Don't Be Fooled: Fossil Fools Fund Latest Climate Skeptic Petition

Sun, 2011-04-17 15:41Emma Pullman
Emma Pullman's picture

Don't Be Fooled: Fossil Fools Fund Latest Climate Skeptic Petition

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) recently published a flashy headline that reads, 900+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism Of “Man-Made” Global Warming (AGW) Alarm’. The article links to a blog post on Populartechnology.net listing more than 900 papers which, according to the GWPF, refute “concern relating to a negative environmental or socio-economic effect of AGW, usually exaggerated as catastrophic.”

The “900+ papers” list is supposed to somehow prove that a score of scientists reject the scientific consensus on climate change. One might be persuaded by the big numbers. We’re not.

Oh, where to begin? First, a note of caution about the Global Warming Policy Foundation. It’s a UK group opposing climate change action. Sourcewatch’s digging reveals links to right-wing libertarian climate change deniers. According to the UK Charity Commission, GWPF’s mandate is to “advance the public understanding of global warming and of its possible consequences, and also of the measures taken or proposed to be taken in response to it”. Actually, they’re a heck of a lot more interested in sowing seeds of doubt than in disseminating knowledge. The GWPF’s director is the Heartland Institute’s* Benny Peiser, climate change denier extraordinaire. Other notable members include Canada’s Ross McKitrick of the Fraser Institute.   

Curiously, the GWPF was launched just as the Climategate emails were released. An op-ed by Chairman Nigel Lawson announced the GWPF, predicted the (hopeful) failure of the Copenhagen climate talks, and called for an inquiry into the content of the stolen emails.

Using a screen-scraping process to analyze the data on the “900+” list, the folks over at Carbon Brief dug up some pretty incriminating information. Turns out nine of the ten most cited authors on the list (representing 186 of the 938 papers) have links to ExonMobil-funded organizations. The tenth has co-authored several papers with Exxon-funded contributors. Anyone familiar with these kinds of lists (“More than 500 scientists dispute global warming” or “more Than 1000 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims”) knows that if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.  Many familiar climate skeptic names appear over and over again.

Dr. Sherwood B Idso is the most cited author on the list, having authored or co-authored 67 of the papers. Idso is president of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, a think tank funded by ExxonMobil and the Sarah Scaife Foundation

The second most cited is Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, a well-known climate sceptic who admits that around 40% of his funding comes from the oil industry.

When you really crunch the numbers, all you really find is a small echochamber of the same individuals who pop up on every denier list and petition around. James W. Prall at the University of Toronto has put together a fantastic analysis of the names that appear on these lists, and shows how most of them share funding ties to the oil industry. 

Now a note on the most cited journals on this list. Articles from trade journal Energy and Environment are cited 137 times on the list. Energy and Environment is edited by Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen and Benny Peiser. Numerous known climate skeptics sit on the editorial staff including Sallie Baliunas, Patrick Michaels, Ross McKitrick, and Richard Lindzen.  The journal has become a go-to resource for policymakers and politicians who are skeptical of the scientific consensus of climate change. 

Michael Ashley of the University of New South Wales has described it as “the climate sceptic’s journal of choice”. The Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge is considered a key resource for establishing the credentials and influence of key academic journals. It does not list Energy and Environment.  

A further 24 papers come from the journal Climate Research which is perhaps best known for publishing a 2003 paper by Sallie Baliunas and Willy Soon that received funding from the American Petroleum Institute. In response to the paper’s publication, the editor in chief, Hans Von Storch, and five of ten members of the editorial board, resigned in protest.

Let’s contrast this “900+ list” with the real facts. Expert Credibility in Climate Changewhich appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examines over 2,400 climate scientists and authors who have signed public statements on climate change. Their research says that 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field believe that global warming is happening, and that we must respond to it.

A note to deniers: if you keep publishing these lists, we’ll keep debunking them. Long lists might look convincing, but they’re no substitute for research that is free of fossil fuel industry bias and is taken seriously by the scientific community. 

*Updated: Peiser is listed as one of the global warming ‘experts’ by the Heartland Institute, but does not work there.

Image Credit: Prospect Magazine

Previous Comments

Sad, really, if people don’t know that the “saturation” is an argument that has already been tried and found not to hold: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/

You may want to read this:
http://www.eoearth.org/article/Greening_of_the_Sahel#gen2
http://www.natgeo.lu.se/Personal/Jonas.Ardo/PUBS/Greening_of_sahel_2005.pdf

By that logic the Siberian Traps should have propagated a massive bloom of life on planet Earth. The fossil record suggests otherwise.

