I feel for Jose Duarte–I really do. He’s taking apart Lewandowky’s latest effort, which is not very difficult to do. Lewandowsky is not just a charlatan–he’s incompetent as well. But Duarte seems really surprised–almost shocked–at how low Lewandowsky can stoop to get his message through to the media. It reminds me of me, back in the carefree and naive days of 2011 when I was writing about Anderegg, Prall, et al. I couldn’t believe that people could engage in such blatant manipulation of data to score political points and calling it science.
Lewandowsky’s latest effort is garbage, of course. (Hint–his 27th citation is to ‘Lewandowsky S, Oberauer K, Gignac GE (2013) NASA faked the moon landing—therefore (climate) science is a hoax: An anatomy of the motivated rejection of science’, a work that lives on only in infamy. Here, Lewandowsky did (surprise!) another tainted survey and managed to find a 37,000 year old participant. And a five year old one. And managed to include them both in his results. I strongly urge everyone to read Lewandowsky’s paper, especially the introduction, where he finds that almost everyone opposes some sort of cause that is dealt with by science, many because they see a conspiracy somewhere, but conservatives oppose climate science because they are conspiracy ideationists.
But to understand the how and why of Lewandowsky, you have to go back a ways and travel a road that started in 2004 with Naomi Oreskes, continued with Anderegg, Prall et al in 2010, reached a climax with Lewandowsky’s occasional co-author John Cook (of Skeptical Science) before arriving at the anti-climax that is Lewandowsky’s contribution.
In the name of establishing what nobody disputes–that a majority of climate scientists believes that humans have contributed to the 0.8C warming the earth has experienced over the past century or so–each of these authors, not scientists themselves, have not made a real effort to quantify the consensus, but rather to cook the books to deligitimize their opponents–skeptics of the consensus.
Before we go on, I should note a couple of things. First, it is clear that a majority of scientists do indeed support the scientific consensus position on climate change (although the scientific consensus is much narrower than the political pronouncements you hear on a daily basis). Von Storch, in a survey of published climate scientists in 2008, showed that roughly
81% 66%of published scientists agreed with most of the main consensus points and almost none disagreed in a major way with the IPCC reviews of the literature. Von Storch’s findings were supported by another survey conducted in 2012 by Bart Verheggen et al.
19% 34% level of disagreement is apparently too much for the politicized prophets of climate doom, especially when the 19% 34% includes some heavyweights in the climate arena, such as Richard Lindzen and in physics, such as Freeman Dyson. So a concerted effort was launched to conceal this level of disagreement and to trash those who disagree with them.
Let’s start at the beginning, with Naomi Oreskes.
In 2004, Naomi Oreskes published a paper in Science titled “Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change“. It purported to be an analysis of a literature search for papers with the keywords “climate change”, although she later corrected this to say the search terms used were “global climate change”. The search yielded 928 academic papers published between 1993 and 2003 in the ISI database and Oreskes’ analysis said that 75% of the papers either explicitly or implicitly supported the consensus view of climate change, while none directly disputed it. I’ve never seen what her criteria were for the six segments of belief/disbelief. If someone knows what they were I’d appreciate a reference.
Be that as it may, a number of publications by noted skeptics during the period between 1993 and 2003 escaped Oreskes’ attention. To be fair, there may be legitimate reasons why the results didn’t turn up in her search. The words “climate change” may not appear consecutively in the title, for example. For example, skeptical scientist Richard Lindzen’s 1993 paper ‘Climate Dynamics and Global Change‘ may not have appeared in the results because Climate and Change are not together. And skeptical scientist John Christy’s 2000 paper, ‘Assessing levels of uncertainty in recent temperature time series’ doesn’t have ‘climate’ or ‘change’ in the title at all. Similarly, Nils-Axel Morner’s 2003 paper, ‘Sunspot activity, solar wind, Earth’s rotation and climate on a decadal time-scale‘ may have been missed.
But why was Morner’s controversial and widely publicized 2003 paper ‘Expected Sea Level Changes In The Next Century‘ not included? It certainly dealt with global climate change. But only ‘Change’ appears in the title…
But that’s really not the point. Oreskes was familiar with the literature and she had to have been aware that skeptics were publishing during the period in question. She should have either expanded her search to include other terms or notified her paper’s readers that there were many existing papers published during this period that opposed the consensus but did not show up in the search results.
Skeptical scientist Richard Lindzen in fact published at least 107 peer reviewed papers between 1993 and 2003. Skeptical scientist John Christy published 18 in the same time frame. Morner published numerous papers in that time frame. Garth Paltridge published at least one, A physical basis for a maximum of thermodynamic dissipation of the climate system. Again, though, it didn’t have the magic words in the title.
Note that I haven’t searched on a number of notable skeptics, such as William Happer, Roy Singer, Soon, Balunias, etc.
The point is that Oreskes knew there were papers being published by skeptics. She chose perhaps the only search string that would keep them out of the results, misstating the search terms she used and when ‘global climate change’ was finally acknowledged as the search term, it was easy to see why only those who belong to the consensus came up–only consensus adherents would think to include those words in a paper.
Next up: I return to my old stomping grounds to take on Anderegg, Prall et al.