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The Institute of Physics is corrupt

Richard Tol has posted up a review of the strange affair of the "97% consensus", as the second anniversary of Cook's infamous paper draws near. An edited version has apparently been published in the Australian.

The sample was padded with irrelevant papers. An article about TV coverage on global warming was taken as evidence for global warming. In fact, about three-quarters of the papers counted as endorsements had nothing to say about the subject matter.

Requests for the data were met with evasion and foot-dragging, a clear breach of the publisher’s policy on validation and reproduction, yet defended by an editorial board member of the journal as “exemplary scientific conduct”.

It really has to be read, and as an indictment of the corruption of climate science it's hard to beat. That the Institute of Physics and the University of Queensland would stand behind such a blatant piece of politicking and deceit is almost beyond belief.

As far as they are concerned when it comes to climate science there is no study too fraudulent, no conduct too reprehensible, no deception too blatant.

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Reader Comments (47)

Not apparently. It really was published in Australian.
[Dealt with. BH. I only said "apparently" because I can't see it behind the paywall.]

Mar 25, 2015 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

I'm going to have to try to memorise this, for when my landlord - the National Trust - come hammering on my farmhouse door telling me why I must stop farming in order to save the planet.....

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Flindt

Like the hockey stick which was based less on science than on a need for a false narrative of primeval nature disturbed by man, this consensus is derived from the need for a false narrative about consensus. You can expect 97% to be defended as ludicrously as the hockey stick.

The key here is the need for a false narrative. Whatever made them think narrative could overpower nature? Well, the study of short term history certainly gives plenty of examples; too bad the narrators can't look beyond immediate benefits of a false narrative to the tragedies wrought by nature on falsity.

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

I wonder why warmists don't realise that they are measured by their most accessible works and if those are bad, it's not hard to extrapolate that lack of quality onto the rest of the science? The longer they fail to condemn papers like this, the more you think that this is what warmists think IS good work.

I can understand that you might be so passionate about your cause that you'd lie but not so passionate that it would make you fly in the face of basic common sense and continuously shoot yourself in the foot.

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

A decent article, and a subject so well known to us. I hope it gains some new adherents in the wider publication that is The Australian. I took the trouble to read both RT's blogspot and the The Australian version: other than the imbedded links it is essentially the same and has not been edited, as far as I can tell.

BTW: The Australian article is (£) but if you google theaustralian global-warming-consensus-claim-doesnt-stand-up you can read it from the search results.

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

People make decisions at the margin.

Dan Kammen, the editor of Environmental Research Letters, publicly praised the 97% nonsensus shortly after publication. When confronted with mild critique (as no one knew the extent of the nonsense until much later), he resisted, which may have been the right decision at the time but which raised the stakes. By now, he would have to resign from ERL if the paper would be retracted. Or worse: Kammen is careful to always use his gmail account rather than his Berkeley email.

Ditto for U Queensland. They started off with the legitimate defense of an employee. But Queensland's neuroscience was rocked by a big scandal, and Cook has one retraction under his belt already. They are in too deep now.

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Contrast the responses of Climate scientists (and their backers) with genuine physicists who can't contain their sheer excitement that the Large Hadron Collider might prove their lifetime's work wrong.

Genuine science v Post-normal science.

Truth v Politics

Research v Expense accounts

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

The get 'them' mentality explained : "People become addicted to shaming... so much so that they seek to shame people who didn't deserve it"
Jonson Ronson explained this on Radio 5 from 1:20 mins into the Mar 19th podcast
We have been wondering on Unthreaded how people get this strange mob mentality we see from the Farage pub attack, Sexist-shirt attack, and the unfair harassing that you get in a lot of internet forums where green/left hang out
- John's new book So You've Been Publicly Shamed
"The get 'them' mentality explained" : "People become addicted to shaming... so much so that they seek to shame people who didn't deserve it"
..the idea that any "wrong person is equivalently evil" when they just have a different opinion

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:44 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Worse: U Queensland also had a recent retraction in biology.

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

That Cooks work was garbage all the way through is no real surprise, the irony is the 97% he thinks is such a strong point is actually an early indications of this given its clear the idea was to 'match' this infamous claim in his work rather than actually find out what the real value was .

That is has become part of the CAGW dogma , is also no surprise , in fact the very need for such a 'dogma' shows how little this to do with science and much to do with politics where such dogmatic approaches are the norm.