You see, this exactly what you jokers do. You come up with something you think should be right, or that you hope will be right, and rather that try to test the theory and see if the concept is consistent with observation, you just start droning the meme. “CO2 is good for life. CO2 is good for life. CO2 is good for life. CO2 is good for life.”

Its as if you think that the more you say it the more likely it will be to come true.

You guys are so UN-skeptical its pitiful.

Anyone reading through these posts, if you want to understand the actual state of the science here is a good lecture to watch. http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/lectures/lecture_videos/A23A.shtml

Yes, CO2 is good for life. The debate is over, its settled science, there is a scientific consensus that increasing CO2 accelerates plant growth, which is only denied by people who think the moon landing was faked

My last post too

Actually I have to agree on this point, I see no reason to doubt that CO2 absorbs IR in the 15 micron band very effectively. This is an established result, and could well be regarded as settled science.

What is NOT settled is the idea that EXTRA CO2 will cause significant EXTRA warming. Already there is so much CO2 that an IR photon of 15 microns wavelength is unlikely to get more than a few inches off the ground, let alone out into space. Reducing the altitude the IR penetrates by a few more inches seems unlikely to overheat the earth, and in the absence of any evidence that it will, Ill remain sceptical about the warming effects of CO2, which I see s a bit player in the climate play, nothing like the leading actor proposed.

Another scientific result which is very well settled is the beneficial effects of CO2 on plant life. From a plants point of view there is barely enough CO2 to thrive on, and more would be very welcome. In fact the fact that there is more CO2 as result of our industry (also not generally in dispute, I point out for clarity) may well be responsible for the recent greening of the Sahel, and other desert regions, not to mention the well documented increased productivity of the biosphere in recent decades. This could be very useful with a few more billion mouths to feed.

More CO2 - why fight a good thing?

Then a published comment does not mean they successfully criticized the original paper. Regardless they have extensively responded to the comment in their rebuttal.

My opinion on the paper is irrelevant as is yours.

The paper explicitly fits the criteria of my list by supporting skeptic arguments against the greenhouse theory and AGW.

Again you repeat another strawman argument. The list is not a unified theory but rather a resource of ALL the papers that support skeptic arguments.

Why are you stating a strawman argument? Where does the list claim to be a unified theory? It is a resource for any and all skeptic theories that appear in the peer-reviewed literature. I do not discriminate.

…the paper actively contradicts quite a few papers on your list. Spencer? Wrong according to G&T. Lindzen? Wrong according to G&T. Douglass et al? Wrong according to G&T. Andsoonandsoforth.

Thus, this one paper on your list questions a lot of other ‘skeptic’ theories. If you don’t realise its implications, you are beyond help.

The list is a resource for all the papers that support skeptic arguments, it is not a unified theory. Obvious various papers may be mutually exclusive but forming a unified theory is no the purpose of the list. It was created to prove these papers exist and to be used as a resource for skeptics.

You still don’t get it. Contradictory papers are what you claim shows ‘skeptics’ have good reasons to doubt AGW and/or its impacts. Problem is, those same papers would mean ‘skeptics’ should have good reasons to doubt other papers on that same list (and vice versa). Somehow, however, that doubt suddenly disappears. Gee, how ‘skeptic’.

Nice strawman, I make no such claim. My claim is that there are extensive peer-reviewed papers to support skeptic arguments. That can mean any number of independent and mutually exclusive arguments. The list is a resource for all of them and skeptics are free to make up their own mind on each paper. This is not about group think and collective thought.

It’s all about cherry picking, right, Andrew? As long as you can delay and detract, it’s good. It’s the smoking industry tactic all over again, but this time by ideological zealots like you. Not very smart, Andrew, you could actually make some money with your delusions!

The fact that I list mutually exclusive papers in the list irrefutably demonstrates that I am not cherry picking. I am informing and educating.

So far you have brought up the same deranged progressive obsessions, creationism and tobacco.

It has to be very frustrating for you to know there is nothing you can do about free speech.

Then a published comment does not mean they successfully criticized the original paper. Regardless they have extensively responded to the comment in their rebuttal.

My opinion on the paper is irrelevant as is yours.

The paper explicitly fits the criteria of my list by supporting skeptic arguments against the greenhouse theory and AGW.

Again you repeat another strawman argument. The list is not a unified theory but rather a resource of ALL the papers that support skeptic arguments.

Why are you stating a strawman argument? Where does the list claim to be a unified theory? It is a resource for any and all skeptic theories that appear in the peer-reviewed literature. I do not discriminate.

Prove to us that you did not follow or threaten Ian in any way, or that you did not have someone do it for you.

