It’s not often that I’ll go the “I told you so route”, but this time it seems appropriate towards Richard Tol. Though maybe also a thank you might be in order with how decisive scientists rebutted Tol’s nonsensus. But before I go into that, a bit of context is needed.
Last week a co-worker pointed me towards the Twitter account of Dutch research journalist Marcel Crok. His concern was mostly with some recent factually incorrect tweets on this account. But as I started to browse through his time-line another tweet grabbed my attention. The tweet has since been running through my mind. Not because it is a particularly good tweet, or that it makes a good point. It’s not even a funny tweet either. In fact, I find this tweet so fascinating because there is a lot wrong with it.
The release of documents that showed Willie Soon receiving funding from vested interests has created quite a lot of chatter on the internet and in the media. The initial article in the New York Times Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher that broke this story is in my opinion quite good.
To quote John Reisman, “Science is not a democracy. It is a dictatorship. It is evidence that does the dictating.” It’s this evidence based ‘dictatorship’ that is the basis for a scientific consensus. Based on this ‘dictatorship’ of evidence we know that global warming is real, we’re causing it, and that it’s a problem if we don’t act. This presents a real problem for those denying that there is a problem or want to minimize the consequences.
Guest article written by Rose Andreatta.
By the time a team of five climate experts finished responding to the serious errors in a paper led by climate contrarian Christopher Monckton, they had more than a quick critique on their hands. In fact, the team—made up of Mark Richardson, Zeke Hausfather, Dana Nuccitelli, Ken Rice and John Abraham—had so much upon which to comment, they wound up publishing their thorough debunking in the same journal where Monckton and his co-authors published their original paper.
A couple of years ago Richard Muller entered the public debate on global warming. Making some very strange claims about the current temperature records and some extremely harsh accusations towards climate researchers. This of course made him a hero among climate science deniers.
He started the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project to double-check the existing temperature records and answer the, to him, valid criticisms of existing temperature reconstructions. It was no surprise to the climate research community that Muller confirmed that global warming is real and that the only plausible explanation is the increase in greenhouse gasses. This hasn’t endeared him with the climate science deniers.
Very few Americans are aware of the overwhelming scientific consensus on global warming (Maibach 2013). There’s a huge gap between the agreement the public thinks there is between scientists and the actual agreement among scientists. It’s because of this lack of awareness that several studies investigated what the agreement is among scientists.
When researchers surveyed climate scientists on the cause of global warming 97% of the actively publishing climatologists said that “human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures” (Doran 2009) Researchers found the same patterns when they analysed public statements of climate experts (Anderegg 2010). When researchers looked into how the scientific consensus on global warming evolved from 1996 to 2009 they found a steady increase in the agreement among scientists (Bray 2010). The latest survey on the scientific literature found that 97% “endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming” (Cook 2013).
Last year Cook et al. released a paper that analysed the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
What they did in that study was look at almost 12,000 abstracts from 1991 to 2011 that matched the search “global climate change” or “global warming.” What they found after analysing these abstracts is that among those that expressed a position on global warming, 97% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. They also contacted 8,547 authors to ask if they could rate their own papers and received 1,200 responses. The results for this again found that 97% of the selected papers stated that humans are causing global warming.
Those that are familiar with the website Watts Up With That know that some very strange content has shown up on it. A lot of it focusses on trying to discredit valid research on climate change and global warming, but in general it is also very dismissive about environmental concerns. Basically anything that can be used to cast doubt will get published, no matter how wrong or far-fetched it is.
This time Watts went after nitrogen pollution, something that is a real concern and can have serious consequences. Fertilizers contain nitrogen as it is a nutrient plants need to grow properly. But this isn’t the same nitrogen as we breathe, plants can’t absorb nitrogen gas. That’s why the nitrogen in fertilizers often is part of a compound, most commonly as NH3 or NO3. This what distinguishes nitrogen in fertilizers from the nitrogen in the air (which has the chemical formula of N2).
Last year Cook et al. released a paper in which they analysed the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming based via the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
What they did in that study was examine 11,944 abstracts from 1991 to 2011 that included the words “global climate change” or “global warming” in their abstract. What they found after analysing these abstracts is that among those that expressed a position on global warming, 97% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. They also contacted 8,547 authors to ask if they could rate their own papers and received 1,200 responses. The results for this again found that 97% of the selected papers stated that humans are causing global warming.