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« Wasted energy - Josh 231 | Main | Deben will not be consulted »

Hulme slams 97% paper

The prominent climatologist Mike Hulme has slammed the Cook et al 97% "nonsensus" paper in a comment at the Nottingham University Making Science Public blog.

The “97% consensus” article is poorly conceived, poorly designed and poorly executed. It obscures the complexities of the climate issue and it is a sign of the desperately poor level of public and policy debate in this country that the energy minister should cite it. It offers a similar depiction of the world into categories of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ to that adopted in Anderegg et al.’s 2010 equally poor study in PNAS: dividing publishing climate scientists into ‘believers’ and ‘non-believers’. It seems to me that these people are still living (or wishing to live) in the pre-2009 world of climate change discourse. Haven’t they noticed that public understanding of the climate issue has moved on?

This is an interesting development since nobody is going to finger Hulme as any kind of a sceptic.

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Reader Comments (102)

Said Painter, ‘When there are really important issues like climate sensitivity to be discussed, it’s much better to have that discussion between climate scientists’.

But is this the line that the Royal Society takes?

I seem to recall four Royal Society scientists being offered the chance to debate with other scientists that Nigel Lawson provided access to. Yet the Royal Society scientists preferred to debate with a non-scientist alone (Lord Lawson).

It seems these two views are in conflict. I wonder which attitude will overcome.

Jul 25, 2013 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterM Courtney

Said Painter, ‘When there are really important issues like climate sensitivity to be discussed, it’s much better to have that discussion between climate scientists’.

But is this the line that the Royal Society takes?

I seem to recall four Royal Society scientists being offered the chance to debate with other scientists that Nigel Lawson provided access to. Yet the Royal Society scientists preferred to debate with a non-scientist alone (Lord Lawson).

It seems these two views are in conflict. I wonder which attitude will overcome.

Jul 25, 2013 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterM Courtney

His rebuttal in the Guardian should be a hoot.

Jul 25, 2013 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

Am I missing something? When I click on the link I get the Ben Pile/Andrew Neil feature, where 97% is only an incidental element.

Jul 25, 2013 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan_UK

Sorry - cancel that last comment - brain now in gear.

Jul 25, 2013 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan_UK

Could Dr Hulme be getting the message, at last?

Jul 25, 2013 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

'nobody is going to finger Hulme as any kind of a sceptic.'
really you only have to see the way the AGW fanatics have attacked even Monboit and other AGW supporters for ‘daring’ to rise even the smallest doubt, to see that for some nothing but blind and total support for ‘the cause ‘ and unquestioning acceptance of its dogma , is acceptable. Stray but a little and the hounds of hell will be on you.

Its an irony that religions have always been harder on heretics and those that don’t believe at all for the fear of the ‘enemy within ‘ is much stronger than the enemy without .

Jul 25, 2013 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered Commenterknr

The whole 97% issue is going to be a continuing back firing development for the tree hut gang I think. For instance I was fascinated by a commenter on that page who took issue with Roy Spencer self declaring he is in the 97% citing Cook/Nuccitelli as proof of exclusion. That is such a basic denial of scientific practice that should be warning enough. A scientist is having his self-declared position taken off him because the Great Dana says he is not allowed, this is sophistically confirmed by Nuccitelli himself saying that Spencer only makes the cut of the "rejecting" group.

Nuccitelli and Cook stay up all night to run a subjective survey with their mates on their enemies’ papers and now have the right to define their beliefs "scientifically"!

You see Dana Nuccitelli is a "scientist", he keeps telling us this.

It is clear from the tree-hut files that Nuccitelli holds the belief that the consensus means man’s contribution to increasing temperatures is >50%, but the study itself doesn’t actually use that criteria to bulk out the 97% - in fact they use non-climate scientist using climate hyperbole to bulk it out even more - the fact that Nuccitelli blithely goes on to operate the media rhetoric as if the whole consensus is >50% within the best climate science - and that only he can define that certain people are now allowed within the hallowed portals should be a pretty damning thing to see for anyone caring about science. However instead we see blind approval from the US pres. to Ben Goldacre being showered upon it.

