors, up to one-third.

    Cook tried to validate the results by having authors rate their own papers. In almost two out of three cases, the author disagreed with Cook’s team about the message of the paper in question.

    Attempts to obtain Cook’s data for independent verification have been in vain. Cook sometimes claims that the raters are interviewees who are entitled to privacy – but the raters were never asked any personal detail. At other times, Cook claims that the raters are not interviewees but interviewers.


    # # #

    This zombie meme will have to die over and over because it just keeps getting up and staggering around thanks to the Renowden’s and Obama’s of this world, unfortunately.

  2. Richard C (NZ) on 27/03/2015 at 11:09 am said:

    [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 an expert in the above is highly questionable too.

    Then there’s all the different areas of specialty, being expert in one does not necessarily mean being expert in another.

    What specific qualifications for what particular facet? What transferable skills from the relevant fundamental sciences (of which climate is not one)? Climate scientists don’t have to move very far to be completely out of their depth e.g. from atmosphere to ocean (excuse the pun) or from statistics to heat. Of all the facets, heat (and applied radiative heat heating effect in particular) is probably the one that climate scientists need to be most expert in but nosiree. There are some but I suspect engineers and technologists from applied heat and radiation industries [“lay-persons”, I’ve studied applied heat BTW Simon] would run rings around them.

    And we saw this from David Middleton:

    ‘Anatomy of a Collapsing Climate Paradigm’

    What, exactly, is a “climate scientist”?

    35 years ago climatology was a branch of physical geography. Today’s climate scientists can be anything from atmospheric physicists & chemists, mathematicians, computer scientists, astronomers, astrophysicists, oceanographers, biologists, environmental scientists, ecologists, meteorologists, geologists, geophysicists, geochemistry to economists, agronomists, sociologists and/or public policy-ologists.

    I would include signal analysts. If there’s ONE area that climate science is particularly clueless it’s extracting and interpreting signals from time series data but the revelations are coming from exactly this. Wratt, Reisinger and Renwick are certainly not signal analysts in the area of climate science.

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