Again with the marketing

There is a new study by John Cook, et al., at IOP science “quantifying consensus” in scientific literature. He concludes there is the usual 97% consensus is found in the abstracts. How does he reach this conclusion?

First, he searched the ISI Web of Science for articles from 1997 to 2007 using the terms “global warming” or “global climate change”. Then the abstracts were divided into type of research and degree of endorsement for climate change.

The first question that arises is “If there was no endorsement of climate change” as in the cause of global warming was not addressed, why did the abstract show up in the search? It seems unlikely that researchers are padding their abstracts with the words “global warming” to move up in the search engines. The term “global climate change” could involve something other than human-caused warming, but why insert the term at all if the research shows, say, solar flares correlate to warming (just a made-up example)? Would this not also indicate disagreement with ACC, rather than no position? The whole selection process is highly questionable.

Add to that the term “citizen science”, which was used to describe this project, and one is left with a marketing survey. This says nothing about the truth of lack thereof in the research.

Let’s look at this in more detail:

The same type of survey could be done over the net looking at people’s perceptions of psychics. The public perception of psychics is important in maintaining the position of psychics in society. The survey can ask:

Do you believe psychics are real?

Do you believe psychic predictions are accurate?

Do you believe more attention should be paid to psychics?

Then suppose the results show:

30% of people say psychics are real, 60% have no opinion, 10 % say psychics are not real

of the 30% who believe the psychics are real, 95% believe the predictions are accurate

of the 30% who believe the psychics are real, 90% think more attention should be paid to psychics

Conclusion: 95% of people who believe psychic are real believe their predictions are accurate and nearly that many believe more attention should be paid to psychics

Does this mean that psychics are real and accurate? Of course not—it just shows that a certain percentage of the population has this belief and of that percentage, a very large percent believe psychics to be accurate and useful.

The same is true of the Cook “study”–it just shows there is a perception of climate change researchers who address that consensus exists. It says NOTHING about the science itself—nothing.

One last observation for now: There is an argument made that less study is done on ACC because it’s settled science—i.e., there’s no reason to study it much anymore. So what are all the research studies on? Natural climate change? The degree of climate change (which means there IS agreement with the consensus in those studies, they are not neutral)? How did 66% of the papers fail to take a position? If they are studying the degree of climate change without attributing it to anything, why the research?

This is another attempt to give validity to “voting for the right answer” in science. Using a “settled science” to prove science is settled. It’s just bad science all the way.

19 comments on “Again with the marketing

  1. Skeptikal says:

    John Byatt,

    If you’re asking me whether or not I accept the consensus that humans are “the” cause of global warming, then my answer is “no”. The planet has warmed and cooled all by itself for millions of years. To suggest that the planet can no longer change its temperature without human intervention is idiotic. I believe that most of the recent warming can be attributed to natural variability. The warming is now stopped/paused/out to lunch/on vacation. Call it whatever you like, it’s still the same result.. no warming for well over a decade (the “consensus” seems to be 15years of no warming). Any sane person would have to ask why there has been no warming for that length of time while CO2 levels have continued to rise unabated.

    John, you really need to get out more and enjoy life instead of fretting about apocalyptic prophecies which will more than likely never happen.

    • john byatt says:

      well If you deny the greenhouse effect and the fact that the global temperature has increased by 0.15De3gC in the last decade then enjoy your own ignorance

  2. No, I do not agree that “humans are causing global warming”. I agree that humans contribute in some portion to global warming.

    A question for you:
    Too much water added to a reservoir causes flooding.
    I pour 5 gallons of water into the reservoir.
    The next day, the reservoir floods.
    I caused the flood.

    yes or no?

    (I do not believe humans have sufficient understanding of climate and the mechanisms involved to assign percentages of causes for climate phenomena.)

    • john byatt says:

      So basically you do not know what the percentage is but are positive that it is less than 50%

      • What part of “do not know the percentage” do you not understand???

        You did not answer my question.

      • john byatt says:

        Your percentage seems to include 0% contribution from humans

        re your dam analogy , you do not seem to understand how to frame it

        A question for you:
        Too much water added to a reservoir causes flooding.
        I pour 5 gallons of water into the reservoir.
        The next day, the reservoir floods.
        I caused the flood.

        yes or no?

        well that does not make much sense as you do not give enough info so this might better explain it

        using a three quarter filled bathtub

        you have water running in and the exact same amount of water running down the drain so that the water level remains constant,
        we then add just a cupful of water to the bath each year
        so when the tub overflows did we cause it ?


