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  (Source: Smart Power)
Study says skeptics are not well-informed on the topic

Stanford University recently conducted a study that shows a minimal number of scientists who do not accept that human beings have contributed to the Earth's climate change have "far less expertise and prominence in climate research" than scientists who do believe climate change has been affected by humans. 

The university came to these conclusions by analyzing the number of research papers published "by more than 900 climate researchers" and the number of times these researchers' works were cited by other scientists. The expertise was evaluated by citing the number of research papers written by scientists (with the minimum number for inclusion being 20).

Prominence was analyzed by finding the four most popular climate change and non-climate change papers published by scientists, and "tallying" the number of times these papers were cited. According to the results, approximately 64 percent of papers by climate researchers convinced of human contribution were cited more often than those who are unconvinced. 

"These are standard academic metrics used when universities are making hiring or tenure decisions," said William Anderegg, lead author of a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The scientists who participated in the study were also involved in creating the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which compiled and "assessed the evidence for and against human involvement in climate change, as well as any climate researchers who signed a major public statement disagreeing with the findings of the panel's report."

In addition, the university's team of scientists decided on who the top 100 climate researchers are by determining the "total number of climate-related publications each had." According to Anderegg, 97 percent of those in the top 100 agree with and/or endorse the IPCC's assessment. He also says that this result has been "borne out" by other studies that use different methodology.  

"We really wanted to bring the expertise dimension into this whole discussion," said Anderegg. "We hope to put to rest the notion that keeps being repeated in the media and by some members of the public that 'the scientists disagree' about whether human activity is contributing to climate change."

The scientists at Stanford have mentioned that they are ready to take some heat from doubters of anthropogenic, or human-affected, climate change who "object to their data." But according to Stephen Schneider, a professor of biology and a coauthor of the paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team "took pains to avoid any sort of prejudice or skewed data in their analysis." When selecting researchers for the study who either disagreed with statements of the IPCC or signed the petitions, the Stanford team was sure to stay completely neutral in the study by omitting "those who had no published papers in the climate literature."

Schneider says that despite the careful analysis of this study, skeptics of human-affected climate change will "claim foul" anyway, and will say that climate researchers who are onboard with the idea of anthropogenic climate change are "just trying to deny publication of the doubters' opinion," but he challenges them to "go out and do a study to prove it -- it is of course not true."

"I think the most typical criticism of a paper like this -- not necessarily in academic discourse, but in the broader context -- is going to be that we haven't addressed these sorts of differences could be due to some clique or, at the extreme, a conspiracy of the researchers who are convinced of climate change," Anderegg said. 

"When you stop to consider whether some sort of 'group think' really drives these patterns and it could really exist in science in general, the idea is really pretty laughable," he said. "All of the incentives in science are exactly the opposite."

This Stanford study is the first of its kind to address the issue of scientists' opinions of human-affected climate change, and what their level of expertise and prominence in the field is. 

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By Hydrofirex on 6/28/2010 12:19:51 PM , Rating: 2
This is all just Theory and speculation until someone can accurately model climate change. Until then we are not really sure if this is just the cyclical changes the planet experiences, or if man is driving the changes. It could very well be that a large portion of the change is directly from us, or it could be that the vast majority of the change has nothing to do with us. (Our activities are certainly more than negligible.)

This doesn't mean we shouldn't continue to look into renewable and clean technology with all possible haste, it just means that Science is a process by which theories and conclusions can be predictably modeled. Hypothesis -> Experiment -> Compare Results.

Is anyone else more concerned with damage to the oceans than Emissions?? We pretty much KNOW we are killing the oceans, and we also know that the they play a large role in processing emissions out of the air and providing breathable atmosphere...


RE: Regardless...
By SRHelicity on 6/28/2010 12:35:27 PM , Rating: 3
We DO know that this is not "just the cyclical changes that planet experiences". The Milenkovitch forcing is not enough to explain the observed climate change effects (not just increased mean global surface temp, but also changes in Arctic ice coverage, sea level, etc.), as several studies have shown. This is a very complicated system, and there is evidence that "supports" both sides, but, if you are weighing the evidence on either side, it is very, very uneven (tipped heavily in the direction of "there is a significant anthropogenic contribution to the observed climate change"). Sure, many folks could be wrong, but it's looking likely that humans are having at least some impact on the climate.

RE: Regardless...
By gamerk2 on 6/28/2010 3:06:53 PM , Rating: 1
The problem is weather systems in particular do NOT play nice with Climate models. All weather systems are Chaotic; a .01% change in a starting condition can lead to significant changes in the result. As such, unless a global model is made 100% accurate for all possible situations [which is impossible unless you can control every single tree, building, etc, as they affect wind patterns], you can't come up with a perfect model.

We can come up with good ones based on our understanding of the situation. And they all say the exact same thing: the current warming trend is well outside of the normal varience you would expect over a century, and happens to be corrolated with global CO2 output. Farthermore, studies of Venus have basically proved CO2 and SO2 [and other combinations] in the atmosphere can trap heat. The logical conclusion is that if enough CO2 were dumped in our atmosphere, the same result would eventually occur.

So the GW argument comes down to the following questions:
1: Can CO2 in the atmosphere trap heat if added in large enough concentrations?
2: At what level would CO2 in the atmosphere have a detectable effect on the earths climate?

Very few people would argue against one, as even in small scale projects [greenhouses], it is known that CO2 traps heat. Which brings us to the second question: At what level does CO2 have an effect?

RE: Regardless...
By TSS on 6/28/2010 3:18:59 PM , Rating: 1
Well ofcourse humans have affected the climate. Just how many asphalt roads are there that retain heat pretty well heating up the surrounding enviroment more then it would've been if it was just grassy fields or forests?

We can even affect the planet on a global scale, and fix it on a global scale. Banned CFC's anybody?

The point of the whole debate in this case however, is that on the topic of global warming, not everybody belives humans are the cause of that. Maybe even not that their not willing to belive humans are the cause, they just don't belive it in the way the enviromentalists explain it currently. If we are the cause but CO2 isn't it, the various cap and trade schemes across the world will cost a giant load of money AND we'll have a overheating planet.

In light of that view, it's better to agree where the cause and do nothing about it, because then we can atleast use the money to build shelters. Instead of us all roasting while Al gore is laughing maniacly in his private space station.

RE: Regardless...
By SPOOFE on 6/28/2010 5:32:34 PM , Rating: 3
We DO know that this is not "just the cyclical changes that planet experiences".

No, we DON'T know that, and we have indications that it is cyclical. Look at a history of our climate record going back 10,000+ years, and the past thousand doesn't look too spectacular.

This is a very complicated system, and there is evidence that "supports" both sides

But the burden of proof is only on ONE side, the side that is claiming "something is happening". To date, that side has yet to fully account for even major factors that would inherently affect their hypothesis (ask a Global Warming Researcher how water vapor is incorporated into their models, and if they're honest they'll straight up tell you that it's not, at all).

RE: Regardless...
By DominionSeraph on 6/28/2010 7:34:08 PM , Rating: 2
But the burden of proof is only on ONE side, the side that is claiming "something is happening".

Sorry, it is not valid to assume that a positive action has no consequences. This is not the same as in the absence of a cause assuming the absence of an effect.

Keep your positives and negatives straight.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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