Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The 97% exaggeration that won't go away (WeatherBell.COM)


September 4 08:20 AM

by Joe D'Aleo

Frequently in stories and congressional testimony we hear that 97% of the world's scientists agreed that man is the driver of the climate and that the warming in unequivocal.

During the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing held August 1st on “Update on the Latest Climate Change Science …” much was made of that statement that 98% of scientists agree that global warming is occurring and humans are the cause. Senator Sessions expressed skepticism about the statement and was somewhat belittled for his disbelief.

Apparently, the poll being referenced was one published in EOS on January 20, 2009. EOS is published by the American Geophysical Union and bills itself as: “The premier international newspaper of the Earth and space sciences, EOS seeks to forge strong interdisciplinary ties among geophysicists and place the important contributions of geophysics in the context of the social and policy-making arenas".

The researchers sent an online survey to 10,257 Earth scientists working for universities and government research agencies, and generated responses from 3,146 people to the following questions.

Q 1. “When compared with pre‐1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?”

Q 2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”

Few who have studied climate change would object to the first. Certainly the earth is warmer than during the Little ice Age.

Most skeptics would object or disagree on the second. If one includes urbanization and land use changes such as deforestation and irrigation, certainly, man affects local even regional climate often in a significant way.

The researchers then boiled down the numbers to those who self identified themselves as “those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change (79 individuals in total).

Of these specialists, 96.2% (76 of 79) answered ‘risen’ to question 1 and 97.4% (75 of 77) answered ‘yes’ to question 2.”

Thus, the touted 97% figure is based on the responses of 0.75% of those polled, just 77 to 79 scientists, certainly a minute fraction of 5.8 million scientists (AAAS). And the questions asked are ones even the most ardent skeptics may have answered yes.

This is one more study that qualifies for inclusion in an update of the classic, How to Lie with Statistics.

The American Meteorological Society issued its information statement last month asserting again that warming in unequivocal and man is solely responsible due to CO2. It was drafted by a handpicked group of scientists in a stealth committee (the AMS will not divulge the names), claiming the statement belongs to the 11,000 members and they have input. BULL. Many of us submitted lengthy rebuttals to the draft in the 30 day comment period, citing our own and other peer reviewed papers that challenged the many claims made and insisting the AMS include the oceans and sun as factors as many of these peer reviewed papers showed was the case 'unequivocally'. These member comments were rejected or ignored and no substantive changes were made. The statement was timed for the election as a tool for the party in power to use to keep the environmentalists on board and the money flowing. The AMS has advocacy of public policy as one of its primary goals. When I was a councilor in the 2000s I argued that the society ought to advocate good science and not policy. There are already many organizations dealing with policy. but the society i catering to its many academics who have never had such a windfall of grant money. Even those discredited in the community have the money flowing. Skeptics are accused of being in it for the money and funded by big oil. They used to claim Exxon gave $19 M in the 1990s to skeptics. Well big oil has gone to the dark side. Exton gave $I'm to Stanford and BP $500m to UC Berkeley to study global warming.

Dennis Ambler identified some EPA grants to various organizations, some of which may be questionable to some members of Congress. Grants include topics such as environmental justice, climate change, models, and foreign grants. Almost $5 million went to the UN Environmental Programme, including promoting environmentally sound management worldwide and global environmental agreements. Other grants include $10,476,856 over 5 years to AAAS “To establish and nurture critical links between decision-makers and scientific professionals to support public policy that benefits society” (lobbying); $4,437,241 to AAAS over five years to establish fellowships under the EPA. Not to be left out, $20,405,655 in the last 10 years went to the American Lung Association, which lobbies heavily for more EPA regulations; $1,277,500 to the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development; and $1,150,123 to Natural Resources Defense Council (3 years) for sustainable change.

It has been estimated $10 Billion dollars has gone to fund this one sided science. The US government shells out $7B of your tax dollars each year to its agencies to study and develop policy about global warming. The administration (Hillary Clinton for Barach Obama has promised $100B be given to the UN for it sefforts on climate the next decade.

Scientific American polled its readers and found that about 16% believe the U.N. IPCC to be credible, while 84% believe the IPCC to be “ a corrupt organization, prone to groupthink, with a political agenda”. Indeed the UN agrees. Its own spokesman Otmar Edinhofer admitted that climate policy is not about the environment but it is about redistributing the worlds wealth.

Former grant recipients who are not believers or are more open minded who used to be funded for their work have been shut off (Dr. Gray for example had all his NSF hurricane forecasting and research dollars cut when he stated that variations in the AMO not CO2 was responsible for the increase in Atlantic Basin storms since 1995. I have been told by other researchers at the universities that look into solar and ocean and land use factors and not CO2 have also had their funding shut down. In one case, a professor told me he may have to return to his own country (Italy) as he can't survive on his part time teaching salary alone. He gets no funding even though he publishes multiple papers a year, good enough to pass the peer review barrier.

The NSF has been told not to fund deniers. Eisenhower was very prescient in his Farrell address about this threat half a century ago. The speech was remembered more for his comments on the Military industrial complex threat but he saw the same dangers in the world of science. Listen to the whole address. The man was Nostradamus on this topic.

The scientific method has been abused and ignored in the process of preserving the grant gravy train. Physicist Richard Fineman described how it is SUPPOSED to work.

10 comments | Post a Comment


Anon1152 said...

You wrote: "Scientific American polled its readers and found that about 16% believe the U.N. IPCC to be credible, while 84% believe the IPCC to be “ a corrupt organization, prone to groupthink, with a political agenda”."

This sounded strange to me, so I tried to find out more about the poll. Apparently, it was an unscientific online poll that was hijacked by wattsupwiththat.com and smalldeadanimals.com readers. It isn't exactly a poll of Scientific American's readers.

Details are here: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2010/11/18/207059/scientific-american-science-deniers-patrick-michaels-george-gilder-unscientific-online-poll/

I'm thinking in particular of the following passage:

"Ignore for the moment that this poll was not scientific (nor was it meant to be) and that it was open to all who have access to the Internet, not just to our subscribers, as Gilder implied.

"Rather, the big problem was that the poll was skewed by visitors who clicked over from the well-known climate denier site, Watts Up With That? Run by Anthony Watts, the site created a web page urging users to take the poll.

"It sure worked. Our traffic statistics from October 25, when the poll went live, to November 1 (the latest for which we have data on referrals) indicate that 30.5 percent of page views (about 4,000) of the poll came from Watts Up. The next highest referrer at 16 percent was a Canadian blog site smalldeadanimals.com; it consists of an eclectic mix of posts and comments, and if I had to guess, I would say its users leaned toward the climate denier side based on a few comments I saw. Meanwhile, on the other side of the climate debate, Joe Romm’s Climate Progress drove just 2.9 percent and was the third highest referrer."

Dollops said...

Anon, even if you assume the worst, that Watts' and SDA's poll responders were largely knuckle dragging realists like myself, how do you account for the other 50%+ who polled 2/3rds of the opinion that the IPCC is untrustworthy? Must be the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy again, eh?

Anon1152 said...

Dollops: either way the poll is extremely compromised. And it's referenced in a post that complains about lying with statistics.

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