Thursday, September 04, 2014

Psychologizing skeptics, another episode

At least since 1950, there has been a mini-industry among psychologists and other social scientists devoted to finding something mentally deranged in conservatives.  I spent 20 years from 1970 on and had over 200 academic journal articles published which pointed out in detail the flaws in such endeavours. I persuaded no-one, of course.  Leftists need their myths and neither logic nor evidence is enough to discredit those myths.  So after 1990 I hung up my spurs and left them to it.  I no longer read their journals so I don't even know what they are saying any more.  Every now and again, however, I come across a new paper in the genre in the course of my other reading.  When I do, the old temptation arises and I say a few words towards shooting it down.  This is another such occasion.  The paper concerned has been much celebrated by Warmists.  Its abstract follows:

Cool dudes: The denial of climate change among conservative white males in the United States

By Aaron M. McCright &  Riley E. Dunlap


We examine whether conservative white males are more likely than are other adults in the U.S. general public to endorse climate change denial. We draw theoretical and analytical guidance from the identity-protective cognition thesis explaining the white male effect and from recent political psychology scholarship documenting the heightened system-justification tendencies of political conservatives. We utilize public opinion data from ten Gallup surveys from 2001 to 2010, focusing specifically on five indicators of climate change denial. We find that conservative white males are significantly more likely than are other Americans to endorse denialist views on all five items, and that these differences are even greater for those conservative white males who self-report understanding global warming very well. Furthermore, the results of our multivariate logistic regression models reveal that the conservative white male effect remains significant when controlling for the direct effects of political ideology, race, and gender as well as the effects of nine control variables. We thus conclude that the unique views of conservative white males contribute significantly to the high level of climate change denial in the United States.


The paper is a 2011 one so several skeptics have already pointed out some of the hilarities in it -- e.g. here, here and here. So I just want to address an hilarity not yet adequately addressed.

What is the “white male effect”?  That concept seems to be the African person in the woodpile in the paper so we need to look carefully at it.  Since white males have contributed the vast majority of humanity's scientific and technological advances, are we talking about people who are particularly likely to be ahead of the curve scientifically?  That interpretation would be highly defensible and logical.  So surely the skepticism of white males should be treated with awe and respect!  That white males tend to be climate skeptics surely validates climate skepticism!

But such an obvious interpretation of their findings appears not to have occurred to the authors concerned.  I wonder why?  They are referring to another (probably dubious) finding in the social science literature.  As this author summarizes:

"The “white male effect” (WME) refers to the observed tendency of white males to be less concerned with all manner of risk than are women and minorities.  The phenomenon was first observed (and the term coined) in a study by Flynn, Slovic & Mertz in 1994 and has been poked and prodded by risk-perception researchers ever since"

So the fact that white males are more willing to take risks is a bad thing?  It seems unlikely.  We would have no businesses without that.  We would have no scientists spending years of their time investigating a hunch that eventually turns out to be right.  We would have no firemen and no policemen.

Presuming there is something in the finding, I would suggest that the finding suggests self confidence among white males -- and self confidence is a good foundation for questioning the consensus.  And we know what the consensus is.  Warmists all tell us that it is the evils of global warming.  So climate skeptics are the independent thinkers and Warmists are the cowardly go-along to get-along types!  I can live with that.

An interesting new paper

The fun is in the last sentence

Return periods of global climate fluctuations and the pause

Sean Lovejoy


An approach complementary to General Circulation Models (GCMs), using the anthropogenic CO2 radiative forcing as a linear surrogate for all anthropogenic forcings [Lovejoy, 2014], was recently developed for quantifying human impacts. Using preindustrial multiproxy series and scaling arguments, the probabilities of natural fluctuations at time lags up to 125 years were determined. The hypothesis that the industrial epoch warming was a giant natural fluctuation was rejected with 99.9% confidence. In this paper, this method is extended to the determination of event return times. Over the period 1880–2013, the largest 32 year event is expected to be 0.47 K, effectively explaining the postwar cooling (amplitude 0.42–0.47 K). Similarly, the “pause” since 1998 (0.28–0.37 K) has a return period of 20–50 years (not so unusual). It is nearly cancelled by the pre-pause warming event (1992–1998, return period 30–40 years); the pause is no more than natural variability.

