Sunday, May 26, 2024

A Critical Examination Of ‘Consensus’ In Climate Science

Written by Dr. Matthew Wielicki

I see that Wielicki refers to the famous "97%" study by John Cook (entitled “Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature” and published in the journal Environmental Research Letters in 2013).

It was once widely quoted by the Green/Left but it no longer is and I had almost forgotten it. But it was such a methodological disaster area that even the Left eventually had to go quiet on it. See some of the critique of it below:

The concept of a scientific consensus on ‘climate change’ has been a focal point in public and academic discourse, often cited to underscore the urgency and legitimacy of addressing global warming

This consensus refers to the agreement among scientists that climate change is real, predominantly caused by human activities, and poses significant risks to the planet.

While the consensus is frequently highlighted to support policy measures and societal action, its emergence, use, and implications warrant a critical examination.

This article explores the origins of the consensus concept, its application in promoting bad science, and the methodological critiques that challenge its validity.

Ultimately, science should be driven by continuous inquiry and debate rather than by consensus, which can stifle scientific progress.

The idea of a consensus on ‘climate change’ began to take shape in the late 20th century as the evidence for global warming accumulated. Key reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and prominent studies highlighted the human impact on climate, leading to a perceived agreement among climate scientists.

This consensus was increasingly used to galvanize public opinion and political action. The notion gained substantial traction with the publication of influential papers and statements by scientific bodies, such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the NASA.

The consensus on ‘climate change’ has played a dual role. On one hand, it has been instrumental in driving policy initiatives aimed at mitigating ‘climate change’. By presenting an apparent unified front, scientists have effectively exaggerated the seriousness of climate issues to policymakers and the public, fostering initiatives like the Paris Agreement.

On the other hand, the reliance on consensus has sometimes led to the endorsement of flawed science. Historical examples, such as the consensus on the geocentric model of the universe or the now-discredited belief in eugenics, illustrate how consensus can perpetuate incorrect or harmful ideas.

In the context of climate science, the emphasis on consensus may have suppressed dissenting views and critical examination of methodologies.

Several seminal papers have bolstered the perception of a scientific consensus on ‘climate change’. In her widely cited essay published in Science, Naomi Oreskes reviewed 928 abstracts of peer-reviewed papers and concluded that 75 percent supported the consensus view, while none explicitly refuted it.

This study has been pivotal in reinforcing the consensus narrative. Similarly, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Anderegg et al. analyzed the publication and citation records of climate researchers, finding that 97-98 pertcent of the most active researchers supported the consensus view on ‘anthropogenic climate change’.

Another review by Cook et al. of over 11,000 scientific papers found that 97.1 percent of those expressing a position on anthropogenic global warming endorsed the consensus view. This paper has been extensively cited in both academic literature and public discourse.

However, the consensus narrative has raised several methodological concerns. Studies like Oreskes and Cook et al. suffer from selection bias, as they only include papers that explicitly state a position on ‘climate change’, potentially excluding neutral or dissenting papers.

Notice how the consensus arguments fall apart when including all papers.

The methodologies used to assess consensus, such as counting abstracts or analyzing citation records, have been critiqued for oversimplifying complex scientific opinions and reducing nuanced positions to binary categories.

In fact, a re-review of Cook et al. 2013 found…

A claim has been that 97 percent of the scientific literature endorses anthropogenic climate change (Cook et al., 2013. Environ. Res. Lett. 8, 024024).

This claim, frequently repeated in debates about climate policy, does not stand. A trend in composition is mistaken for a trend in endorsement.

Reported results are inconsistent and biased. The sample is not representative and contains many irrelevant papers. Overall, data quality is low. Cook׳s validation test shows that the data are invalid.

Data disclosure is incomplete so that key results cannot be reproduced or tested.

Additionally, there are concerns that the drive to establish a consensus has led to confirmation bias, where studies and papers supporting the consensus are preferentially published, cited, and funded while dissenting views are marginalized.

Evidence suggests that many scientists, particularly young career, feel pressured to align with the consensus to secure funding, publish in prestigious journals, or avoid professional ostracism.

I definitely felt this pressure as a young academic working towards tenure. This entire system inhibits open scientific inquiry and debate.

