Monday, July 22, 2013

About 97% or so consensus on AGW - close enough

Somehow it looks like the study [1]  of John Cook and the Skeptical Science team has touched a nerve.
There seems to be a high level of ridicule launched via several "skeptical" sites and by "skeptical" bloggers. [4],[5],[6]
Some scientists of "skeptical" view are standing up and claiming that their work has been wrongly rated - even when the team had sent requests to thousands of researchers to self evaluate their work as well.
Somehow it feels like the response from "skeptics" is out of proportion.
The results of the study are not new [3] nor controversial. They simply indicate that there is no significant debate in climate science about the role of humans in the warming of the climate. [2]
"From the 11 994 papers, 32.6 per cent endorsed AGW, 66.4 per cent stated no position on AGW, 0.7 per cent rejected AGW and in 0.3 per cent of papers, the authors said the cause of global warming was uncertain."
Of the research papers that take a stand on the subject 97% say we are making an impact. And if one evaluates all papers included in the study they find that 0.7% are opposing the notion of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).
Naturally, there are differences regarding the severity of human impact but that and other details are very hard to gauge in surveys like these.
Furthermore, we do not really know what is the view in those papers that are not making a statement to one or another direction in their abstract.
However, my bet is that more often than not, in those papers AGW is taken as a basic and accepted assumption that does not need to be highlighted in abstract. But I can be wrong.
And these and other sources of error and ambiguity have been put forward and addressed in the paper itself.
In any case, the precise numbers are not that important. It does not matter whether it is 85%, 90%, 97% or 99%. It all boils down to a message: There is no real debate in climate science. AGW is real, not a hoax.
And now that we have got that clear, next step would be to agree what to do about it without wasting time on debating with merchants of doubt.
[3] ,

1 comment:

  1. Appears there is a new paper by the team David R. Legates, Willie Soon, William M. Briggs and Christopher Monckton of Brenchley "Climate Consensus and ‘Misinformation’: A Rejoinder to Agnotology, Scientific Consensus, and the Teaching and Learning of Climate Change" claiming that the consensus is at 0.3% level.

    It looks like the Legates paper is part of an ongoing "discussion" on the pages of that journal....There has been a recent article by Bedford & Cook

    and I trust the "discussion" continues in this journal -- and perhaps elsewhere as well

    However, I find the claims of Legates et al pretty desperate given that the assessment of the 1200 author self evaluations gave very close match to the Cook's team abstract based assessment. It would require a fantastic conspiracy to forge those results.

    Furthermore, practically all of the data is available from Skeptical Science pages for anybody to evaluate. It is hard to believe that the still "hidden" minor details that e.g. Tol is demanding would have any real significance.

    (this topic was discussed recently on the Finnish language blog but there seem to be some challenges in its moderation due to vast volume of extreme views - thus I am now recording this here)