Geophysical Research Letters

But if the pause is no more than natural variability, why is not the preceding rise also not natural variability?  That the author is a Warmist we can tell from something in the conclusion of the article.  He speaks of the warming being "no more than a giant century scale fluctuation".  A  rise of less than one degree Celsius is "gigantic"???  The guy is off the planet.  "Trivial" is the word I would have used.

Hot and Getting Hotter? UN Agency Presents ‘Imaginary But Realistic’ Weather Forecasts for 2050

They can't even forecast accurately a week ahead and yet they expect us to believe that they can forecast decades ahead?

 In a fresh effort to generate fervor for a far-reaching new global climate agreement, a U.N. agency is releasing videos featuring “imaginary but realistic” weather reports set in 2050, to illustrate the type of extreme conditions it predicts we will face by mid-century.

But the first video in the series of 15 to be rolled out over the coming weeks shows some temperatures for 2050 considerably in excess of those projected in the latest major U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (which has itself been dubbed “too alarmist” by some critics.)

The imaginary 2050 weather forecasts have been submitted by actual television weather presenters from around the world at the invitation of the U.N. World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

In one of them, a map shows a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius (98.6° F) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The latest IPCC report projects that, if “greenhouse gases” (GHG) continue to be emitted at the current rate, temperatures will rise by about 2°C (3.6°F) by 2050, compared to temperatures measured in the 1986-2005 period.

Danish government figures show that Copenhagen in the 1990s and early 2000s had average temperatures ranging from 3°C (37.4°F) in January to 21°C (69.8°F) in August.  According to National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) international meteorological data, Copenhagen’s highest recorded temperature was 31°C (87.8°F).

So in line with the IPCC’s assessment – assuming no reduction in GHG emissions – Copenhagen could expect to have temperatures in the summer of 2050 averaging 23°C (73.4°F) – that is 2°C (3.6°F) higher than those of recent years – much lower than the 37°C (98.6°F) predicted in the WMO’s “imaginary but realistic” weather forecast.

Even the city’s most historically extreme temperature, if increased by the IPCC-projected rise, would only reach 33°C (91.40°F) in 2050.

Similarly, the WMO video features a weather map showing a temperature in central Bulgaria of 50°C (122° F) in 2050.  Central Bulgaria’s average maximum temperature ranges from 6°C (42.8°F) in January to 31°C (87.8°F ) in July, and the highest temperature recorded in Bulgaria, in data going back to 1850, was 45.2°C (113.4°F), in 1916.

And a projected weather map for Zambia on the WMO video shows 48°C (118.4°F) in the southern African country’s south-west.  That part of Zambia’s average maximum temperature ranges from 26°C (78.8°F), in June to 32°C (89.6°F) in September, and its highest recorded temperature “in history” was 42.4°C (108.3°F).

So in all three examples in the WMO video, temperatures in 2050 for Denmark, Bulgaria and Zambia are higher than IPCC predictions, even if record-highest temperatures in those three countries are used as the base line.

Elsewhere in the WMO video’s clips of imaginary weather reports from 2050, a presenter in the United States is heard saying, “Miami South Beach is underwater,” while another reporter states that, “The mega-drought in Arizona has claimed another casualty.”

“The weather reports are potential scenarios compatible with the most up-to-date climate science documented by the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report,” WMO secretary-general Michel Jarraud said in a statement accompanying the launch of the first video.

“They paint a compelling picture of what life could be like on a warmer planet,” he said. “Climate change is already leading to more extreme weather such as intense heat and rain. The ‘abnormal’ risks becoming the norm. We need to act now.”

The WMO videos will be released, one at a time, every weekday from now until September 22, the day before U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon hosts a climate summit in New York.

The Sept. 23 gathering is designed to prod world leaders to make commitments ahead of a major U.N. conference in Paris, France in November 2015, when a global agreement on cutting GHG emissions is meant to be adopted.

The WMO videos feature clips from weather stations in the U.S. (The Weather Channel and NBC 6 in South Florida), Brazil, Japan, Denmark, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Bulgaria, the Philippines, Belgium, South Africa, Iceland, Germany and Tanzania.

U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres thanked the weathermen and women who participated in the campaign “for volunteering their time and their skill to communicate to millions of people the reality we are all facing by 2050 if climate change if left unaddressed.”

“I am sure their films will inspire everyone of the absolute necessity of a meaningful, universal new agreement in Paris in 2015,” she said.


American electricity prices rise most since 2009

They've got a lot of windmills to support

Electricity prices for the first half of the year increased the most in a year-over-year basis since 2009, according to the Energy Department's statistics arm.

