What’s the consensus of climate scientists? Why do we care?

chartHere’s a briefing about climate change, prepared for Politifact at their request. Unused, of course, since the reporter was just fishing for smears (here’s an analysis of what they published). However, it’s a useful introduction to this complex subject. What do we know about the consensus of climate scientists, and why does it matter? These are unedited emails, and so roughly written and unproofed. (2nd of 2 posts today.)

Initial Inquiry by Linda Qiu of Politifact, and my response

I’m a reporter with PolitiFact, the fact-checking website of the Tampa Bay Times. I’m currently looking into something Rick Santorum said: 57% of scientists “don’t buy into the idea that CO2 is the knob that’s turning the climate.” His campaign hasn’t gotten back to me on his source but one of your posts also has the figure, but it’s not quite what Santorum said. So I was hoping for your take on Santorum’s reading on your analysis — how accurate is it?

I have a lot of data about this. Here’s a quick data dump. I’m in the middle of something about this very subject, so don’t have time to compose. Tell me what more you’d like. I can provide links and cites for all of this. I work late, so deadlines are not a problem.

There have been many surveys seeking to determine the consensus of scientists and the subgroup of climate scientists (neither group having a clear definition) about the headline attribution statements of the IPCC. That is, how much of the warming since 1950 is attributed to us.  The IPCC states its findings in two parts: the finding, and the IPCC’s confidence in that finding. The latter is off little relevance to science, but obviously of great importance when taking public policy action. For example, it’s nice to know that all scientists believe “X”, but what if they have little confidence in that belief?

The standard measure of confidence is 95% (defining what this means is both complex and controversial, especially now with the replication crisis). The IPCC defines 90%+ as “very likely” and 95%+ as “extremely likely”.

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    And of course, these questions are being asked of people who’s salaries are paid and who’s funding grants are [u]premised[/u] upon an unproven hypothesis. If I were relying on the IPCCs claims for my bread and butter I’d probably say anything that was expected of me to keep the dollars coming in.

    Frankly, given these facts of human nature, and the way this science has been tainted with massive political funding and personal intimidation, I’m surprised there is much dissent at all.

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    More than 100%? Seriously?

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    How interesting,
    does anyone care to talk about real science ? Where consensus ( a cute word for opinion ) is worthless without proof and immaterial in the face of it.

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    According to both NOAA and the UK MET.
    [quote]Near-zero and even negative trends are common for intervals of a decade or less in the simulations, due to the model’s internal climate variability. The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals

    of 15 yr or more, suggesting that an observed absence of warming of this duration is needed to create a discrepancy with the expected present-day warming rate.

    TRANSLATION – A standstill of 15 years or more invalidates the models.


    When examined, 100% of the IPCC Models have been invalidated.
    his beautiful graph was posted at Roy Spencer’s and WattsUp, and no skeptic should miss it. I’m not sure if everyone appreciates just how piquant, complete and utter the failure is here. There are no excuses left. This is as good as it gets for climate modelers in 2013.

    John Christy used the best and latest models, he used all the models available, he has graphed the period of the fastest warming and during the times humans have emitted the most CO2. This is also the best data we have. If ever any model was to show the smallest skill, this would be it. None do.

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