I think this paper is the worst thing ever that has happened to climate science. I am really happy, climate science needs a good kicking :)

Jul 25, 2013 at 10:21 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement


How true.

Look how they went after James 'Gaia' Gleik when he partially recanted. He went from Enviro-Saint to 'senile old man', I believe it was.


Jul 25, 2013 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Hulme just hit the nail with a big hammer. Davey should be suitably embarassed.

Jul 25, 2013 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Cowper

Don't stop at the Mike Hulme comment; read the next one and the linked Guardian (where else?) story. It's not over yet.

Jul 25, 2013 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan_UK

@Jul 25, 2013 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan_UK

Yeah the poll that the glorious pseudo journalist Suzanne Goldenberg is talking about there was commissioned by the "League of Conservation Voters" and conducted by Benenson Strategy Group an Obama loyalist pollster going by the video interview with him on their site:

Benenson Strategy Group Motto:
With BSG, events don't shape you; you shape events.

The "bi-partian" poll had questions such as

60% would vote for someone who says we have a moral obligation to leave behind a planet that’s not polluted or damaged.

Pretty persuasive and rigorous poll? I think not. As usual it seems the alarmist daren't test the water honestly, they'd rather spin at every opportunity. It's their own believers and themselves they lie to.

Jul 25, 2013 at 10:51 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Hulme's writings have become some of the most measured of all the knowledgeable commentators on the climate debate.

His "Four Myths of Climate Change" are a direct poke in the eye at all the moralistic feel-good Greenie-ism which underscores a good part of the absurd notions of the Alarmists.

Jul 25, 2013 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

As long as the activists frame the questions they will win the emotional argument.
"Do you believe that man influences climate?" 97% (including me) say "yes".
"Would you vote for someone who says we have a moral obligation to leave behind a planet that’s not polluted or damaged?" Since a fair number of people (including me!) would immediately ask "what do you mean by ...?" the response drops to 60% saying 'yes'.
But in both cases the activists are entitled to point to the result and say that an overwhelming majority of people support them. And by the time they make that claim it's too late for you to chime in with "hang on a minute; that's not what I meant."
Try: "Would you vote for someone who plans to spend billions of pounds of taxpayers money in a possibly futile attempt to reduce the average temperature of the planet by half-a-degree?"
See what answer that gets you.

Jul 25, 2013 at 11:08 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

The Leopard In The Basement
The back story to the 97% claim shows us how little actual science, has opposed to religions like dogma, is seen in this area. Based on a poor study that did not even make basic mathematical sense , for you simply cannot know what percentage of a group a number with goupr this represents if you no idea of the size of the group to begin, with and no one does know the number of scientists climate or otherwise . Once it entered into the dogma it gained a life of its own and like the stick it ‘had to’ to be defend to the death no matter the facts.
Normally in science it’s no big deal to revisit early work especial that which is not good to begin with, to update it or even invalidity it. Indeed its part of the normal process and one way progress is actual made’ But climate ‘science’ is special like the virgin birth from day one it was ‘immaculate’ without stain or error and therefore unquestionable.

The irony such blind loyalty is this is seen as a strength by the AGW faithful , when in practice it is a real weakness as its seen as BS by the public and seen by the science community , sadly to often in private, as nonsense .

Jul 25, 2013 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered Commenterknr

It’s nice to see the likes of Hulme jumping ship, but let him flounder around a bit before throwing him the lifeline of our approval. It was our own Barry Woods, earlier on in the thread to Ben Pile’s article at Nottingham University Making Science Public, who linked to the articles at Lucia’s and Tallbloke’s which reveal the workings behind the article - how the Treehut files show Cook and Nuccitelli et al discussing how to publicise the results of the paper before they’d started doing the research.
This is a unique case, in that the evidence for how a crap paper is prepared for peer reviewed publication and subsequent media coverage is all in the public domain. Can Tol, Pielke and Hulme and maybe a couple of other just men singlehandedly redeem the reputation of climate science? Not if the other 99.9% of climate scientists remain silent .