U.S. power prices are up 3.2 percent, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Prices rose everywhere except for the Pacific census region, which includes Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, where they dropped 2.5 percent.

New England led much of the spike, as prices there jumped 11.8 percent. The region faced a brutal winter, leading to a natural gas supply crunch that caused prices to soar.

Many electricity customers there live in competitive power markets — unlike the regulated utility monopolies that dominate much of the country — relying on third-party providers for their power. When the cold came in, wholesale prices skyrocketed 45 percent, which the EIA called "the primary driver of the recent increase in New England retail rates."

Some Southern states fared better than the national average. A region of interior Southeastern states that includes Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi experienced a 3.1 percent hike. A clutch of states that includes Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas saw a 2.4 percent increase.

Other power prices increases included: 6.7 percent in the Mid-Atlantic; 4.5 percent in the Mountain region; 4 percent in the South Atlantic, which is bounded by Maryland to the north and Florida in the south; 3.7 percent in part of the Midwest that stretches from Wisconsin to Ohio; and 1.8 percent in a group of states anchored by North Dakota in the northwest and Missouri in the southeast.


Germany's flagship green energy policy 'in tatters'

Germany's flagship green energy policy is in tatters, according to a new report by the consultancy firm McKinsey which says many of its goals are "no longer realistic".

Angela Merkel was hailed as the 'Klimakanzlerin', or 'Climate Chancellor' in 2010 when her government placed Germany at the forefront of the battle against climate change and announced ambitious plans to move to renewable energy sources.

But the McKinsey report says Germany is so far behind its key commitment to cut CO2 emissions that it is no longer realistically achievable.

Mrs Merkel's government has committed to cut CO2 emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. To achieve that, McKinsey argues, Germany would have to cut emissions by an average of 3.5 per cent a year.

But so far, they have only fallen at an average of 0.7 per cent a year, leaving Germany so far behind it would have to increase emissions cuts by a factor of five to reach its target on time.

"Despite the massive expansion of renewable energies, achieving the key objectives of the energy revolution in Germany by 2020 is no longer realistic" says the report.

"If you can't achieve your own targets, you can hardly be a credible advocate for stricter CO2 cuts in Europe or elsewhere in the world," said a comment piece in Welt newspaper.

A major factor in the failure to achieve targeted cuts has been Germany's increased use of "dirty" brown coal, or lignite, to make up the shortfall in power generation caused by its decision to phase out all its nuclear power stations by 2022.

The aim is replace nuclear energy with renewable sources, such as solar and wind power, but they have not yet been able to plug the gap, and the McKinsey report says that while solar energy is on track, the country is behind schedule in developing wind power.

The expensive switchover has also left Germans with some of the highest energy bills in Europe. Household electricity prices are 46 per cent above the European average and rising, according to McKinsey.


The Warmist cooking stove

John Cook's procedures in his "97%" paper re-examined.  Cook has clearly cooked the books

The Cook et al. (2013) 97% paper included a bunch of psychology studies, marketing papers, and surveys of the general public as scientific endorsement of anthropogenic climate change.

Let's go ahead and walk through that sentence again. The Cook et al 97% paper included a bunch of psychology studies, marketing papers, and surveys of the general public as scientific endorsement of anthropogenic climate change. There are multiple acts of fraud in this study, but I was blindsided by this one. I found half of these in ten minutes with their database – there will be more such papers for those who search longer (I have more, but I'm strangely paralyzed by this new discovery, and I don't think the number I list here is terribly important, since the paper is invalid and fraudulent anyway.) I'm not willing to spend a lot of time with their data, for reasons I detail further down.

I contacted the journal – Environmental Research Letters – in June, and called for the retraction of this paper, and it's currently in IOP's hands (the publisher of ERL). I assume they found all these papers already – a full audit will find more. The authors explicitly stated in their paper (Table 1) that social science, education and research on people's views on climate were classified as Not Climate Related, and thus not counted as evidence of scientific endorsement of anthropogenic climate change. All of the papers below were counted as evidence of scientific endorsement of anthropogenic climate change, or as they say on their website and event advertisements, "climate papers".

Chowdhury, M. S. H., Koike, M., Akther, S., & Miah, D. (2011). Biomass fuel use, burning technique and reasons for the denial of improved cooking stoves by Forest User Groups of Rema-Kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary, Bangladesh. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 18(1), 88–97.  (This is a survey of the general public's stove choices, and discusses their value as status symbols, defects in the improved stoves, the relative popularity of cow dung, wood, and leaves as fuel, etc.)

