Mike Hulme: Nuccitelli “97% consensus article is poorly conceived, poorly designed and poorly executed”

Posted: July 25, 2013 by tallbloke in alarmism, flames, humour, Incompetence, Philosophy, propaganda, Uncertainty

josh-treehouse*THWACK*  Take that Dana. 

From Warren Pearce’s posting of Ben Pile’s excellent article at ‘Making Science Public

Mike Hulme July 25, 2013 at 6:39 am

Ben Pile is spot on. The “97% consensus” article is poorly conceived, poorly designed and poorly executed. It obscures the complexities of the climate issue and it is a sign of the desperately poor level of public and policy debate in this country that the energy minister should cite it.

It offers a similar depiction of the world into categories of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ to that adopted in Anderegg et al.’s 2010 equally poor study in PNAS: dividing publishing climate scientists into ‘believers’ and ‘non-believers’. It seems to me that these people are still living (or wishing to live) in the pre-2009 world of climate change discourse. Haven’t they noticed that public understanding of the climate issue has moved on?

And in a further response to a discourteous reply from Steve Bloom:

Mike Hulme July 25, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Steve – my point is that the Cook et al. study is hopelessly confused as well as being largely irrelevant to the complex questions that are raised by the idea of (human-caused) climate change. As to being confused, in one place the paper claims to be exploring “the level of scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW” and yet the headline conclusion is based on rating abstracts according to whether “humans are causing global warming”. These are two entirely different judgements. The irrelevance is because none of the most contentious policy responses to climate change are resolved *even if* we accept that 97.1% of climate scientists believe that “human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW” (which of course is not what the study has shown). And more broadly, the sprawling scientific knowledge about climate and its changes cannot helpfully be reduced to a single consensus statement, however carefully worded. The various studies – such as Cook et al – that try to enumerate the climate change consensus pretend it can and that is why I find them unhelpful – and, in the sprit of this blog, I would suggest too that they are not helpful for our fellow citizens.


p.s. I’d be interested to know what Emeritus Chair I’m about to be offered!

  1. Hi Roger, guess you have seen the rebuttal of the points made against this study? Just in case you haven’t here’s the link


  2. Climatism says:

    Reblogged this on CACA and commented:
    Eco-alarmist Dana Nuccitelli’s “97% consensus” study – a failed marketing ploy to bolster a failing CAGW theory. A divisive disgrace and another blow to the integrity of science.

  3. […] Click here to read the full article _____________________________________________ […]

  4. michael hart says:

    So I wonder when Mike Hulme first realised?

    Anyway, I’m glad he has taken the trouble to belatedly say so. I hope he gets the opportunity to pass on his grasp of the obvious to:

    a) The President of The United States (or those writing his speeches/managing his twitter account) and
    b) Matt McGrath at the BBC non-science page, who seems to be channelling Richard Black.

  5. tallbloke says:

    Paul: yes I linked Dana’s article yesterday. However, Dana was replying to Ben Pile, not the devastating points made by Prof Mike Hulme. (see update too).

    Michael: Mike Hulme ‘realised’ around the time of climategate. The piece he co-wrote with Jerry Ravetz for the BBC is worth a read even now.

  6. michael hart says:

    I would like to think that Mike Hulme ‘got it’ in the general sense some decades before 2009. After all, he is a Professor in that field. Personally, I didn’t even bother reading the climate-gate emails when they broke in 2009. I already knew that I could expect to see plenty of evidence about the uncertainty of the science, and likely disagreements. So it subsequently proved when I started looking a couple years later when the second tranche were released. That might have been news, perhaps, to the MSM and public, but certainly not to me or Mike Hulme.

    What I didn’t expect was the degree of politicisation, and discussions around suppressing data, scientists, papers, journals, and editors.* So why did Mike Hulme not dwell on this aspect in his 2009 article with Jerry Ravetz for the BBC? Was it an oversight? He seems to be stuck philosophizing on the ‘science communication’ kick. Some people have a less generous interpretation as seen at the interesting discussion at Bishop Hill.

    *A least one well know name in there who likes to pretend in public that he is the one being harassed by “deniers”.

  7. […] Mike Hulme: Nuccitelli “97% consensus article is poorly conceived, poorly designed and poorly&… […]

  8. […] in Environmental Research Letters attracted a fair amount of comment on several climate blogs (for example see here). In partial response I have posted here an extract from one of my new essays (‘After Climategate […]