No surprise , but nevertheless sad to see is the way Institute of Physics and the University of Queensland have defended this indefensible rubbish. That the the very gatekeepers of good science have failed so miserably or indeed at times cooperated with such rubbish is something we may all come to regret .
For the public will not lightly forget that 'science' lied and lied again and then tired smear others who pointing out these lies. On a personal front I think that is why some defend this BS , they know they to far in and have no choice but to double down in the hope they will no longer have to worry about it when the cards actual have to be show .

Has for Cook , a little man made 'big' by lucky circumstances, one can only hope he spends his last few years a Wiki joke while probing up some bar telling people how he used to be a 'somebody' to limited amusement of all.

Mar 25, 2015 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Stewgreen 10.44 "wondering how people get this strange mob mentality" Take a look at Peter Foster's talk above for an explanation.

Mar 25, 2015 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Hanwell

Stuck Record
The difference is that the LHC researchers are looking to whole new fields of research so being proved wrong is actually a positive thing, even if it means the end of their research grants. Most of the people in this type of research are unknown to the public. I have spent the last ten minutes trying to remember the name of the winner of the Noble Prize for Physics winner last year, he invented the Blue LED, but I can't

Climate Science sees being proved wrong as the end of being in the spotlight and media appearances, they all have huge egos which is a big part of the problem.

Mar 25, 2015 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandys

Richard mentions the allegations of sexual harassment by Pachauri, but it seems to me that his resignation letter is even more damning for someone heading up a supposedly scientific and objective organisation: "For me the protection of Planet Earth… more than a mission. It is my religion".

Mar 25, 2015 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

I agree.

But read the context: Policy advisers should be neutral, competent, and reputable.

Pachauri is none of the three, but whatever you may think of Phil Jones and Mike Mann, they keep it in their pants.

Mar 25, 2015 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol


Agreed, but beneath every proper scientist is giddy kid, standing in wonder and awe, of the Universe. Look how excited they get talking about their 'thing'. When was the last time you saw a climate scientist excited by anything other than money, tv appearances, or changing the world in their political image?

Mar 25, 2015 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Exactly, KnR.

Some people use words to achieve infamy in their chosen field of disrepute. A single word or phrase which may provoke grimaces or laughter. "Economical with the truth" is one such example in recent decades.

Cook et. al. managed the feat with a number. Thinking to use it as a promotional tool for their cause, "97%" has now become a moniker for all that is disingenuous, deceitful, dishonest, and incompetent in climate science. It is a tainted number. That is quite an achievement.

Mar 25, 2015 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

michael hart,

.....and the sooner anyone resorts to quoting the 97% consensus figure, is an excellent indicator of scientific credibility.

The Grauniad quote it all the time.....

Mar 25, 2015 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Golf Charlie said:

.....and the sooner anyone resorts to quoting the 97% consensus figure, is an excellent indicator of scientific credibility.

The Grauniad quote it all the time.....

So does Barack Obama.


Mar 25, 2015 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterfortunatecookie

Kim: "Like the hockey stick which was based less on science than on a need for a false narrative ..."

Great to have you on board.

Mar 25, 2015 at 1:46 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Mike, I've spent many years clinging to the wreckage, but I'll return the salute if I can get one hand out of the water.

Mar 25, 2015 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

An excellent, concise and well referenced summary.

Mar 25, 2015 at 2:07 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

Excellent write-up by Richard, and much appreciated (by me at least, if not the kidz). My old stats prof was no slouch at his sums, but he never missed the chance to emphasise the importance of proper sampling methodologies, without which all the clever stuff is worthless. That this ludicrous paper, riddled from the first line to the last with bias, ever made it into print - let alone achieved the impact it did - is a deeply disturbing tale of our times. Richard has documented the many defects in an accessible piece, which loses none of its potency by letting the links handle the finer details.

Mar 25, 2015 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterigsy

Now at Breitbart too:

Mar 25, 2015 at 5:43 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

This comment pertains to this thread and the succeeding thread on Peter Foster's address:

Accusations of "conspiracy" (such as "the IoP is corrupt") are straw men and too easily ridiculed in public

Noble Cause Corruption ("We are saving the planet") is not a conspiracy but a mindset. This mindset also covers for an Everest of hypocrisy

Peter Foster makes somewhat the same point in the succeeding thread. He also points out, correctly I think, that Andrew Montford does not see this

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

Surely people must realise that this is not down to Dan Kammen alone? Have a look at the editorial board of Environmental Research Letters.

How would these people ever allow the editor to publish a retraction?

Executive Board:
Myles Allen, University of Oxford, UK, Heat Waves 'R Us, Towards the Trillionth Tonne, Co-Director, Oxford Martin Programme on Resource Stewardship

Peter H Gleick The Pacific Institute, Oakland, USA (Nuff said).