Boykoff, M. T. (2008). Lost in translation? United States television news coverage of anthropogenic climate change, 1995–2004. Climatic Change, 86(1-2), 1–11.

De Best-Waldhober, M., Daamen, D., & Faaij, A. (2009). Informed and uninformed public opinions on CO2 capture and storage technologies in the Netherlands. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 3(3), 322–332.

Tokushige, K., Akimoto, K., & Tomoda, T. (2007). Public perceptions on the acceptance of geological storage of carbon dioxide and information influencing the acceptance. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 1(1), 101–112.

Egmond, C., Jonkers, R., & Kok, G. (2006). A strategy and protocol to increase diffusion of energy related innovations into the mainstream of housing associations. Energy Policy, 34(18), 4042–4049.

Gruber, E., & Brand, M. (1991). Promoting energy conservation in small and medium-sized companies. Energy Policy, 19(3), 279–287.

Şentürk, İ., Erdem, C., Şimşek, T., & Kılınç, N. (2011). Determinants of vehicle fuel-type preference in developing countries: a case of Turkey.  (This was a web survey of the general public.)

Grasso, V., Baronti, S., Guarnieri, F., Magno, R., Vaccari, F. P., & Zabini, F. (2011). Climate is changing, can we? A scientific exhibition in schools to understand climate change and raise awareness on sustainability good practices. International Journal of Global Warming, 3(1), 129–141.  (This paper is literally about going to schools in Italy and showing an exhibition.)

Palmgren, C. R., Morgan, M. G., Bruine de Bruin, W., & Keith, D. W. (2004). Initial public perceptions of deep geological and oceanic disposal of carbon dioxide. Environmental Science & Technology, 38(24), 6441–6450.  (Two surveys of the general public.)

Semenza, J. C., Ploubidis, G. B., & George, L. A. (2011). Climate change and climate variability: personal motivation for adaptation and mitigation. Environmental Health, 10(1), 46.  (This was a phone survey of the general public.)

Héguy, L., Garneau, M., Goldberg, M. S., Raphoz, M., Guay, F., & Valois, M.-F. (2008). Associations between grass and weed pollen and emergency department visits for asthma among children in Montreal. Environmental Research, 106(2), 203–211. (They mention in passing that there are some future climate scenarios predicting an increase in pollen, but their paper has nothing to do with that. It's just medical researchers talking about asthma and ER visits in Montreal, in the present, and they make no mention of human-caused climate change – not that it would matter if they did.)

Lewis, S. (1994). An opinion on the global impact of meat consumption. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 59(5), 1099S–1102S.  (Just what it sounds like.)

De Boer, I. J. (2003). Environmental impact assessment of conventional and organic milk production. Livestock Production Science, 80(1), 69–77

Acker, R. H., & Kammen, D. M. (1996). The quiet (energy) revolution: analysing the dissemination of photovoltaic power systems in Kenya. Energy Policy, 24(1), 81–111.  (This is about the "dissemination" of physical objects, presumably PV power systems in Kenya. To illustrate the issue here, if I went out and analyzed the adoption of PV power systems in Arizona, or of LED lighting in Lillehammer, my report would not be scientific evidence of anthropogenic climate change, or admissable into a meaningful climate consensus. Concretize it: Imagine a Mexican walking around counting solar panels, obtaining sales data, typing in MS Word, and e-mailing the result to Energy Policy. What just happened? Nothing relevant to a climate consensus.)

Vandenplas, P. E. (1998). Reflections on the past and future of fusion and plasma physics research. Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 40(8A), A77.  (This is a pitch for the ITER tokamak reactor, and compares it to the old INTOR.  For example, we learn that the major radius of INTOR was 5.2 m, while ITER is 8.12 m. I've never liked the funding conflict-of-interest argument against the AGW consensus, but this is an obvious case. The abstract closes with "It is our deep moral obligation to convince the public at large of the enormous promise and urgency of controlled thermonuclear fusion as a safe, environmentally friendly and inexhaustible energy source." I love the ITER, but this paper has nothing to do with climate science.)

Gökçek, M., Erdem, H. H., & Bayülken, A. (2007). A techno-economical evaluation for installation of suitable wind energy plants in Western Marmara, Turkey. Energy, Exploration & Exploitation, 25(6), 407–427.  (This is a set of cost estimates for windmill installations in Turkey.)

