Saturday, December 26, 2009

Question: Do you find this information convincing?

On Climate Change Deniers vs The Consensus | Information Is Beautiful a position called "deniers" is compared with another position "consensus" ...

I would like to know how our readers assess the power of the arguments on this web-page to make readers of the web-page to better understand the scientifically "acurate" view. Please give your opinion here on the Klimazwiebel - or, if you wish, on the doodle survey.

Any submissions to "doodle" I will consider anonymous.I know that the result is not representative, but I am interested in a spectrum of opinions.


Anonymous said...

The presentation is good on the scientific issues.

The 'lukewarmer' position, which is where I'd put myself, is not presented but that's fair enough. This position is that C02 substantially influences AGW but the role has been overstated. Other human influences are also important, as Dr Pielke Snr points out.

Also while the poll concerns scientific issues perhaps another page on the economic and political questions would be worthwhile.

That's where the AGW alarmist case is weakest.

Steve Carson said...

I don't think it really sums up the "skeptic view" - or maybe a better way to look at it is that a "bipolar soundbite" view isn't particularly useful and doesn't help someone understand the debate.

For example, the MWP/hockey stick debate. It may be that the "post-Mann view" becomes the consensus. But the "pre-Mann" consensus had an MWP that was probably warmer than today. How does the new reader learn that by visiting the "sound bite"? There were (and are) scores (100+?) of papers supporting the MWP around the world. There were problems with MBH 98 according to the NAS. There appear to be problems with Briffa's reconstructions. Just because a few new papers appear doesn't mean that this is now the real story. What about the scores of earlier papers? What was wrong with them? Maybe nothing. Maybe the few new papers have the problem.

This is the kind of more useful information. Also, in general, a partisan is not good at representing their opponents point of view. Too easy to caricature, however fairly they try to approach it.

I could take each "skeptic" point in the construction and write it quite differently. Other skeptics might take a completely different approach. It's not a monolithic voting block.

I personally believe that CO2 has caused some of the warming of the last 100 years. (CO2 obviously causes warming, it's basic physics). I don't know where it is on the scale of 1-100%. And that's because climate appears to be something extremely challenging to model with feedbacks that are barely understood - aerosols, clouds to name two.

This is also one of the glaring omissions in the presentation of arguments. How accurate are climate models? Is the theory falsifiable/testable?

In summary, hard to present something as complex as climate science in a little wall chart.

MikeR said...

To me, a complete non-expert, this just illustrates the difficulty for a non-expert having any sensible opinion at all. How am I, who don't have the time to work through research papers, supposed to know who's right, or even if the positions described accurately reflect the sides?
I'm perfectly happy to have the scientists in the field work this out, as long as they are behaving like scientists.

The Gorse Fox said...

I think it is a a fairly good summary - but being a summary misses out a number subtleties.

I also think that there are shades of scepticism:
a) those who deny that anything is happening that is out of the ordinary; these I suspect are fairly strident, and appear to be conspiracy theorists.
b) those who acknowledge that there is change but do not accept the CAUSE is established
c) those who acknowledge that there is change and do not accept an anthropogenic CONTRIBUTION.
d) Those who accept that there is change, do not accept that an anthropogenic CAUSE, but do accept an there must be an anthropogenic contribution from many sources (land use, pollution, etc)

The problem is that the people's positions are really points on a spectrum, not two ends of a see-saw as often portrayed.

plazamoyua said...

Completely biased, from my non-expert point of view. And from the very beginning. The title. Climate Change Deniers vs The Consensus

What is a "denier"? One who denies; as, a denier of a fact, or of the faith, or of Christ. [1913 Webster] So, you shouldn't be listening to a denier, in the first place.

And a "consensus"? agreement in the judgment or opinion reached by a group as a whole [] There can't be a discussion runnig, if there is a consensus. So, nothing to talk about.

Then the method. First you get a "denier" argument. Mostly a mock argument. And then, sometimes, a non-response. As:

There is no evidence ... answered by an explanation (an opinion), or in the best case, by a "this should be so, theoretically" (if we know how thinks work).

And other times the first argument (skeptic) is completely misplaced, so the answer looks pretty clever. As in the Arctic argument, or the MWP.

But they are not providing the evidence, just denying the skeptic arguments. And only apparently.

Also a total avoidance of the discussion on proxies. Particulary tree rings.

Nothing about Akasofu's "post LIA" theory.

Nothing about Svensmark - Naviv cosmic rays.

Nothing about the feedbacks discussion. And the clouds discussion.