Jul 25, 2013 at 11:34 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Jul 25, 2013 at 10:22 AM | Stuck-Record

[ ... ] Look how they went after James 'Gaia' Gleik when he partially recanted. He went from Enviro-Saint to 'senile old man', I believe it was.

You mean James Lovelock ?

Jul 25, 2013 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred

On the face of it, this is the most astute comment I have seen by Mike Hulmes and it serves the debate well.

It is, however, curious to understand how different his thinking is from what most of us might imagine.

When he says that 'It obscures the complexities of the climate issue,' the complexity is as a post-modernist social scientist sees it and not as we might the complexity of the evidence and its evaluation. There is a hint of this when he says "It seems to me that these people are still living (or wishing to live) in the pre-2009 world of climate change discourse. Haven’t they noticed that public understanding of the climate issue has moved on?"

This is about saying: get with the new discourse so as to make an argument that works within it.

In the final post-modern flourishes at the end of "Why we disagree about climate change" Hulme outlines what he sees as the 4 ‘narratives’ of Climate Change: Lamenting Eden (nostalgia); Presaging Apocalypse (fear); Constructing Babel (pride); Celebrating Jubilee (justice). In explaining how these ‘myths’ manifest in the Climate Change discourse, Hulme has some strong words to say against those nostalgic for a return to Eden, and against others for wanting to building a Babel of climate control (Geo-engineering? — forget it!). But there is no mistake that he comes down mighty hard on those drumming up fear of an Apocalypse. As I read this — his so-called ‘religious’ approach to the discourse of Climate Change — I was rather thinking that he had anticipated some of my own analysis, namely that through Climate Change Science, the institutions of science have been corrupted by precisely the sorts of ‘narratives’ that they first explicitly fought to exclude. But then, as unexpectedly as it began, the storm of criticism dies down and all is forgiven. In the end he does not condemn the contamination of scientific discourse by such distractions. Instead he celebrates them:

"It is stories such as these – embodiments of ‘fundamental truths about our assumptions of reality’ – that we need to re-create in our world. Climate change offers great story telling potential. The four myths I have offered should not be judged as either right or wrong. They should be recognised as stories about climate change; as mirrors that reveal important truths about the human condition [p.358]."

We have erred, according to Hulme, in that we have until now considered climate change a problem to be solved, and thereby been too concerned with striving for a solution.

" …climate change [is not] a problem waiting for a solution, any more than the clashes of political ideologies or the disputes between religious beliefs are problems waiting to be solved….Rather than asking ‘How do we solve climate change?’ we need to turn the question around and ask ‘How does the idea of climate change alter the way we arrive at and achieve our personal aspirations and our collective social goals?[p.xxviii]"

And so…

"Rather than catalysing disagreements about how, when and where to tackle climate change, the idea of climate change should be seen as an intellectual resource around which our collective and personal identities and projects can form and take shape. We need to ask not what we can do for climate change but to ask what climate change can do for us. [p.326]"

Hulme sees, just as we do, the discourse of climate change invading ever discourse of our lives:

"Climate change is everywhere. Not only the physical climates of the world everywhere changing, but just as importantly the idea of climate change is now to be fond active across the full parade of human endeavours, institutions practices and stories."

Writing as he does at its peak of influence (2008-9), he wants to promote and celebrate its rise to hegemony:

"Climate change should not be seen as an environmental problem demanding a technical solution …we need to approach climate change as an imaginative idea, as idea that we develop and employ to fulfil a variety of tasks for us."


"Climate change thus becomes a mirror into which we can look and see exposed both our individual selves and our collective societies."

With this view of what climate change is all about from the founder of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change (in all its variety) we should not be surprise that he objects to a reduction to a single percentage of right/wrong, believers/non-believers.

(note that some of the above is pinched from an old review on my blog)

Jul 25, 2013 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterBernieL

For anyone who, like me, was puzzled where the quote from Hulme came from, it's in one of the comments to the blog article. For a while, I thought the Bish had posted the wrong link.

Jul 25, 2013 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterMichael Larkin

I'm glad Mike Hulme wrote what he did.

As discussed previously on these pages, academics are not rewarded for pointing out the flaws in other people's research; only constructive contributions count. So if someone published a silly paper, you need to write a paper that is silly in a better way.