Gampe, F. (2004). Space technologies for the building sector. Esa Bulletin, 118, 40–46.  (This is magazine article – a magazine published by the European Space Agency. Given that the ESA calls it a magazine, it's unlikely to be peer-reviewed, and it's not a climate paper of any kind – after making the obligatory comments about climate change, it proceeds to its actual topic, which is applying space vehicle technology to building design.)

Ha-Duong, M. (2008). Hierarchical fusion of expert opinions in the Transferable Belief Model, application to climate sensitivity. International Journal of Approximate Reasoning, 49(3), 555–574. (The TBM is a theory of evidence and in some sense a social science theory – JDM applied to situations where the stipulated outcomes are not exhaustive, and thus where the probability of the empty set is not zero. This paper uses a dataset (Morgan & Keith, 1995) that consists of interviews with 16 scientists in 1995, and applies TBM to that data. On the one hand, it's a consensus paper (though dated and small sampled), and would therefore not count. A consensus paper can't include other consensus papers – circular. On the other hand, it purports to estimate of the plausible range of climate sensitivity, using the TBM, which could make it a substantive climate science paper. This is ultimately moot given everything else that happened here, but I'd exclude it from a valid study, given that it's not primary evidence and the age of the source data. (I'm not sure if Ha-Duong is talking about TCS or ECS, but I think it's ECS.))

Douglas, J. (1995). Global climate research: Informing the decision process. EPRI Journal. (This is an industry newsletter essay – the Electric Power Research Institute. It has no abstract, which would make it impossible for the Cook crew to rate it. It also pervasively highlights downward revisions of warming and sea level rise estimates, touts Nordhaus' work, and stresses the uncertainties – everything you'd expect from an industry group. For example: "A nagging problem for policy-makers as they consider the potential costs and impacts of climate change is that the predictions of change made by various models often do not agree." In any case, this isn't a climate paper, or peer-reviewed, and it has no abstract. They counted it as Implicit Endorsement – Mitigation. They don't even know who the author is, listing it as anonymous. I discovered on my own that it was John Douglas.)

(I previously listed two other papers as included in the 97%, but I was wrong. They were rated as endorsement of AGW, but were also categorized as Not Climate Related. More papers are coming soon. I have a very long list, relented a bit on my refusal to spend time with their data...)

The inclusion of non-climate papers directly contradicts their stated exclusion criteria. The Not Climate Related category was supposed to include "Social science, education, research about people’s views on climate." (Their Table 1, page 2) Take another look at the list above. Look for social science (e.g. psychology, attitudes), education, and research on people's views...

The authors' claim to have excluded these unrelated papers was false, and they should be investigated for fraud. There are more papers like this, and if we extrapolate, a longer search will yield even more. This paper should be retracted post haste, and perhaps the university will conduct a more thorough investigation and audit. There are many angles and layers to what they pulled here -- I'm only giving you the early light. Now, let's look at some papers they didn't include:

Lindzen, R. S. (2002). Do deep ocean temperature records verify models? Geophysical Research Letters, 29(8), 1254.

Lindzen, R. S., Chou, M. D., & Hou, A. Y. (2001). Does the earth have an adaptive infrared iris? Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 82(3), 417–432.

Lindzen, R. S., & Giannitsis, C. (2002). Reconciling observations of global temperature change. Geophysical Research Letters, 29(12), 1583.

Spencer, R. W. (2007). How serious is the global warming threat? Society, 44(5), 45–50.

There are many, many more excluded papers like these. They excluded every paper Richard Lindzen has published since 1997. How is this possible? He has over 50 publications in that span, most of them journal articles. They excluded almost all of the relevant work of arguably the most prominent skeptical or lukewarm climate scientist in the world. Their search was staggering in its incompetence. They searched the Web of Science for the topics of "global warming" and "global climate change", using quotes, so those exact phrases. I don't know how Web of Science defines a topic, but designing the search that way, constrained to those exact phrases as topics, excluded everything Lindzen has done in the current century, and a lot more.

Anyone care to guess which kinds of papers will tend to use the exact phrase "global warming" as official keywords? Which way do you think such papers will lean? Did no one think about about any of this? Their search method excluded vast swaths of research by Lindzen, Spencer, Pielke, and others. I'm not going to do all the math on this – someone else should dig into the differential effects of their search strategy.