The burden of proof is on you - especially in a U.S. court. You are the one stating these lies now provide your evidence or retract them.

I have never followed him anywhere to harass him nor have I ever asked anyone to do the same.

Relax, I was being facetious.

Andrew, if having ones personal information blasted on the internet is OK, as you seem to argue it is, then please post a link to Google street view of your house for us (that will also take care of the address), as well as your home telephone number and your current personal email address. Remember you are defending your actions, now it is time to walk the talk. Im sure that you, like Ian, will feel very happy, safe and comfortable having that information out there.

If you think it should not be available then I suggest contacting the multiple websites were you can find the information freely available online.

Unlike Ian, I am not computer illiterate and my personal information cannot be found anywhere online and never will be.

Just because it can be found doesnt mean its okay to actively search out that information, collect it together, and repost it for others to see.

Show me the law that says using Google is illegal.

Some of you knucklehead deniers still out there?

Fact:

Arctic permafrost is collapsing into the sea by as much as 100 feet (30 meters) a year in some places, new studies say.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/04/110418-arctic-erosion-global-warming-ice-environment/

Also this:

http://vimeo.com/20622744

Any reasonable person would put 2 and 2 together. The fact that some people don`t is just absurd. So, you expect us to allow you to build a platform for your argument that involves destroying the planet if you`re wrong while the mere fact that you delay us could be helping exactly that to happen? You know what? You are morons.

Arctic permafrost is frozen soil. How can that collapse into the sea? Most permafrost is miles from the ocean.

In any case,how does a bit of ice melting say anything as to the cause of the melting? Your logical train seems to be that permafrost is melting, therefore manmade CO2 emissions are causing a climate catastrophe.

Does the term “non sequitur” mean anything to you?

Peter… Really? You dont understand the issue with melting permafrost? You post on climate change as if you are knowledgeable on the issue.

The answer that you seem to be oblivious to is methane. There is more carbon locked in permafrost than humans have burned in 150 years. Methane is 20X stronger GHG than CO2, and it eventually oxidized into CO2 and remains resident in the atmosphere for 100+ years.

This is what we talk about when we are discussing the 2C danger point. Uncontrolled release of other sources of GHGs.

Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1liqk9UQNAQ

Methane is trapped by the permafrost. As the permafrost melts, methane is released ACCELERATING the process, not causing it.

The mere fact that there are shipping lanes open in the arctic that have never been accessible before may give you a clue.

Well, that AND human caused climate change is REAL and you dont get a vote to say that its not unless you are a scientist or citing actual science. Youre not. You dont get a say on climate change. This isnt amature hour.

If your understanding is so excellent, can you explain how, despite a reported 40 percent of the worlds permafrost having been melted in the past century, there has been no runaway warming as a result.

The permafrost - methane tipping point scare is frankly ridiculous - it has been warmer in the recent past, and no doubt the permafrost melted and release methane then to - but no runaway warming. Permafrost doesn’t care what causes warming, it just melts when it warms, so why didn’t it cause a tipping point during the Holocene optimum, or the Roman warm period, or even the Medieval warm period?

Again, the observational evidence does not support the hypothesis. In science, this is called falsification.

What report claims 40% of the world’s permafrost has melted in the past century?

Second issue I have is that permafrost doesn’t melt in a few days, weeks, or even months. It takes many decades for even a few feet to melt, and methane doesn’t release immediately either. The HO, RWP, and MWP were periods where local carbon sinks could deal, to some extent, with any increases in CO2, as the rate of change is limited. Our emissions are overwhelming those sinks, however.

What evidence supports your assertion that our co2 emissions are overwhelming sinks for methane? If the planets carbon sinks were being overwhelmed, we would expect to see an increasing proportion of human co2 emissions remain in the atmosphere, but there is no observational evidence this is happening - the increase in atmospheric concentration still only accounts for about half our emissions, the rest being absorbed by the oceans and biosphere.

As I said, permafrost doesn’t care what causes the warming, it simply reacts to the temperature, so why should the current warming period be any different from those previous periods, its not as if the rate of warming recently (however you define recently) has been in any way unusual. Unless the current warming is well beyond anything which has happened in the past, there is no reason to expect anything different to happen

I asked you a simple question, and you decided not to answer, why? I’ll ask again, this time slightly different: please provide evidence that 40% of the permafrost has melted.