Fellow academics -- including one of the all-time favorites at this and other blogs -- have agreed with me on Cook's paper, but only in private.

I am glad that Hulme too recognizes that some research is so bad that it is beyond a constructive response; and that if such research is published, destructive comments should be in public.

Jul 25, 2013 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

@ Mike Jackson

...a possibly futile attempt to reduce the average temperature of the planet...

Actually, Mike, I think you are being a bit generous even with that. Even the most ardent ecofascist doesn't claim the temperature of the planet will be reduced. What they claim is that the rise will happen anyway, but that - at enormous cost - it can be trivially delayed.

Bjorn Lomborg says, IIRC, that Germany's contribution over the next 100 years or so may delay this rise by as much as 37 hours; but it is still going to happen, supposedly. So there's no "possibly" about it; there is 100% consensus that it is futile. It's just that ecofascists are in favour of futile gestures.

Your wider point is clearly right, though. To me, the question is, in effect, "Would you vote for someone who wanted to take billions out of the economy in tax now, and spend it on killing poor people now, to delay trivially the onset of a hypothetical problem among rich people in 100 years' time?"

Presented with this question, a thoughtful, normally compassionate, morally competent human being has to be a sceptic. You don't look for the Yes box or even the No box; you look for the "Section the evil bastard" box, IMO.

Jul 25, 2013 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka


Jul 25, 2013 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

"Science advances through published peer reviewed papers, not some public bun fight".

No-one can argue with that as a principle (lets leave aside broken peer review for the time being, or the fact that the MSM and others hardly ever report papers which question the consensus).

Returning to the topic at hand, though, we are talking about communication here. The flaws with the 97% paper are obvious and widely known. Is anyone happy, therefore, that the minister for energy and climate change presents it to the british public, repeatedly, as a supporting pillar in his arguments for catastrophic energy policy?

For once I wrote to my MP asking him to pass on my concern to Ed Davey that he has repeatedly quoted this paper (no reply - no surprise). It is, as Mike Hulme rightly says, a stark reminder of the very low quality of discussion we have as citizens and that politicians perform so very poorly in discharging their obligations. It is frankly a disgrace and a huge disappointment that this is the best Ed Davey can do. As I have often said, he is either very ill informed in which case his position is ideological, or he is very well informed in which case his position is ideological. Davey has no credibility and deserves none.

Jul 25, 2013 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRB

Remember Barack Obama tweeted and linked to Reuters, quoting Dana and CooK, saying this paper showed dangerous climate change.

Who is going to tell Barack Obama and Ed DAvey that Cook's 97% paper is 'pants'

Barack's tweet endorsing John Cook / Dana Nuccitelli


Another co-author, Dana Nuccitelli of Skeptical Science, said she was encouraging scientists to stress the consensus "at every opportunity, particularly in media interviews".

"There is a strong scientific agreement about the cause of climate change, despite public perceptions to the contrary," said John Cook of the University of Queensland in Australia, who led the study in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

"There is a gaping chasm between the actual consensus and the public perception," he said in a statement. "When people understand that scientists agree on global warming, they're more likely to support policies that take action on it."

Jul 25, 2013 at 12:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Many thanks to BernieL for pointing out the thinking behind Hulme’s supposed recantation. All he did on the Nottingham thread was say that this is a poor paper, adding “.. and it is a sign of the desperately poor level of public and policy debate in this country that the energy minister should cite it”.
The spadework of pointing out what the paper was about was done by Brandon Schollenberger, Tallbloke, Barry Woods and others, and the analysis of what it means for the debate about the place of science in society has been admirably advanced by Ben Pile in the article.
Hulme’s criticism is news, so it’s normal that His Grace should headline it. But let’s not lose sight of what Hulme is up to. He wants a different debate. (So do many here, who really couldn’t care less whether a paper belongs in basket #6 or basket #7). But it’s not up to Hulme to tell us what the debate is “really” about.

Jul 25, 2013 at 12:42 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers


That's the chappie! Typed in haste, repent in leisure. Sorry.