      • john byatt says:

        What part of “do not know the percentage” do you not understand???

        so you leave open the possibility that it is 100%, should we not take action then?

      • My percentage could be anywhere from zero to 100%. If it turns out that the hypothesis about CO2 being a greenhouse gas is wrong (and yes, even with consensus, science hypotheses can be over turned and have been in the past), and whatever is causing warming is not affected in any way, then it would be zero. If it turned out CO2 was the major driver of climate and humans were adding enough CO2 to cause warming, then it would be 100%.

        I framed the dam analogy to match the claim that “CO2 causes warming, humans add CO2 to the atmosphere, humans cause warming”. I did not give more information because, as previously stated, I don’t believe enough information exists to know just how climate works and how much effect humans have.
        Your example is a valid comparison to climate if we know all the factors precisely and can empirically show that the addition of CO2 passes the tipping point. Of course, how large the “flood” will be is still going to have to be addressed.

        The fact that it COULD be 100% does not mean we should take action. It has to be highly probable, proven by empirical evidence and not models.

      • john byatt says:

        why not read this RC,

        take your time, this is from a scientist Spencer Weart

      • I am well acquainted with the AIP–I even printed parts of it the website out for reference. My other reference articles are from real scientists, too. Many of them actually work in their fields of meteorology, physics, geology, etc, unlike the (former?) cartoonist that was part of the “research” team for this marketing article. (Though having a cartoonist study marketing may not be a bad idea……)

  3. Skeptikal says:

    John Byatt,

    You left this off your quote of Jo Nova….

    “Disagreement is with how much warming there is. Is it going to be a catastrophe or is it going to be 0.5 degrees and as far as we can see the evidence the empirical evidence, and there’s lots of it, all seems to point to it being around about half a degree to maybe one degree with CO2 doubling which is not the catastrophic projections that are coming out from the climate models.”

    Your assertion that Jo Nova “accepts the consensus that humans are the cause of global warming” isn’t true. She accepts that CO2 will cause some warming, but doesn’t know how much.

    Have you found any half quotes yet to support your claim that Monckton and Watts also “accept the consensus that humans are the cause of global warming”?

    • john byatt says:

      ” She accepts that CO2 will cause some warming”

      are you debating yourself here?

      Monckton and watts both accept the same thing that human Co2 will cause some warming

      lindzen and Spencer again accept that

      the only people who do not accept that humans are causing warming are the slayers,

      even reality check states “I will agree that skeptics believe CO2 causes warming and that humans add CO2 to the atmosphere”

      So skeptical do you believe the same as reality check and if you do why then deny that most scientists also believe that,

      no one is saying anything about sensitivity or feedbacks here, just a simple claim that humans are causing global warming

      yes or no ?

      • John–you apparently missed my statement “skeptics agree that humans contribute to some warming of the planet. This is not the same as “humans are the cause of global warming””

      • john byatt says:

        This is the consensus

        “humans are causing global warming”

        nothing about sensitivity or feedbacks or what percentage

        IPCC most of the warming due to Humans ( most means more than 50%)
        so you can agree with the IPCC without going beyond 51% due to humans if you like

        So you can answer honestly, do you agree that humans are causing global warming, which is a yes or no question

        now if you do then why are the sceptic blogs rejecting the same consensus from scientists ?

  4. I will agree that skeptics believe CO2 causes warming and that humans add CO2 to the atmosphere. So in that sense, yes, skeptics agree that humans contribute to some warming of the planet. This is not the same as “humans are the cause of global warming”. Being a contributor indicates there are many factors involved and humans are only one of the factors (causes).

    Since you are quoting from Principia Scientific, you are well aware some skeptics do not accept that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

  5. Evidence, please, that Nova, Watts, etc accept consensus.

    • john byatt says:


      she appeared in the ABC Television documentary I Can Change Your Mind About… Climate with her partner David Evans, in discussion with Nick Minchin and Anna Rose, in which she stated that: “…carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and that adding more to it will warm the planet, yes, absolutely, that’s all well proven solid science known for years, yes. I have no disagreement with any of that

      so the question and the only question is, are humans the cause of global warming?

      Nova accepts that, do you need a link to Monckton being attacked for accepting that humans have caused global warming ?

  6. john byatt says:

    Monckton, Jo Nova Watts and most sceptics accept the consensus that humans are the cause of global warming, the fact is that most sceptics also believe that humans are contributing to global warming,

    You can argue about sensitivity etc but please accept that like you 97% of scientists do accept that humans are the cause.

    Do you accept that humans are the cause? if so what are you on about?

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