While a useful tool for mobilizing action, the claimed consensus in climate science also presents significant challenges. The reliance on consensus can perpetuate flawed methodologies, suppress dissent, and hinder the fundamental scientific process of debate and critical inquiry.

Historical precedents demonstrate that scientific progress often arises from questioning and overturning established views, not from adhering to consensus.

Science thrives on skepticism and debate, and it is through this process that our understanding of complex issues like ‘climate change’ will continue to evolve and improve.


Scotland can meet Germany's demand for green hydrogen, new report finds

Green hydrogen is hydrogen cracked out of water using a lot of electricity from solar power or windfarms. It is unclear why Scotland would be good at that. Sunlight is rare there though it is rather windy. And let us not mention the large costs of transporting it in its customary liquefied form. Just another Leftist boondoggle

PLANS have been set out for green hydrogen produced in Scotland to be exported to Germany.

The Enabling Green Hydrogen Exports report commissioned by the Scottish Government analysed hydrogen production in Scotland and the demand for the green energy source in Germany.

The report is a collaborative effort between the UK-based Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC) and German-based Cruh21 and explores the technologies, infrastructure, and regulatory frameworks required to enable a safe and effective distribution of hydrogen.

According to the report, Scottish hydrogen exports could potentially meet between 22% to 100% of Germany’s hydrogen import demand by 2045.

One key point raised from the report is the need for further research and prioritising investment into the infrastructure to meet the potential demand for green hydrogen from Germany.

Mairi McAllan, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Energy, recognised the “great” export opportunity with green hydrogen and confirmed the Scottish Government will shortly publish more plans on the project.

She said: “Scotland is strongly positioned to become a major exporter of hydrogen to Northern Europe and the UK – contributing to our climate objectives and to green economic property for our nation.

“Today’s report, which the Scottish Government commissioned and funded, explores how to match Scottish hydrogen production to German hydrogen demand.

“Green hydrogen that is created with renewable electricity will help to reduce our emissions for hard to decarbonise sectors in Scotland and could also be a great export opportunity to the rest of the UK and to our European neighbours.

“We are determined to realise this opportunity and will shortly be publishing an export plan for to this end.”

Mairi McAllan, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Energy, and MSP for Clydesdale

NZTC is a not-for-profit organisation working with industry, government and academia to help drive technology innovation and to accelerate the energy transition to net zero.

Ana Almeida, senior project engineer for NZTC, also hailed the collaboration with German-based Cruh21 saying that working together helped to make sure both parties benefit equally from the proposed plans.

She said: “Whilst the potential for hydrogen production in Scotland is well understood alongside the scale of predicted demand in Germany, there is a lack of tangible strategies connecting supply and demand and its evolution from present day to 2045, when both countries aim to achieve Net Zero carbon emission targets.

“The scenarios outlined in this report illustrate pathways to maximise the opportunity of international hydrogen distribution.

“Developing the report in collaboration with Cruh21 also ensured the barriers and benefits for both countries were fully considered.”

There are two “critical stages” in the report, the first being the short term up to 2030 which focuses on early production and the transition out of energy generating systems which the green hydrogen plants will replace.

The second stage looks at a period between 2030-2045 and involves commissioning and ramping up of the pipeline infrastructure to help distribution at a lower cost.

Meryem Maghrebi, a consultant at Cruh21, said: “This report provides a holistic overview and stresses the necessity of developing a synchronised hydrogen and derivatives infrastructure, encompassing export terminals and pipeline networks, to bolster the hydrogen supply chain between Scotland and Germany.

“The critical factors to accelerate collaboration between Scotland and Germany lie in mapping supply and demand development and the establishment of Pan North Sea transport infrastructure.

“The cooperation with NZTC is a first step towards this goal.”


La belle France: Over 170 Arrested As Climate Protests Target TotalEnergies And Fund Manager

The boss of TotalEnergies told shareholders Friday that new oil fields had to be developed to meet global demand, as the annual meetings of the French energy giant and one of its biggest shareholders were picketed by climate activists.

Police said they detained 173 people among hundreds who gathered outside the Paris headquarters of Amundi, one of the world's biggest investment managers and a major TotalEnergies shareholder.

Climate activists also gathered hours before the TotalEnergies annual general meeting opened. Greenpeace members unfurled a "Wanted" banner calling its chief Patrick Pouyanne "the leader of France's most polluting company".

