Peiser admits he was 97% wrong

In 2004, Naomi Oreskes looked at a sample of 928
papers
in
refereed scientific journals and found that not one disagreed with the
scientific consensus: that humans are responsible for most of the
warming in the last few decades. Benny Peiser disputed this, claiming that 34 of them rejected or doubted the consensus. I asked him for his list of 34 and posted it. It was obvious that there was only paper in his list that rejected the consensus and not only was that paper not peer-reviewed it was from the AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists).

Despite this, Peiser insisted that he was correct

I was aware that some of the abstracts would be interpreted in
different ways. That’s why I made this point in my Science letter:
“Even if there is disagreement about any of these papers, it is highly
improbable that all 34 are ambiguous”. Even if others reject the
definition of scepticism I used in my analysis, there can be no doubt
that Oreskes is wrong on one of her key claims: “Remarkably, none of
the papers disagreed with the consensus position”. It is quite obvious
that a number of ISI abstracts disagree with the “consensus” view,
while others show weak or strong forms of scepticism.

It took year before Peiser admitted that he was wrong about some of them:

I accept that it was a mistake to include the abstract you mentioned (and some other rather ambiguous ones) in my critique of the Oreskes essay.

Now he has admitted to Media Watch that the only one that belonged on his list was the AAPG one:


So how many of the 34 articles does Benny Peiser stand by?

How many really “reject or doubt” the scientific consensus for man-made global warming?

Well when we first contacted him two weeks ago he told us…

“Only [a] few abstracts explicitly reject or doubt the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) consensus which is why I have publicly withdrawn this point of my critique.” — Email from Benny Peiser to Media Watch

And when we pressed him to provide the names of the articles, he eventually conceded – there was only one.

(Ad Hoc Committee on Global Climate Issues: Annual report, by Gerhard LC and Hanson BM, AAPG Bulletin 84 (4): 466-471 Apr 2000)

Media Watch was prompted by Andrew Bolt’s column that got 0 out of 10 for accuracy and prompted one of the scientists he cited to call his piece “abuse of science”.

If you thought that Bolt would be embarrassed by relying on a study that even the author now admits was wrong, well you don’t know Bolt. To Bolt, being 97% wrong is an “irrelevant quibble” and anyway

Whatever nuance you may now have uncovered to criticise this list, the basic fact remains as this reveals: When Gore suggests there is absolutely no scientific debate on man-made global warming he is not telling the truth. Ask, say, Professor Sallie Baliunas, on this point. Or Professors Fred Singer, Willie Soon, Patrick Michaels, Bob Carter and on and on. Consult the Oregon Petition, the House of Lords select committee on economic affairs’ report and more. Got it?

This isn’t so much refuting Gore as proving his point: that while their is a debate about the consensus in the media, there isn’t one in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. The people he lists aren’t disputing the science in scientific journals but in opinion pieces in newspapers. Except for Patrick Michaels in this paper where they got degrees and radians mixed up.

Comments

  1. #1 BRC
    October 30, 2006

    nice work, tim.

  2. #2 Meyrick Kirby
    October 30, 2006

    Wow, I’m actually feeling a bit guilty for my, at times, rather harsh words for Benny Peiser.

  3. #3 ben
    October 30, 2006

    OK, so now what? I like the approach David Deutsch takes.

  4. #4 Stephen Berg
    October 30, 2006

    Ben, David Deutsch is intellectually dishonest. He’s another one of those “skeptics” who praise the US, Australia, and (unfortunately now) Canada for their lack of action in fighting climate change. He spews out PR crap from ExxonMobil and misleads and misinforms.

    Don’t listen to him. He’s the intellectual equivalent of the 15th Century (I think that’s the period) Catholic Church in its fight against Galileo.

  5. #5 anonymous
    October 30, 2006

    Ben, David Deutsch is intellectually dishonest.

    Which is why Ben likes the approach he takes.

  6. #6 Stephen Berg
    October 30, 2006

    My apologies. I got David Deutsch and George Deutsch mixed up. I have no idea who David Deutsch is, but George Deutsch is the former political appointee to take up the NASA head post. It was George Deutsch who refused to let James Hansen speak to National Public Radio in the US and it is he to whom I refer, not David Deutsch.