Regarding sinks being overwhelmed: it must be quite difficult to argue against this fact, considering that CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing a LOT. The facts are that there are two types of sinks: some take up CO2 on relatively short time-scales (e.g. the biosphere and the upper layer of the oceans), others on much longer time-scales (e.g. deep ocean, rock weathering). It’s the latter sinks that usually can handle slow increases, but not the fast increase we humans have introduced. And there’s where a major difference is with the past: we have increased the amount of CO2 so much, that the slow sinks are completely overwhelmed.

http://www.popsci.com/files/imagecache/article_image_large/articles/shishmain.jpg

Does the term “Dunning Kruger” mean anything to you?

Wow, the roaches really crawled out of the woodwork for this one, didn’t they.

I’d waste my time pointing my crackpottery debunking potato gun at them and picking them off one after another after another… pop… pop… pop… but I have real work to do.

Great article Emma. Beer?

Is that why she has already made at least two corrections to her article?

1. She change the E&E paper count from 151 - 137 (no update)

2. She correct her bogus nonsense about Dr. Peiser, “Updated: Peiser is listed as one of the global warming ‘experts’ by the Heartland Institute, but does not work there.”

The rest is refuted here,

Rebuttal to “Don’t Be Fooled: Fossil Fools Fund Latest Climate Skeptic Petition” http://z4.invisionfree.com/Popular_Technology/index.php?showtopic=4033

Andrew… What is the matter with you? In your book people cant update their articles? Even major news organizations do this on a regular basis. Your judgement system is highly warped.

Updating is fine, and is to be commended, far better than failing to correct something known to be wrong.

But updating without notification is dishonest, as it seeks to conceal that an error was originally made. There is also the chance that someone may quote the original source, but if when someone else checks it has been changed without notification that a change has been made, the result is the appearance of dishonesty by an innocent party. This is why reputable online sources are meticulous about the audit trail of their postings.

So much better to be open about these things.

Why is no mention made of this update?

1. She change the E&E paper count from 151 - 137 (no update)

In that case, Andrew, you have refuted your own list. You admitted to having made a lot of corrections!

Note also that those corrections you made are not reported. Nor do you show which papers you include in your count.

I didn’t say that made it refuted.

The counting method is explicitly stated,

Counting Method: Only peer-reviewed papers are counted. Addendums, Comments, Corrections, Erratum, Rebuttals, Replies, Responses, and Submitted papers are not counted but listed as references in defense of various papers or as rebuttals to other published papers. There are many more listings than just the over 900 counted papers,

Formatting: All “addendums, comments, corrections, erratum, replies, responses and submitted papers” are preceded by a ” - ” and italicized.

You suggested it was.

And I see you still do not indicate which Editorials, Viewpoints, Opinions, and Communications were, and which were not counted (and why). In fact, you strongly suggest they were all counted as “peer-reviewed”. You have thus redefined peer-reviewed to count those papers that were not checked by peers, but were under some level of Editorial scrutiny.

Thereby your list is refuted, following your own logic.

You have failed to demonstrate that they were not peer-reviewed as communications and such can be peer-reviewed.

E&E even openly states that its technical communications are NOT peer-reviewed, and still you argue…

It is obvious you have no understanding of scientific publishing, as ANYONE knows that Editorials, Opinions, Viewpoints, and a variety of Communications are usually NOT peer-reviewed. Thus, anyone claiming they are should provide the proof for that, not vice versa.

Andrew, better leave that alternate universe you are living in soon. You might actually contribute to society if you get back to reality.

Emma,

Note too how general the title is:

“850 Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism of “Man-Made” Global Warming (AGW) Alarm”

Now tell me how a paper like G&T (2009), which has been sounded refuted can be cited as a paper supporting “skepticism”? It cant, in fact it is a perfect example of a “skeptic” paper which denies the physical realities of our climate system, and which denies basic physics. So by accepting that list, wilson admits that he not a “skeptic”, but a denier of physics, and so is anyone else out there who is under the misguided notion that GWPF list actually means anything.

Hey, maybe I should start my own list.

“X papers demonstrating the incompetence of those skeptical of, and in denial of, the theory of AGW

And I am willing to bet that some of the papers on the GWPF list are in fact cited in the IPCC. In fact one comes to mind, the refuted paper by McKitrick and Michaels (2004) is both on the GWPF list and cited in the IPCC. So the IPCC supports skepticism of AGW alarm…..?

The current title is,

“900+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism of “Man-Made” Global Warming (AGW) Alarm”

The published criticism of G&T has been refuted by the authors,

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1012.0421

- Reply to “Comment on ‘Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics’ by Joshua B. Halpern, Christopher M. Colose, Chris H0-Stuart, Joel D. Shore, Arthur P. Smith, Jorg Zimmermann”
(International Journal of Modern Physics B, Volume 24, Issue 10, pp. 1333-1359, April 2010)
- Gerhard Gerlich, Ralf D. Tscheuschner

This rebuttal appears on the list under the original paper.