The banner was quickly taken down by police.

Several hundred activists belonging to Extinction Rebellion gathered outside Amundi for its general meeting.

A few dozen protesters forced their way into Amundi's tower block, daubing graffiti on the walls and smashing some windows, police said. Amundi said eight of its security staff were injured.

The activists say TotalEnergies is contributing to global warming and the destruction of biodiversity through its gas and oil activities.

Pouyanne told shareholders that higher oil prices prompted by insufficient fossil fuel output "would quickly become unbearable for the populations in emerging countries, but also in our developed countries".

Demand for oil was growing in line with the global population, he said.

But Pouyanne said TotalEnergies would pursue its "balanced strategy" of developing both fossil fuel and low-carbon energy production.

TotalEnergies had proved it was possible "to be a profitable, or even the most profitable, company while pursuing a transformation" toward cleaner energy, he said.

At Friday's meeting, nearly 80 percent of shareholders approved the company's climate strategy, with more than 75 percent also voting to renew Pouyanne as CEO for three years.

Pouyanne, who last month floated the idea of a New York listing for the company, told shareholders there was "no question" of TotalEnergies leaving France.

French President Emmanuel Macron, asked by Bloomberg if he would be "happy" with such a move, responded: "Not at all and I would be very surprised" if it came to pass.


Climate Ideology Ignores Science and History, Threatens Humanity

Climate scientists would be less likely to issue dire warnings of planetary doom if they gave more credence to the geological history of the past several million years. Instead, they rely on computer models that are biased by the preconceptions of their manipulators and incapable of accounting for the myriad factors influencing global temperatures.

Minuscule recent warming, whatever the cause, is inconsequential in light of the long record of data found in Antarctica ice cores that go back 800,000 years. The bottom line is that Earth is colder by nearly 3 degrees Celsius than it was 3,000 years ago and is just now climbing out of its longest cold spell of the last 10,000 years. Blaring headlines about record heat waves of the past 100 years are meaningless, hysterical blather.

A deeper dive into geologic history — based partly on the record stored over millions of years in deep-ocean sediments — shows that today’s carbon dioxide concentrations of 420 parts per million are a fraction of past levels that reached 5,000 ppm and more. Carbon dioxide is nearly at its lowest level ever since plant life began so many millions of years ago and well below the optimum amount for the health of most vegetation.

In fact, the 280-ppm concentration of the mid-19th century is uncomfortably close to the point at which plant life dies — below 150 ppm. Given that all life depends on adequate amounts of this gas, proposals to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide are nothing less than reckless.

Any global increase in carbon dioxide will be beneficial and have nearly no impact on future temperature. In contrast, demonstrated in the “bible” of human history and climate change compiled by the late professor Hubert Lamb at the University of East Anglia, cold kills.

During the Little Ice Age in parts of England, the “yearly number of burials exceeded the births from the 1660’s until about 1730,” he reported.

Why, then, are so many demonizing fossil fuels? The wealth enabled by coal, oil and natural gas has provided the leisure — and funding — for numerous researchers to focus on climate change instead of struggling to stay alive. Global society is absolutely dependent upon cheap and plentiful energy for its survival. Why would some demand that civilization retreat from useful energy sources to bring back mass starvation, poverty and horse-drawn buggies?

To dream of a utopian world is perhaps admirable, but to inflict suffering upon society through ignorance of science is deplorable.

Humanity is deprived of precious learning when so many favor the ideology and fearmongering of climate alarmists over the meticulous research of eminent physical scientists such as Richard Alley, professor of geoscience at Pennsylvania State University, who pioneered studies of ice cores, and Richard Lindzen, professor emeritus of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who explored the incredible complexity of atmospheric physics.

We could easily name dozens of others similarly credentialed, who are largely unknown outside the scientific community.

The public is “protected” from empirical data by legacy and social media censors who eagerly broadcast the supposed need to restrict global warming to 1.5 or 2.0 degrees Celsius — artificial constructs with no scientific basis.

We thus suffer the consequences of unwarranted regulatory intrusions into daily life, be they restrictions on heating, air conditioning, dishwashers and stoves or the increased price and reduced availability of electricity. The effects of these range from annoying to life-threatening.

There is no global climate emergency. There is, however, a widespread knowledge crisis.




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