  7. #7 ben
    October 30, 2006

    The point is not “who is David Deutsch,” but his approach to the problem. No comments?

    And “anonymous,” no need to be a dick.

  8. #8 Meyrick Kirby
    October 30, 2006

    David Deutsch:

    And according to that theory, it’s already too late to avoid a disaster, because if it’s true that our best option at the moment is to prevent CO2 emissions, then that is already a disaster by any reasonable measure. So it’s already too late to avoid it, and it probably has been too late ever since before anyone realized the danger.

    Why? Evidence?

  9. #9 Brian S.
    October 30, 2006

    I’m glad to see that Peiser has stopped dishonestly saying he analyzed the same set of abstracts as Oreskes, after it was proven to him, in a dialogue he joined, that he didn’t.

    But until he pursues the misuse of claims he now recants with the same enthusiasm that he spread those claims, I won’t start feeling sorry for him.

  10. #10 Robert
    October 30, 2006

    ["...despite what you may have heard from the mainstream media, this science is far from conclusive"](http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/30/business/media/30warming.html) (from a mainstream media outlet).

  11. #11 ben
    October 30, 2006

    Why? Evidence?

    well, how is dropping CO2 output to 1990 levels supposed to stop global warming? What’s the alternative?

  12. #12 Meyrick Kirby
    October 30, 2006

    Ben:

    how is dropping CO2 output to 1990 levels supposed to stop global warming

    I’m not a scientist, but I would have thought, less CO2, less warming. For an indication of time lags and acceptable CO2 levels/emissions, I would suggest asking the RealClimate folks.

  13. #13 Meyrick Kirby
    October 30, 2006

    More to the point, I asked for evidence, not another question.

  14. #14 Dano
    October 30, 2006

    Ask, say, Professor Sallie Baliunas, on this point. Or Professors Fred Singer, Willie Soon, Patrick Michaels, Bob Carter and on and on. Consult the Oregon Petition

    OISM. Someone still trots that out.

    That’s the best they can do, folks: hope their audience is as dumb as a post.

    Best,

    D

  15. #15 ben
    October 30, 2006

    I think all those graphs that Tim puts up showing the projected temperature increases are decent evidence. Does someone have a plot of expected temperature increase vs. CO2 output? That’s about all that is needed.

  16. #16 Dano
    October 30, 2006

    Shorter David Deutsch:

    Duhhhh…since we don’t know the color of the car that will hit us, we can continue to play in traffic!

    What’s the name of the blog where ben linked to? Hmmm…’The conspiracy to keep you poor and stupid’. ’nuff said. By our pal Luskin, on top of that.

    Best,

    D

  17. #17 Paul
    October 30, 2006

    was there any doubt that peiser was being dishonest? i guess that’s why he hangs out on pielke’s blog so much.

  18. #18 Gareth
    October 30, 2006

    Speaking of Pielkes, Jr seems hell-bent on a rush to judgement.

    And in The Sunday Telegraph it seems that Lindzen’s been drinking at Bob Carter’s well…

    Given the above, what is all the hyperventilating about? Personally, I don’t know. It certainly can’t be the temperature record. For the past five years, the global mean temperature has been flat to within a few hundredths of a degree (well within the measurement uncertainty); indeed, there has been no statistically significant change in 10 years.

  19. #20 Stephen Berg
    October 30, 2006

    Ben, the OISM project is one of the biggest bunch of cherry-picking and “spurious conclusions” I’ve ever seen.

    Why do they take the temperatures at the Sargasso Sea and extrapolate them to say that’s what’s happening globally? That’s just as bad as other “skeptics” such as Dennis Avery (on Saturday) and others when they state that the globe cannot be warming because the Napa Valley in California is cooling. Are they daft?

    That’s a bunch of crap and completely intellectually dishonest.

  20. #21 Eli Rabett
    October 30, 2006

    Again, Eli was there before the question was asked:

    Eli is quite happy with this paper as it beats on a drum that he has made his own, that both adaptation and mitigation strategies will be necessary.