Jul 25, 2013 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

hi Geoff

the main thing at the moment is to point out to any politician (or anybody else) ie President Obama and Ed Davey, how pants this 97% paper and soundbite is.. and to support the BBC's Andrew Neil.

Jul 25, 2013 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

You missed out Mike Hulme's first sentence, "Ben Pile is spot on". It's interesting to see him make such a strong statement.

Via Hulme's website, there is a slightly strange video in which he paces around the greenhouses of the Cambridge Botanic garden, while advertising his book "Why we disagree about climate change", where as Bernie says, he takes the sociological, world values view. In the book he is quite upfront about his own "democratic socialist political preferences" and says "I cannot escape the biases of my position."

It seems that Hulme agrees with Tom Wigley (climategate email 4027.txt):
"Analyses like these by people who don't know the field are useless. A good example is Naomi Oreskes work."

Jul 25, 2013 at 1:04 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

"It seems to me that these people are still living (or wishing to live) in the pre-2009 world of climate change discourse."

Pre-2009? What the hell is this guy talking about SPECIFICALLY?

Jul 25, 2013 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

If I understand Richard Tol’s comment correctly, the only acceptable way for a scientist to counter Cook’s 97% claim would be to write another peer-reviewed paper saying “the percentage of scientists who believe such-and-such is not 97%, but x%”.

If this is true then there’s no hope for the peer-review process. Once an editor has decided that an article headlined “x percent of scientists say this” will get his journal good media coverage, there’s no going back. If one scientist says “inspecting chicken entrails is a good way of predicting success in battle”, the only counter argument permitted is to say: “no it isn’t , sacrificing a goat is better”, and so on.

Shouldn’t scientists, as a body, be holdng the whole process up to ridicule?
(They might like to start with Professor Lewandowsky’s close colleague, and favourite peer reviewer of his papers, Dr Swami, and his copious research into the appreciation of female bottoms).

Jul 25, 2013 at 1:08 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers


This paper is having a hard time:

Jul 25, 2013 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Many thanks for that insight into the mind of Mike Hulme. And what a wonderful mind it must be, complete with the powers of a Jedi Master who need only wave a hand and say "this is the philosophy you are looking for" and Chairs and grants are bestowed on him.
I very much like this:

Climate change should not be seen as an environmental problem demanding a technical solution …we need to approach climate change as an imaginative idea, as idea that we develop and employ to fulfil a variety of tasks for us.
The bit before the ellipsis I understand and agree with totally; the rest of that sentence sent me running for the aspirin bottle as the bullshit meter went berserk.
Humanity has, by and large, progressed from kuckle-dragging and grunting to the art of Michelangelo, the writings of Shakespeare, and the scientific discoveries of Faraday, Einstein, Turing, and too many more to start naming, to longevity and health and wealth that even our great-grandparents could barely have guessed at.
And all that without more than the occasional blip or at any stage feeling the need to approach climate change as an imaginative idea — or, come to that, to "approach" climate change or retreat from it or to give it any thought at all.
My mind, puny by comparison with Hulme's evidently, can find a dozen things mankind could develop that might have some practical benefit for the race. Seeing climate change as "an imaginative idea" does not figure among them!

Jul 25, 2013 at 1:18 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I'm beginning to think you might be a rather troubled individual I know who also posts on the DM.
Takes one to know one.

Jul 25, 2013 at 1:21 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

@Barry Woods

This tweet is not from Obama. The twitter account is run by a group called Organizing for Action who also run

I believe that the IRS considers them to be non-partisan for tax purposes.

Jul 25, 2013 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered Commentergenemachine

"In which case case I'm sure we can expect to see a published rebuttal in a peer reviewed journal soon. I'd be surprised if it happened though. Biased people griping about it on crank blogs doesn't count.

You seem unaware that there are now 4 different papers which have arrived at around the 97% figure. None have had a published rebuttal in a peer reviewed journal, which suggests the figure is likely to be correct.

Most telling of all, I've never seen any convincing evidence that consensus on AGW amongst climate scientists is anything other than 97%. Do you actually have evidence for some alternative figure?"

Oh dear. There's really no talking to you is there Zed? Years you have been around this blog and you are still the same old Zed.