However, this doesn't explain the exclusion of the above Spencer paper. It comes up in the Web of Science search they say they ran, yet it's somehow absent from their database. They included – and counted as evidence of scientific endorsement – papers about TV coverage, public surveys, psychology theories, and magazine articles, but failed to count a journal article written by a climate scientist called "How serious is the global warming threat?" It was in the search results, so its exclusion is a mystery. If the idea is that it was in a non-climate journal, they clearly didn't exclude such journals (see above), and they were sure to count the paper's opposite number (as endorsement):

Oreskes, N., Stainforth, D. A., & Smith, L. A. (2010). Adaptation to global warming: do climate models tell us what we need to know? Philosophy of Science, 77(5), 1012–1028.

In any case, they excluded a vast number of relevant and inconvenient climate science papers. In all of this, I'm just scratching the surface.

Let's look at a climate-related paper they did include:

Idso, C. D., Idso, S. B., Kimball, B. A., HyoungShin, P., Hoober, J. K., Balling Jr, R. C., & others. (2000). Ultra-enhanced spring branch growth in CO2-enriched trees: can it alter the phase of the atmosphere’s seasonal CO2 cycle? Environmental and Experimental Botany, 43(2), 91–100.

The abstract says nothing about AGW or human activity. It doesn't even talk about CO2 causing an increase in temperature. In fact, it's the reverse. It talks about increases in temperature affecting the timing of seasonal CO2 oscillations, and talks about the amplitude of such oscillations. It's a focused and technical climate science paper talking about a seasonal mechanism. The raters apparently didn't understand it, which isn't surprising, since many of them lacked the scientific background to rate climate science abstracts – there are no climate scientists among them, although there is at least one scientist in another field, while several are laypeople. They counted it as endorsement of AGW. I guess the mere mention of CO2 doomed it.

Here's another paper, one of only three papers by Judith Curry in the present century that they included:

Curry, J. A., Webster, P. J., & Holland, G. J. (2006). Mixing politics and science in testing the hypothesis that greenhouse warming is causing a global increase in hurricane intensity. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 87(8), 1025–1037.

Among other things, it disputes the attribution of increased hurricane frequency to increased sea surface temperature. The Cook crew classified it as taking no "No Position". Note that they had an entire category of endorsement called Impacts. Their scheme was rigged in multiple ways, and one of those ways was their categorization. It was asymmetric, having various categories that assumed endorsement, like Impacts, without any counterpart categories for non-endorsement or contesting endorsement. There was no category of Contesting or Disputing Impacts. This is perhaps the 17th reason why the paper is invalid.

There is another pervasive phenomenon in their data – all sorts of random engineering papers that merely mention global warming and then proceed to talk about their engineering projects. For example:

Tran, T. H. Y., Haije, W. G., Longo, V., Kessels, W. M. M., & Schoonman, J. (2011). Plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition of titania on alumina for its potential use as a hydrogen-selective membrane. Journal of Membrane Science, 378(1), 438–443.

They counted it as endorsement. There are lots of engineering papers like this. They usually classify them as "Mitigation." Most such "mitigation" papers do not represent or carry knowedge, data, or findings about AGW, or climate, or even the natural world. There are far more of these sorts of papers than actual climate science papers in their data. Those who have tried to defend the Cook paper should dig out all the social science papers that were included, all the engineering papers, all the surveys of the general public and op-eds. I've given you more than enough to go on – you're the ones who are obligated to do the work, since you engaged so little with the substance of the paper and apparently gave no thought to its methods and the unbelievable bias of its researchers. The paper will be invalid for many reasons, including the exclusion of articles that took no position on AGW, which were the majority.

Critically, they allowed themselves a category of "implicit endorsement". Combine this with the fact that the authors here were political activists who wanted to achieve a specific result and appointed themselves subjective raters of abstracts, and the results are predictable. Almost every paper I listed above was rated as implicit endorsement. The operative method seemed to be that if an abstract mentioned climate change (or even just CO2), it was treated as implicit endorsement by many raters, regardless of what the paper was about.