But the whorst bias is the lack of "skeptic" references. No suprise, as they are using basically and Wikipedia.

I would say, very poor, and very biased.

plazamoyua said...

I mean, in a fair discussion, things should work the other way around. Is the proponent of a theory who has the burden of proof. But with the "trick" of consensus, this realclimate - climategate folks change how things should work.

Stan said...

Pretty silly presentation. If I were debating the proposition from the standpoint of a skeptic, I would be delighted to have my alarmist opponent approach the debate with that presentation. However, merely trouncing one's debate opponent shouldn't really be the main objective here. So I'd advise the proprietor of that site to address the real arguments.

Nanonymous said...

I'll comment here on every point there (points are separated by dashed line).

1. Disagree with both. I am sure the Earth is warming. But 1) I don't think we have a truly 100% solid answer by how much and 2) I don't think we can with any confidence attribute and distribute the cause(s) of the warming. I.e., no question humans contribute but the uncertainty in the degree of contribution is huge.

2. Agree with "Scientific Consensus" (S.C. henceforth).

3. Disagree with both. For sure one can't be as categorical as skeptics but I equally don't see
how S.C. can be so sure that greenhouse effect *must* be very influential on our planet at this
point in time.

4. Tend to lean toward S.C.'s point of view but also think that this point of view is considerably more optimistic than warranted.

5. Tend to agree with skeptics - but not with their argument. Simply put, we have great evidence that it was warmer locally and so-so or no evidence that it was colder globally. Purely on probabilistic basis, I think it is wise to assume that it WAS warmer before.

6. Lean toward skeptics. The original was certainly discredited; all other uncertainties (in proxies *and* instrumental record) make it too difficult to claim that a "meaningful" hockey stick (i.e., strong, very obvious and beyond reasonable doubt) really exists.

7. Agree with S.C. Ice cores can give very reliable data about *relative* change.

8. Right between the two. Modern science is an amalgam of "ideal" science and "cheating" of
various kind. That is true for all fields. Part of it are ills brought about by science playing
increasingly large role in the society. In the long run (decades) the science corrects itself and we finally get a decent picture of what a reality looks like. (see Nutrition Science over the last 100 or so years).

9. No opinion. I lack background necessary to critically evaluate existing evidence about CO2
lifetime. I would very much like to believe S.C. but given what I know about science, groupthink
and climate scientists' all too happy approach to modeling, I cannot rule out that they got it

10. Agree with skeptics. The answer hangs on definition of conspiracy. In my books, what The Team did and accomplished, *was* conspiracy to distort.

11. Disagree with both. My perception of how we understand climate is that we don't understand
squat. Neither side has a solid ground for conclusion one way or another. With this, IMHO, at this point it makes more sense to answer what seems to be more feasible question: if the GW is mainly A, is the humanity better off adapting or scaling down CO2 release? (Not a trivial question still).

Hans von Storch said...

@all - would be glad if you would vote on doodle - see

Anonymous said...

IPCC reports explain that doubling CO2 levels will raise temperatures by less than 2C if only infra-red absorption is considered. In order to raise them more than 4C (i.e. levels that cause real concern), climate models must assume the dominance of positive feedbacks within the Earth's climate system. Unfortunately, there is as yet no real-world evidence for this so-called 'enhanced greenhouse effect' (Cf. IPCC TAR Sect. 1.3.1) but is, nevertheless, assumed to exist because it is the only way that the models can 'simulate' past climate records and thereby provide a scientific basis of the curreW narrative.

The problem here is twofold. Firstly, it assumes that the models include all possible mechanisms, even though the reports openly admit that there are serious unknowns, like the effect of clouds. Secondly, it skips entirely one of the key steps of the Scientific Method, which is to make a prediction that can be tested in the real-world by experiment or observation and so verify or falsify the hypothesis/model.

Given these facts, I consider the basic premise of the "Scientific Consensus", as presented on the referenced web page, rather disingenuous. Nevertheless, I am still prepared to be corrected on this if presented with sufficiently credible evidence or argument.

Dave Salt

ligne said...

plazamoyua> what "trick of consensus"? consensus doesn't mean that no further evidence will ever be accepted. it just means that the weight of evidence is such that most interested parties are satisfied with a particular conclusion, and the discussion has moved on to more interesting matters. though there will be some arguing about the exact details, of course.

as for the burden of proof: the "pro" AGW side have already made their case. see the IPCC AR4 or the thousands of papers published on the topic in the last century or two. it's now up to the "anti" side to put forward any evidence they have that casts doubt on what we currently know.