Jul 25, 2013 at 1:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterRB


No point, she does not listen, her posts are all deleted and so are yours. Do not feed the Troll with the oxygen of attention.

Jul 25, 2013 at 1:37 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Excuse my ignorance, but what is the 'DM'?

Jul 25, 2013 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Goats Gruff

I agree with Tol. If a group of people, wedded to the orthodoxy, conduct a project and release a paper, and you disagree with it, the only way to do it is to demonstrate *how* their methodology is unsound, and/or how their conclusions are wrong, assuming their methods to be sound.

For what its worth, the Cook exercise is a quantitative one. If you believe the whole paradigm to be wrong, you should be able to translate your critique into numbers. This would mean re-examining the existing data, or generating your own. The Cook methodology, description and numbers have been shown to be broken in a number of ways:

1] Implementation of search strategy is broken
2] Description of category-wise breakdown is deceptive and deficient
3] The 'implicit' category invalidates final outcomes
4] Volunteer ratings are utterly fail compared to a putative gold standard

Jul 25, 2013 at 1:43 PM | Registered Commentershub

I am not as troubled by Hulme's post-amble as BernieL and Geoff C seem to be. Nor do I recognise it as suffering from postmodernism.

My reading of Hulme is that he says we should be conscious of how our ideas about something as complex and nebulous as nature and our relationships to it aren't entirely (or even mostly) scientific -- which is the implication of a face value reading of environmentalism WRT climate change science and policy. The problem is not with this mixture of intangibles with objective science. The problem is with not acknowledging or reflecting on the narratives in the first instance.

So for example, if we take King's claim that 'climate change is the defining issue of our time', and see it through what I think Hulme is saying, it might turn out that, arbitrarily or not, this involved more self-definition, born out of a *need* for self-definition than the erstwhile science chief would admit (or could understand). So when Hulme says "the idea of climate change is now to be fond active across the full parade of human endeavours, institutions practices and stories", it is descriptive. The normative implication is not to say 'hurrah for David King', but to say, 'hold on a minute...'

In fact, Hulme is being extremely honest in admitting how difficult it is to really depart from narratives -- that they an essential part of the 'human condition'. That doesn't mean submitting to them, nor does it say, per some postmodern thinkers, that science or any other search for truth is irreconcilably arbitrary. On the contrary, it is to say that reflecting (rather than sceptic or warmist hiding behind science) on it is progress. We'd be in a better position to understand the science if we understood what goes on, and what we think *before* the science has started.

Jul 25, 2013 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

It does not matter in the slightest, in science, whether the consensus is 97%, or any other percentage. It matters that, whatever the percentage, the consensus is in fact incompetent, and the system is broken (and an incompetent peer-review system, of deluded and dogmatically defensive climate "scientists"--both alarmist and lukewarm--that allowed this worldwide fiasco, can only be trusted to delude everyone further and further).

Jul 25, 2013 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Dale Huffman

"You claim consensus amongst climate scientists on AGW isn't 97%. So what is it, with evidence?"

I can't speak for RB. But the 97% was shown to be a 'consensus without an object'. It doesn't matter if the consensus is 1...2... 97.. 98... 99... 100%. It could even be 500%, for all that it matters.

The point is this...


Jul 25, 2013 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

I have only glanced through the Cook et al paper, so this comment may be misguided. The paper does seem to provide information on a consensus. But surely the only question of real interest regarding "consensus" defined in such a broad way is whether or not it has changed at all over time. I read a lot around this field and I get the impression that positions have changed (quite markedly, in fact). If a complete dataset is available it would be easy to put the critical measure (whatever that may be) into, say, two-year bins. Interactions are always more interesting than main effects.

Jul 25, 2013 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered Commenteralan kennedy

"I don't have prophets. I have science and evidence"

Well, so far you hav presented neither. What you however have presented is ample and plenty proof that you cannot argue whatever position you actually hold. And most of the time that you don't understand the positions you pretend to challenge. Apparently you aren't even aware of the difference between CO2:s radiative properties, and the question about how the climate system works. (And then of course neither about what is needed to go from understanding of the first to understanding and even predicting the second)

But that's all to be expected. In my experience, every single one who feels that s/he needs to throw around the 'denier' term as an argument has not had anything of substance (on their own) to bring to the table. Just rehashed memorized talkning points from stupid sites like SkSc and the like ...