    “3. The unavoidability of combining mitigation and adaptation

    …Most scenarios, even with strong mitigation measures, project that overall GHG concentrations (including non CO2 gases) will rise above a doubling of pre-industrial levels. …the associated temperature changes will take us significantly into the ‘risk zones’ of impacts ….Since staying below such a doubling would require far quicker and stronger mitigation than envisaged in most scenarios …. adaptation will be required irrespective of the mitigation effort.

    Conversely, a complete absence of mitigation or related efforts at sustainable development would imply that atmospheric concentrations and temperatures continue increasing towards the high impact and risk zones of Figure 2. The far greater impacts involved would then be much harder to adapt to, with higher risks of events which adaptation could not realistically ameliorate.”

    For a suitable fee, Prof. Rabett will reveal his secret denial decoder ring.

  21. #22 Dano
    October 30, 2006

    Ben,

    Can’t you ask any of your Phys profs or the PhDs about this issue? Don’t you think they oughta know the state of the science or what the understanding was back then?

    Why on earth would you be sowing doubt about whether a report written by non-climate scientists under the tutelage of Heritage and enjoying their Victory Tours…ummm…why would you…oooooOOOOHHHHHH!

    Never mind.

    Best,

    D

  22. #23 John Cross
    October 30, 2006

    Ben: Regardsing the OISM petition, it was not all that valid at the time and it has not faired well over the years.

    For example it tries to draw global conclusions from the Keigwin sargasso sea temperature and claims that the source of the rise in atmospheric CO2 is unknown. Both of these were incorrect then and now.

    In regards to the stuff that been refuted by later work, we could start with the Christensen and Lassen data. However my personal favourite is the effort that they go through to say that the satellite temperatures are much more reliable than any other way of measuring global temperature. At the time they showed cooling but after they have the bugs worked out it, of course, shows warming similar to the surface.

    There is a lot of biological stuff that they gloss over as well. For example the difference between C3 and C4 plants.

    So, it deserves to die a quick (but hopefully painful) death.

  23. #24 ben
    October 30, 2006

    John, I know the OISM petition was bunk, Tim nailed it long ago. I also know the current state of the art of climate science is fine. I was just skeptical of the earlier IPCC stuff, that’s all.

    Dano, I don’t have any Phys profs at the moment. My profs are all controls engineering and don’t know beans about climate science. And they’re at least as bad of knee jerk liberals as I am on the conservative side, more so it seems.

  24. #25 Eli Rabett
    October 30, 2006

    Neural nets are not bad at predicting the weather, the only problem being they can’t tell you why things happen. There have also been attempts to use them for climate studies. There is a literature.

  25. #26 John Cross
    October 31, 2006

    Ben, I seem to have misunderstood. What do you consider the OISM report that you feel might have had a valid view?

  26. #27 Stephen Berg
    October 31, 2006

    Re: “I was just skeptical of the earlier IPCC stuff, that’s all.”

    Why is that, Ben? The “IPCC stuff” is the largest peer-reviewed analysis done on any scientific issue in the history of mankind. And, no, peer-review is not simply a rubber-stamping of studies. It is very rigorous criticism and examination.

  27. #28 hank
    November 2, 2006

    Ben, the challenge is to read the published science, and to be intellectually honest with yourself in evaluating it. Sitting down with your controls engineering professors may be a very good way to think this through — because it’s a challenge for each of you to see past your politics looking at the same published research. You can help each other control your excursions and stay on the facts. Eh?

  28. #29 Ian Gould
    November 3, 2006

    “well, how is dropping CO2 output to 1990 levels supposed to stop global warming?”

    Firstly, Ben, Kyoto required the Annex B parties to reduce their emissions to an average of around 8% BELOW 1990 levels – and by a lot more from the levels in 1998 when the treaty was signed.

    Secondly, as you surely MUST know by now, those were the targets for the first five years only anbd were suppsoed to be followed by further reductions.

    You ask rhetorically, “what is the alternative”? As it happens there’s a real world answer to that -just take a look at the US’ carbon dioxide emissions since 1998 compared with those of the Kyoto ratifiers.

    Kyoto isn’t perfect – but much of its imperfection is attributable to the massive concessions the US under Clinton demanded.