It is not the GWPF list but Popular Technology.net’s list, the GWPF just graciously made note of the current update.

Wilson claims

“and not because they were reviewed by their mates like many of the pro AGW papers.”

Need I remind you of the nefarious goings on by “skeptics” (de Freitas, Soon, Baliunas) at the Journal ClimateResearch….simultaneously reviewing each others papers submitted to the same journal.

And for the record, I am not pro AGW (in fact I hope climate sensitivity is very low, but the good science (e.g., Knutti and Hegerl) does not support that) , I am pro science :)

Oh well, this has been fun.

Need I remind you of the later paper by Mclean, deFreitas et al, in which JCR refused to publish the authors rebuttal to a critical reply. The AGW crowd are unable to compete on a level playing field, so they just tilt the field!

I note the forward to Knutti and Hegerls paper states “The Earth’s climate is changing rapidly as a result of anthropogenic carbon emissions, and damaging impacts are expected to increase with warming. To prevent these and limit long-term global surface warming to, for example, 2 °C, a level of stabilization or of peak atmospheric CO2concentrations needs to be set”

This looks to me to assume an awful lot of what the paper seeks to prove (look up “begging the question” on Wiki). This hardly inspires confidence in the impartiality of their judgement (although admit I have not closely examined their paper).

I am also pro science. Which means I seek real world evidence, not computer games. I fail to see any convincing evidence for a high sensitivity, but if you do, can you please explain why temperatures have remained stable over the past 15 years while CO2 levels have risen markedly. This remains a very severe obstacle to accepting a high climate sensitivity in my view.

“Need I remind you of the later paper by Mclean, deFreitas et al, in which JCR refused to publish the authors rebuttal to a critical reply. The AGW crowd are unable to compete on a level playing field, so they just tilt the field!”

############
Anyone with college-freshman math/science skills should have no trouble understanding what is wrong with the Mclean et al. paper. The authors of that paper made the freshman C-student mistake of correlating the *time-derivative* of the temperature data with ENSO-index data. Taking the time-derivative *removes* the temperature trend – i.e. the very global-warming signal that Mclean et al. were supposedly examining. This is a blunder that anyone who has managed to get past the first round of midterms in freshman calculus should know better than to make.

Mclean et al. were completely incompetent (and whoever it was who reviewed their paper was definitely asleep at the switch).

The reason that GRL refused to publish Mclean et al’s “rebuttal” is that the editors didn’t want to compound their blunder by allowing *another* round of C-student work to be published in their journal.

Their censored rebuttal can be read on the list following the main paper,

- Response to “Comment on ‘Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature’ ” by Foster et al.
(Submitted to the Journal of Geophysical Research, 2010)
- John D. McLean, Chris de Freitas, Robert M. Carter http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/agu_censorship.pdf

Oh the conspiracy theory card.

No conspiracy just the irrefutable fact that it was not permitted to be published.

Yes it is a conspiracy theory, gate keeping. You seem to be under the misguided notion that all papers should get published just because? Some papers are simply irrefutably crap and should not be published.

Now we can do this stupid pin-pong ad infinitum, and Im sure that youd like nothing more– but some of us have lives and more important matters to attend to than vehemently defending an inconsequential internet/blog list.

Remember and think very carefully about what Emanuel said…..and I sincerely mean that, be a true skeptic.

Bye Andrew.

It is surely true that many papers are crap, and should never have been published. And thanks to Climategate, we now know how they get through, despite often basic errors. As long as the conclusion is “right”, many reviewers dont even bother to do the most basic checking.

How else could Steig 09 have got published. Ryan O’Donnell proved conclusively that that was total garbage (http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2011/2/8/steigs-method-massacred.html gives a quick synopsis), but still got accepted by Nature, supposedly a prestigious journal.

Peer review my a**, more like pal review

Again, no conspiracy theory, just the facts.

I agree all sorts of junk should never get published but the supposed “prestigious” journals keep publishing fraudulent garbage,

Nature, Science - Jan-Hendrik Schon: Scientific fraud found at Bell Labs (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
http://www.seattlepi.com/business/88624_bell261.shtml

Nature, Science - Luk Van Parijs: MIT Fires Professor Van Parijs for Using Fake Data in Papers (The Tech, MIT)
http://tech.mit.edu/V125/N50/50van_parijs.html

Science - Hwang Woo Suk: For Science’s Gatekeepers, a Credibility Gap (The New York Times) http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/02/health/02docs.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

You do not get to republish the original story without rebutting the errors pointed out.

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