Jul 25, 2013 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonas N

" there have now been 4 different papers, all using different methodologies, showing that consensus on AGW amongst climate scientists is around 97%. "

The fact of 4 papers claiming 97% does not make the *object* of the 97% consensus any more tangible.

Jul 25, 2013 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

"That means that 97% of specialists agree AGW is the correct theory"

AFAIK the various 97% figures wheren't about the correctnes of a specified theory. I don't even know that AGW is a theory, or that there are those who claim it has quantitative preditive meaningful skills which (if correct) could elevate it to 'a theory'

So far it is an (conceivably reasonable) hypothesis that atmospheric CO2-content contributes to warming, and particularly under conditions where it is cold and dry (and dark).

The contested part of (whatever you think is) 'the AGW-theory' are the magnitude and how this control knob is supposed to function. And of course what other factors also control the system, and to what extent.

Further, if there is any evidence in the science, it is that those questions are poorly, very poorly, if at all understood. The existence of various hypotheses, additional support -hypotheses, and speculation of why none of them seems to work ... all of those facts firmly support the position that generally is held among skeptics. And I think many on your side (even you?) are at least partly aware of that fact ... that things are slipping away and through your fingers. Even in the public debate and among policy makers and politicians.

Nowadays the orhodoxy is mainly defended by activists and those long ago hopelessly commited to the faith of (then) all settled science ... only the details still need to be worked out.

And even you must notice that even among those (scientists) there is movement and they try to (as inconspicuooulsy as they can) trying to shift their feet and to deal with the fact that the models have failed and even failed miseravbly. (But they won't tell you that, and the models where poor even before the hiatus. That was when all the focus was on GMT, global mean temp, and it still could be argued that they at least got that part ... within the errorbars .. at least if you included also thosw who failed)

Jul 25, 2013 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonas N

Mike Hulme disappoints. - gavin

Jul 25, 2013 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh.

@ shub

the only way to do it is to demonstrate *how* their methodology is unsound

The trouble being, of course, this:

“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

Jul 25, 2013 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

"Have you even read them? Broadly, the *object* is that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, by releasing lots of it, we are warming the planet. That's it. It's that simple."

Indeed. And it's *too* simple. Thus it is meaningless, and encompasses the views of this sceptic, most of the sceptics here on this blog, this blogs authors, and many others who are nonetheless held to be 'deniers' who contradict the consensus.

Either we have accidentally stumbled across some form ofmathematical paradox in which it is possible to be in two mutually-exclusive groups at the same time...

Or the variants of the 97% paper are, as Professor Hulme puts it...

"poorly conceived, poorly designed and poorly executed"

Jul 25, 2013 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

"The premise of AGW is that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, releasing it warms up the planet."

Well, it cannot be the premise of AGW, because it's a view that is shared by those who you claim 'deny' AGW.


Jul 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

The 97% claim is meaningless ... and it is meaningless because either your silly definition of what you call 'the AGW theory' or because (one of) the authors claims the exact opposite.

There is no 'broadly the same result' since they all made up extremely elastic 'definitions' of what they said they investigated, because they didn't even stick to that, and because they and others attempt to use it to say something very differently.

Your self-proclaimed belief in an ability to sense things in either the future or in an alternate universe also shows that whatever you are arguing has nothing to do with any science. But it is even simpler than that:

Writing up ones beliefs, or counting or just guessing what various authors think by examining abstracts, or making up random labels or categories etc ... has absolutely nothing to do with real or hard science. It more resembles practices in the soft sciences such as sociology or psychology ...

The question is rather why you make such an effort to defend such nonsense. Why would somebody reveal so blatantly that 'science' is no part of ones objective, while pretendning the opposite?

Why is this laughable 97% figure so important for the narrative?

PS The flaws don't need to be revealed or published. They already are. And everybody bright enough to read and understand written english can see that for him/herself

Jul 25, 2013 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonas N

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