Stefan Rahmstorf Potsdam University, Germany, (actually Potsdam Climate Institute, Schellnhuber's outfit and also RealClimate)

Advisory Board:
Scott Goetz, Deputy Director, Woods Hole Research Center
Woods Hole was where John Holdren was Director for several years. This is what he was saying before he became Obama Science Advisor, "Global Climate Disruption: What Do We Know? What Should We Do?", Long time collaborator with Paul Ehrlich.

More about him here, although relates to before he joined the Obama administration: Check the links in the sidebar as well for more recent pieces.

Cameron Hepburn - Professor of environmental economics at the University of Oxford, based at the Smith School, (set up by David King) and the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School, and is also Professorial Research Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute at LSE and a Fellow at New College, Oxford.

Oxford Martin School Advisory Council has Crispin Tickell, Lord Stern, Lord Rees, Pascal Lamy, Joe Stiglitz, (Chief Economist Socialist International), Arianna Huffington is a Commissioner, as also are Lord Patten, Lord Stern and Lord Rees, (former President RS). Julia Marton-Lefevre, of IUCN, WRI, former rector of Maurice Strong's UN University of Peace, is also a Commissioner.

Whilst you are at it, have a look at the editorial board of "Climatic Change", where Naomi Oreskes is a Deputy Editor and Peter Gleick, Phil Jones, Ben Santer, John Schellnhuber, Tom Karl, van Ypersele, (favourite to succeed Pachauri), are on the editorial board.

Check out Aims and Scope from the side bar, describing their review and acceptance process and look again at the editorial board. Would Dick Lindzen be published? Answers on a postcard please.......

Mar 25, 2015 at 11:49 PM | Registered Commenterdennisa

Political Correctness is all the rage, and Political Incorrectness is not.

Scientific Correctness involves quoting the 97% Consensus, without realising that it is Scientifically, incorrect.

No doubt the Politically Correct will reverse their Scientifically Incorrect stance, when political correctness, and votes, demand it.

Mar 26, 2015 at 12:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

" The longer they fail to condemn papers
like this, the more you think that this is what warmists think IS good work."

They do think it is good work don't they?? It seems more of a gullibility test to me.

"When was the last time you saw a climate scientist excited......"

Exactly, being a scientist is about the excitement of looking for new things or how things work and then finding out if you were right or wrong. I think the massive funding system in place ends up corrupting all of this though unfortunately. As someone like Steve Mcintyre shows though amateurs can do much better science in this field (and many others) anyway.

Mar 26, 2015 at 12:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

See here for responses:

Mar 26, 2015 at 1:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterAsh

@ Richard Tol Mar 25, 2015 at 12:09 PM


Mann or Jones getting it out of their pants leaves me blind; physically or intellectually, Patchy too.

Mar 26, 2015 at 2:31 AM | Unregistered Commentereyesonu

Always wondered where "Cooking the books" came from.

Mar 26, 2015 at 8:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterTuppence

ATTP at his own blog "Richard Tol has another article about how claims of a scientific consensus don’t stand up."

Proof, if it was needed, that warmists miss the point, even when their noses are rubbed in it. I dunno, maybe we use words that are too grown up or perhaps there should be a diagram? Proving a consensus should have been like shooting fish in a barrel and yet Cook cocked it up... or should that be cooked it up. A complete and utter cook up? Now I can understand that and I can even understand those involved defending it but once the flaws have been pointed out, those on the side line should at least move away and ideally say "ok, not Cook's finest hour, let's move on'.

Mar 26, 2015 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Does Prof Tol still stand by this statement, from his response to Cook et al?

"There is no doubt in my mind that the literature on climate change overwhelmingly supports the hypothesis that climate change is caused by humans. I have very little reason to doubt that the consensus is indeed correct."

Mar 26, 2015 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Sorry Phil, that's lame. Even you should know that the question is attribution. You know, how much natural, how much from man?

Mar 26, 2015 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

I find the way that THE question slides around instructive.

Prof Tol has published on the social cost of carbon, and the level at which a carbon tax should be set, something that would seem redundant if he does not believe in AGW.

Incidentally his 2008 study concluded that 'There is a fair chance that the annual climate liability exceeds the annual income of many people.'

Mar 26, 2015 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Let us be honest. If "deniers" actually existed, Cook would be their hero. And if "BigOil" was actually financing any form of misinformation campaign, Cook's paper would be their manifesto. That warm-mongers considered such a man and such a work anything but shameful spells out exactly how weak their case really is.

I have forgotten how many of the faithful I've shut up by simply telling them to go read the paper. Not just refer to this mythical 97%. But get the data, read the paper, and asses the claim by themselves. It works miracles.