There's yet another major problem that interweaves with the above. Counting mitigation papers creates a fundamental structural bias that will inflate the consensus. In a ridiculous study where we're counting papers that endorse AGW and offsetting them only with papers that reject AGW, excluding the vast majority of topical climate science papers in the search results that don't take simple positions, what is the rejection equivalent of a mitigation paper? What is the disconfirming counterpart? Do the math in your head. Start with initial conditions of some kind of consensus in climate science, or the widespread belief that there is a consensus (it doesn't matter whether it's true for the math here.) Then model the propagation of the "consensus" to a bunch of mitigation papers from all sorts of non-climate fields. Climate science papers reporting anthropogenic forcing have clear dissenting counterparts – climate science papers that dispute or minimize anthropogenic forcing (ignore the fallacy of demanding that people prove a negative and all the other issues here.) But the mitigation papers do not have any such counterpart, any place for disconfirmation. As a category, they're whipped cream on top, a buy-one-get-three-free promotion – they can only inflate, can only confirm.

It's even more clear when we consider social science papers. Like most of these mitigation papers, all that's happening is that climate change is mentioned in an abstract, public views of climate change are being surveyed, etc. In what way could a social science paper or survey of the general public be classified as rejecting AGW by this method? In theory, how would that work? Would we count social science papers that don't mention AGW or climate as rejection? Could a social science paper say "We didn't ask about climate change" and have that be counted as rejection? Remember, what got them counted was asking people about climate, or the psychology of belief, adoption of solar panels, talking about TV coverage, etc. Would papers that report the lack of enthusiasm for solar panels, or the amount of gasoline purchased in Tanzania, count as evidence against AGW, as rejection? What if, instead of analyzing TV coverage of AGW, a researcher chose to do a content analysis of Taco Bell commercials from 1995-2004? Rejection? And if a physicist calling for funding for a tokamak reactor counts as endorsement, would a physicist not calling for funding of a tokamak reactor, or instead calling for funding of a particle accelerator, count as rejection? I assume this is clear at this point. Counting mitigation papers, and certainly social science and economic papers, rigs the results (many of which I didn't list above, because I'm stubborn and shouldn't have to list them all.) Not surprisingly, I haven't found a single psychology, social science, or survey study that they classified as rejection...

(Some might argue that choice of research topic, like choosing to research public opinion on climate change, TV coverage of the same, or the proliferation of solar panels, carries epistemic information relevant to consensus on AGW. But you should just fast-forward the math in your head – don't waste time on arguments that we know aren't going to work out. The pool of non-climate-topical research overwhelms the pool of topical research, so it's going to come down to something like 1% of non-climate science people talking about climate in their research spiked up to 1.2% because of a stipulated consensus, where that delta carries epistemic information due to the meme of a probable and probably correct consensus (which you have to show), and you have to show that this delta is driven by the social dynamics of a probable and probably true consensus out of all the noise and factors that drive research topic choices, ruling out political biases, funding, advisors, self-reinforcement, social acceptance, etc.)

The inclusion of so many non-climate papers is just one of the three acts of fraud in this publication. It might be a fraud record... There's too much fraud in scientific journals, just an unbelievable amount of fraud. Whatever we're doing isn't working. Peer review in its current form isn't working. There's an added vulnerability when journals publish work that is completely outside their field, as when a climate science journal publishes what is essentially a social science study (this fraudulent paper was published in Environmental Research Letters.)

They claimed to use independent raters, a crucial methodological feature of any subjective rater study conducted by actual researchers: "Each abstract was categorized by two independent, anonymized raters." (p. 2)

Here's an online forum where the raters are collaborating with each other on their ratings. The forum directory is here.

And here's another discussion.

And another one. Here, Tom Curtis asks:

"Giving the objective to being as close to double blind in methodology as possible, isn't in inappropriate to discuss papers on the forum until all the ratings are complete?"

The man understands the nature of the enterprise (Curtis keeps coming up all over the web as someone with a lot of integrity and ability. He was apparently a rater, but is not one of the authors.) He was ignored in the forum (I assume there was some backchannel communication.) The raters carried on in the forum and violated the protocol they subsequently claimed in their paper.

In a subjective rating study where human raters read and interpret climate science abstracts, the raters must to be blind to the authors of the articles they rate for the study to be valid. This study makes these methodological issues secondary given the inherent invalidity of political activists subjectively rating abstracts on the issue of their activism. Let's set that aside for the moment. In addition to their claim of independent raters, the authors claimed that they enforced blindness to the authors of the papers they rated: "Abstracts were randomly distributed via a web-based system to raters with only the title and abstract visible. All other information such as author names and affiliations, journal and publishing date were hidden." (their page 2)

They lied about that too....

Much more HERE  (See the original for links)


For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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