Mar 26, 2015 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

If you want to believe that climate researchers are incompetent, biased and secretive, Cook’s paper is an excellent case in point.


Mar 26, 2015 at 12:39 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

The 97% consensus hoax notwithstanding, the IOP has had their moments. They did a pretty good job on their memorandum about Climategate, in which they accurately reported to the UK Parliament that the Climategate emails "provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law."

Mar 26, 2015 at 1:33 PM | Registered Commenterdaveburton


That statement was written by a subcommittee of the IoP. That subcommittee is now under new management.

Mar 26, 2015 at 1:41 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Richard Tol and any others who question or assert the 97% should ask, "Just what where the questions these studies asked to get their answers and who did they ask." A little bit of study of the original papers leads to

As Legates et al., 2013 pointed out, Cook defined the consensus as “most warming since 1950 is anthropogenic.” Cook then relied on three different levels of “endorsement” of that consensus and excluded 67% of the abstracts reviewed because they neither endorsed nor rejected the consensus.

Doran and Kendall Zimmerman, 2009
An invitation to participate in the survey was sent to 10,257 Earth scientists. The database was built from Keane and Martinez [2007], which lists all geosciences faculty at reporting academic institutions, along with researchers at state geologic surveys associated with local Universities, and researchers at U.S. federal research facilities (e.g., U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, and NOAA (U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) facilities; U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories; [ Private, profit generating persons not required] (and so forth).

This brief report addresses the two primary questions of the survey

1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

With 3146 individuals completing.

In our survey, the most specialized and knowledgeable respondents (with regard to climate change) are those who listed climate science
as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change (79 individuals in total)
. Of these specialists, 96.2% (76 of 79) answered “risen” to question 1 and 97.4% (75 of 77) answered yes to question 2.

the AMS survey Stenhouse et al., 2014.
In this survey, global warming was defined as “the premise that the world’s average temperature has been increasing over the past 150 years, may be increasing more in the future, and that the world’s climate may change as a result.”
Questions -

Regardless of the cause, do you think that global warming is happening?
2a./2b How sure are you that global warming (a. is /b. is not) happening?
How sure are you? –Extremely –Very sure –Somewhat sure –Not at all sure -Don’t know –Not at all sure –Somewhat not sure – Very not sure - Extremely not sure

So answering the questions -
1) most warming since 1950 is anthropogenic?
2) When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant? (Yes/No to a 3 part question?)
3) Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?
4) Regardless of the cause, do you think that global warming is happening?
5) How sure are you that global warming (a. is /b. is not) happening?

Answeres and qustions use generalized words of most, think, significant, contriubuting and no values or significance is asked for. No where is proof or dates or amounts or data of +/- estimates required and did you see CO2 anywhere?

Do these questions really provide the answer that man-made, catastrophizing, CO2 control knob, ever increasing (global warming / climate change / disruption / weirding ) [pick 1 or more] which can only be prevented by higher taxes, more regulations and a loss of personal freedom will keep us all from floating down the River Styx in a handbasket?

Mar 26, 2015 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterDD More

Thanks DD - I had forgotten the 79 of 3146 selection. And two of the 79 didn't answer the second question.

Mar 27, 2015 at 5:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Jay

Time to send a copy of Richard Tol's article to every politician that has either cited the 97% number or claims that global warming is a problem.

Mar 28, 2015 at 11:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterilma

Heh, Phil Clarke, I've long since forgiven Richard Tol for his past sins, for he once thought the science was settled. Look at him now, not two decades ago.

Mar 29, 2015 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Some have asked why I keep going back to Cook. Truth be told, the piece in the Australian is a much-delayed, much-revised version of a comment I offered first to Environmental Research Letters (and later to other news outlets). That said, prodding Cook and co often leads to additional information, like here


Mar 29, 2015 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Ok Kim...

Richard Tol says:
June 14, 2013 at 11:44 am

The consensus is of course in the high nineties. No one ever said it was not. We don’t need Cook’s survey to tell us that.

Mar 30, 2015 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

Consensus of what, Phil?

You can form your own opinion of Richard Tol's beliefs. In my opinion, he's capable of changing his mind.

Mar 30, 2015 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Well, the context was Cook et al, the consensus as defined there, in short-short hand that human activity is the main driver of GW.

An open mind is indeed a valuable and, around here, somewhat rare commodity.

Mar 30, 2015 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil Clarke

The consensus on attribution is nowhere near as strong as you might believe. The AR5's confidence is misplaced, as may be yours.

Mar 31, 2015 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

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